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Photograph of the nearly identical Explorer 1
|Mission type||Earth science|
|Operator||Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA)|
|Harvard designation||1958 Gamma 1|
|Mission duration||93 days|
|Manufacturer||Jet Propulsion Laboratory|
|Launch mass||14.1 kilograms (31 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||March 26, 1958, 17:31 UTC|
|Rocket||Juno I RS-24|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral LC-5|
|End of mission|
|Decay date||June 27, 1958|
|Semi-major axis||7,870.7 kilometers (4,890.6 mi)|
|Perigee||186 kilometers (116 mi)|
|Apogee||2,799 kilometers (1,739 mi)|
|Epoch||26 March 1958|
Explorer 3 (international designation 1958 Gamma) was an artificial satellite of the Earth, nearly identical to the first United States artificial satellite Explorer 1 in its design and mission. It was the second successful launch in the Explorer program.
In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an artificial object which has been intentionally placed into orbit. Such objects are sometimes called artificial satellites to distinguish them from natural satellites such as Earth's Moon.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth revolves around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
The satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida at 17:31:00 UTC on March 26, 1958, by the Juno I vehicle.The Juno I had its origins in the United States Army's Project Orbiter in 1954. The project was canceled in 1955, however, when the decision was made to proceed with Project Vanguard.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) is an installation of the United States Air Force Space Command's 45th Space Wing.
Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.
The Juno I was a four-stage American booster rocket which launched America's first satellite, Explorer 1, in 1958. A member of the Redstone rocket family, it was derived from the Jupiter-C sounding rocket. It is commonly confused with the Juno II launch vehicle, which was derived from the PGM-19 Jupiter medium-range ballistic missile.
Following the launch of the Soviet Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) was directed to proceed with the launching of a satellite using the Jupiter-C, which had already been flight-tested in nose-cone re-entry tests for the Jupiter IRBM (intermediate-range ballistic missile). Working closely together, ABMA and JPL completed the job of modifying the Jupiter-C to the Juno I and building the Explorer I in 84 days.
Sputnik 1 was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, orbiting for three weeks before its batteries died, then silently for two more months before falling back into the atmosphere. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. Its radio signal was easily detectable even by radio amateurs, and the 65° inclination and duration of its orbit made its flight path cover virtually the entire inhabited Earth. This surprise success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race, a part of the Cold War. The launch was the beginning of a new era of political, military, technological, and scientific developments.
The Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) was formed to develop the U.S. Army's first large ballistic missile. The agency was established at Redstone Arsenal on 1 February 1956, and commanded by Major General John B. Medaris with Wernher von Braun as technical director.
The PGM-19 Jupiter was the first nuclear tipped, medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) of the United States Air Force (USAF). It was a liquid-propellant rocket using RP-1 fuel and LOX oxidizer, with a single Rocketdyne LR70-NA rocket engine producing 667 kN of thrust. It was armed with the 1.44 megaton W49 nuclear warhead. The prime contractor was the Chrysler Corporation.
Explorer 3 was launched in conjunction with the International Geophysical Year (IGY) by the U.S. Army (Ordnance) into an eccentric orbit. The objective of this spacecraft was a continuation of experiments started with Explorer 1. The payload consisted of a cosmic ray counter (a Geiger-Müller tube), and a micrometeorite detector (a wire grid array and acoustic detector). The Explorer 3 spacecraft was spin-stabilized and had an on-board tape recorder to provide a complete radiation history for each orbit. It was discovered soon after launch that the satellite was in a tumbling motion with a period of about 7 seconds. Explorer 3 decayed from orbit on June 27, 1958, after 93 days of operation.
The International Geophysical Year was an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West had been seriously interrupted. Sixty-seven countries participated in IGY projects, although one notable exception was the mainland People's Republic of China, which was protesting against the participation of the Republic of China (Taiwan). East and West agreed to nominate the Belgian Marcel Nicolet as secretary general of the associated international organization.
The orbital eccentricity of an astronomical object is a parameter that determines the amount by which its orbit around another body deviates from a perfect circle. A value of 0 is a circular orbit, values between 0 and 1 form an elliptic orbit, 1 is a parabolic escape orbit, and greater than 1 is a hyperbola. The term derives its name from the parameters of conic sections, as every Kepler orbit is a conic section. It is normally used for the isolated two-body problem, but extensions exist for objects following a Klemperer rosette orbit through the galaxy.
Cosmic rays are high-energy radiation, mainly originating outside the Solar System and even from distant galaxies. Upon impact with the Earth's atmosphere, cosmic rays can produce showers of secondary particles that sometimes reach the surface. Composed primarily of high-energy protons and atomic nuclei, they are originated either from the sun or from outside of our solar system. Data from the Fermi Space Telescope (2013) have been interpreted as evidence that a significant fraction of primary cosmic rays originate from the supernova explosions of stars. Active galactic nuclei also appear to produce cosmic rays, based on observations of neutrinos and gamma rays from blazar TXS 0506+056 in 2018.
The discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt by the Explorer satellites was considered to be one of the outstanding discoveries of the IGY.
A Van Allen radiation belt is a zone of energetic charged particles, most of which originate from the solar wind, that are captured by and held around a planet by that planet's magnetic field. Earth has two such belts and sometimes others may be temporarily created. The discovery of the belts is credited to James Van Allen, and as a result, Earth's belts are known as the Van Allen belts. Earth's two main belts extend from an altitude of about 640 to 58,000 km above the surface in which region radiation levels vary. Most of the particles that form the belts are thought to come from solar wind and other particles by cosmic rays. By trapping the solar wind, the magnetic field deflects those energetic particles and protects the atmosphere from destruction.
Explorer 3 was placed in an orbit with a perigee of 186 kilometers and an apogee of 2799 kilometers having a period of 115.7 minutes. Its total weight was 14.1 kilograms, of which 8.4 kg was instrumentation. The instrument section at the front end of the satellite and the empty scaled-down fourth-stage rocket casing orbited as a single unit, spinning around its long axis at 750 revolutions per minute.
The MGM-29 Sergeant was an American short-range, solid fuel, surface-to-surface missile developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The missiles were built by Sperry Utah Company. The Sergeant was the fourth and last in a series of JPL rockets for the US Army whose names correspond to the progression in Army enlisted ranks, starting with Recruit, Private and Corporal.
Instrumentation consisted of a cosmic ray detection package and a ring of micrometeorite erosion gauges. The Explorer 3 spacecraft was spin-stabilized and had an on-board tape recorder to provide a complete radiation history for each orbit. Data from these instruments was transmitted to the ground by a 60 milliwatt transmitter operating on 108.03 MHz and a 10 milliwatt transmitter operating on 108.00 MHz.
Transmitting antennas consisted of two fiberglass slot antennas in the body of the satellite itself. The four flexible whip antennas of Explorer 1 were removed from the design.
The external skin of the instrument section was painted in alternate strips of white and dark green to provide passive temperature control of the satellite. The proportions of the light and dark strips were determined by studies of shadow-sunlight intervals based on firing time, trajectory, orbit, and inclination.
Electrical power was provided by Mallory type RM Mercury cells that made up approximately 40 percent of the payload weight. These provided power that operated the high power transmitter for 31 days and the low-power transmitter for 105 days.
Because of the limited space available and the requirements for low weight, the Explorer 3 instrumentation was designed and built with simplicity and high reliability in mind. It was completely successful.
Explorer 3 decayed from orbit on June 27, 1958, after 93 days of operation.
A replica of the spacecraft is currently located in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, Milestones of Flight Gallery.
Galileo was an American unmanned spacecraft that studied the planet Jupiter and its moons, as well as several other Solar System bodies. Named after the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, it consisted of an orbiter and an entry probe. It was delivered into Earth orbit on October 18, 1989 by Space ShuttleAtlantis. Galileo arrived at Jupiter on December 7, 1995, after gravitational assist flybys of Venus and Earth, and became the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. It launched the first probe into Jupiter, directly measuring its atmosphere. Despite suffering major antenna problems, Galileo achieved the first asteroid flyby, of 951 Gaspra, and discovered the first asteroid moon, Dactyl, around 243 Ida. In 1994, Galileo observed Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9's collision with Jupiter.
Pioneer 10 is an American space probe, launched in 1972 and weighing 258 kilograms, that completed the first mission to the planet Jupiter. Thereafter, Pioneer 10 became the first of five artificial objects to achieve the escape velocity that will allow them to leave the Solar System. This space exploration project was conducted by the NASA Ames Research Center in California, and the space probe was manufactured by TRW Inc.
Ulysses is a decommissioned robotic space probe whose primary mission was to orbit the Sun and study it at all latitudes. It was launched in 1990, made three "fast latitude scans" of the Sun in 1994/1995, 2000/2001, and 2007/2008. In addition, the probe studied several comets. Ulysses was a joint venture of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) with participation from Canada's National Research Council. The last day for mission operations on Ulysses was June 30, 2009.
Explorer 1 was the first satellite launched by the United States, and was part of the U.S. participation in the International Geophysical Year. The mission followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations.
The Jupiter-C was an American research and development vehicle developed from the Jupiter-A. Jupiter-C was used for three sub-orbital spaceflights in 1956 and 1957 to test re-entry nosecones that were later to be deployed on the more advanced PGM-19 Jupiter mobile missile.
Pioneer 0 was a failed United States space probe that was designed to go into orbit around the Moon, carrying a television camera, a micrometeorite detector and a magnetometer, as part of the first International Geophysical Year (IGY) science payload. It was designed by the United States Air Force (USAF) as the first satellite in the Pioneer program and was one of the first attempted launches beyond Earth orbit by any country, but the rocket failed shortly after launch. The probe was intended to be called Pioneer, but the launch failure precluded that name.
