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ASTEX (P71-2)

ASTEX (P71-2) [GDK]

ASTEX (Advanced Space Technology Experiment) was an USAF satellite designed to test advanced development payloads.

Included in the instrumentation was a celestial mapping infrared scanner to test the closed loop radiator / pump cooler and to gather celestial background radiation. The spacecraft was equipped with a 4.57 m flexible roll-up solar cell array with multiple delay-retract cycles so that the mechanics of the system and its long-term power generation characteristics could be tested. The spacecraft also tested a command and control system and obtained data on the interaction of energetic particles with the ionosphere.

The spacecraft and experiments worked well until 20th December 1973 when a command for the transmitter to stop failed and it wore itself out transmitting. The data coverage was 100 percent for the first few months, 50 percent by the end of the first year, and about 2 orbits per week towards the end of the spacecraft life.

The main experiments were:

  • Flexible Solar Array
  • Celestial IR Measurements
  • Investigation of Energetic Particle Interactions with the Ionosphere
  • Command and Control
Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: US Air Force (USAF) STP (Space Test Program)
Contractors: ?
Equipment: ?
Configuration: Agena-D with instruments
Propulsion: ?
Power: Deployable solar array, batteries
Mass: 1500 kg
Orbit: 740 km × 764 km, 92.72
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
ASTEX (P71-2) 1971-089A 17.10.1971 Va SLC-1W Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D
Further STP missions:

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