Encyclopedia Astronautica
Score


American communications technology satellite. One launch, 1958.12.18. Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment; first communications satellite; transmitted taped messages for 13 days.

In August 1955 the Stewart Committee, having taken on the Pentagon's desire for the IGY effort not to affect either the Air Force Atlas ICBM or Army Jupiter IRBM programs, selected the Navy's Vanguard as the booster for America's first satellite.

Convair, however, saw a bright future for their Atlas rocket as a space launch vehicle. They made an unsolicited proposal before the Stewart Committee decision to the Air Force to use the three-engined Atlas C as an Orbital Research and Test Vehicle. This would boost a 230 kg satellite into orbit without the need for an upper stage. Nothing came of this proposal immediately.

On 1 February 1957 Air Force headquarters asked Schriever to provide a plan to fly a back-up scientific satellite for during the International Geophysical Year, in case Vanguard failed. The reply came a week later. $91 million would be required. But Atlas development was such that no launchings could be guaranteed before mid-1959. It was however possible, best case, that one or two launchings could be managed before the end of the IGY in 1958. The Air Force declined to spend the money.

The Soviet launch of Sputnik 1 in October 1957 had a political impact far beyond the loss of a few months in the Atlas operational date. Vanguard did indeed fail, and another Vanguard competitor, the Army's Redstone, managed to orbit a tiny satellite in January 1958. The Soviets launched the massive 1327-kg Sputnik 3 in May 1957, again humbling the Americans. The Convair Orbital Research and Test Vehicle concept was resurrected as Project Score, and Schriever was given funds to launch a satellite using an Atlas as soon as possible. A three-engined Atlas B launched the Score satellite into orbit in December 1958, doing something to restore US prestige. It remained attached to the Atlas, allowing the Americans to claim they had orbited a 4 metric ton satellite, although all but 70 kg of that was the Atlas itself.

Gross mass: 70 kg (154 lb).
First Launch: 1958.12.18.
Number: 1 .

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...
  • Atlas B American test vehicle. First all-up test version of the Atlas ICBM, with jettisonable booster engines and a single engine sustainer on core - a '1 1/2' stage launch vehicle. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • DARPA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (formerly ARPA), USA. 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.
  • Lockheed Martin Coporation, Atlas Family Fact Sheets, September 1998.. 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 LC11 Atlas launch complex. The complex was built for the Atlas ballistic missile program. Launch sites 11 to 14 were accepted between August 1957 and mid-April 1958. Complex 11 supported 28 Atlas launches and five Atlas Advanced Ballistic Reentry System flights between 19 July 1958 and 2 April 1964. Complexes 11, 12 and 14 were deactivated in 1967. More...

Score Chronology


1958 December 18 - . 23:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC11. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas B. LV Configuration: Atlas B 10B.
  • Score - . Mass: 70 kg (154 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: Score. Decay Date: 1959-01-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 10 . COSPAR: 1958-Zeta-1. Apogee: 1,484 km (922 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 32.3000 deg. Period: 101.50 min. Summary: Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment; first commsat; transmitted taped messages for 13 days..

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