Pioneer 3 was a spin stabilized spacecraft launched at 05:45:12 UTC on 6 December 1958 by the U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency in conjunction with the NASA, using a Juno II rocket. This spacecraft was intended as a lunar probe, but failed to go past the Moon and into a heliocentric orbit as planned, but did reach an altitude of 102,360 km before falling back to Earth. The revised spacecraft objectives were to measure radiation in the outer Van Allen radiation belt using two Geiger-Müller tubes and to test the trigger mechanism for a lunar photographic experiment.
Vanguard 1 was an American satellite that was the fourth artificial Earth orbital satellite to be successfully launched. Vanguard 1 was the first satellite to have solar electric power. Although communication with the satellite was lost in 1964, it remains the oldest man-made object still in orbit, together with the upper stage of its launch vehicle. It was designed to test the launch capabilities of a three-stage launch vehicle as a part of Project Vanguard, and the effects of the space environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit. It also was used to obtain geodetic measurements through orbit analysis. Vanguard 1 was described by the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, as "the grapefruit satellite".
Pioneer 4 was an American spin-stabilized unmanned spacecraft launched as part of the Pioneer program on a lunar flyby trajectory and into a heliocentric orbit making it the first probe of the United States to escape from the Earth's gravity. It carried a payload similar to Pioneer 3: a lunar radiation environment experiment using a Geiger–Müller tube detector and a lunar photography experiment. It passed within 58,983 km of the Moon's surface. However, Pioneer 4 did not come close enough to trigger its photoelectric sensor. The spacecraft was still in solar orbit as of 1969. It was the only successful lunar probe launched by the U.S. in 12 attempts between 1958–63; only in 1964 would Ranger 7 surpass its success by accomplishing all of its mission objectives.
Mars 1, also known as 1962 Beta Nu 1, Mars 2MV-4 and Sputnik 23, was an automatic interplanetary station launched in the direction of Mars on November 1, 1962, the first of the Soviet Mars probe program, with the intent of flying by the planet at a distance of about 11,000 km (6,800 mi). It was designed to image the surface and send back data on cosmic radiation, micrometeoroid impacts and Mars' magnetic field, radiation environment, atmospheric structure, and possible organic compounds.
Project Vanguard was a program managed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), which intended to launch the first artificial satellite into Earth orbit using a Vanguard rocket as the launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida.
Explorer 4 was an American satellite launched on July 26, 1958. It was instrumented by Dr. James van Allen's group. The Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency had initially planned two satellites for the purposes of studying the Van Allen radiation belts and the effects of nuclear explosions upon these belts, however Explorer 4 was the only such satellite launched as the other, Explorer 5, suffered launch failure.
Pioneer 5 was a spin-stabilized space probe in the NASA Pioneer program used to investigate interplanetary space between the orbits of Earth and Venus. It was launched on March 11, 1960 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 17A at 13:00:00 UTC with an on-orbit dry mass of 43 kg. It was a 0.66 m diameter sphere with 1.4 m span across its four solar panels and achieved a solar orbit of 0.806 × 0.995 AU.
Explorer 2 was to be a repeat of the Explorer 1 mission. However, due to a failure in the rocket during launch, the spacecraft did not reach orbit.
Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter. It was built by Lockheed Martin and is operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011 (UTC), as part of the New Frontiers program, and entered a polar orbit of Jupiter on July 5, 2016, to begin a scientific investigation of the planet. After completing its mission, Juno will be intentionally deorbited into Jupiter's atmosphere.
The Redstone rocket was named for the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama where it was developed. The Redstone family of rockets consisted of a number of American ballistic missiles, sounding rockets and expendable launch vehicles operational during the 1950s and 1960s. The first member of the Redstone family was the PGM-11 Redstone missile, from which all subsequent variations of the Redstone were derived. The Juno 1 version of the Redstone launched Explorer 1, the first U.S. orbital satellite in 1958 and the Mercury-Redstone variation carried the first two U.S. astronauts into space in 1961.
Microwave Radiometer (MWR) is an instrument on the Juno orbiter sent to planet Jupiter. MWR is a multi-wavelength microwave radiometer for making observations of Jupiter's deep atmosphere. MWR can observe radiation from 1.37 to 50 cm in wavelength, from 600 MHz to 22 GHz in frequencies. This supports its goal of observing the previously unseen atmospheric features and chemical abundances hundreds of miles/km into Jupiter's atmosphere. MWR is designed to detect six different frequencies in that range using separate antennas.
S-1, also known as Explorer S-1 and Explorer 7X, was a geoscience satellite equipped with a suite of scientific instruments to study the environment around the Earth. The spacecraft and its Juno II launch vehicle were destroyed five seconds after launch on July 16, 1959, in a spectacular launch failure caused by complications with the rocket's power supply. A relaunch of the mission in October 1959, Explorer 7 (S-1A), was successful.