Encyclopedia Astronautica
Radio Test Spacecraft


American tracking network technology satellite. One launch, 1961.11.01, Mercury-Scout 1. Small satellite was to have verified the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network

First Launch: 1961.11.01.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Scout Solid-fuel, light payload, lower-cost launch vehicle developed by the Air Force and NASA in the late 1950's and used in a variety of configurations over thirty years. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Wallops Island, and from Italy's equatorial San Marco platform off Kenya. Italy studied but did not develop subsequent upgraded versions. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Scout American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Solid-fuel, light payload, lower-cost launch vehicle developed by the Air Force and NASA in the late 1950's and used in a variety of configurations over thirty years. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Wallops Island, and from Italy's equatorial San Marco platform off Kenya. Italy studied but did not develop subsequent upgraded versions. More...
  • Blue Scout 2 American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Air Force version of Scout used for suborbital and orbital military tests. More...

Associated Programs
  • Mercury Mercury was America's first man-in-space project. Setting the precedent for the later Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle programs, any capsule configuration proposed by the contractors was acceptable as long as it was the one NASA's Langley facility, and in particular, Max Faget, had developed. McDonnell, at that time a renegade contractor of innovative Navy fighters that had a history of problems in service, received the contract. The capsule had to be as small as possible to match the payload capability of America's first ICBM, the Atlas, which would be used for orbital missions. The resulting design was less than a third of the weight of the Russian Vostok spacecraft, and more limited as a result. More...

Bibliography
  • Emme, Eugene M, Aeronautical and Astronautical Events of 1961 Report of NASA to the Committee on Science and Astronautics US House of Representatives 87th Cong 2d Sess, NASA, 1962. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Bramscher, Robert G, "A Survey of Launch Vehicle Failures", Spaceflight, 1980, Volume 22, page 351.
  • Grimwood, James M., Project Mercury: A Chronology, NASA Special Publication-4001.

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 LC18B Scout, Delta launch complex. The LC18 complex included two launch pads 18A and 18B. Pad 18B supported 17 Thor missile launches between 4 June 1958 and 1 March 1960. Pad 18B supported half a dozen Blue Scout I, Blue Scout II and Scout missions between 7 January 1961 and 13 April 1962. Complex 18 was deactivated on 1 February 1967. More...

Radio Test Spacecraft Chronology


1961 May 5 - . LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout A.
  • Scout to evaluate the Mercury tracking system. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Summary: A document was issued regarding use of a Scout test vehicle to evaluate the performance of the Mercury tracking and real-time computing system. NASA Headquarters tentatively approved the plan on May 24, 1961..

1961 June 13 - . LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout A.
  • Mercury-Scout instrumentation system. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Summary: The Space Task Group forwarded to NASA Headquarters the details for the Mercury-Scout instrumentation system. This mission was to check the operational effectiveness of the Mercury global tracking network..

1961 October 29 - . LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout A.
  • Mercury-Scout announcement - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Summary: An announcement was made that a Mercury-Scout launch would be made to verify the readiness of the world-wide Mercury Tracking network to handle further orbital flights..

1961 October 29 - .
  • Mercury-Scout launch announced. - . Nation: USA. Program: Mercury. Class: Technology. Type: Tracking network technology satellite. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Summary: NASA announced that first Mercury-Scout launch to verify the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network would take place at Atlantic Missile Range..

1961 November 1 - . 15:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC18B. Launch Pad: LC18B. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Blue Scout 2. LV Configuration: Blue Scout II D-8. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mercury MS-1 - . Payload: Radio Test Spacecraft. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: Mercury. Class: Technology. Type: Tracking network technology satellite. Spacecraft: Radio Test Spacecraft. Small satellite was to have verified the readiness of the worldwide Mercury tracking network. An attempt was made to launch Mercury-Scout 1 (MS-1) into orbit with a communications package further to qualify the radar tracking of the Mercury global network prior to manned orbital flight. Shortly after lift-off, the launch vehicle developed erratic motions and attending high aerodynamic loads, and was destroyed by the Range Safety Officer after 43 seconds of flight. No further attempts were planned. The Mercury-Atlas 4 (MA-4) mission and the successful Mercury-Atlas 5 (MA-5), flown on November 29, 1961, disclosed that the network met all requirements.

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