Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas Agena B



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Atlas Agena Mariner
Atlas LV-3A / Agena B
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Atlas Agena Mariner
Atlas LV-3A / Agena B
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Atlas D Samos
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Atlas D Agena B
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Atlas Agena B
Atlas Agena B - COSPAR 1962 Eta
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Atlas D Mercury Lab
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Atlas Agena D
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Agenhgre
Agena D stages in process, Hangar E, Cape Canaveral
American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with improved, enlarged Agena upper stage.

Payload: 850 kg (1,870 lb) to a GTO. Failures: 8. First Fail Date: 1961-08-23. Last Fail Date: 1963-06-12.

Stage Data - Atlas LV-3A / Agena B

  • Stage 0. 1 x Atlas MA-3. Gross Mass: 3,174 kg (6,997 lb). Empty Mass: 3,174 kg (6,997 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,644.960 kN (369,802 lbf). Isp: 290 sec. Burn time: 120 sec. Isp(sl): 256 sec. Diameter: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Span: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Length: 0.0000 m ( ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 2. Engine: LR-89-5. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Atlas Agena SLV-3. Gross Mass: 117,026 kg (257,998 lb). Empty Mass: 2,326 kg (5,127 lb). Thrust (vac): 386.300 kN (86,844 lbf). Isp: 316 sec. Burn time: 265 sec. Isp(sl): 220 sec. Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). Span: 4.90 m (16.00 ft). Length: 20.67 m (67.81 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: LR-105-5. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Agena B. Gross Mass: 7,167 kg (15,800 lb). Empty Mass: 867 kg (1,911 lb). Thrust (vac): 71.166 kN (15,999 lbf). Isp: 285 sec. Burn time: 240 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 1.52 m (4.98 ft). Span: 1.52 m (4.98 ft). Length: 7.09 m (23.26 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/UDMH. No Engines: 1. Engine: Bell 8081. Status: Out of Production.

AKA: LV-3A.
Gross mass: 127,367 kg (280,796 lb).
Payload: 850 kg (1,870 lb).
Height: 33.00 m (108.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,721.10 kN (386,919 lbf).
Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi).
First Launch: 1961.07.12.
Last Launch: 1965.03.21.
Number: 28 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Midas American military early warning satellite. 18 launches, 1960.02.26 (Midas 1) to 1966.10.05 (Midas 12). Part of a then-secret USAF program known as WS-117L, the MIDAS (Missile Defense Alarm System) program began in November 1958. More...
  • Samos American military surveillance satellite. 17 launches, 1960.10.11 (Samos 1) to 1962.11.11 (Samos 11). First generation photo surveillance; return of camera and film by capsule; program still partially classified, evidently due to embarrassment. More...
  • Ranger 1-2 American lunar impact probe. 2 launches, 1961.08.23 (Ranger 1) to 1961.11.18 (Ranger 2). More...
  • Westford Needles American passive communications satellite. 3 launches, 1961.10.21 (Westford) to 1963.05.09 (Westford). In an attempt to lay a radio-reflective ring around the world, small metal dipole needles were allowed to sublimate out of a matrix. More...
  • Mariner R American Venus probe. Study 1961. Planned 1961 JPL crash program to beat the Soviet Union in launching the first probe to another planet. More...
  • Ranger 3-4-5 American lunar lander. 3 launches, 1962.01.26 (Ranger 3) to 1962.10.18 (Ranger 5). More...
  • Mariner 1-2 American Venus probe. 2 launches, 1962.07.22 (Mariner 1) to 1962.08.27 (Mariner 2). The world's first successful interplanetary spacecraft. More...
  • ERS American earth magnetosphere satellite. 7 launches, 1962.09.17 (TRS) to 1967.04.28. Environmental Research Satellites were especially designed for piggyback launching from large primary mission vehicles. More...
  • Dash American military technology satellite. 2 launches, 1963.05.09 (Dash 1) and 1963.07.18 (Dash 2). Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology. More...
  • TRS American technology satellite. 5 launches, 1963.05.09 (TRS 2) to 1964.07.17 (TRS 6). TRS satellites undertook a range of engineering experiments related to radiation-hardening of solar cells and spacecraft electronics. More...
  • Ranger 6-7-8-9 American lunar impact probe. 4 launches, 1964.01.30 (Ranger 6) to 1965.03.21 (Ranger 9). After a series of failures with the more ambitious early Ranger spacecraft, the design was simplified and the lander was deleted. More...
  • OGO American earth magnetosphere satellite. 6 launches, 1964.09.05 (OGO 1) to 1969.06.05 (OGO 6). More...

