Encyclopedia Astronautica
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.

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 13 supported its first Atlas launch on 2 August 1958. After its final Atlas missile launch on 13 February 1962, Complex 13 was converted into an Atlas /Agena launch complex. Three pairs of VELA satellites were launched from Complex 13 before the site was turned over to NASA in 1966. Following a series of civilian Atlas /Agena missions, Complex 13 was returned to the Air Force in March 1968. The site supported 11 Atlas /Agena space flights for the Defense Department between 6 August 1968 and 7 April 1978. In all, Complex 13 supported 51 ATLAS and Atlas /Agena launches. Complex 13 was deactivated in April 1978. Complex 14 and the gantry on Complex 13 were declared national historic landmarks in April 1984.

Longitude: -80.5444 deg.
Latitude: 28.4859 deg.
First Launch: 1958.08.02.
Last Launch: 1978.04.07.
Number: 52 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Spacecraft
  • Pioneer P 3 American lunar orbiter. 4 launches, 1959.11.26 (Pioneer (P 3)) to 1960.12.15 (Pioneer (P 31)). The least successful lunar spacecraft; none even achieved orbit in four attempts. 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • OGO American earth magnetosphere satellite. 6 launches, 1964.09.05 (OGO 1) to 1969.06.05 (OGO 6). 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...
  • Lunar Orbiter American lunar orbiter. 5 launches, 1966.08.10 (Lunar Orbiter 1) to 1967.08.01 (Lunar Orbiter 5). Photography of the moon's surface from selenocentric orbit. The Lunar Orbiter series took photos of lunar surface from selenocentric orbit. More...
  • Canyon American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 7 launches, 1968.08.06 (Canyon 1) to 1977.05.23 (Canyon 7). The first large US signals intelligence satellite. More...
  • Rhyolite American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 4 launches, 1970.06.19 (Rhyolite 1) to 1978.04.07 (Rhyolite 4). More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas B American test vehicle. First all-up test version of the Atlas ICBM, with jettisonable booster engines and a single engine sustainer on core - a '1 1/2' stage launch vehicle. More...
  • Atlas D American intercontinental ballistic missile. Rocket used both as a space launcher and ICBM. More...
  • Atlas Able American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas with upper stage based on Vanguard second stage. More...
  • Atlas E American intercontinental ballistic missile. Initial fully operational version of Atlas ICBM. Differed in guidance system from Atlas F. Deployed as missiles from 1960 to 1966. After retirement, the ICBM's were refurbished and used over twenty years as space launch vehicles. More...
  • Atlas F American intercontinental ballistic missile. Final operational version of Atlas ICBM. Differed in guidance systems. Deployed as missiles from 1961 to 1966. After retirement, the ICBM's were refurbished and used for over thirty years as space launch vehicles. More...
  • Atlas Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with further improved and lightened Agena upper stage. 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...

Cape Canaveral LC13 Chronology


1958 August 2 - . 22:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 4B.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 900 km (550 mi). Summary: Second full-powered flight of USAF Atlas ICBM traveled 2,500 miles with radio-inertial guidance, fully successful..

1958 September 18 - . 21:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 6B. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 100 km (60 mi).

1959 April 14 - . 21:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 3D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1.00 km (0.60 mi).

1959 June 6 - . 17:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 5D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF.

1959 August 11 - . 18:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 14D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 September 17 - . 02:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 17D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1959 October 10 - . 03:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 22D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 November 4 - . 21:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 28D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 November 24 - . 19:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 15D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 December 9 - . 00:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 31D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1959 December 19 - . 00:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 40D.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi). Summary: Atlas ICBM made second successful 6,325-mile flight at AMR..

1960 January 7 - . 01:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 43D.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi). Summary: 43D achieved a 6300 NM (7200 SM) flight from AMR with enough residual fuel for an additional 2000 miles.

