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Aeros 1, 2

Aeros 2 [DLR]

The two Aeros satellites were joint German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft and NASA mission to study the aeronomy i. e. the science of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere, in particular the F-region under the strong influence of solar extreme ultraviolet radiation.

The Aeros satellites had a circular cylindrical shape, 0.91 m in diameter and 0.71 m in height. It was launched into an elliptical, polar, nearly sun-synchronous earth orbit. The spacecraft was spin stabilized at 10 rpm and oriented with the spin axis toward the sun. The satellites were built by Dornier.

The purpose of the mission was to study the state and behavior of the upper atmosphere and ionospheric F region, especially with regard to the influence of solar ultraviolet radiation. Five experiments provided data on the temperature and density of electrons, ions, and neutral particles, the composition of ions and neutral particles, and solar ultraviolet flux.

AEROS A and B carried identical instrumentation only the instrument measuring short scale varaiations of the electron density didn't work on A. Following experiments were on board:

  • Mass Spectrometer
  • Energy Distribution of Ions and Electrons
  • Electron Concentration in the Ionosphere
  • Solar EUV Radiation
  • Neutral Atmosphere Temperature
  • Atmospheric Drag Analysis

A more sophisticated follow-on mission, Aeros C, was planned for the late 1980ies, but was cancelled.

Nation: Germany, USA
Type / Application: Research
Operator: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Wissenschaft, NASA
Contractors: Dornier
Equipment: see above
Configuration: Spin stabilized
Propulsion: ?
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 8 months (#1); 14 months (#2)
Mass: 127 kg
Orbit: 223 km × 867 km, 96.9° (#1); 217 km × 879 km, 97.4°
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Aeros 1 1972-100A 16.12.1972 Va SLC-5 Scout-D1
Aeros 2 1974-055A 16.07.1974 Va SLC-5 Scout-D1