Ariel 3

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Ariel 3
Mission typeAtmospheric studies
OperatorSERC / NASA
COSPAR ID1967-042A
SATCAT no.2773
Mission duration43 months
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass89.8 kilograms (198 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date5 May 1967, 16:00:01 (1967-05-05UTC16:00:01Z) UTC
RocketScout A
Launch siteVandenberg SLC-5
End of mission
DeactivatedSeptember 1969 (1969-10)
Decay date14 December 1970
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude496 kilometres (308 mi)
Apogee altitude599 kilometres (372 mi)
Inclination80.17 degrees
Period95.69 minutes
Epoch7 June 1967[1]

Ariel 3 (UK 3 or United Kingdom Research Satellite 3) was the first artificial satellite designed and constructed in the United Kingdom. it was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on 5 May 1967 aboard a Scout rocket.[2][3] Ariel 3 had an orbital period of approximately 95 minutes, with an apogee of 608 km and a perigee of 497 km. It initially spun at 31 rpm for stability, though by the time the Ariel 3 deorbited, it had slowed to a rate of about 1 rpm.[3]

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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  2. ^ "'On This Day' for May 5, 1967 - First all-British satellite 'Ariel 3' launched". BBC News. 5 May 1967. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "Ariel 3". US National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 3 March 2008.

External links[edit]