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Explorer: SAS C

Explorer 53 (SAS C) [NASA]

SAS C (Small Astronomy Satellite C, also known as Explorer 53) was the third in the series of small spacecraft whose objectives were to survey the celestial sphere for sources radiating in the X-ray, gamma-ray, UV, and other spectral regions. The primary missions of SAS C were to measure the X-ray emission of discrete extragalactic sources, to monitor the intensity and spectra of galactic X-ray sources from 0.2 to 60 keV. and to monitor the X-ray intensity of Scorpio X-1.

The spacecraft was launched from the San Marco platform off the coast of Kenya, Africa, into a near-circular, equatorial orbit. This spacecraft contained four instruments: the Extragalactic Experiment, the Galactic Monitor Experiment, the Scorpio Monitor Experiment, and the Galactic Absorption Experiment. In the orbital configuration, the spacecraft was 145.2 cm high and the tip-to-tip dimension was 470.3 cm. Four solar paddles were used in conjunction with a 12-cell nickel-cadmium battery to provide power over the entire orbit. The spacecraft was stabilized along the Z axis and rotated at about 0.1 deg/s. Changes to the spin-axis orientation were by ground command, either delayed or in real time. The spacecraft could be made to move back and forth plus or minus 2.5 deg across a selected source along the × axis at 0.01 deg/s. The experiments looked along the Z axis of the spacecraft, perpendicular to it, and at an angle.

Four instruments were mounted on SAS C:

  • Extragalactic Experiment (EGE)
  • Scorpio Monitor Experiment (SME)
  • Galactic Absorption Experiment (GAE)
  • Galactic Monitor Experiment (GME)
Nation: USA
Type / Application: Astronomy, X-Ray, Gamma
Operator: NASA
Contractors: Center for Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Applied Physics Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University
Equipment: EGE, SME, GAE, GME
Configuration: mod. Transit-Bus
Propulsion: ?
Power: 4 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 197 kg
Orbit: 502 km × 509 km, 3.00
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Explorer 53 (SAS C) 1975-037A 07.05.1975 SM Scout-F1