Associated Engines
  • Bell 8081 Bell Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 71.2 kN. Out of production. Isp=285s. Used on Agena B stage atop Thor and Atlas. First flight 1960. More...
  • LR105-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 386.4 kN. Atlas E, F. Atlas Sustainer. Gas generator, pump-fed. Separate turbopumps for each booster engine. Isp=316s. First flight 1960. More...
  • LR89-5 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 822.5 kN. Atlas E, F. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Separate turbopumps for each booster engine. Isp=290s. First flight 1960. More...

See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Convair American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Convair, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Mariner Mariner spacecraft were built by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for early exploration of the nearby planets. The Mariner series became the first spacecraft to return significant data on the surface and atmosphere conditions of Venus, Mars, and Mercury. More...
  • Ranger Ranger was originally to be a program of five unmanned lunar crasher spacecraft, intended to quickly obtain information on the lunar surface. The scientific objective would be to acquire and transmit a number of images of the lunar surface prior to impact, and to obtain data from a survivable package incorporating a lunar seismometer. The resulting spacecraft was much too ambitious for its period. After five consecutive failures, a simpler, picture-return-only spacecraft made three successful flights, returning the first closeup pictures of the lunar surface years behind schedule. More...

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...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC12 Atlas launch complex. The complex was built for the Atlas ballistic missile program. Launch sites 11 to 14 were accepted between August 1957 and mid-April 1958. Complex 12 supported its first Atlas launch on 10 January 1958, and it supported nine Ranger missions and four Mariner missions between 12 August 1961 and 15 June 1967. Complexes 11, 12 and 14 were deactivated in 1967, and Complex 13 was deactivated in April 1978. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3W Delta, Atlas launch complex. First designated LC1-1 and used to launch Atlas Agena B with Samos payloads. After Samos cancellation, rebuilt in 1963 to support launch of KH-4 Corona spysats atop Thor-Agena. Refurbished in 1973 to accomodate surplus Atlas ICBM's in space launch role. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3E Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas test facility, originally designated PALC1-2, then LC1-2, and finally upgraded to a Space Launch Facility in 1966. More...

Associated Stages
  • Agena B Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 7,167/867 kg. Thrust 71.17 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 285 seconds. More...
  • Atlas Agena SLV-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 117,026/2,326 kg. Thrust 386.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 316 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,174/3,174 kg. Thrust 1,644.96 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 290 seconds. More...

Atlas Agena B Chronology


1961 July 12 - . 15:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 97D / Agena B 1201.
  • Midas 3 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1201. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. USAF Sat Cat: 163 . COSPAR: 1961-Sigma-1. Apogee: 3,540 km (2,190 mi). Perigee: 3,343 km (2,077 mi). Inclination: 91.2000 deg. Period: 161.40 min. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System..

1961 August 23 - . 10:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 111D (AA1) / Agena B 6001 (AA1). FAILURE: Agena B second stage failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Ranger 1 - . Payload: NASA P-32 (RA-1). Mass: 306 kg (674 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 1-2. Decay Date: 1961-08-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 173 . COSPAR: 1961-Phi-1. Apogee: 446 km (277 mi). Perigee: 179 km (111 mi). Inclination: 32.9000 deg. Period: 90.60 min. Lunar probe; failed to leave Earth orbit. Ranger 1, a test version of the spacecraft which would attempt an unmanned crash landing on the moon, was launched from the Atlantic Missile Range by an Atlas-Agena B booster. The 306 kg spacecraft did not attain the scheduled extremely elongated orbit because of the misfiring of the Agena B rocket. Although the spacecraft systems were tested successfully, only part of the eight project experiments could be carried out. Ranger 1 reentered on August 29 after 111 orbits. Ranger 1's primary mission was to test the performance of those functions and parts that are necessary for carrying out subsequent lunar and planetary missions using essentially the same spacecraft design.