1960 January 27 - . 01:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 44D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1960 February 12 - . 04:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 49D.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1960 February 15 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Able. LV Configuration: Atlas D / Able-5. FAILURE: Vehicle exploded in static firing.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Pioneer (P 31) - . Payload: Pioneer P 31. Nation: USA. Program: Pioneer. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Pioneer P 3. Decay Date: 1960-02-15 . COSPAR: F600215A.

1960 March 11 - . 00:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas D. LV Configuration: Atlas D 51D. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF.

1960 October 11 - . 19:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 3E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: First E missile flown with MA-3 engine, unsuccessful.

1960 November 30 - . 01:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 4E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 January 24 - . 21:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 8E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 February 24 - . 18:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 9E.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). Summary: First successful Atlas E flight..

1961 March 14 - . 04:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 13E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 500 km (310 mi).

1961 March 25 - . 01:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 16E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 May 26 - . 02:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 18E.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi).

1961 July 7 - . 04:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 22E.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). Summary: Successful Atlas E flight, 9054 miles, from AMR to Indian Ocean (with GE Mark 3 nose cone).

1961 August 9 - . 04:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas F. LV Configuration: Atlas F 2F.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,400 km (800 mi). Summary: First F flight, at AMR), successful.

1961 September 9 - . 01:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 26E. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development launch - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1961 October 5 - . 13:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 30E.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,500 km (900 mi). Summary: USAF Atlas fired 9,000 miles for Atlantic Missile Range into Indian Ocean, carrying dummy nuclear warhead and a data capsule which was recovered..

1961 November 10 - . 14:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 32E. FAILURE: Sustainer engine failed 15 seconds after launch.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Research and development test / Pod 13 chemical release - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 10 km (6 mi). Summary: USAF Atlas with capsule containing squirrel monkey destroyed by range safety officer at Atlantic Missile Range when main sustainer engine failed 15 seconds after launch..

1961 December 1 - . 20:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 35E.
  • Research and development / Pod 23 test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,600 km (900 mi).

1961 December 20 - . 03:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 36E.
  • Research and development/Pod Test/Chemical release mission - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,800 km (1,100 mi).

1962 February 13 - . 20:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas E. LV Configuration: Atlas E 40E.
  • Research and development test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Apogee: 1,600 km (900 mi). Summary: Last Atlas E R&D flight..

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)..
  • 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)..
  • 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)..

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)..
  • 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)..
  • 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)..

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)..

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)..
  • 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). .
  • 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)..

1966 August 10 - . 19:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 5801 (AA17) / Agena D 6630.
  • Lunar Orbiter 1 - . Payload: Lunar Orbiter A. Mass: 386 kg (850 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Lunar Orbiter. Decay Date: 1966-10-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 2394 . COSPAR: 1966-073A. Lunar Orbiter I was launched from Cape Kennedy Launch Complex 13 at 3:26 p.m. EDT August 10 to photograph possible Apollo landing sites from lunar orbit. The Atlas-Agena D launch vehicle injected the spacecraft into its planned 90-hour trajectory to the moon. A midcourse correction maneuver was made at 8 p.m. the next day; a planned second midcourse maneuver was not necessary. A faultless deboost maneuver on August 14 achieved the desired initial elliptic orbit around the moon, and one week later the spacecraft was commanded to make a transfer maneuver to place it in a final close-in elliptic orbit of the moon.

    During the spacecraft's stay in the final close-in orbit, the gravitational fields of the earth and the moon were expected to influence the orbital elements. The influence was verified by spacecraft tracking data, which showed that the perilune altitude varied with time. From an initial perilune altitude of 58 kilometers, the perilune decreased to 49 kilometers. At this time an orbit adjustment maneuver began an increase in the altitude, which was expected to reach a maximum after three months and then begin to decrease again. The spacecraft was expected to impact on the lunar surface about six months after the orbit adjustment.

