Ariel 3 carried five experiments. The experiments measured properties of the thermosphere as well as detected "terrestrial radio noise" from thunderstorms and measured large-scale galactic radio frequency noise. Experimental data was recorded on an onboard tape recorder, then later transmitted to waiting observers on Earth. Ariel 3 was also fitted with a series of mirrors to allow easy observation of the satellite. On 24 October 1967 the tape recorder aboard Ariel 3 began to malfunction. This restricted observation to real-time operation only. Ariel 3 suffered from a significant power failure in December 1968, restricting the satellite's operation to daylight hours only. The satellite was completely shut down in September 1969. Its orbit decayed steadily until on 14 December 1970 when Ariel 3 re-entered Earth's atmosphere.
Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes ( | ). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other spacecraft are denoted in brackets.
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