1961 September 9 - . 19:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 106D / Agena B 2120. FAILURE: Exploded on launch pad.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Samos 3 - . Payload: Samos E-2 no. 1. Mass: 1,890 kg (4,160 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1961-09-09 . COSPAR: F610909A. Summary: First generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images..

1961 October 21 - . 13:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 105D.
  • Midas 4 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1202. Mass: 1,800 kg (3,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. USAF Sat Cat: 192 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Delta-1. Apogee: 3,763 km (2,338 mi). Perigee: 3,482 km (2,163 mi). Inclination: 95.9000 deg. Period: 165.90 min. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System. Deployed subsatellites..
  • Westford - . Payload: Westford. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: WestFord Needles. USAF Sat Cat: 194 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Delta-3.

1961 November 18 - . 08:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 117D (AA2) / Agena B 6002 (AA2). FAILURE: Agena B Second Stage failed to restart.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Ranger 2 - . Payload: NASA P-33 (RA-2). Mass: 304 kg (670 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 1-2. Decay Date: 1961-11-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 206 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Theta-1. Apogee: 242 km (150 mi). Perigee: 150 km (90 mi). Inclination: 33.3000 deg. Period: 88.30 min. This was a flight test of the Ranger spacecraft system designed for future lunar and interplanetary missions. The spacecraft was launched into a low earth parking orbit, but an inoperative roll gyro prevented Agena restart resulting in Ranger 2 being stranded in low earth orbit. The orbit decayed and the spacecraft reentered Earth's atmosphere on 20 November 1961.

1961 November 22 - . 20:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 108D / Agena B 2202. FAILURE: Failure.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Samos 4 - . Payload: Samos E-5 no. 1. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1961-11-22 . COSPAR: F611122A. Apogee: 200 km (120 mi). Summary: First generation photo surveillance; return of camera and film by capsule; SAMOS type satellite..

1961 December 22 - . 19:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 114D / Agena B 2203.
  • Samos 5 - . Payload: Samos E-5 no. 2. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-01-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 218 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Lambda-2. Apogee: 310 km (190 mi). Perigee: 187 km (116 mi). Inclination: 89.6000 deg. Period: 89.40 min. First generation photo surveillance; return of camera and film by capsule; SAMOS type satellite. Reached orbit but failed to deorbit and be recovered. In his memoirs Sergei Khrushchev recounts recovery of what he believed to be a recoverable Samos, except the date given is the winter before tests of this configuration actually started. He relates that a second American capsule was recovered in the spring of 1961. It was equipped with a 30 cm lens and 100’s of metres of 10 cm wide film. Also recovered were a pear-shaped module made of fibreglass, and an inertial orientation system powered by electric motors. It may have been a SAMOS prototype. The capsule was found by tractor drivers, who disassembled it and used the film to wrap around the frame of their outhouse to provide some privacy in the treeless area. Unfortunately this ruined the film, preventing the Russians from developing it and discovering the technical capabilities of the system.

1962 January 26 - . 20:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 121D (AA3) / Agena B 6003 (AA3). FAILURE: Agena B second stage guidance system failure. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Ranger 3 - . Payload: NASA P-34 (RA-3). Mass: 327 kg (720 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 3-4-5. USAF Sat Cat: 221 . COSPAR: 1962-Alpha-1. Lunar impact probe; missed the moon by 36,874 km and went into solar orbit. A malfunction in the booster guidance system resulted in excessive spacecraft speed. Reversed command signals caused the telemetry antenna to lose earth acquisition, and mid-course correction was not possible. Some useful data were obtained from the flight. Of four scientific experiments only one was partially completed: gamma-ray readings of the lunar surface. Attempts to relay television pictures of the moon and to bounce radar signals off the moon at close range were unsuccessful.

