Timeline of Earth science satellites

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The Timeline of Earth science satellites shows, in chronological order, those successful satellites with a program of Earth science. Sputnik 1, while the first satellite ever launched, did not conduct Earth science. Explorer 1 was the first satellite to make an Earth science discovery when it found the Van Allen belts.

1950s[edit]

Satellite Country Date Sponsor Notes
Sputnik 2 Soviet Union 3 November 1957 Korolev Design Bureau Research charged particles near Earth
Explorer 1 United States 1 February 1958 U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency Decayed 31 May 1970. Discovered Van Allen belts.
Explorer 2 United States 5 March 1958 U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency Failed to orbit.
Vanguard I United States 17 March 1958 U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Oldest artificial satellite in orbit.
Explorer 3 United States 26 March 1958 U.S. Army Ballistic Missile Agency Decayed 28 June 1958.
Vanguard TV-5 United States 29 April 1958 U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Failed to orbit.
Sputnik 3 Soviet Union 15 May 1958 Korolev Design Bureau Decayed 6 April 1960.
Vanguard SLV-1 United States 28 May 1958 U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Failed to orbit.
Vanguard SLV-2 United States 26 June 1958 U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Failed to orbit.
Explorer 4 United States 26 July 1958 U.S. DARPA Measured electrons & protons in radiation belts. Also measured data on Operation Argus nuclear explosions.
Explorer 5 United States 24 August 1958 U.S. DARPA Failed to orbit.
Vanguard SLV-3 United States 26 September 1958 U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Failed to orbit.
Beacon 1 United States 23 October 1958 NASA/U.S. Army Failed to orbit.
Vanguard II United States 17 February 1959 NASA/U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Still in orbit.
Vanguard SLV-5 United States 14 April 1959 NASA Failed to orbit.
Vanguard SLV-6 United States 22 June 1959 NASA Failed to orbit.
Explorer S-1 United States 16 July 1959 NASA Failed to orbit.
Explorer 6 United States 7 August 1959 Jet Propulsion Laboratory Decayed 1 July 1961.
Beacon 2 United States 15 August 1959 NASA/U.S. Navy Failed to orbit.
Vanguard III United States 18 September 1959 U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Still in orbit.
Explorer 7 United States 13 October 1959 NASA Still in orbit.

1960s[edit]

Satellite Country Date
Explorer 8 United States 3 November 1960
Explorer 9 United States 16 February 1961
Explorer S-56a United States 25 February 1961
Explorer 10 United States 25 March 1961
Explorer 11 United States 27 April 1961
Explorer 12 United States 16 August 1961
Explorer 13 United States 25 August 1961
Kosmos 3 Soviet Union 24 April 1962
Ariel 1 United Kingdom 26 April 1962
Kosmos 5 Soviet Union 28 May 1962
Kosmos 8 Soviet Union 18 August 1968
Alouette 1 Canada 29 September 1962
TAVE United States 29 September 1962
Explorer 14 United States 2 October 1962
Explorer 15 United States 27 October 1962
Explorer 900 United States 16 December 1962

References[edit]