|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2008)|
|A-103 (Saturn-Apollo 9)|
|Mission name||A-103 (Saturn-Apollo 9)|
|Spacecraft mass||15,375 kg|
|Call sign||A-103 (SA-9)|
|Launch vehicle||Saturn I|
|Launch pad||Cape Canaveral
|Launch date||February 16, 1965
|Mission duration||4,961 days|
|Number of orbits||~75,918|
|Apogee||325 mi (523 km)|
|Perigee||267 mi (430 km)|
|Orbital period||94.1 min|
|Orbital inclination||31.7 deg|
|Distance traveled||1,935,309,753 mi
Of 12 flight objectives assigned, two were concerned with the operation of the Pegasus satellite, eight with launch vehicle systems performance, one with jettisoning the launch escape system, and one with separation of the boilerplate spacecraft. The satellite objectives were (1) demonstration of the functional operations of the mechanical, structural, and electronic systems and (2) evaluation of meteoroid data sampling in near-Earth orbit. Since the launch trajectory was designed to insert the Pegasus satellite into the proper orbit, it differed substantially from the Saturn-Apollo I trajectory used in missions A-101 and A-102.
The launch vehicle consisted of an S-I first stage, an S-IV second stage, and an instrument unit. The spacecraft consisted of a boilerplate command and service module, a launch escape system, and a service module/launch vehicle adapter (BP-16). The Pegasus 1 satellite was enclosed within the service module, attached to the S-IV stage. The orbital configuration consisted of the satellite mounted on the adapter, which remained attached to the instrument unit and the expended S-IV stage. The launch escape system was jettisoned during launch, and the command module was jettisoned after orbital insertion. The satellite weighed approximately 3980 pounds (1805 kg) and was 208 by 84 by 95 inches (5.28 by 2.13 by 2.41 m). The width of the deployed wings was 96 feet (29.3 m).
The vehicle was launched from Cape Kennedy Launch Complex 37B at 09:37:03 a.m. EST. (14:37:03 GMT.) on February 16, 1965. A hold of 1 hour and 7 minutes was caused by a power failure in the Eastern Test Range flight safety computer. A built-in hold of 30 minutes was also used to discharge and recharge a battery in the Pegasus satellite as a check that it was functioning properly.
The launch was normal, and the spacecraft was inserted into orbit approximately 10.5 minutes after launch. The total mass placed in orbit was 33,895 pounds (15,375 kg). The perigee was 307.8 miles (495 km), the apogee was 461.9 miles (743 km), and the orbital inclination was 31.76°.
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