1962 March 7 - . 22:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 112D / Agena B 2204.
  • Samos 6 - . Payload: Samos E-5 no. 3. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1963-06-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 259 . COSPAR: 1962-Eta-3. Apogee: 686 km (426 mi). Perigee: 236 km (146 mi). Inclination: 90.9000 deg. Period: 93.90 min. Summary: First generation photo surveillance; return of camera and film by capsule; SAMOS type satellite. Failed to return camera and film. Samos film return project cancelled; remaining 4 cameras placed in warehouse and later used on KH-6 Lanyard..

1962 April 9 - . 15:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 110D.
  • Midas 5 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1203. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. USAF Sat Cat: 271 . COSPAR: 1962-Kappa-1. Apogee: 3,405 km (2,115 mi). Perigee: 2,784 km (1,729 mi). Inclination: 86.7000 deg. Period: 152.90 min. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System..
  • West Ford Drag - . Payload: West Ford Drag Experiment. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: WestFord Needles. Decay Date: 1962-05-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 272 . COSPAR: 1962-Kappa-2.

1962 April 23 - . 20:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 133D (AA4) / Agena B 6004 (AA4).
  • Ranger 4 - . Mass: 328 kg (723 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 3-4-5. Decay Date: 1962-04-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 280 . COSPAR: 1962-Mu-1. Ranger IV was launched by an Atlas-Agena B booster from the Atlantic Missile Range, attained a parking orbit, and was fired into the proper lunar trajectory by the restart of the Agena B engine. Failure of a timer in the spacecraft payload caused loss of both internal and ground control over the vehicle. The Goldstone Tracking Station maintained contact with the spacecraft until it passed behind the left edge of the moon on April 26. It impacted at a speed of 9,617 km per hour, the first American spacecraft to land on the lunar surface. The Agena B second stage passed to the right of the moon and later went into orbit around the sun. Lunar photography objectives were not achieved.

1962 April 26 - . 18:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 118D / Agena B SPS 2401.
  • Samos 7 - . Payload: Samos E-6 no. 1 / Agena B 2401. Mass: 1,588 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-04-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 286 . COSPAR: 1962-Pi-1. Summary: Second generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images; Satellite and Missile Observation Satellite. Poor results..
  • FTV 2401 RV - . Payload: E-6 RV. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: Samos. COSPAR: 1962-Pi-xx.

1962 June 17 - . 18:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 115D / Agena B SPS 2402.
  • Samos 8 - . Payload: Samos E-2 no. 2 / Agena B 2402. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-06-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 307 . COSPAR: 1962-Psi-1. Apogee: 198 km (123 mi). Perigee: 198 km (123 mi). Inclination: 96.2000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. Summary: First generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images; Satellite and Missile Observation Satellite. Poor results..
  • FTV 2402 RV - . Payload: E-6 RV. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: Samos. COSPAR: 1962-Psi-xx.

1962 July 18 - . 20:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 120D.
  • Samos 9 - . Payload: Samos E-2 no. 3 / Agena B 2403. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-07-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 342 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Zeta-1. Apogee: 234 km (145 mi). Perigee: 184 km (114 mi). Inclination: 96.0000 deg. Period: 88.60 min. Summary: First generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images; Satellite and Missile Observation Satellite. Poor results..
  • FTV 2403 RV - . Payload: E-6 RV. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-07-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 343 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Zeta-2. Apogee: 215 km (133 mi). Perigee: 163 km (101 mi). Inclination: 96.1000 deg. Period: 88.30 min.

1962 July 22 - . 09:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 145D (AA5) / Agena B 6901 (AA5). FAILURE: Destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mariner 1 - . Payload: Mariner R-1. Mass: 200 kg (440 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Mariner 1-2. Decay Date: 1962-07-22 . COSPAR: F620722A. Summary: Venus probe..

1962 August 5 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 124D / Agena B SPS 2404.
  • Samos 10 - . Payload: Samos E-6 no. 2 / Agena B 2404. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 361 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Lambda-2. Apogee: 203 km (126 mi). Perigee: 201 km (124 mi). Inclination: 96.2000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: Second generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images; Satellite and Missile Observation Satellite. Poor results..
  • FTV 2404 - . Payload: AFP-201 PVP 854. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 361 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Lambda-1. Apogee: 203 km (126 mi). Perigee: 203 km (126 mi). Inclination: 96.3000 deg. Period: 88.50 min.
  • FTV 2404 RV - . Payload: E-6 RV. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: Samos. COSPAR: 1962-A-Lambda-xx.

