Encyclopedia Astronautica
Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E



pioneer6.jpg
Pioneer 6
Credit: NASA
American solar satellite. 5 launches, 1965.12.16 (Pioneer 6) to 1969.08.27 (Pioneer E). Pioneers 6, 7, 8, and 9 were created to make the first detailed, comprehensive measurements of the solar wind, solar magnetic field and cosmic rays.

The vehicles acted as the world's first space-based solar weather network, providing practical data on solar storms which impact communications and power on Earth.

The satellites were designed to measure large scale magnetic phenomena and particles and fields in interplanetary space. Data from the vehicles were used to better understand stellar processes as well as the structure and flow of the solar wind. A fifth spacecraft, Pioneer E, was lost when it failed to orbit due to a launch vehicle failure. The Pioneer 6-9 program was touted as one of the least expensive of all NASA spacecraft programs in terms of scientific results per dollar spent. As of 1996, Pioneer 6 was NASA's oldest operational satellite, having been in orbit over 30 years. The spacecraft was spin stabilized at ~60 rpm. Body mounted solar cells provided 79 watts. The payload consisted of six instruments, including a Plasma Analyzer and Cosmic Ray Detector.

Gross mass: 64 kg (141 lb).
Height: 0.81 m (2.65 ft).
First Launch: 1965.12.16.
Last Launch: 1969.08.27.
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 E American orbital launch vehicle. Thor augmented with 3 x Castor 2 motors with Delta E and Altair 2 upper stage. More...
  • Delta E1 American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor + 1 x Thor DSV-2C + 1 x Delta E + 1 x FW4D More...
  • Delta L American orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 3 x Castor 2 + 1 x LT Thor DSV-2L-1B + 1 x Delta E + 1 x FW4D More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...
  • NASA Ames American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Ames, USA. More...
  • TRW American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. TRW Corporation, Redondo Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Pioneer The Jet Propulsion Laboratory Pioneer series were the first US probes sent towards the moon. Later Pioneers explored the heliocentric space environment and were the first spacecraft to reach the outer planets and to escape from the solar system. 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.
  • Bramscher, Robert G, "A Survey of Launch Vehicle Failures", Spaceflight, 1980, Volume 22, page 351.

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 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...
  • 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...

Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E Chronology


1965 December 16 - . 07:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E 460/D35.
  • Pioneer 6 - . Payload: Pioneer A. Mass: 63 kg (138 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E. USAF Sat Cat: 1841 . COSPAR: 1965-105A. Summary: Measured solar wind, Sun's magnetic field. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1966 August 17 - . 15:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E1 462/D40.
  • Pioneer 7 - . Payload: Pioneer B. Mass: 63 kg (138 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E. USAF Sat Cat: 2398 . COSPAR: 1966-075A. Apogee: 993 km (617 mi). Perigee: 246 km (152 mi). Inclination: 33.0000 deg. Period: 97.20 min. Summary: Monitored solar wind, cosmic rays. SOLAR ORB. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1967 December 13 - . 14:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E1 489/D55.
  • Pioneer 8 - . Payload: Pioneer C / TTS 1. Mass: 63 kg (138 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E. USAF Sat Cat: 3066 . COSPAR: 1967-123A. Summary: Solar radiation data. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1968 November 8 - . 09:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta E1. LV Configuration: Thor Delta E1 479/D60.
  • Pioneer 9 - . Payload: Pioneer D / TTS 2. Mass: 63 kg (138 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Ames. Program: Pioneer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E. USAF Sat Cat: 3533 . COSPAR: 1968-100A. Summary: Solar radiation data. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

1969 August 27 - . 21:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta L. LV Configuration: Thor Delta L 540/D73. FAILURE: First stage hydraulics failure. Vehicle destructed at T+383 seconds. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Pioneer E - . Payload: Pioneer E. Mass: 67 kg (147 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Pioneer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Pioneer 6-7-8-9-E. Decay Date: 1969-08-27 . COSPAR: F690827A.

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