Encyclopedia Astronautica
Thor Agena D



thoragn1.jpg
Thor Agena A
Credit: US Air Force
American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x Agena D

Failures: 4. Success Rate: 93.33%. First Fail Date: 1963-02-28. Last Fail Date: 1966-05-03 in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 19.560 million. Failures: 2. Success Rate: 93.33%. First Fail Date: 1967-05-09. Last Fail Date: 1968-05-18. Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1971-02-17. Last Fail Date: 1971-02-17 in 1985 dollars. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 22.170 million.

Stage Data - Thor Agena D

  • Stage 1. 1 x Thor DM-19. Gross Mass: 49,340 kg (108,770 lb). Empty Mass: 3,125 kg (6,889 lb). Thrust (vac): 758.711 Kn (170,565 lbf). Isp: 282 sec. Burn time: 165 sec. Isp(sl): 248 sec. Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Span: 2.44 m (8.00 ft). Length: 18.42 m (60.43 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: LR-79-7. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Agena B. Gross Mass: 7,167 kg (15,800 lb). Empty Mass: 867 kg (1,911 lb). Thrust (vac): 71.166 Kn (15,999 lbf). Isp: 285 sec. Burn time: 240 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 1.52 m (4.98 ft). Span: 1.52 m (4.98 ft). Length: 7.09 m (23.26 ft). Propellants: Nitric acid/UDMH. No Engines: 1. Engine: Bell 8081. Status: Out of Production.

AKA: SLV-2.
Status: Retired 1963.
Gross mass: 56,507 kg (124,576 lb).
Height: 31.00 m (101.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.44 m (8.00 ft).
Thrust: 667.20 kN (149,993 lbf).
First Launch: 1962.06.28.
Last Launch: 1963.07.19.
Number: 13 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • GRAB American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 9 launches, 1960.04.13 (Dummy subsatellite) to 1965.03.09 (Solrad 7B). GRAB, the first US electronic intelligence (ELINT) satellite, was not declassified until June 1998. More...
  • KH-5 American military surveillance satellite. 16 launches, 1961.02.17 (Discoverer 20) to 1964.08.21 (KH-5 9066A). US mapping satellite. Carried one frame camera, with a focal length of 76 mm, and a ground resolution of 140 m. More...
  • Lofti American communications technology satellite. 2 launches, 1961.02.22 (Lofti) and 1963.06.15 (Lofti 2A). The Low Frequency Trans-Ionospheric (LOFTI) satellites were produced as a cooperative effort with the Radio Division. More...
  • Injun American earth magnetosphere satellite. 5 launches, 1961.06.29 (Injun 1) to 1968.08.08 (Explorer 40). Radiation decay data satellite. May also have been a cover for some NRL ELINT satellites. More...
  • Oscar International series of amateur radio communications satellites. Operational, first launch 1961.12.12. Launched in a variety of configurations and by many nations. More...
  • SECOR American earth geodetic satellite. 13 launches, 1962.01.24 (Secor) to 1969.04.14 (SECOR 13). More...
  • SURCAL American military target satellite. 15 launches, 1962.01.24 (Surcal) to 1969.09.30 (Surcal). More...
  • Ferret American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 19 launches, 1962.02.21 (Ferret 1) to 1971.07.16 (OPS 8373). More...
  • KH-4 American military surveillance satellite. 31 launches, 1962.02.27 (Discoverer 38) to 1963.12.21 (KH-4 9062). Early US reconnaissance satellite. Carried two 'Mural' panoramic cameras, with a focal length of 61 cm, and a ground resolution of 7.6 m. More...
  • Starfish American earth magnetosphere satellite. 2 launches, 1962.10.26 (Starfish Radiation 1) and 1965.09.02 (Starfish Radiation 2). Satellite collected artificial radiation data (resulting from atmospheric and exoatmospheric nuclear explosions). More...
  • NRL ELINT American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 6 launches, 1962.12.13 (Black Sphere) to 1969.09.30 (Surcal). NRL ELINT satellite. More...
  • RADOSE American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1963.06.15. Radiation dosimeter measurements. More...
  • GGSE American gravity gradient technology satellite. 5 launches, 1964.01.11 (GGSE 1) to 1967.05.31 (GGSE 5). Developed designs and deployment techniques later applied to the NOSS / Whitecloud naval reconnaissance satellites. More...
  • AFP-43 American military technology satellite. 4 launches, 1964.01.19 (OPS 3367A) to 1964.06.18 (OPS 4467B). Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology. More...
  • Calsphere American military target satellite. 11 launches, 1964.10.06 (Calsphere 1) to 1971.02.17 (Calsphere 5). Radar calibration objects (but also cover for other classified subsatellites). More...
  • DODECAPOLE American military target satellite. 2 launches, 1965.03.09 (DODECAPOLE 1/Porcupine 1) and 1965.08.13 (Dodecapole 2). More...
  • Timation American navigation technology satellite. 2 launches, 1967.05.31 (Timation 1) and 1969.09.30 (Timation 2). More...