1962 August 27 - . 06:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 179D (AA6) / Agena B 6902 (AA6).
  • Mariner 2 - . Payload: Mariner R-2. Mass: 201 kg (443 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Mariner. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft: Mariner 1-2. USAF Sat Cat: 374 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Rho-1. Mariner 2 was the first spacecraft to successfully flyby another planet. It was a backup for the Mariner 1 mission which failed shortly after launch to Venus. After launch and termination of the Agena first burn, the Agena-Mariner was in a 118 km altitude Earth parking orbit. The Agena second burn injected the Mariner 2 spacecraft into a geocentric escape hyperbola at 26 minutes 3 seconds after lift-off. Solar panel extension was completed about 44 minutes after launch. On 29 August 1962 cruise science experiments were turned on. A midcourse maneuver was initiated at 22:49:00 GMT on 4 September and completed at 2:45:25 GMT 5 September. On 8 September at 17:50 GMT the spacecraft suddenly lost its attitude control, which was restored by the gyroscopes 3 minutes later. The cause was unknown but may have been a collision with a small object. On October 31 the output from one solar panel deteriorated abruptly, and the science cruise instruments were turned off. A week later the panel resumed normal function and instruments were turned back on. The panel permanently failed on 15 November, but Mariner 2 was close enough to the Sun that one panel could supply adequate power. On December 14 the radiometers were turned on. Mariner 2 approached Venus from 30 degrees above the dark side of the planet, and passed below the planet at its closest distance of 34,773 km at 19:59:28 GMT 14 December 1962. After encounter, cruise mode resumed. Spacecraft perihelion occurred on 27 December at a distance of 105,464,560 km. The last transmission from Mariner 2 was received on 3 January 1963 at 07:00 GMT. Mariner 2 remains in heliocentric orbit. Scientific discoveries made by Mariner 2 included a slow retrograde rotation rate for Venus, hot surface temperatures and high surface pressures, a predominantly carbon dioxide atmosphere, continuous cloud cover with a top altitude of about 60 km, and no detectable magnetic field. It was also shown that in interplanetary space the solar wind streams continuously and the cosmic dust density is much lower than the near-Earth region. Improved estimates of Venus' mass and the value of the astronomical unit were made.

1962 October 18 - . 16:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 215D (AA7) / Agena B 6005 (AA7).
  • Ranger 5 - . Mass: 340 kg (740 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 3-4-5. USAF Sat Cat: 439 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Eta-1. The Ranger V lunar probe was launched from Atlantic Missile Range by an Atlas-Agena B launch vehicle. The Agena B stage attained parking orbit and 25 minutes later reignited to send Ranger V toward the moon. A malfunction in the Agena B guidance system resulted in excessive spacecraft velocity. The spacecraft's solar cells did not provide power and reversed command signals caused the telemetry antenna to lose earth acquisition. This made reception of the flight-path correction signal impossible and rendering its television cameras useless. Reversed command signals caused the telemetry antenna to lose earth acquisition, and mid-course correction was not possible. The spacecraft missed the Moon by 725 km and went into solar orbit. Gamma-ray data were collected for 4 hours prior to the loss of power. Ranger V was to have relayed television pictures of the lunar surface and rough-landed an instrumented capsule containing a seismometer. The spacecraft was tracked for 8 hours, 44 minutes, before its small reserve battery went dead. Additional Details: here....

1962 November 11 - . 20:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 128D / Agena B SPS 2405.
  • Samos 11 - . Payload: Samos E-6 no. 3 / TRS 1 / Agena B 2405. Mass: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Samos. Decay Date: 1962-11-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 455 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Pi-1. Apogee: 292 km (181 mi). Perigee: 128 km (79 mi). Inclination: 96.0000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: Second generation photo surveillance; radio relay of images; Satellite and Missile Observation Satellite. Poor results. SAMOS project cancelled..
  • FTV 2405 RV - . Payload: E-6 RV. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Samos. COSPAR: 1962-B-Pi-xx.
  • TRS 1 - . Payload: ERS 1. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. COSPAR: 1962-B-Pi-xx.

