A Pegasus satellite in orbit
|Major contractors||Fairchild Hiller|
|Launch date||30 July 1965
|Carrier rocket||Saturn I SA-10|
|Launch site||Cape Kennedy LC-37B|
|Mission duration||1 year (design)
3 years (achieved)
|Orbital decay||4 August 1969|
|Mass||10,323 kilograms (22,760 lb)
1,450 kilograms (3,200 lb) (payload only)
|Apoapsis||536 kilometres (333 mi)|
|Periapsis||516 kilometres (321 mi)|
|Orbital period||95.15 minutes|
Pegasus 3 or III, also known as Pegasus C before launch, was an American satellite which was launched in 1965 to study micrometeoroid impacts in Low Earth orbit. It was the last of three Pegasus satellites to be launched, the previous two having been launched earlier the same year. It was manufactured by Fairchild Hiller, and operated by NASA.
Pegasus 3 was a Pegasus spacecraft, consisting of 1,450 kilograms (3,200 lb) of instruments, attached to the S-IV upper stage of the carrier rocket which had placed it into orbit. It had a total mass of 10,323 kilograms (22,760 lb), and was equipped with two sets of micrometeoroid detection panels, and a radio for tracking and returning data. The panels were 29 metres (95 ft) long, and equipped with 116 individual detectors.
Pegasus 3 was launched atop a Saturn I rocket, serial number SA-10, flying from Launch Complex 37B at the Cape Kennedy Air Force Station. The launch occurred at 13:00:00 UTC on 30 July 1965. Following launch, Pegasus 3 was given the COSPAR designation 1965-060A, whilst NORAD assigned it the Satellite Catalog Number 01467.
Pegasus 3 was a secondary payload on the carrier rocket, which was carrying a boilerplate Apollo spacecraft, Apollo 105 or BP-9A, as part of a series of configuration tests for the Apollo program. The Apollo boilerplate acted as a payload fairing for the Pegasus spacecraft, which was stored inside what would have been the Service Module of a functional spacecraft. Upon reaching orbit, the boilerplate Command and Service modules were jettisoned.
Pegasus 3 was operated in a low Earth orbit. On 3 September 1965 it was catalogued as being in an orbit with a perigee of 516 kilometres (279 nmi) and an apogee of 536 kilometres (289 nmi), inclined at 51.6 degrees to the equator and with a period of 95.15 minutes. Once in orbit, the panels were deployed to detect micrometeoroid impacts. Experiment results were returned to Earth by radio. The spacecraft operated until 29 August 1968, and subsequently remained in orbit until it decayed and reentered the atmosphere on 4 August 1969. It had originally only been expected to operate for 720 days.
See also 
- Krebs, Gunter. "Pegasus 1, 2, 3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "World Civil Satellites 1957-2006". Space Security Index. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- Wade, Mark. "Pegasus". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch List". Launch Vehicle Database. Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- "Pegasus 3". NSSDC Master Catalog. US National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 20 December 2010.
- McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 20 December 2010.