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NASA Facts Orbiting Solar Observatory First of the Streetcar Satellites

NASA Facts Orbiting Solar Observatory First of the Streetcar Satellites

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Published by: Bob Andrepont on Mar 23, 2011
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03/23/2011

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NASA
FACTS
(B-62)
1'63
16
700
Page
1
ORBITING SOLAR OBSERVATORY
First
of the
"Streetcar"
Satellites
The
mission of
050
-the
Orbiti
ng
Solar
Observatory-is
to
gather
scientific
data
about
the
sun which
cannotbeobtained
by
observa
tion from
the
earth's
surface.
The
earth
's
atmosphere
accepts certain
types
of
electromagnetic
radiation,
including
visiblelight,
but screens
out
or distorts
others.
This
is
fortunate
for
humans
because
it protects themfrom
ultraviolet
radiation
which
would
cause
bad
sunburns,
or
even
kill. But it is
incon
venient
for
the
scientist
who
wants
to
study
these radiations.
Observations
for
his pur
poses have to
come
from
the
other side
of the
atmosphere.Types of
electromagnetic radiation
in this
category
include
ultraviolet,
X-rays
and
gammarays,
all
of
which
arebeing
observed
and
counted by
050-
1.
launched
on March
7,
at
Cape
Canaveral,
aboard
a
three-stage
Thor
Delta, the
first
Orbiting
Solar
Observatory
delighted the
teamresponsible
for it by
going
into
an
almost
circular orbit.
It
then proceeded
tocircle
the earth
at an altitude ranging
from a
perigee
of
about
340
miles
to
an
apogee
of
370
miles,
and
to
report
most
satisfactorily
onall
the
tasks
assigned
to it.
050-1
is
called
the
first
of
the
"streetcar"
satellites
because
it
has
a
series of experiment
apparatuses
aboard
as
"passengers
"
-thirteen
of
them.
 
Page
2
THE
SUN
Despite
obstacles,
scientists
have
a
great
deal
of
knowledge about
the
sun,
including
facts
obtained
by
solar
instruments
on
balloons
and
rockets,
and
by
telescopes
on
mountain
tops.
The sun
is
93
million
miles
away,
has a
di
ameter
of
864,000
miles
(10
times
the earth's).Its
core
has
a
temperature
of
35
million
de-grees. Sunspots,
which
are
dark
areas
of
vary
ing
size
on the surface,
appear
to be venting
valves
for
tremendous
forces
at
workin
the
in-
terior
.
Periodically,
there are enormous
flares,
hurtling
far
out into
space. The flares,
and
the
radiation accompanying them,
are
of
special
interest
to
the
scientists
who
are
evaluatingdata
from
OSO-l.
NASA
FACTS
(8-62)
The
National
Aeronautics and
SpaceAdmin
istration
(NASA)
now
has
inaugurated
a scien-
tific
research
program,
with
OSO-l
as
one
of
the
early
steps
to
"view"
the
sun
with
instruments
circlingbeyond
the
earth's
atmospheric
interference.
This scientific
program fulfills
one
NASA objective: "The expansion
of
human
knowledge
of
phenomena
in
the atmosphereand
space." OSO will
also
provide data
to
insure the
greater safety
of
America
's
manned
lunar
landing during
the
1960's
.The
OSO
as
now
instrumented
is
expected
to
provide
solar
information
through
which
solar
flare
prediction
techniques
can be
more
ac-
curate.
NASA
hopes
that
improvedflare
fore
casting
will
precisely
indicate
the
periodsof
relative safety
anddanger for
space travel.
Manned lunar
flights then
can be
scheduled
ac-
cordingly.
Prominences
beyond
the
limits of
the sun's surface, taken
by
spectroheliokinematograph
(motionpictures
of
the
sun
in
monochromatic
light). The white
dot
at
right
near
the
sun's
surface,superimposed
on the
photograph,
represents the
earth,
to scale.
i
I
'
I
 