1962 December 17 - . 20:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 131D / Agena B 1205. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Midas 6 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1205. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. Decay Date: 1962-12-17 . COSPAR: F621217A. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System. Carried ERS-3, ERS-4 subsatellites..
  • TRS 3 - . Payload: ERS 3. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Midas. COSPAR: F621217B.
  • TRS 4 - . Payload: ERS 4. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Midas. COSPAR: F621217C.

1963 May 9 - . 20:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 119D / Agena B S01 1206.
  • Midas 7 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1206. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. USAF Sat Cat: 574 . COSPAR: 1963-014A. Apogee: 3,680 km (2,280 mi). Perigee: 3,609 km (2,242 mi). Inclination: 87.3000 deg. Period: 166.40 min. Summary: MIDAS 7 was the first operational MIDAS mission and the first equipped with the W-37 sensor. During its six weeks of operation, MIDAS 7 recorded nine US ICBM launches, including the first missile launch ever detected from space..
  • Dash 1 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Military technology satellite. Spacecraft: Dash. USAF Sat Cat: 589 . COSPAR: 1963-014D. Apogee: 3,724 km (2,313 mi). Perigee: 3,558 km (2,210 mi). Inclination: 87.3000 deg. Period: 166.30 min.
  • TRS 3 - . Payload: ERS 6. Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: TRS. USAF Sat Cat: 608 . COSPAR: 1963-014C. Apogee: 3,691 km (2,293 mi). Perigee: 3,591 km (2,231 mi). Inclination: 87.3000 deg. Period: 166.40 min. Summary: Solar cells damage data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • TRS 2 - . Payload: ERS 5. Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: TRS. Decay Date: 1973-07-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 579 . COSPAR: 1963-014B. Apogee: 4,902 km (3,045 mi). Perigee: 2,269 km (1,409 mi). Inclination: 87.2000 deg. Period: 165.00 min. Summary: Solar cells damage data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1963 June 12 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 139D / Agena B SPS 1204. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Midas 8 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1204. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. Decay Date: 1963-06-12 . COSPAR: F630613A. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System. Carried ERS-7, ERS-8 subsatellites..
  • TRS 7 - . Payload: ERS 7. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Midas. COSPAR: F630613B.
  • TRS 8 - . Payload: ERS 8. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Midas. COSPAR: F630613C.

1963 July 19 - . 03:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 75D / Agena B S01 1207.
  • Midas 9 - . Payload: Midas / Agena TV 1207. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Early warning satellite. Spacecraft: Midas. USAF Sat Cat: 622 . COSPAR: 1963-030A. Apogee: 3,726 km (2,315 mi). Perigee: 3,676 km (2,284 mi). Inclination: 88.4000 deg. Period: 167.90 min. Summary: Missile Defense Alarm System. Did not eject ERS 10 subsatellite..
  • TRS 4 - . Payload: ERS 9. Mass: 2.00 kg (4.40 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: TRS. USAF Sat Cat: 635 . COSPAR: 1963-030B. Apogee: 3,736 km (2,321 mi). Perigee: 3,661 km (2,274 mi). Inclination: 88.4000 deg. Period: 167.80 min. Summary: Radiation damage data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Dash 2 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Military technology satellite. Spacecraft: Dash. Decay Date: 1971-04-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 624 . COSPAR: 1963-030D. Apogee: 3,839 km (2,385 mi). Perigee: 3,573 km (2,220 mi). Inclination: 88.5000 deg. Period: 168.00 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • TRS 10 - . Payload: ERS 10. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. COSPAR: 1963-030xx.

1964 January 30 - . 15:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 199D (AA8) / Agena B 6008 (AA8).
  • Ranger 6 - . Payload: RA-6. Mass: 362 kg (798 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 6-7-8-9. Decay Date: 1964-02-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 747 . COSPAR: 1964-007A. Impacted Moon but TV camera malfunctioned. A midcourse trajectory correction was accomplished early in the flight by ground control. On February 2, 1964, 65.5 hours after launch, Ranger 6 impacted the Moon on the eastern edge of Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility). No camera data were obtained, probably because of failure due to an arc-over in the TV power system when it inadvertently turned on during the period of booster-engine separation.

1964 July 28 - . 16:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 250D (AA9) / Agena B 6009 (AA9).
  • Ranger 7 - . Mass: 362 kg (798 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 6-7-8-9. Decay Date: 1964-07-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 842 . COSPAR: 1964-041A. First successful Ranger; returned 4,308 photos before lunar impact. The Atlas- Agena B inserted the Agena and Ranger into a 192 km altitude Earth parking orbit. Half an hour after launch a second burn of the Agena engine injected the spacecraft into a lunar intercept trajectory. After separation from the Agena, the solar panels were deployed, attitude control activated, and spacecraft transmissions switched from the omniantenna to the high-gain antenna. The next day the planned mid-course maneuver was successfully initiated at 10:27 GMT. The only anomaly during flight was a brief loss of two-way lock on the spacecraft by the DSIF tracking station at Cape Kennedy following launch.

    Ranger 7 reached the Moon on 31 July. The F-channel began its one minute warm up 18 minutes before impact. The first image was taken at 13:08:45 GMT at an altitude of 2110 km. Transmission of 4,308 photographs of excellent quality occurred over the final 17 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact had a resolution of 0.5 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface in direct motion along a hyperbolic trajectory, with an incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -5.57 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 26.84 degrees to the lunar equator. After 68.6 hours of flight, Ranger 7 impacted in an area between Mare Nubium and Oceanus Procellarum (subsequently named Mare Cognitum) at approximately 10.35 S latitude, 339.42 E longitude. Impact occurred at 13:25:48.82 GMT at a velocity of 2.62 km/s.


1964 September 5 - . 01:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 195D (AA10) / Agena B 6501 (AA10).
  • OGO 1 - . Payload: OGO A. Mass: 487 kg (1,073 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: OGO. Decay Date: 1980-08-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 879 . COSPAR: 1964-054A. Apogee: 127,394 km (79,158 mi). Perigee: 21,446 km (13,325 mi). Inclination: 44.6000 deg. Period: 3,809.50 min. Two experiment booms failed to properly deploy, with one of the booms obscuring a horizon scanner's view of earth. As a result, the spacecraft attitude could not be earth oriented and OGO 1 remained spin stabilized at 5 rpm. Nevertheless, data from all 20 experiments on board was received, although at a 'less than expected capacity' from some of them. Twelve of the experiemnts were particle studies and two were magnetic field studies. In addition, there was one experiment for each of the following types of studies: interplanetary dust, VLF, Lyman-alpha, Gegenschein, atmospheric mass, and radio astronomy. During September 1964, acceptable data were received over 70% of the orbital path. By June 1969, data acquisition was limited to 10% of the orbital path. Spacecraft operation was restricted to Spring and Fall due to power supply limitations. There were 11 such 3-month periods prior to the spacecraft being put into stand-by mode on 25 November 1969. By April 1970 the spacecraft perigee had increased to 46,000 km and the inclination had increased to 58.8 deg. All support was terminated November 1, 1971.

1965 February 17 - . 17:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 196D (AA13) / Agena B 6006 (AA13).
  • Ranger 8 - . Payload: RA-8. Mass: 366 kg (806 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 6-7-8-9. Decay Date: 1965-02-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 1086 . COSPAR: 1965-010A. Returned 7137 photos before lunar impact. The Atlas- Agena B booster injected the Agena and Ranger 8 into an Earth parking orbit at 185 km altitude 7 minutes after launch. Fourteen minutes later a 90 second burn of the Agena put the spacecraft into lunar transfer trajectory, and several minutes later the Ranger and Agena separated. The Ranger solar panels were deployed, attitude control activated, and spacecraft transmissions switched from the omni-directional antenna to the high-gain antenna by 21:30 GMT. On 18 February at a distance of 160,000 km from Earth the planned mid-course manoeuvre took place, involving reorientation and a 59 second rocket burn. During the 27 minute manoeuvre, spacecraft transmitter power dropped severely, so that lock was lost on all telemetry channels. This continued intermittently until the rocket burn, at which time power returned to normal. The telemetry dropout had no serious effects on the mission. A planned terminal sequence to point the cameras more in the direction of flight just before reaching the Moon was cancelled to allow the cameras to cover a greater area of the Moon's surface.