Associated Engines
  • Bell 8081 Bell Nitric acid/UDMH rocket engine. 71.2 kN. Out of production. Isp=285s. Used on Agena B stage atop Thor and Atlas. First flight 1960. More...
  • LR79-7 Rocketdyne Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 758.7 kN. Out of production. Designed for booster applications. Gas generator, pump-fed. Isp=282s. First flight 1957. More...

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 Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Douglas American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Boeing Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach, CA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • ELINT Various US electronic intelligence satellites, most of them from the Naval Research Laboratory, were orbited in the 1960's and still remain classified. More...

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 SLC1E Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1967. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2E Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

Associated Stages
  • Agena D Nitric acid/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 6,821/673 kg. Thrust 71.17 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 300 seconds. One of the real workhorses of US space exploration, Agena was a restartable upper stage which was also employed as a spacecraft, the whole vehicle going into orbit. A mainstay of the US Air Force reconnaisance satellite program, it also boosted early NASA probes to the moon and planets. Agena played a key role in manned space flight as the target vehicle for rendezvous and docking manoeuvres in NASA's Gemini project. It More...
  • Thor DM-21 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 48,354/2,948 kg. Thrust 760.64 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 285 seconds. More...

Thor Agena D Chronology


1962 June 28 - . 01:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 340 / Agena D 1151.
  • KH-4 9038 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9038 / Agena D 1151. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1962-09-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 316 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Gamma-1. Apogee: 698 km (433 mi). Perigee: 205 km (127 mi). Inclination: 76.0000 deg. Period: 93.60 min. Summary: KH-4; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. Severe corona static..

1962 August 2 - . 00:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 344 / Agena D 1152.
  • KH-4 9041 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9041 / Agena D 1152. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1962-08-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 360 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Kappa-1. Apogee: 423 km (262 mi). Perigee: 212 km (131 mi). Inclination: 83.0000 deg. Period: 90.80 min. Summary: KH-4; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. Severe corona and radiation fog..

1962 August 29 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 349 / Agena D 1153.
  • KH-4 9044 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9044 / Agena D 1153. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1962-09-10 . USAF Sat Cat: 377 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Sigma-1. Apogee: 400 km (240 mi). Perigee: 187 km (116 mi). Inclination: 65.2000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Summary: KH-4; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. Erratic vehicle attitude. Radiation fog minimal..

1962 September 29 - . 23:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 351 / Agena D 1154.
  • KH-4 9045 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9045 / Agena D 1154. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1962-10-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 427 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Beta-1. Apogee: 388 km (241 mi). Perigee: 190 km (110 mi). Inclination: 65.4000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: KH-4. First use of stellar camera, erratic vehicle attitude, numerous light leaks..

1962 October 26 - . 16:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 353 / Agena D 1401.
  • Starfish Radiation 1 - . Payload: Star-Rad 1 / Agena D 1401. Mass: 1,100 kg (2,400 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: Starfish. Decay Date: 1967-10-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 444 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Kappa-1. Apogee: 5,458 km (3,391 mi). Perigee: 197 km (122 mi). Inclination: 71.4000 deg. Period: 146.50 min. Summary: Artificial radiation data..

1962 December 4 - . 21:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 361 / Agena D 1155.
  • KH-4 9049 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9049 / Agena D 1155. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1962-12-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 490 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Sigma-1. Apogee: 273 km (169 mi). Perigee: 194 km (120 mi). Inclination: 65.1000 deg. Period: 89.20 min. Summary: KH-4. Mission failed. During air catch chute tore, capsule sank..

1962 December 13 - . 04:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 365 / Agena D 2351.
  • Black Sphere - . Payload: NRL PL120. Mass: 23 kg (50 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; USN. Program: ELINT. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: NRL ELINT. Decay Date: 1967-02-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 502 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Tau-1. Apogee: 2,385 km (1,481 mi). Perigee: 230 km (140 mi). Inclination: 70.3000 deg. Period: 111.80 min. Summary: Identified by McDowell as probable NRL ELINT satellite..
  • Calsphere 1A - . Payload: NRL ELINT. Mass: 23 kg (50 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; USN. Program: ELINT. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: NRL ELINT. Decay Date: 1967-02-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 513 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Tau-5. Apogee: 2,069 km (1,285 mi). Perigee: 228 km (141 mi). Inclination: 70.3000 deg. Period: 108.40 min. Summary: Identified by McDowell as probable NRL ELINT satellite..
  • Injun 3 - . Mass: 52 kg (114 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; USN. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: Injun. Decay Date: 1968-08-25 . USAF Sat Cat: 504 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Tau-2. Apogee: 2,406 km (1,495 mi). Perigee: 240 km (140 mi). Inclination: 70.3000 deg. Period: 112.10 min. Summary: Radiation decay data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • SURCAL 2A - . Payload: NRL PL121. Mass: 3.00 kg (6.60 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. Decay Date: 1963-07-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 507 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Tau-3. Apogee: 2,762 km (1,716 mi). Perigee: 222 km (137 mi). Inclination: 70.2000 deg. Period: 115.80 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • SURCAL 1A - . Mass: 37 kg (81 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. Decay Date: 1966-01-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 508 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Tau-4. Apogee: 2,160 km (1,340 mi). Perigee: 227 km (141 mi). Inclination: 70.3000 deg. Period: 109.30 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1962 December 14 - . 21:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 368 / Agena D 1156.
  • KH-4 9050 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9050 / Agena D 1156. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1963-01-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 505 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Phi-1. Apogee: 386 km (239 mi). Perigee: 200 km (120 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: KH-4; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. Best mission to date..

1963 January 7 - . 21:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 369 / Agena D 1157.
  • KH-4 9051 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9051 / Agena D 1157. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1963-01-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 525 . COSPAR: 1963-002A. Apogee: 384 km (238 mi). Perigee: 202 km (125 mi). Inclination: 82.0000 deg. Period: 90.30 min. Summary: KH-4. Erratic vehicle attitude. Frame ephemeris not created..

1963 April 1 - . 23:01 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 376 / Agena D 1160.
  • KH-4 9053 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9053 / Agena D 1160. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1963-04-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 562 . COSPAR: 1963-007A. Apogee: 408 km (253 mi). Perigee: 198 km (123 mi). Inclination: 74.9000 deg. Period: 90.50 min. Summary: KH-4; film capsule recovered 3.1 days later. Best imagery to date..

1963 April 26 - . 20:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 372 / Agena D 1411. FAILURE: Attitude sensors were misaligned. No orbit.. Failed Stage: G.
  • KH-5 9055A - . Payload: KH-5 s/n 9055A. Mass: 1,500 kg (3,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-5. Decay Date: 1963-04-26 . COSPAR: F630426AA. Summary: Mission failed..

1963 June 15 - . 14:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 378 / Agena D 2353.
  • Lofti 2A - . Mass: 26 kg (57 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: Lofti. Decay Date: 1963-07-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 601 . COSPAR: 1963-021B. Apogee: 876 km (544 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 95.10 min. Summary: VLF experiments. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Solrad 6A - . Mass: 39 kg (85 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: GRAB. Decay Date: 1963-08-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 599 . COSPAR: 1963-021C. Apogee: 869 km (539 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 95.10 min. Summary: Solar radiation data. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • RADOSE 112 - . Payload: NRL PL 112. Mass: 25 kg (55 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: RADOSE. Decay Date: 1963-07-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 600 . COSPAR: 1963-021D. Apogee: 875 km (543 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 95.10 min. Summary: Radiation dosimeter measurements. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • SURCAL 1B - . Mass: 3.00 kg (6.60 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. Decay Date: 1963-07-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 597 . COSPAR: 1963-021F. Apogee: 802 km (498 mi). Perigee: 172 km (106 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 94.40 min. Summary: Surveillance Calibration. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • USN satellite - . Payload: NRL PL130?. Mass: 35 kg (77 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Program: ELINT. Class: Military. Type: Military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. Spacecraft: NRL ELINT. Decay Date: 1963-07-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 598 . COSPAR: 1963-021E. Apogee: 859 km (533 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 94.90 min. Summary: Identified by McDowell as probable NRL ELINT satellite..

1963 July 19 - . 00:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 388 / Agena D 1412.
  • KH-4 9057 - . Payload: KH-4 s/n 9057 / Agena D 1412. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-4. Decay Date: 1963-08-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 621 . COSPAR: 1963-029A. Apogee: 382 km (237 mi). Perigee: 197 km (122 mi). Inclination: 82.9000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. Summary: KH-4. Best mission to date..

1968 January 17 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D.
  • Final launch of a Thrust-Augmented-Thor/Agena - . Nation: USA. Summary: Final launch of a Thrust-Augmented-Thor/Agena space booster from Vandenberg (first launch on 28 February 1963)..

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