    During the photo-acquisition phase of the flight, August 18 to 29, Lunar Orbiter I photographed the 9 selected primary potential Apollo landing sites, including the one in which Surveyor I landed; 7 other potential Apollo landing sites; the east limb of the moon; and 11 areas on the far side of the moon. Lunar Orbiter I also took photos of the earth, giving man the first view of the earth from the vicinity of the moon (this particular view has been widely publicized). A total of 207 frames (sets of medium- and high-resolution pictures) were taken, 38 while the spacecraft was in initial orbit, the remainder while it was in the final close-in orbit. Lunar Orbiter I achieved its mission objectives, and, with the exception of the high-resolution camera, the performance of the photo subsystem and other spacecraft subsystems was outstanding. At the completion of the photo readouts, the spacecraft had responded to about 5,000 discrete commands from the earth and had made about 700 maneuvers.

    Photographs obtained during the mission were assessed and screened by representatives of the Lunar Orbiter Project Office, U.S. Geological Survey, DOD mapping agencies, MSC, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The spacecraft was deliberately crashed into moon after the mission was completed.


1966 November 6 - . 23:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 5802 (AA18) / Agena D 6631.
  • Lunar Orbiter 2 - . Payload: Lunar Orbiter B. Mass: 390 kg (850 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Lunar Orbiter. Decay Date: 1967-10-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 2534 . COSPAR: 1966-100A. Lunar Orbiter II was launched at 6:21 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 13 at Cape Kennedy, to photograph possible landing sites on the moon for the Apollo program. The Atlas-Agena D booster placed the spacecraft in an earth-parking orbit and, after a 14-minute coast, injected it into its 94-hour trajectory toward the moon. A midcourse correction maneuver on November 8 increased the velocity from 3,051 to 3,133 kilometers per hour. At that time the spacecraft was 265,485 kilometers from the earth.

    The spacecraft executed a deboost maneuver at 3:26 p.m., November 10, while 352,370 kilometers from the earth and 1,260 kilometers from the moon and traveling at a speed of 5,028 kilometers per hour. The maneuver permitted the lunar gravitational field to pull the spacecraft into the planned initial orbit around the moon. On November 15, a micrometeoroid hit was detected by one of the 20 thin-walled pressurized sensors.

    The spacecraft was transferred into its final close-in orbit around the moon at 5:58 p.m. November 15 and the photo-acquisition phase of Lunar Orbiter II's mission began November 18. Thirteen selected primary potential landing sites and a number of secondary sites were to be photographed. By the morning of November 25, the spacecraft had taken 208 of the 211 photographs planned and pictures of all 13 selected potential landing sites. It also made 205 attitude change maneuvers and responded to 2,421 commands.

    The status report of the Lunar Orbiter II mission as of November 28 indicated that the first phase of the photographic mission was completed when the final photo was taken on the afternoon of November 25. On November 26, the developing web was cut with a hot wire in response to a command from the earth. Failure to achieve the cut would have prevented the final readout of all 211 photos. Readout began immediately after the cut was made. One day early, December 6, the readout terminated when a transmitter failed, and three medium-resolution and two high-resolution photos of primary site 1 were lost. Full low-resolution coverage of the site had been provided, however, and other data continued to be transmitted. Three meteoroid hits had been detected.


