Ariel 6

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Ariel 6
Ariel 6 before launch
Mission typeAstronomy
OperatorSERC / NASA
COSPAR ID1979-047A
SATCAT no.11382
Mission duration2 12 years
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass154.5 kilograms (341 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date2 June 1979, 23:26:00 (1979-06-02UTC23:26Z) UTC
RocketScout D-1 S198C
Launch siteWallops LA-3A
End of mission
DeactivatedFebruary 1982 (1982-03)
Decay date23 September 1990
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude599 kilometres (372 mi)
Apogee altitude653 kilometres (406 mi)
Inclination55 degrees
Period97.22 minutes
Epoch15 July 1979[1]

Ariel 6, also known as Ariel VI and UK-6, was a British and American satellite launched in 1979 as part of the Ariel programme. It was operated by the Science Research Council, which became the Science and Engineering Research Council in 1981. Ariel 6 was used for astronomical research, and operated until February 1982.[2] It was the last Ariel satellite to be launched.[3]

The spacecraft was manufactured by the Marconi Company, and had a mass of 155 kilograms (342 lb). It carried three instruments; two of which were used for x-ray astronomy, and one which was used to detect cosmic rays. Interference from radar signals prevented the satellite from pointing correctly, and affected the data that it returned.[2]

A Scout D-1 carrier rocket, serial number S198C, was used to launch Ariel 6 from Launch Area 3A at the Wallops Flight Center. The launch was successfully conducted at 23:26:00 UTC on 2 June 1979.[4][5] The satellite was placed into a low Earth orbit, and received the International Designator 1979-047A.[3]

Ariel 6 operated in a 599 by 653 kilometres (372 by 406 mi) low Earth orbit, at an inclination of 55 degrees and with an orbital period of 97.22 minutes as of 15 July 1979.[1][6] It decayed from orbit and reentered the atmosphere on 23 September 1990.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b "The Ariel VI Satellite". HEASARC. NASA. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Ariel 6 Spacecraft Details". NSSDC Master Catalog. NASA. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  4. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Ariel 6 (UK 6)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  5. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Ariel 6 Launch Information". NSSDC Master Catalog. NASA. Retrieved 4 June 2010.