- - = - - - - - - - - - -
~
- - -
~- - - - - - - - " ' - - - - - - " - ~ = " -
.
' - - - -
.
-
-
- - ' - ' - -
-
' - ~ - ~ - " - - ' -
.
- - - : - - - - - ' - - - ' - - ' - - - - - - - - -
~
. - . /
. '
- -
~
;
1
I
I
I
NASA
FACTS
(8-62)
THE
SATELLITE
(OSO-1 )
The first
050
is
a
458-pound
spacecraft
con
taining
13
scientific
solarexperiments,
traveling
in
a
350-mile
high,
96-minute, earth
orbit.
Spacecraft
in
the
050
series
are
basic
carriers,
in
which
thenumber
and
type of
experiments
can
be
interchanged
and
increased
without
any
change
in
the
satellite's
configuration-thus,
"streetcar"
satellites. The
050-1,
aslaunched,
is
37
inches
in
height
and
its
diam
eter
is
limited
to
44
inches to fit
the
Delta
booster.
After
launch
three
arms,
each
witha nitrogen
gas
container
with jets for stabilizingthe
satellite,
are
extended,
increasing diameter
to
92
inches
and
improving gyroscopic stability.The
050
satellite technically
is
designatedas
a
"stabilized
platform
for
solar
oriented
scientific instruments."The
spacecraft has
two main sections. There
is
a
wheel-like structure
44
inches
in
diameterand
23
inches high consisting
of
9
wedge
shaped
compartments.Mountedon
the
wheel
is
a
rotating
fan-shaped array
containing
fivecontinuously,
sun-aligned experiments.
Its
sur
face
is
covered
by
1860
solar
cells,
producing
27
watts of
electric
power.
The
satellite
uses1 6
watts:
9 for
the
experi
ments
and
7 for tele-metry,
dataand
control systems.As
the
050
is
put into
orbit,
smallrocketmotorsspin
it
so
that
the
vehicle maintains
a
Page 3
spinningrate
of
30
revolutions
per
minute.
050
thereby
utilizes
the
gyroscopic propertiesof
a spinning
bodytoattain
stability
as
a
space
platform,
and
in
addition,
the
experiments
in
the wheel
portion point
alternately
at
the
sun
and
away
from
the
sun, thus affording
compar
i-
sons
where
wanted.
The
top
or
fan-shaped
portion, containing the
solar
cells
and the
sun-pointedexperi
ments,
constantly
faces
the
sun,
despite
t
he
r
otation
of
the
lower wheel.
A
torque
motor
dr
i
ves
the
upper
portion
at
an
equal
but
opposite
rate
to
that
of
the
wheel
and
therebykeep
s
the
solarcells
andthe
upper
ex
periments
continuously
oriented to the
sun.
Coarse
and
fine
photodetectors
located
around
the
spacecraft
activate
motors
and
jets
tokeep
050
in
proper
relationship
to
the
sun.
Other
detectors
turn
off
and
turn on
the
electrical
equipment
as
thesatellite enters andemerges
from
the
earth
's
shadow.
The useful lifetime
of
each
050
satellite
is
estimated
as
6 months,
at
whichtime
the
nitro
gen
gas
which
positions
it
towards
the
sun will
have
beenexpended.
The
machine
will then
lose
its
sun-orientation
and
the solar
cells will
be unable
toprovide
the
electric
ity
needed
by
the
experiments,
the
controls
and
t
he
data
transmission. The vehicle may
continue
in
its earth
orbit
for
years
but
as
a
scientific
information
source
it will
be
dead, and
successor
OSO's
will
be
launched
to
continue some
or
all
of
OSO-l's
experiments
and
/
or
others.The scientific
data
obtained
by
OSO's
13
ex
periments
are
telemetered
to
earth
by two
in
dependent
tape
recorders
and
transmitters.
For
90
minutes
of
its
orbit,
the experiments
'results
are telemetered
onto
a
continuous
loop tape
recorder.
During
the
remaining
five minutes,
the
appropriate
ground
station
directs
the
re
corder to
transmit
the complex
data
by
radio
at
a
rate 18
ti
mes
faster
than
it
was
recorded.
This
process
clears
the
tape
so
that
as
the
broadcasting ceases,
it
can
record more
data.
The
groundstationcanorder either
transmitter
onor
off; it
can
also
turn on
or
off
the
wheel
experiments
and
thesun-pointed
tests.

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