Encyclopedia Astronautica

American technology satellite. One launch, 1995.11.04, SURFSAT. SURFSAT-1 was a small satellite built by undergraduate college students and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to support experiments by NASA's Deep Space Network.

The satellite was designed to mimic signals from planetary spacecraft, and radiated milliwatt level RF signals in X-, Ku-, and Ka-band. These signals supported research and development experiments supporting planned implementation of Ka-band communications, tests of new 11m ground stations built to support the Space Very Long Baseline Interferometry project (SVLBI), and training of ground station personnel. From conception through launch, the spacecraft cost ~$3 million, including design, fabrication, test, and launch integration. The mission's goal was to provide one year of continuous operation, although the lack of any consumables aboard the spacecraft would permit several additional years of operation.

The spacecraft consisted of two aluminum boxes that remained permanently bolted to the launch vehicle's second stage. The SUSFSAT-1/Delta 2 system was gravity gradient stabilized. Power was provided by body-mounted solar panels providing ~15W orbit average power. The boxes were electrically connected by an interconnecting wire harness. Three omni antennas (two on the "primary" box, one on the "secondary" box) were used for uplink and downlink. Three independent command detector units were used to control operational state. The vehicle used passive thermal control. There was no propulsion system, batteries or attitude control / determination.

One transponder was carried in each box. The "primary" transponder operated at X-band (8 Ghz) and Ka-band (32 Ghz). The "secondary" transponder operated at Ku-band (15 Ghz). Both transponders radiated milliwatt level signals through the omni antennas.

AKA: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship SATellite.
Gross mass: 55 kg (121 lb).
Height: 0.82 m (2.69 ft).
First Launch: 1995.11.04.
Number: 1 .

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 2 7000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 7000 series used GEM-40 strap-ons with the Extra Extended Long Tank core, further upgraded with the RS-27A engine. More...
  • Delta 7920-X Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x GEM-40 + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27A + 1 x Delta K with 3.05 m (10 foot) diameter fairing More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • JPL American agency;manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, USA. 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.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

SURFSAT-1 Chronology

1995 November 4 - . 14:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 7920-X. LV Configuration: Delta 7920-10 D229.
  • SURFSAT - . Payload: SURFSAT/Delta 229. Mass: 55 kg (121 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: MDAC. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: SURFSAT-1. USAF Sat Cat: 23711 . COSPAR: 1995-059B. Apogee: 1,494 km (928 mi). Perigee: 934 km (580 mi). Inclination: 100.6000 deg. Period: 109.70 min. Summary: Test satellite for NASA's Deep Space Network..

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