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Vela 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Vela 1 [USAF]

The Vela (meaning "watchman" in Spanish) series of spacecraft were designed to monitor worldwide compliance with the 1963 nuclear test ban treaty. The satellites were so successful, each operating for at least 5 years, that a planned acquisition of a fourth and fifth pairs was cancelled. Instead, TRW was awarded afurther contract in March 1965 for an advanced Vela spacecraft series. The Vela series was the first spacecraft procurement to utilize a fixed price incentive contract.

The spacecraft were spin stabilized at 120 rpm. 20-sided polyhedrons with body mounted solar cells generating 90 W. During launch, 2 satellites were connected by a central cylinder containing an apogee motor.

The payload consisted of twelve external X-ray detectors and 18 internal neutron and gamma-ray detectors. The third pair (F5, 6) carried an improved detector package, including an optical nuclear flash instrument.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Nuclear Detection
Operator: USAF
Contractors: TRW
Equipment: 12 external X-ray detectors and 18 internal neutron and gamma-ray detectors
Configuration:
Propulsion: BE-3A AKM
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 6 months (design)
Mass:
Orbit:
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Vela 1 (Vela 1A) 1963-039A 17.10.1963 CC LC-13 Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela 2, ERS 12
Vela 2 (Vela 1B) 1963-039C 17.10.1963 CC LC-13 Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela 1, ERS 12
Vela 3 (Vela 2A, OPS 3662) 1964-040A 17.07.1964 CC LC-13 Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela 4, ERS 13
Vela 4 (Vela 2B, OPS 3674) 1964-040B 17.07.1964 CC LC-13 Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela 3, ERS 13
Vela 5 (Vela 3A, OPS 6577) 1965-058A 20.07.1965 CC LC-13 Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela 6, ORS 3
Vela 6 (Vela 3B, OPS 6564) 1965-058B 20.07.1965 CC LC-13 Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela 5, ORS 3
Vela (7) (Vela (4A)) - cancelled CC Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela (8)
Vela (8) (Vela (4B)) - cancelled CC Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela (7)
Vela (9) (Vela (5A)) - cancelled CC Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela (10)
Vela (10) (Vela (5B)) - cancelled CC Atlas-LV3 Agena-D with Vela (9)