Encyclopedia Astronautica
Solrad



solrad11.jpg
Solrad 11
Credit: US Navy
solradv1.jpg
Solrad 1
Credit: US Navy
vsolra10.jpg
Solrad 10
Credit: US Navy
vsolrad1.jpg
Solrad 1
Credit: US Navy
American solar satellite. 4 launches, 1968.03.05 (Explorer 37) to 1976.03.15 (Solrad 11B). SOLRAD was Satellite Techniques' first major project and NRL's first post-Vanguard satellite.

Conceived by the Space Science Division as a means of measuring and analyzing Solar Radiation, twelve SOLRAD satellites were successfully launched between June 1960 and March 1976. The first SOLRAD had an immediate scientific impact. Equipped with both X-ray and Lyman-alpha sensors, SOLRAD I quickly determined that radio fade-outs were caused by solar X-ray emissions. Subsequent SOLRADs also had important, although not quite so dramatic, scientific payoffs.

By 1972 the SolRad series satellite had grown from a 19 kg polished aluminum ball measuring 51 cm in diameter and with a useful lifetime of 10 months, to a 118 kg 12-sided cylinder measuring 76 cm x 58 cm and with a seven year life.

The SolRad satellite carried a classified ELINT payload, called Grab. It was kept secret for nearly 40 years, until its existence was revealed by the Director of the National Reconnaissance Organization (NRO) during NRL's 75th anniversary jubilee events.

Gross mass: 170 kg (370 lb).
First Launch: 1968.03.05.
Last Launch: 1976.03.15.
Number: 4 .

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...
  • Titan The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Titan American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...
  • 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...
  • Titan 3C American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3A with five segment solid motors. Man-rated design originally developed for Dynasoar spaceplane. More...
  • Scout B American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 2B + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 2 + 1 x FW4S More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, 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...

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
  • Wallops Island Small NASA launch site for sounding rocket launches and occasional Scout launches to orbit. Air launches are conducted from the Drop Zone Wallops Island, 37.00 N 72.0 W. With the last orbital launch in 1985 and the decline in sounding rocket launches, Wallops fell into near-disuse as a launch center. Its fortunes revised with the establishment of Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in 2005 and orbital launches resumed in 2010. More...
  • 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 LC40 Titan launch complex. Constructed as part of the Titan Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV vehicles. More...

Solrad Chronology


1968 March 5 - . 18:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA3A. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout B. LV Configuration: Scout B S160C. FAILURE: Partial Failure.. Failed Stage: 4.
  • Explorer 37 - . Payload: Solar Explorer B. Mass: 198 kg (436 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Solrad. Decay Date: 1990-11-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 3141 . COSPAR: 1968-017A. Apogee: 433 km (269 mi). Perigee: 353 km (219 mi). Inclination: 59.3000 deg. Period: 92.40 min. Summary: Solar Explorer B; radiation data; off-nominal orbit..

1971 July 8 - . 22:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Wallops Island. Launch Complex: Wallops Island LA3A. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout B. LV Configuration: Scout B S177C.
  • Explorer 44 - . Payload: Solar Explorer C. Mass: 118 kg (260 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Program: Explorer. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Solrad. Decay Date: 1979-12-15 . USAF Sat Cat: 5317 . COSPAR: 1971-058A. Apogee: 632 km (392 mi). Perigee: 433 km (269 mi). Inclination: 51.1000 deg. Period: 95.20 min. Summary: Solar radition data. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). .

1976 March 15 - . 01:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC40. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C. LV Configuration: Titan IIIC 23C-12.
  • Solrad 11A - . Mass: 181 kg (399 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Solrad. USAF Sat Cat: 8748 . COSPAR: 1976-023C. Apogee: 119,180 km (74,050 mi). Perigee: 118,383 km (73,559 mi). Inclination: 25.7000 deg. Period: 7,344.30 min. Summary: Solar radiation data. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..
  • Solrad 11B - . Mass: 181 kg (399 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Astronomy. Type: Solar astronomy satellite. Spacecraft: Solrad. USAF Sat Cat: 8749 . COSPAR: 1976-023D. Apogee: 116,645 km (72,479 mi). Perigee: 115,720 km (71,900 mi). Inclination: 25.6000 deg. Period: 7,116.70 min. Summary: Solar radiation data. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C)..

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