Encyclopedia Astronautica
OSO



oso.jpg
OSO
Credit: NASA
American solar satellite. 9 launches, 1962.03.07 (OSO 1) to 1975.06.21 (OSO 8). The Orbiting Solar Observatories, developed for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, were designed primarily as stabilized platforms for solar-oriented scientific instruments.

The OSOs permitted the first extended study of the sun (from above the earth's filtering atmosphere) with accurate positioning. Experiments on the satellites studied the sun, flares and other solar activities, X-ray, gamma and ultraviolet radiation and radiation from extra-solar sources.

The two section space observatory was stabilized because the lower section, the "wheel," spinned as a gyroscope at a near constant 30 revolutions per minute. The upper fan-shaped section, the "sail," was joined to the wheel by a connecting shaft and remained pointed toward the sun during the OSO daytime. Experiments in the wheel scanned the sun every 2 seconds and those in the sail pointed continuously at the sun. The OSO was placed in orbit 565 km above earth by a Delta booster and circled the earth every 96 minutes. Each spacecraft weighed from 200 to 280 kg (including experiments) and carried up to 9 experiments Each of the 3 successful OSO's exceeded their five month design specification. OSO 1, launched March 7, 1962, was. in operation nearly 18 months; OSO 2, launched February 3, 1965, nearly 9 months; OSO 3, launched March 8, 1967, and OSO 4, launched October 18, 1967, continued to send back scientific data through year-end 1968. Prime Contractor was Ball Brothers Research Corporation.

First Launch: 1962.03.07.
Last Launch: 1975.06.21.
Number: 9 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Thor Delta American orbital launch vehicle. Commercial name for the military's Thor-Delta. The name of the Delta second stage eventually was applied to subsequent commercial follow-ons. More...
  • Thor Delta C American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DSV-2A + 1 x Delta D + 1 x Altair 2 More...
  • Thor Delta C1 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DSV-2A + 1 x Delta D + 1 x FW4D More...
  • Delta N American orbital launch vehicle. Long Tank Thor augmented with 3 Castor 2 boosters and Delta E upper stage. More...
  • Delta 1910 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • Delta 1000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 1000 series used Castor 2 strap-ons and the Extended Long Tank core with MB-3 engine. More...
  • Delta C American orbital launch vehicle. Unaugmented Thor with Delta D and solid propellant upper stages. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • Ball American manufacturer of spacecraft. Ball Aerospace and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Bramscher, Robert G, "A Survey of Launch Vehicle Failures", Spaceflight, 1980, Volume 22, page 351.
  • Aerospace Yearbook, 1966,
  • NASA Report,
  • NASA Report, The Observatory Generation of Satellites, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Preliminary Solar Flare Observations with Soft X-ray Spectrometer on Orbiting Solar Observatory Satellite , Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Orbiting Solar Observatory Satellite OSO 1- The Project Summary, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Scientific Results of the First Orbiting Solar Observatory, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, The OSO 1 Solar Neutron Experiment, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, OSO spacecraft manual, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, History of orbiting solar observatory OSO-2, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Observations of solar active regions and solar flares by OSO-7, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Orbiting Solar Observatory - B Final Report, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, OSO-1 Final Program Report; Performance Evaluation of the OSO-1, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17B Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Upgraded over the decades for use with Thor, Delta, Delta II, and Delta III launch vehicles, it remained in use for over half a century. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

OSO Chronology


1962 March 7 - . 16:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta. LV Configuration: Thor Delta 301/D8.
  • OSO 1 - . Payload: OSO A (S-16). Mass: 208 kg (458 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1981-10-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 255 . COSPAR: 1962-Zeta-1. Apogee: 553 km (343 mi). Perigee: 522 km (324 mi). Inclination: 32.8000 deg. Period: 95.30 min. Summary: Orbiting Solar Observatory; solar flare observations. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1965 February 3 - . 16:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta C. LV Configuration: Thor Delta C 411/D29.
  • OSO 2 - . Payload: OSO B2 (S-17). Mass: 247 kg (544 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1989-08-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 987 . COSPAR: 1965-007A. Apogee: 306 km (190 mi). Perigee: 294 km (182 mi). Inclination: 32.8000 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Summary: Orbiting Solar Observatory; returned solar X-ray, UV, gamma ray data. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1965 August 25 - . 15:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta C. LV Configuration: Thor Delta C 434/D33. FAILURE: Premature third stage ignition.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • OSO C - . Payload: OSO C. Mass: 280 kg (610 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1965-08-25 . COSPAR: F650825A.

1967 March 8 - . 16:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta C. LV Configuration: Thor Delta C 431/D46.
  • OSO 3 - . Payload: OSO E1. Mass: 281 kg (619 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1982-04-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 2703 . COSPAR: 1967-020A. Apogee: 570 km (350 mi). Perigee: 546 km (339 mi). Inclination: 32.8000 deg. Period: 95.80 min. Summary: Orbiting Solar Observatory. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1967 October 18 - . 15:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta C1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta C1 490/D53.
  • OSO 4 - . Payload: OSO D. Mass: 272 kg (599 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1982-06-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 3000 . COSPAR: 1967-100A. Apogee: 555 km (344 mi). Perigee: 552 km (342 mi). Inclination: 32.9000 deg. Period: 95.70 min. Summary: Extreme UV solar observations. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1969 January 22 - . 16:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta C1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta C1 487/D64.
  • OSO 5 - . Payload: OSO F. Mass: 291 kg (641 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1984-04-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 3663 . COSPAR: 1969-006A. Apogee: 559 km (347 mi). Perigee: 538 km (334 mi). Inclination: 33.0000 deg. Period: 95.60 min. Summary: Orbiting Solar Observatory; solar radiation data. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1969 August 9 - . 07:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta N. LV Configuration: Thor Delta N 548/D72.
  • OSO 6 - . Payload: OSO G. Mass: 290 kg (630 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1981-03-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 4065 . COSPAR: 1969-068A. Apogee: 554 km (344 mi). Perigee: 489 km (303 mi). Inclination: 32.9000 deg. Period: 95.10 min. Summary: Orbiting Solar Observatory; solar physics experiments. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1971 September 29 - . 09:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta N. LV Configuration: Thor Delta N 565/D85.
  • OSO 7 - . Payload: OSO H. Mass: 635 kg (1,399 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1974-07-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 5491 . COSPAR: 1971-083A. Apogee: 572 km (355 mi). Perigee: 326 km (202 mi). Inclination: 33.1000 deg. Period: 93.50 min. Summary: Orbiting Solar Observatory. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1975 June 21 - . 11:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 1910. LV Configuration: Delta 1910 586/D112.
  • OSO 8 - . Payload: OSO I. Mass: 1,066 kg (2,350 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: OSO. Decay Date: 1986-07-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 7970 . COSPAR: 1975-057A. Apogee: 553 km (343 mi). Perigee: 539 km (334 mi). Inclination: 32.9000 deg. Period: 95.60 min. Summary: Orbiting Solar Observatory. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

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