1967 February 5 - . 01:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 5803 (AA20) / Agena D 6632.
  • Lunar Orbiter 3 - . Payload: Lunar Orbiter C. Mass: 385 kg (848 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Lunar Orbiter. Decay Date: 1967-10-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 2666 . COSPAR: 1967-008A. Summary: Crashed into Moon; returned 182 photos of lunar surface. Selenocentric orbit. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1967 May 4 - . 22:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 5804 (AA22) / Agena D 6633.
  • Lunar Orbiter 4 - . Payload: Lunar Orbiter D. Mass: 390 kg (850 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Lunar Orbiter. Decay Date: 1967-10-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 2772 . COSPAR: 1967-041A. Summary: Returned 163 photos of lunar surface before impacting Moon. Selenocentric orbit. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1967 August 1 - . 22:33 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3. LV Configuration: SLV-3 Agena D 5805 (AA24) / Agena D 6634.
  • Lunar Orbiter 5 - . Payload: Lunar Orbiter E. Mass: 389 kg (857 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Langley. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Lunar Orbiter. Decay Date: 1968-01-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 2907 . COSPAR: 1967-075A. Lunar Orbiter V was launched from the Eastern Test Range at 6:33 p.m. EDT August 1. The Deep Space Net Tracking Station at Woomera, Australia, acquired the spacecraft about 50 minutes after liftoff. Signals indicated that all systems were performing normally and that temperatures were within acceptable limits. At 12:48 p.m. EDT August 5, Lunar Orbiter V executed a deboost maneuver that placed it in orbit around the moon. The spacecraft took its first photograph of the moon at 7:22 a.m. EDT August 6. Before it landed on the lunar surface on January 31, 1968, Lunar Orbiter V had photographed 23 previously unphotographed areas of the moon's far side, the first photo of the full earth, 36 sites of scientific interest, and 5 Apollo sites for a total of 425 photos.

1968 March 4 - . 13:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5602A (AA26) / Agena D 6503 (AA26).
  • OGO 5 - . Payload: OGO E. Mass: 634 kg (1,397 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: OGO. Decay Date: 2011-07-02 . USAF Sat Cat: 3138 . COSPAR: 1968-014A. Apogee: 111,034 km (68,993 mi). Perigee: 36,021 km (22,382 mi). Inclination: 50.3000 deg. Period: 3,746.50 min. OGO 5 carried 25 experiments, 17 of which were particle studies, and two were magnetic field studies. In addition, there was one each of the following types of experiments: radio astronomy, UV spectrum, Lyman-alpha, solar X ray, plasma waves, and electric field. By April 1971, spacecraft perigee had increased to 26,400 km and inclination had increased to 54 deg. The spacecraft attitude control failed on August 6, 1971, after 41 months of normal operation. The spacecraft was placed in a standby status on October 8, 1971. Four experiments (Meyer, Blamont, Thomas, and Simpson) were reactivated for the period from June 1 to July 13, 1972, after which all operational support terminated. Spacecraft orbit parameters changed significantly over the spacecraft life.

1968 August 6 - . 11:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5501A / Agena D 2801.
  • Canyon 1 - . Payload: Canyon 1 / Agena D / OPS 2222. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Canyon. USAF Sat Cat: 3334 . COSPAR: 1968-063A. Apogee: 39,860 km (24,760 mi). Perigee: 31,680 km (19,680 mi). Inclination: 9.9000 deg. Period: 1,436.00 min. First launch in a communications intelligence program operated by the USAF within the National Reconnaissance Office, on behalf of the National Security Agency. The first generation series, CANYON, was based on the Agena vehicle. The Agena D remained attached to the spacecraft. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean. Last known longitude (30 December 1968) 98.50 deg W drifting at 0.166 deg E per day.

1969 April 13 - . 02:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5502A / Agena D 2802.
  • Canyon 2 - . Payload: Canyon 2 / Agena D / OPS 3148. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Canyon. USAF Sat Cat: 3889 . COSPAR: 1969-036A. Apogee: 39,270 km (24,400 mi). Perigee: 32,670 km (20,300 mi). Inclination: 9.9000 deg. Period: 1,445.00 min. Summary: Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean. Last known longitude (31 December 1969) 99.24 deg W drifting at 2.246 deg W per day..

1970 June 19 - . 11:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5201A / Agena D 1551.
  • OPS 5346 - . Payload: AFP-720 Rhyolite 1. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Rhyolite. USAF Sat Cat: 4418 . COSPAR: 1970-046A. Apogee: 33,685 km (20,930 mi). Perigee: 178 km (110 mi). Inclination: 28.2000 deg. Period: 588.90 min. Summary: First launch of Rhyolite geostationary ELINT satellite. Reportedly left in transfer orbit; other sources indicate a successful mission. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean..

