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Transit 1A, 1B

Transit 1B [US Navy]

Transit spacecraft were developed for updating the inertial navigation systems on board US Navy Polaris submarines, and later for civilian use. The receivers used the known characteristics of the satellites orbit, measured the Doppler shift of the satellites radio signal, and thereby calculated the receivers position on the earth.

Transit 1A was launched on a Thor-DM18 Able-2 (mod), but failed to reach orbit. The signals received from the satellite during the suborbital flight were used to verify the concept.

Transit 1B was launched into orbit by Thor-DM21 Able-Star with a navigation payload experiment at Cape Canaveral. It demonstrated the first engine restart in space and the feasiblity of using satellites as navigational aids.

Additionally, it carried an Infrared scanner, which was originally developed for project Pilot (NOTSNIK).

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Navigation
Operator: USN
Contractors: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)
Equipment: ?
Configuration: Sphere
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells (body mounted), batteries
Mass: 119 kg
Orbit: 373 km × 748 km, 51.28
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Transit 1A 1959-F08 17.09.1959 CC LC-17A F Thor-DM18 Able-2 (mod)
Transit 1B 1960 γ 2 13.04.1960 CC LC-17B Thor-DM21 Able-Star with Solrad Model