Encyclopedia Astronautica
Atlas Agena D



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Atlas D GAATV
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Atlas D GAATV
Credit: © Thomas Kladiva - Thomas Kladiva
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Atlas ATDA
Credit: US Air Force
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Atlas Agena D
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Atlas Agena D
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Atlas Agena
Last Atlas Agena - Agena s/n P113 - 6 April 1978
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Agena D
Agena D rocket stage being raised for mating with Atlas launch vehicle
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Atlas Agena
Atlas Agena / Ranger C launch vehicle
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Atlas Agena
First Atlas Agena - Agena s/n 1008 - Midas 1
American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with further improved and lightened Agena upper stage.

LEO Payload: 800 kg (1,760 lb). Payload: 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) to a GTO. Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1964-11-05. Last Fail Date: 1964-11-05.

Stage Data - Atlas LV-3A / Agena D

  • Stage 0. 1 x Atlas MA-5. Gross Mass: 3,646 kg (8,038 lb). Empty Mass: 3,646 kg (8,038 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,896.010 kN (426,240 lbf). Isp: 294 sec. Burn time: 174 sec. Isp(sl): 259 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-89-7. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Atlas Agena SLV-3A. Gross Mass: 142,000 kg (313,000 lb). Empty Mass: 3,700 kg (8,100 lb). Thrust (vac): 386.300 kN (86,844 lbf). Isp: 316 sec. Burn time: 175 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-105-7. Status: In Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Agena D. Gross Mass: 6,821 kg (15,037 lb). Empty Mass: 673 kg (1,483 lb). Thrust (vac): 71.166 kN (15,999 lbf). Isp: 300 sec. Burn time: 265 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 8096. Status: Out of Production. One of the real workhorses of U. S. space exploration, Agena was an upper stage which was also employed as a spacecraft, the whole vehicle going into orbit. Agena played a key role in manned space flight; it was the target vehicle for rendezvous and docking manoeuvres in NASA's Gemini project. Agena had a main rocket engine capable of multiple re-starts in space; in the modified target vehicle version it also had 2 secondary engines to provide small changes in velocity and position in orbit. In the Gemini Agena, a control system could handle 96 commands from the astronauts or from ground stations. Agena was used as an upper stage with the Thor, augmented Thor, Atlas and Titan boosters; it had played important roles in such military and NASA programs as Discoverer, Samos, Mariner, OGO, Lunar Orbiter, Ranger and Orbiting Astronomical Observatory.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Burner 2. Gross Mass: 774 kg (1,706 lb). Empty Mass: 116 kg (255 lb). Thrust (vac): 43.551 kN (9,791 lbf). Isp: 285 sec. Burn time: 42 sec. Isp(sl): 220 sec. Diameter: 0.66 m (2.16 ft). Span: 0.66 m (2.16 ft). Length: 0.84 m (2.75 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Star 37. Status: Out of Production. Burner II was a launch vehicle upper stage developed by Boeing for the Air Force Space Systems Division. It was the first solid-fuel upper stage with full control and guidance capability developed for general space applications. Burner II was designed for use with the Thor booster, but was readily adapted for use on the complete range of standard launch vehicles. Its general assignment was to place small- and medium size payloads into orbit. The Burner II motor, guidance system and reaction control system were integrated to provide attitude stability and precise control of flight rate and burnout velocity for orbital injection and earth-escape missions. Boeing had delivered 8 flight vehicles under its original contract. Under terms of a follow-on contract, it built 6 additional flight models. Four Thor-Burner II combinations were launched successfully from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The third launch placed 2 unclassified satellites in Earth orbit. A SECOR satellite, built for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by the Cubic Corporation, and an Aurora satellite, developed by Rice University for the Office of Naval Research, were placed in circular orbits 3,300 km above the Earth. As integration contractor for the Air Force Space Experiment Support Program (SESP) Office, Boeing designed, built and tested the injection stage, or "payload dispenser," which carried the 2 satellites on top of a standard Burner II stage and placed them in precise orbits. The satellites were mounted on opposite sides of the injection stage, which housed a640 kgf thrust, solid-propellant rocket motor. The Burner II was used as an upper stage by NASA for deep space probes. Prime Contractor: The Boeing Company. Major Subcontractors Thiokol Chemical Corporation (solid rocket motor); Honeywell Inc. (pre-programmed inertial guidance system); Walter Kidde Co. (reaction control system).
  • Stage 4. 1 x Star 17. Gross Mass: 124 kg (273 lb). Empty Mass: 14 kg (30 lb). Thrust (vac): 19.600 kN (4,406 lbf). Isp: 280 sec. Burn time: 18 sec. Isp(sl): 220 sec. Diameter: 0.44 m (1.44 ft). Span: 0.44 m (1.44 ft). Length: 0.98 m (3.21 ft). Propellants: Solid. No Engines: 1. Engine: Star 17. Status: In Production.

AKA: LV-3A.
Gross mass: 153,365 kg (338,111 lb).
Payload: 800 kg (1,760 lb).
Height: 35.00 m (114.00 ft).
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Thrust: 1,939.29 kN (435,970 lbf).
Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi).
First Launch: 1963.07.12.
Last Launch: 1965.07.20.
Number: 15 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • SAINT American military anti-satellite system. Cancelled 1963. 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...
  • SSF American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 54 launches, 1963.03.18 (P-11 No. 1) to 1989.08.08 (USA 41). 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...
  • KH-7 American military surveillance satellite. 43 launches, 1963.07.12 (KH 7-01 (Gambit)) to 1967.06.04 (KH 7-38). US reconnaissance satellite. Still classified. Camera believed to have ground resolution of 0.46 m. Film returned in two capsules. More...
  • Vela American nuclear detection surveillance satellite. 6 launches, 1963.10.17 (Vela 2) to 1965.07.20 (Vela 6). The Vela (meaning "watchman" in Spanish) series of spacecraft were designed to monitor world-wide compliance with the 1963 nuclear test ban treaty. More...
  • Mariner 3-4 American Mars flyby probe. 2 launches, 1964.11.05 (Mariner 3) to 1964.11.28 (Mariner 4). This spacecraft completed the first successful flyby of the planet Mars, returning the first pictures of the Martian surface. More...

Associated Engines
  • Bell 8096 Bell Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 71.2 kN. Out of production. Isp=292s. Used in Agena stage on top of Thor, Atlas, and Titan launch vehicles. First flight 1963. 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...
  • LR105-7 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 386.4 kN. Atlas space launchers. Out of production. Atlas Sustainer. Gas generator, pump-fed. Evolved from MA-2 ICBM system. Isp=316s. First flight 1963. 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...
  • LR89-7 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 948 kN. Atlas space launchers. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Shared turbopumps for booster engines. Evolved from MA-2 ICBM system. Isp=294s. First flight 1963. More...
  • Star 37 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 43.5 kN. Total impulse 161,512 kgf-sec. Motor propellant mass fraction 0.899. Isp=260s. First flight 1963. More...
  • Star 17 Thiokol solid rocket engine. 10.9 kN. Skynet 1, NATO 1, and IMP-H & J. Out of production. Isp=286s. Used on Atlas LV-3A / Agena D launch vehicle. First flight 1963. 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...

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...
  • Cape Canaveral LC13 Atlas launch complex. Originally built in 1958 for the Atlas ballistic missile program, Complex 13 supported 51 Atlas and Atlas/Agena launches from 1958 to 1978. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC4W Titan, Atlas launch complex. First designated PALC2-3 and used to launch Atlas Agena D with KH-7 spysats. Rebuilt in 1966 to handle Titan 3B with various military payloads. From 1988 used to launch refurbished surplus Titan 2 ICBM's in space launch role. More...

