Encyclopedia Astronautica

American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1959.08.07, Explorer 6. First Earth photo; radiation data.

Gross mass: 64 kg (141 lb).
First Launch: 1959.08.07.
Number: 1 .

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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...
  • Thor Able American orbital launch vehicle. Thor with Able stage derived from Vanguard second stage. More...
  • Thor Able III American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Able 3/AJ10 + 1 x Altair 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...

  • 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, Scientific Findings from Explorer VI, 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 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...

S-2 Chronology

1959 August 7 - . 14:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17A. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able III. LV Configuration: Thor Able III 134.
  • Explorer 6 - . Payload: S-2. Mass: 64 kg (141 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA. Program: Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: S-2. Decay Date: 1961-06-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 15 . COSPAR: 1959-Delta-1. Apogee: 42,400 km (26,300 mi). Perigee: 245 km (152 mi). Inclination: 47.0000 deg. Period: 765.00 min. Summary: First Earth photo; radiation data..

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