Encyclopedia Astronautica
Westford Needles


American passive communications satellite. 3 launches, 1961.10.21 (Westford) to 1963.05.09 (Westford). In an attempt to lay a radio-reflective ring around the world, small metal dipole needles were allowed to sublimate out of a matrix.

The experiment was greatly criticized by astronomers who feared optical and radio pollution. However the needles apparently didn't work as a radio reflector and the feared effects did not come to pass.

First Launch: 1961.10.21.
Last Launch: 1963.05.09.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


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 Agena B American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas D with improved, enlarged Agena upper stage. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. 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 SLC3E Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas test facility, originally designated PALC1-2, then LC1-2, and finally upgraded to a Space Launch Facility in 1966. More...

Westford Needles Chronology


1961 October 21 - . 13:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 105D / Agena B.
  • Westford - . Payload: Westford. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: WestFord Needles. USAF Sat Cat: 194 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Delta-3.

1962 April 9 - . 15:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 110D / Agena B.
  • West Ford Drag - . Payload: West Ford Drag Experiment. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: WestFord Needles. Decay Date: 1962-05-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 272 . COSPAR: 1962-Kappa-2.

1963 May 9 - . 20:06 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Agena B. LV Configuration: Atlas Agena B 119D / Agena B S01 1206.
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