Associated Stages
  • Agena D Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 6,821/673 kg. Thrust 71.17 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 300 seconds. One of the real workhorses of US space exploration, Agena was a restartable upper stage which was also employed as a spacecraft, the whole vehicle going into orbit. A mainstay of the US Air Force reconnaisance satellite program, it also boosted early NASA probes to the moon and planets. Agena played a key role in manned space flight as the target vehicle for rendezvous and docking manoeuvres in NASA's Gemini project. It More...
  • Atlas Agena SLV-3A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 142,000/3,700 kg. Thrust 386.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 316 seconds. More...
  • Atlas MA-5 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 3,646/3,646 kg. Thrust 1,896.01 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 294 seconds. More...
  • Burner 2 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 774/116 kg. Thrust 43.55 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 285 seconds. Burner II was a launch vehicle upper stage developed by Boeing for the Air Force Space Systems Division. It was the first solid-fuel upper stage with full control and guidance capability developed for general space applications. More...
  • Star 17 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 124/14 kg. Thrust 19.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 280 seconds. More...

Atlas Agena D Chronology


1963 July 12 - . 20:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 201D / Agena D S01A 4702.
  • KH 7-01 (Gambit) - . Payload: KH-7 no. 1. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1963-07-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 618 . COSPAR: 1963-028A. Apogee: 212 km (131 mi). Perigee: 173 km (107 mi). Inclination: 95.3000 deg. Period: 88.30 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1963 September 6 - . 19:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 212D / Agena D S01A 4701.
  • KH 7-02 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 2. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1963-09-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 641 . COSPAR: 1963-036A. Apogee: 243 km (150 mi). Perigee: 171 km (106 mi). Inclination: 94.4000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1963 October 17 - . 02:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 197D / Agena D 1801.
  • Vela 2 - . Payload: Vela 1B. Mass: 220 kg (480 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Nuclear detection surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Vela. USAF Sat Cat: 674 . COSPAR: 1963-039A. Apogee: 116,582 km (72,440 mi). Perigee: 101,081 km (62,808 mi). Inclination: 38.7000 deg. Period: 6,486.20 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • Vela 1 - . Payload: Vela 1A. Mass: 220 kg (480 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Nuclear detection surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Vela. USAF Sat Cat: 692 . COSPAR: 1963-039C. Apogee: 116,528 km (72,407 mi). Perigee: 101,925 km (63,333 mi). Inclination: 37.8000 deg. Period: 6,519.60 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • TRS 5 - . Payload: ERS 12. Mass: 2.00 kg (4.40 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: TRS. Decay Date: 1963-06-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 675 . COSPAR: 1963-039B. Apogee: 102,372 km (63,610 mi). Perigee: 953 km (592 mi). Inclination: 35.9000 deg. Period: 2,319.40 min. Summary: Decay date suspect Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..

1963 October 25 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 224D / Agena D S01A 4703.
  • Agena D - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1963-10-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 678 . COSPAR: 1963-041B. Apogee: 276 km (171 mi). Perigee: 116 km (72 mi). Inclination: 99.0000 deg. Period: 88.41 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • KH 7-03 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 3. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1963-10-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 677 . COSPAR: 1963-041A. Apogee: 312 km (193 mi). Perigee: 123 km (76 mi). Inclination: 99.0000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1963 December 18 - . 21:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 227D / Agena D S01A 4802.
  • KH 7-04 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 4. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1963-12-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 711 . COSPAR: 1963-051A. Apogee: 266 km (165 mi). Perigee: 122 km (75 mi). Inclination: 97.9000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1964 February 25 - . 18:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 285D / Agena D S01A 4803.
  • KH 7-05 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 5 / OPS 2423. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1964-03-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 754 . COSPAR: 1964-009A. Apogee: 135 km (83 mi). Perigee: 135 km (83 mi). Inclination: 95.6000 deg. Period: 87.20 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1964 March 11 - . 20:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 296D / Agena D S01A 4804.
  • KH 7-06 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 6 / OPS 3435. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1964-03-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 764 . COSPAR: 1964-012A. Apogee: 203 km (126 mi). Perigee: 163 km (101 mi). Inclination: 95.7000 deg. Period: 88.20 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1964 April 23 - . 16:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 351D / Agena D S01A 4805.
  • KH 7-07 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 7 / OPS 3743. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1964-04-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 786 . COSPAR: 1964-020A. Apogee: 336 km (208 mi). Perigee: 150 km (90 mi). Inclination: 103.6000 deg. Period: 89.40 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1964 May 19 - . 19:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 350D / Agena D S01A 4806.
  • KH 7-08 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 8 / OPS 3592. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1964-05-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 799 . COSPAR: 1964-024A. Apogee: 380 km (230 mi). Perigee: 141 km (87 mi). Inclination: 101.1000 deg. Period: 89.70 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1964 July 6 - . 18:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 352D / Agena D S01A 4807.
  • KH 7-09 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 9 / OPS 3684. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1964-07-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 825 . COSPAR: 1964-036A. Apogee: 345 km (214 mi). Perigee: 121 km (75 mi). Inclination: 92.9000 deg. Period: 89.10 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • OPS 4923 - . Payload: EHH A3. Mass: 80 kg (176 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: SSF. Decay Date: 1965-01-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 826 . COSPAR: 1964-036B. Apogee: 505 km (313 mi). Perigee: 156 km (96 mi). Inclination: 92.9000 deg. Period: 91.10 min. Summary: Radar monitoring..

