A towering Atlas-Agena rocket, more than 100 feet tall will lift-off from Complex 12 at Cape Kennedy, Fla., in the next few days carrying a 1,135-pound insect-shaped spacecraft called the Orbiting Geophysical Observatory.
Atlas-Agena pre-launch and lift-off
OGO in Orbit
OGO in orbit
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Background: A towering Atlas-Agena rocket, more than 100 feet tall will lift-off from Complex 12 at Cape Kennedy, Fla., in the next few days carrying a 1,135-pound insect-shaped spacecraft called the Orbiting Geophysical Observatory.
This National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientific observatory will carry 22 different experiments to study earth-sun relationships and the environment of the earth. This is the largest number of experiments ever carried by a U.S. scientific satellite.
The third spacecraft in the OGO series will have a way-out elliptical orbit around the earth. At its apogee or high point, OGO will fly out more than 75,000 miles. At its low point it will come within 170 miles from earth. This egg-shaped orbit permits the observatory to survey a vast area of near-earth and interplanetary space.
OGO has a box-like main body. Attached to its sides are 13 booms up to 20 feet long. These unfold when OGO is in orbit. They carry experiments which might be affected by magnetic influences of the spacecraft.
Two huge solar-cell panels-looking like giant ears--will convert energy from the sun into electrical power to operate the spacecraft.
The objective of OGO is to provide a standardized satellite capable of carrying a large number of related experiments designed to conduct simultaneous observations. This allows scientists in different disciplines to use on a cooperative basis this single observatory to better understand the many influences the sun has on the earth.
The 22 different experiments will study cosmic rays, solar wind, trapped radiation, magnetic fields, radio noise, solar radiation and micrometeorites. They were provided by 10 U.S. universities, two NASA field centres and four other government agencies.
The control centre for OGO operations is located at the NASA Goddard Space FLight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, near Washington, D. C.
The vast amounts of scientific information acquired by OGO will be transmitted to a network of Goddard-operated ground stations around the world, sent to the data processing center for raw processing and then made available to the experimenters. If the OGO operates for its design lifetime of one year it could provide more than 200 billion "word" measurements of new information from space.