1970 September 1 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5203A / Agena D 2803.
  • Canyon 3 - . Payload: Canyon 3 / Agena D / OPS 7329. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Canyon. USAF Sat Cat: 4510 . COSPAR: 1970-069A. Apogee: 39,855 km (24,764 mi). Perigee: 31,947 km (19,850 mi). Inclination: 10.3000 deg. Period: 1,441.90 min. Summary: Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean. Last known longitude (31 December 1970) 99.01 deg W drifting at 1.490 deg W per day..

1971 December 4 - . 22:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5503A / Agena D 2804. FAILURE: First stage failure.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • AFP-827 / Canyon 4 - . Payload: Canyon 4 / Agena D. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Canyon. Decay Date: 1971-12-04 . COSPAR: F711204A.

1972 December 20 - . 22:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5204A / Agena D A 2805.
  • Canyon 5 - . Payload: Canyon Improved / OPS 9390. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Canyon. USAF Sat Cat: 6317 . COSPAR: 1972-101A. Apogee: 40,728 km (25,307 mi). Perigee: 31,012 km (19,269 mi). Inclination: 9.7000 deg. Period: 1,440.40 min. Summary: First launch of improved ELINT satellite. In comparison to earlier Canyon ELINT satellites, Improved Canyon had a similar but heavier payload which separated from the Agena D final stage..

1973 March 6 - . 09:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5202A / Agena D A 1552.
  • OPS 6063 - . Payload: AFP-720 Rhyolite 2. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Rhyolite. USAF Sat Cat: 6380 . COSPAR: 1973-013A. Apogee: 35,855 km (22,279 mi). Perigee: 35,679 km (22,169 mi). Inclination: 0.2000 deg. Period: 1,435.10 min. Summary: Second launch of Rhyolite geostationary ELINT satellite..

1975 June 18 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5506A / Agena D A 2806.
  • Canyon 6 - . Payload: Canyon Improved / OPS 4966. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Canyon. USAF Sat Cat: 7963 . COSPAR: 1975-055A. Apogee: 40,800 km (25,300 mi). Perigee: 30,200 km (18,700 mi). Inclination: 9.0000 deg. Period: 1,422.00 min.

1977 May 23 - . 18:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5507A / Agena D A 2807.
  • Canyon 7 - . Payload: Canyon Improved / OPS 9751. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Canyon. USAF Sat Cat: 10016 . COSPAR: 1977-038A. Apogee: 35,855 km (22,279 mi). Perigee: 35,679 km (22,169 mi). Inclination: 0.2000 deg. Period: 1,435.10 min.

1977 December 11 - . 22:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5504A / Agena D A 1553.
  • OPS 4258 - . Payload: AFP-472 AQUACADE 3. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Rhyolite. USAF Sat Cat: 10508 . COSPAR: 1977-114A. Apogee: 35,855 km (22,279 mi). Perigee: 35,679 km (22,169 mi). Inclination: 0.2000 deg. Period: 1,435.10 min. Summary: Third launch of Rhyolite geostationary ELINT satellite. Code name changed to Aquacade after Rhyolite name came out in trial of spy Boyce..

1978 April 7 - . 00:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC13. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena D SLV-3A. LV Configuration: SLV-3A Agena D 5505A / Agena D A 1554.
  • OPS 8790 - . Payload: AFP-472 AQUACADE 4. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: Rhyolite. USAF Sat Cat: 10787 . COSPAR: 1978-038A. Apogee: 35,855 km (22,279 mi). Perigee: 35,679 km (22,169 mi). Inclination: 0.2000 deg. Period: 1,435.10 min. Summary: Fourth and final launch of Rhyolite geostationary ELINT satellite. Code name changed to Aquacade after Rhyolite name came out in trial of spy Boyce..

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