    Ranger 8 reached the Moon on 20 February 1965. The first image was taken at 9:34:32 GMT at an altitude of 2510 km. Transmission of 7,137 photographs of good quality occurred over the final 23 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 1.5 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface in a direct hyperbolic trajectory, with incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -13.6 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 16.5 degrees to the lunar equator. After 64.9 hours of flight, impact occurred at 09:57:36.756 GMT on 20 February 1965 in Mare Tranquillitatis at approximately 2.67 degrees N, 24.65 degrees E. Impact velocity was slightly less than 2.68 km/s.


1965 March 21 - . 21:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 204D (AA14) / Agena B 6007 (AA14).
  • Ranger 9 - . Payload: RA-9. Mass: 366 kg (806 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Program: Ranger. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Ranger 6-7-8-9. Decay Date: 1965-03-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 1294 . COSPAR: 1965-023A. Ranger 9, last of the series, returned 5814 images before lunar impact. The target was Alphonsus, a large crater about 12 degrees south of the lunar equator. The probe was timed to arrive when lighting conditions would be at their best. The Atlas- Agena B booster injected the Agena and Ranger 9 into an Earth parking orbit at 185 km altitude. A 90 second Agena 2nd burn put the spacecraft into lunar transfer trajectory. This was followed by the separation of the Agena and Ranger. The initial trajectory was highly accurate; uncorrected, the craft would have landed only 650 km north of Alphonsus. 70 minutes after launch the command was given to deploy solar panels, activate attitude control, and switch from the omni-directional antenna to the high-gain antenna. The accuracy of the initial trajectory enabled delay of the planned mid-course correction from 22 March to 23 March when the manoeuvre was initiated at 12:03 GMT. After orientation, a 31 second rocket burn at 12:30 GMT, and reorientation, the manoeuvre was completed at 13:30 GMT. Ranger 9 reached the Moon on 24 March 1965. At 13:31 GMT a terminal manoeuvre was executed to orient the spacecraft so the cameras were more in line with the flight direction to improve the resolution of the pictures. Twenty minutes before impact the one-minute camera system warm-up began. The first image was taken at 13:49:41 at an altitude of 2363 km. Transmission of 5,814 good contrast photographs was made during the final 19 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact has a resolution of 0.3 meters. The spacecraft encountered the lunar surface with an incoming asymptotic direction at an angle of -5.6 degrees from the lunar equator. The orbit plane was inclined 15.6 degrees to the lunar equator. After 64.5 hours of flight, impact occurred at 14:08:19.994 GMT at approximately 12.83 S latitude, 357.63 E longitude in the crater Alphonsus. Impact velocity was 2.67 km/s. Millions of Americans followed the spacecraft's descent via real time television coverage provided to the three networks of many of the F-channel images (primarily camera B but also some camera A pictures) were provided for this flight.

    The pictures showed the rim and floor of the crater in fine detail: in those just prior to impact, objects less than a foot in size were discernible.

    A panel of scientists presented some preliminary conclusions from Ranger IX at a press conference that same afternoon. Crater rims and ridges inside the walls, they believed, were harder and smoother than the moon's dusty plains, and therefore were considered likely sites for future manned landings. Generally, the panel was dubious about landing on crater floors however. Apparently, the floors were solidified volcanic material incapable of supporting a spacecraft. Investigators believed several types of craters were seen that were of nonmeteoric origin. These findings reinforced arguments that the moon at one time had experienced volcanic activity. Later the images were shown to the press as a continuous-motion movie, leading astronaut Wally Schirra to yell ‘bail out you fool!’ just before the final frame.


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