Encyclopedia Astronautica
AE


American earth atmosphere satellite. 5 launches, 1963.04.03 (Explorer 17) to 1975.11.20 (Explorer 55). Atmospheric research.

AKA: Atmosphere Explorer.
First Launch: 1963.04.03.
Last Launch: 1975.11.20.
Number: 5 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta B American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x AJ10-118A + 1 x Altair More...
  • Thor Delta C1 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DSV-2A + 1 x Delta D + 1 x FW4D More...
  • Delta 1900 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/MB-3 + 1 x Delta F More...
  • Delta 2910 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 2 + 1 x ELT Thor/RS-27 + 1 x Delta P /TR-201 More...
  • Delta 1000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 1000 series used Castor 2 strap-ons and the Extended Long Tank core with MB-3 engine. More...
  • Delta C American orbital launch vehicle. Unaugmented Thor with Delta D and solid propellant upper stages. More...
  • Delta 2000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 2000 series used Castor 2 strap-ons together with an Extended Long Tank core equipped with the more powerful RS-27 engine. This engine was derived from surplus H-1 engines intended for the Saturn IB booster of the Apollo programme. The Delta P upper stage was built by Douglas and used surplus Apollo lunar module engines from TRW. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Explorer Series of satellites launched by Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the exploration of the space environment (micrometeoroids, charged particles, radiation, etc) from both earth orbital and heliocentric orbital locations. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Detailed Behavior of The Midlatitude Ionosphere From The Explorer Xvii Staellite, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, The Atmosphere Explorer-B Solar Array(Ae-B), Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, Lightweight battery containers for Explorer XVII /1963 9A/, the atmospheric structure satellite, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17B Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Upgraded over the decades for use with Thor, Delta, Delta II, and Delta III launch vehicles, it remained in use for over half a century. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC17A Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Pad 17A supported Thor, Delta, and Delta II launches into the 21st Century. More...

AE Chronology


1963 April 3 - . 02:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta B. LV Configuration: Thor Delta B 357/D17.
  • Explorer 17 - . Payload: AE A (S-6). Mass: 185 kg (407 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Atmosphere satellite. Spacecraft: AE. Decay Date: 1966-11-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 564 . COSPAR: 1963-009A. Apogee: 891 km (553 mi). Perigee: 254 km (157 mi). Inclination: 57.6000 deg. Period: 96.10 min. Summary: Atmospheric research. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1966 May 25 - . 14:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Delta C1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta C1 436/D38.
  • Explorer 32 - . Payload: AE B. Mass: 225 kg (496 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Atmosphere satellite. Spacecraft: AE. Decay Date: 1985-02-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 2183 . COSPAR: 1966-044A. Apogee: 2,723 km (1,691 mi). Perigee: 282 km (175 mi). Inclination: 64.6000 deg. Period: 116.00 min. Summary: Atmospheric Explorer; aeronomy experiments. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1973 December 16 - . 06:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 1900. LV Configuration: Delta 1900 585/D99.
  • Explorer 51 - . Payload: AE C. Mass: 658 kg (1,450 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Atmosphere satellite. Spacecraft: AE. Decay Date: 1978-12-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 6977 . COSPAR: 1973-101A. Apogee: 4,306 km (2,675 mi). Perigee: 155 km (96 mi). Inclination: 68.1000 deg. Period: 132.50 min. Summary: Atmospheric Explorer; upper atmospheric research. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1975 October 6 - . 09:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 2910. LV Configuration: Delta 2910 600/D115.
  • Explorer 54 - . Payload: AE D. Mass: 676 kg (1,490 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Atmosphere satellite. Spacecraft: AE. Decay Date: 1976-03-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 8353 . COSPAR: 1975-096A. Apogee: 3,819 km (2,373 mi). Perigee: 151 km (93 mi). Inclination: 90.1000 deg. Period: 126.80 min. Summary: Atmospheric Explorer; atmospheric research. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1975 November 20 - . 02:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 2910. LV Configuration: Delta 2910 604/D117.
  • Explorer 55 - . Payload: AE E. Mass: 721 kg (1,589 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Atmosphere satellite. Spacecraft: AE. Decay Date: 1981-06-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 8440 . COSPAR: 1975-107A. Apogee: 3,002 km (1,865 mi). Perigee: 154 km (95 mi). Inclination: 19.7000 deg. Period: 117.70 min. Summary: Atmospheric Explorer. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

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