1964 July 17 - . 08:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 216D / Agena D 1802.
  • Vela 3 - . Payload: Vela 2A / OPS 3662. Mass: 220 kg (480 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Nuclear detection surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Vela. USAF Sat Cat: 836 . COSPAR: 1964-040A. Apogee: 104,101 km (64,685 mi). Perigee: 102,500 km (63,600 mi). Inclination: 39.1000 deg. Period: 6,024.80 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • TRS 6 - . Payload: ERS 13. Mass: 12 kg (26 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: TRS. Decay Date: 1966-07-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 838 . COSPAR: 1964-040C. Apogee: 104,665 km (65,035 mi). Perigee: 217 km (134 mi). Inclination: 36.7000 deg. Period: 2,366.20 min. Summary: Decay date suspect Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • Vela 4 - . Payload: Vela 2B / OPS 3674. Mass: 220 kg (480 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Nuclear detection surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Vela. USAF Sat Cat: 837 . COSPAR: 1964-040B. Apogee: 114,000 km (70,000 mi). Perigee: 92,103 km (57,230 mi). Inclination: 40.8000 deg. Period: 6,004.30 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..

1964 October 23 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 353D.
  • KH 7-13 - . Payload: KH-7 no. 13 / OPS 4384. Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1964-10-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 912 . COSPAR: 1964-068A. Apogee: 267 km (165 mi). Perigee: 140 km (80 mi). Inclination: 95.5000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: KH-7 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • SRV - . Mass: 60 kg (132 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Spacecraft: KH-7. Decay Date: 1965-02-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 914 . COSPAR: 1964-068B. Apogee: 344 km (213 mi). Perigee: 311 km (193 mi). Inclination: 95.5000 deg. Period: 91.10 min. Summary: Radar monitoring..
  • OPS 5063 - . Payload: EHH A4. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: SSF. Decay Date: 1965-02-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 914 . COSPAR: 1964-068xx. Apogee: 185 km (114 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 95.4000 deg. Period: 88.20 min.

1964 November 5 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 289D (AA11) / Agena D 6931 (AA11). FAILURE: Launch fairing failure. Failed Stage: S.
  • Mariner 3 - . Payload: Mariner C-2. Mass: 260 kg (570 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mariner 3-4. USAF Sat Cat: 923 . COSPAR: 1964-073A. Summary: Mars probe; launch fairing failure prevented Mars flyby. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1964 November 28 - . 14:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC12. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 288D (AA12) / Agena D 6932 (AA12).
  • Mariner 4 - . Payload: Mariner C-3. Mass: 260 kg (570 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA; JPL. Program: Mariner. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft: Mariner 3-4. USAF Sat Cat: 938 . COSPAR: 1964-077A. Mariner 4 provided the first up close pictures of Mars. The protective shroud covering Mariner 4 was jettisoned and the Agena D/Mariner 4 combination separated from the Atlas D booster at 14:27:23 GMT on 28 November 1964. The Agena D first burn from 14:28:14 to 14:30:38 put the spacecraft into an Earth parking orbit and the second burn from 15:02:53 to 15:04:28 injected the craft into a Mars transfer orbit. Mariner 4 separated from the Agena D at 15:07:09 and began cruise mode operations. The solar panels deployed and the scan platform was unlatched at 15:15:00 and Sun acquisition occurred 16 minutes later. A midcourse maneuver made on 5 December 1964.

    After a 228 day cruise, the spacecraft flew by Mars on July 14 and 15, 1965. Planetary science mode was turned on at 15:41:49 GMT on 14 July. The camera sequence started at 00:18:36 GMT on July 15 and 21 pictures plus 21 lines of a 22nd picture were taken. The images covered a discontinuous swath of Mars starting near 40 N, 170 E, down to about 35 S, 200 E, and then across to the terminator at 50 S, 255 E, representing about 1% of the planet's surface. The closest approach was 9,846 km from the Martian surface at 01:00:57 GMT 15 July 1965. The images taken during the flyby were stored in the onboard tape recorder. At 02:19:11 GMT Mariner 4 passed behind Mars as seen from Earth and the radio signal ceased. The signal was reacquired at 03:13:04 GMT when the spacecraft reappeared. Cruise mode was then re-established. Transmission of the taped images to Earth began about 8.5 hours after signal reacquisition and continued until 3 August. All images were transmitted twice to insure no data was missing or corrupt.

    The spacecraft performed all programmed activities successfully and returned useful data from launch until 22:05:07 GMT on 1 October 1965, when the distance from Earth (309.2 million km) and the antenna orientation temporarily halted signal acquisition. In 1967 Mariner 4 returned to the vicinity of Earth again and engineers decided to use the ageing craft for a series of operational and telemetry tests to improve their knowledge of the technologies that would be needed for future interplanetary spacecraft. The cosmic dust detector registered 17 hits in a 15 minute span on 15 September, part of an apparent micrometeoroid shower which temporarily changed the spacecraft attitude and probably slightly damaged the thermal shield. On 7 December the gas supply in the attitude control system was exhausted, and on December 10 and 11 a total of 83 micrometeoroid hits were recorded which caused perturbation of the attitude and degradation of the signal strength. On 21 December 1967 communications with Mariner 4 were terminated.

    Results

    The total data returned by the mission was 5.2 million bits. All experiments operated successfully with the exception of the ionization chamber/Geiger counter which failed in February, 1965 and the plasma probe, which had its performance degraded by a resistor failure on 6 December 1964. The images returned showed a Moon-like cratered terrain (which later missions showed was not typical for Mars, but only for the more ancient region imaged by Mariner 4). A surface atmospheric pressure of 4.1 to 7.0 mb was estimated and no magnetic field was detected.


1965 July 20 - . 08:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena D 225D / Agena D 1803.
  • Vela 5 - . Payload: Vela 3A / OPS 6577. Mass: 235 kg (518 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Nuclear detection surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Vela. USAF Sat Cat: 1458 . COSPAR: 1965-058A. Apogee: 115,839 km (71,978 mi). Perigee: 106,367 km (66,093 mi). Inclination: 35.2000 deg. Period: 6,679.00 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • Vela 6 - . Payload: Vela 3B / OPS 6564. Mass: 235 kg (518 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Nuclear detection surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Vela. USAF Sat Cat: 1459 . COSPAR: 1965-058B. Apogee: 121,281 km (75,360 mi). Perigee: 101,715 km (63,202 mi). Inclination: 34.2000 deg. Period: 6,712.70 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • ORS 3 - . Payload: ERS 17. Mass: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERS. Decay Date: 1968-07-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 1460 . COSPAR: 1965-058C. Apogee: 111,793 km (69,464 mi). Perigee: 566 km (351 mi). Inclination: 36.9000 deg. Period: 2,595.40 min. Summary: Radiation data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

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