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Beacon 1, 2

Beacon 1 [NASA]

Beacon was a thin plastic sphere (12-feet in diameter after inflation), which should be the first US satellite to be visible to the naked eye. Secondary, it was to study atmospheric density at various levels.

Before the orbital attempt were made, several suborbital inflation tests were flown on Nike Cajun rockets.

Beacon 1 was launched by a Juno-1 with an added 5th stage. The upper stages and payload separated prior to first-stage burnout, thus the mission was a failure.

Beacon 2 was launched on a 3 stage Juno-2, but premature fuel depletion in the first stage caused an upper stage malfunction.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Atmosphere density
Operator: US Army
Contractors: NASA Langley Research Center
Equipment:
Configuration: 12ft Balloon
Propulsion: None
Power: None
Lifetime:
Mass: 5 kg
Orbit:
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Beacon Test 1 N/A 24.04.1958 WI * Nike Cajun
Beacon Test 1R N/A 25.04.1958 WI * Nike Cajun
Beacon Test 2 N/A 25.05.1958 WI * Nike Cajun
Beacon Test 3 N/A 11.09.1958 WI * Nike Cajun
Beacon 1 1958-F18 23.10.1958 CC LC-5 F Juno-1 (5 St.)
Beacon Test 4 N/A 28.01.1959 WI * Nike Cajun
Beacon 2 1959-F07 15.08.1959 CC LC-26B F Juno-2 (3 St.)

* = Suborbital

References: