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Vela 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (advanced Vela)

Vela 9, Vela 10 and spin module [USAF]

Like its predecessor, the Vela, the Advanced Vela series of spacecraft were designed to monitor worldwide compliance with the 1963 nuclear test ban treaty. The Advanced series added atmospheric nuclear detonation detection to its capabilities. Additionally, it monitored solar activity (providing radiation warnings for manned missions), terrestrial lightning activity and celestial X/gamma-ray radiation. All six spacecraft operated for more than 10 years. Their nuclear detection role was assumed by IMEWS in the 1970s. Touted as the longest continuously operating space system in 1985 when USAF shut down the last 3 spacecraft.

The spacecraft featured the first dual-spin, zero momentum attitude control system. In launch configuration, two 26-sided polyhedron spacecraft were connected by a central cylinder containing an apogee motor. Body mounted solar cells generated 120 Watts.

Total payload mass was 63 kg. Two optical bhangmeters observing Earth. Twelve external X-ray detectors and 18 internal neutron and gamma-ray detectors.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Nuclear Detection
Operator: USAF
Contractors: TRW
Equipment: 2optical bhangmeters observing Earth, 12 external X-ray detectors and 18 internal neutron and gamma-ray detectors
Configuration:
Propulsion: BE-3B1 AKM (#7, 8); BE-3A7 AKM (#9 - 12)
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 18 month (design), all +10 years operational
Mass:
Orbit:
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Vela 7 (Vela 4A, OPS 6638) 1967-040A 28.04.1967 CC LC-41 Titan-3C with Vela 8, ORS 4, OV5 1, OV5 3
Vela 8 (Vela 4B, OPS 6679) 1967-040B 28.04.1967 CC LC-41 Titan-3C with Vela 7, ORS 4, OV5 1, OV5 3
Vela 9 (Vela 5A, OPS 6909) 1969-046D 23.05.1969 CC LC-41 Titan-3C with Vela 10, OV5 5, OV5 6, OV5 9
Vela 10 (Vela 5B, OPS 6911) 1969-046E 23.05.1969 CC LC-41 Titan-3C with Vela 9, OV5 5, OV5 6, OV5 9
Vela 11 (Vela 6A, OPS 7033) 1970-027A 08.04.1970 CC LC-40 Titan-3C with Vela 12
Vela 12 (Vela 6B, OPS 7044) 1970-027B 08.04.1970 CC LC-40 Titan-3C with Vela 11