Alouette 1 was Canada's first satellite, and the first satellite constructed by a country other than the USSR or the United States. Occasionally, Alouette 1 is misrepresented as the third satellite successfully put in orbit, rather than being from the third country to have one of its own in space, but numerous US and Soviet missions preceded it. Canada was the fourth country to operate a satellite, as the British Ariel 1, constructed in the United States by NASA, preceded Alouette 1 by five months. The name "Alouette" came from the French "skylark" and from the title of a popular French-Canadian folk song, "Alouette".
Satellite launch and mission progress 
Alouette 1 was launched by NASA from the Pacific Missile Range at Vandenberg AFB, California, USA at 06:05 UTC on September 29, 1962, into orbit around the earth. Alouette was used to study the ionosphere, an area of the upper atmosphere where many future satellites would be placed into orbit. Alouette's mission lasted for 10 years before the unit was deliberately switched off. The mission brought a modicum of fame to its Program Manager, John E. Jackson, Canadian director, John Herbert Chapman and its Chief Electrical Engineer, Colin A. Franklin. Alouette 1 remains in orbit and some suggest there is a slim chance it might turn on if the right signals were transmitted. In 1966, it was estimated that Alouette 1 would remain in orbit for 1000 years.
Duplicate construction 
Two satellites were built for redundancy in case of a malfunction; if the first unit failed, the second could be launched with only a couple of months delay. It took 3½ years after Alouette's proposal to have it developed and built. The satellites S27-2 (prototype), S27-3 (which became the launched satellite), and S27-4 (which became the backup) were assembled by Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE) Electronics Lab in Ottawa, Ontario. The mechanical frame was made in Downsview, Ontario, at the de Havilland Canada factory there, whose building now houses the Canadian Air and Space Museum. The batteries used for Alouette were developed by the Defence Chemical, Biological, and Radiation Laboratory (DCBRL), another branch of DRB, and were partially responsible for the long lifetime of the satellite. The antennas used were the first STEM antennas used in space, and at launch were the longest (125 foot tip to tip). When completed Alouette weighed 145 kg (320 lb) and was launched from a Thor Agena-B two-stage rocket. Alouette 1's backup was later launched as Alouette 2 in 1965 to "replace" the older Alouette 1.
- The Alouette 1 is featured on the Amory Adventure Award.
- The Alouette 1 was named an IEEE Milestone in 1993.
See also 
- Timeline of artificial satellites and space probes
- Prince Albert Radar Laboratory (used as the initial ground station)
- "Space trash, and an inventory of hardware in orbit". LIFE 61 (6). 1966.
- Al Bingham, S27-3 Electronics Technologist
- "Milestones:Alouette-ISIS Satellite Program, 1962". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
- 1962-049A also known as 1962-Beta-Alpha-1 entry at NSSDC
- CSA Alouette Site
- Canada's Digital Collections government website - About Alouette
- CBC Digital Archives - Launching the Digital Age: Canadian Satellites
- Article on satellite development based on interviews with original research engineers.