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Miranda (X 4)


Miranda, also known as X-4 satellite, was an experimental spacecraft. It was designed to serve as an engineering test bed to check the application of a three-axis integrating gyro system for attitude control and a three-axis rate gyro system for rate control. The satellite was in the form of a box 83.5 cm high, with a square base 66.5 cm on a side. Electrical power to the spacecraft was supplied from batteries and solar panels. When fully deployed the panels measured 250 cm in length. The payload package consisted of:

  • a three-axis propane gas jet system for orbital positioning;
  • a Canopus star sensor to determine reflectivity and interference generated from the propane gas system;
  • an Earth albedo sensor;
  • (radiation) test cells to measure degradation in orbit; and,
  • four infrared detectors to provide eclipse warning for experiment number two.

It was originally planned to be launched on a british Black Arrow booster, but due to cancellation of the launcher program it was finally launched by a Scout-D1.

Nation: U.K.
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE)
Contractors: Hawker Siddeley Dynamics, Ltd.
Configuration: Box with 2 solar arrays
Propulsion: three-axis propane gas jet system
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Mass: 92 kg
Orbit: 714 km × 916 km, 97.8
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Miranda (X 4) 1974-013A 09.03.1974 Va SLC-5 Scout-D1
Further X missions: