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Samos 7 [USAF]

Samos E-6 (Satellite and Missile Observation System) was an attempt to create an medium-resolution reconnaissance satellite with film return via reentry capsule. After the limitations of the original readout system became apparent, the focus shifted to recovery techniques, already pioneered by CORONA. In May 1960 USAF undersecretary Charyk ordered SAMOS to be reoriented to recovery techniques since it had become apparent that readout was in trouble.

Samos-E-6 was also known as Program 201 (later 698BJ). These satellite were intended to replace the CIA KH-4 Corona satellites.

The Samos-E-6 carried the E-6 recoverable panoramic camera suite consisting of two Kodak cameras with 0.7 m focal length, 2.4 m ground resolution, and 280 km swath width. E-6 used a different, more slender, reentry capsule than the Samos-E-5. The Agena stage remained connected to the spacecraft and provided attitude control and retro fire for recovery.

Samos 7 carried a set of piggyback scientific experiments from the Air Force Cambridge Research Labs (AFCRL), including neutron albedo measurements, electron number density and retarding potential analyser instruments, and an infrared radiometer, as well as a nuclear emulsion experiment to measure cosmic radiation.

Samos 8 failed on recovery as the reentry vehicle did not separate from the Agena.

On Samos 9 the Agena secondary propulsion system (SPS) failed to operate due to an electrical short. The retrofire appears to have failed, but the SRV separated anyway and was left in a similar 184 × 234 km orbit. The spacecraft carried a neutron albedo experiment in addition to the USAF intelligence payload.

Samos 10 was deorbited after 1 day; recovery is believed to have been unsuccessful.

Samos 11 was deorbited after one day; recovery was a failure despite the report of emulsion data being obtained. A TRS Mark I research subsatellite, TRS 1, was attached to the Agena 2405 aft rack but failed to separate.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Reconnaissance, photo (film return type)
Operator: US Air Force (USAF)
Equipment: 2 E-6 Cameras
Configuration: Agena-B
Propulsion: Bell 8081, Agena SPS (Secondary Propulsion System)
Power: Batteries
Lifetime: 5 days
Orbit: 203 km × 204 km, 92.0 (#7); 184 km × 236 km, 96.1 (#9); 205 km × 205 km, 96.3 (#10)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Samos-E6 1 (Samos 7) 1962 π 26.04.1962 Va LC-1-1 Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Samos-E6 2 (Samos 8) 1962 ψ 17.06.1962 Va LC-1-1 Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Samos-E6 3 (Samos 9) 1962 αζ 1 18.07.1962 Va LC-1-1 Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Samos-E6 4 (Samos 10) 1962 αλ 05.08.1962 Va LC-1-1 Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Samos-E6 5 (Samos 11) 1962 βπ 11.11.1962 Va LC-1-1 Atlas-LV3 Agena-B with TRS 1
Samos-E6 6 - cancelled Va Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Samos-E6 7 - cancelled Va Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Samos-E6 8 - cancelled Va Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Samos-E6 9 - cancelled Va Atlas-LV3 Agena-B
Further Samos missions:

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