Encyclopedia Astronautica
Pegasus



pegassat.jpg
Pegasus Satellite
Credit: NASA
American earth micrometeoroid satellite. 3 launches, 1965.02.16 (Pegasus 1) to 1965.07.30 (Pegasus 3). Pegasus satellites consisted of vast detector panels deployed from Saturn IV stages on Saturn I test flights.

They provided vital data on micrometeoroid density in low earth orbit for design of the Apollo spacecraft.

The mission of Pegasus, the Meteoroid Technology Satellite, was to define the magnitude and direction of medium size meteoroids in the near earth space environment. Three Pegasus spacecraft were sent into varying orbits, 500 to 800 km high, transmitting meteoroid detection information on a daily basis to the Fairchild Hiller-operated Satellite Control Center at Cape Kennedy. The spacecraft weighed 1450 kg, with a deployed wing 29 m long and 4.3 m high. Its 116 capacitor detectors of varying thickness provided over 185 square meters of area designed to count meteoroid hits for at least one year in space. It contained a solar cell powered battery power system, detection system, data processing and storage, real time and stored data transmission system, and temperature sensing and control and attitude sensing systems. The three spacecraft, launched in 1965, were still operational and returning useful data two years later. They represent the largest rigid deployable space structures developed up to that time. Prime Contractor was Space and Electronics Systems Division, Fairchild Hiller Corporation.

Gross mass: 10,450 kg (23,030 lb).
First Launch: 1965.02.16.
Last Launch: 1965.07.30.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Saturn I Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core,powered by eight Jupiter engines. Originally intended as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. However it was developed so early, no payloads were available for it. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Saturn I American orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core,powered by eight Jupiter engines. Originally intended as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. However it was developed so early, no payloads were available for it. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA Houston American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Houston, Houston, USA. More...
  • Fairchild American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Fairchild, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Apollo The successful US project to land a man on the moon. 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.
  • Ertel , Ivan D; Morse , Mary Louise; et al, The Apollo Spacecraft Chronology Vol I - IV NASA SP-4009, NASA, 1966-1974. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Brooks, Courtney G, Grimwood, Hames M, Swenson, Lloyd S, Chariots for Apollo, Government Printing Office, 1989. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Aerospace Yearbook, 1966,
  • NASA Report, Pegasus, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Pegasus Program Final Report, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Pegasus Thermal Design, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, PEGASUS SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS OF METEOROID PENETRATION /FEBRUARY 16 - JULY 20, 1965, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, The Meteoroid Satellite Project Pegasus First Summary Report, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Pegasus Thermal Design, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Thermal Design Evaluation of Pegasus, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, The Meteoroid Satellite Project Pegasus First Summary Report, 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 LC37B Saturn I, Delta IV launch complex. Complexes 34 and 37 were designed to support NASA's Saturn I and Saturn IB program. Complex 37 was built in 1962, and it was occupied by NASA in January 1963. Complex 37 supported eight Saturn I and Saturn IB missions, including the first flight of an unmanned Apollo lunar module, between 29 January 1964 and 23 January 1968. Complexes 34 and 37 were mothballed in November 1971, and their service structures were scrapped in April 1972. NASA retained control of both complexes, and both sites became NASA tour stops. More...

Pegasus Chronology


1965 February 16 - . 14:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I. LV Configuration: Saturn I-Blk2 SA-9.
  • Pegasus 1 - . Payload: Pegasus 1. Mass: 10,400 kg (22,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville. Program: Apollo. Class: Earth. Type: Micrometeoroid satellite. Spacecraft: Pegasus. Decay Date: 1978-09-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 1085 . COSPAR: 1965-009A. Apogee: 726 km (451 mi). Perigee: 510 km (310 mi). Inclination: 31.7000 deg. Period: 97.00 min. A Saturn I vehicle SA-9 launched a multiple payload into a high 744 by 496 km (462 by 308 mi) earth orbit. The rocket carried a boilerplate (BP) CSM (BP-16) and, fitted inside the SM, the Pegasus I meteoroid detection satellite. This was the eighth successful Saturn flight in a row, and the first to carry an active payload. BP-16's launch escape tower was jettisoned following second-stage S-IV ignition. After attaining orbit, the spacecraft were separated from the S-IV. Thereupon the Pegasus I's panels were deployed and were ready to perform their task, i.e., registering meteoroid impact and relaying the information to the ground.

1965 May 25 - . 07:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I. LV Configuration: Saturn I-Blk2 SA-8.
  • Pegasus 2 - . Payload: Pegasus 2. Mass: 10,464 kg (23,069 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville. Program: Apollo. Class: Earth. Type: Micrometeoroid satellite. Spacecraft: Pegasus. Decay Date: 1979-11-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 1381 . COSPAR: 1965-039A. Apogee: 740 km (450 mi). Perigee: 502 km (311 mi). Inclination: 31.7000 deg. Period: 97.00 min. Pegasus 2 was a meteoroid detection satellite. The Saturn I launch vehicle (SA-8) placed the spacecraft, protected by a boilerplate CSM (BP-26), into a 740-by-509-km (460-by-316-mi) orbit. Once in orbit, the dummy CSM was jettisoned. Pegasus 2, still attached to the second stage of the launch vehicle, then deployed its 29-m (96-ft) winglike panels. Within several hours, the device began registering meteoroid hits.

1965 July 30 - . 13:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. LV Family: Saturn I. Launch Vehicle: Saturn I. LV Configuration: Saturn I-Blk2 SA-10.
  • Pegasus 3 - . Payload: Pegasus 3. Mass: 10,500 kg (23,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Huntsville. Program: Apollo. Class: Earth. Type: Micrometeoroid satellite. Spacecraft: Pegasus. Decay Date: 1969-08-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 1467 . COSPAR: 1965-060A. Apogee: 449 km (278 mi). Perigee: 441 km (274 mi). Inclination: 28.9000 deg. Period: 93.40 min. NASA launched Pegasus 3, third of the meteoroid detection satellites, as scheduled at 8:00 a.m. EST, from Cape Kennedy. As earlier, an Apollo spacecraft (boilerplate 9) served as the payload's shroud. This flight (SA-10) marked the end of the Saturn I program, which during its seven-year lifetime had achieved 10 straight successful launches and had contributed immeasurably to American rocket technology.

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