Encyclopedia Astronautica

American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1984.10.05. ERBS was part of the NASA's three-satellite Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE), designed to investigate how energy from the Sun is absorbed and re-emitted by the Earth.

This process of absorption and re-radiation was one of the principal drivers of the Earth's weather patterns. Following deployment from STS-41G, astronaut Sally Ride had to shake the satellite with the remote manipulator arm to get the solar arrays to deploy.

Observations from ERBS were also used to determine the effects of human activities (such as burning fossil fuels and the use CFCs) and natural occurrences (such as volcanic eruptions) on the Earth's radiation balance. The other instruments of the ERBE were flown on NOAA 9 and 10.

The spacecraft was 3-axis stabilized to 1 degree using magnetic torquers, with a hydrazine RCS backup. Two solar arrays generated 2164 W (EOL peak), and recharged two 50 Ahr NiCd batteries. The hydrazine propulsion system supported ACS yaw maneuvers (required to keep solar arrays illuminated) and initial orbit raising. Downlink (at 128 kbps), and uplink were through the TDRSS relay satellite using an electrically steerable spherical array antenna.

Payloads included:

  • SAGE II (Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment) - measured stratospheric aerosols, O3, NO2, water vapor. 7 channels : 0.385 - 1.02 m, 0.5 km resolution.
  • ERBE Non-Scanner (Earth Radiation Budget Experiment)
  • ERBE Scanner - measured reflected solar radiation, Earth emitted radiation. 3 Channels : 0.2 - 50.0 m, 40 km resolution.
  • ERBE (Non-Scanner) - measured the total energy of Sun's radiant heat and light. Channels 1-4 : 0.2 - 3.5 m, 0.2 - 50.0 m; Channel 5 : 0.2 - 50.0 m; 1000 km resolution across swath full solar disc.

AKA: Earth Radiation Budget Satellite.
Gross mass: 226 kg (498 lb).
Height: 4.60 m (15.00 ft).
First Launch: 1984.10.05.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • Ball American manufacturer of spacecraft. Ball Aerospace and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, USA. More...

  • 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.

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...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39A Shuttle, Saturn V launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. Construction began in December 1963. Complex 39A was completed on 4 October 1965. Complex 39A supported two unmanned and nine manned Saturn V/Apollo missions between 9 November 1967 and 8 December 1972. The site also supported the launch of the Skylab space station on 14 May 1973. Both complexes were modified to support Space Shuttle missions later on. Complex 39A supported the first Space Shuttle launch on 12 April 1981. More...

ERBS Chronology

1984 October 5 - . 11:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle 41-G.
  • ERBS - . Payload: Challenger F6 / ERBS. Mass: 226 kg (498 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: ERBS. USAF Sat Cat: 15354 . COSPAR: 1984-108B. Apogee: 589 km (365 mi). Perigee: 576 km (357 mi). Inclination: 57.0000 deg. Period: 96.30 min. Summary: Earth Radiation Budget Satellite. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

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