Discoverer 1

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Discoverer 1
Mission typeTechnology
OperatorUS Air Force
Harvard designation1959 Beta 1
COSPAR ID1959-002A
SATCAT no.13
Mission durationFailed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeCorona Test Vehicle
Start of mission
Launch date28 February 1959, 21:49:16 (1959-02-28UTC21:49:16Z) UTC
RocketThor DM-18 Agena-A 163
Launch siteVandenberg LC-75-3-4
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth

Discoverer 1 was the first of a series of satellites which were part of the Corona reconnaissance satellite program. It was launched on a Thor-Agena rocket on February 28, 1959 at 1:49 PST from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It was a prototype of the KH-1 satellite, but did not contain either a camera or a film capsule.[1] It was the first satellite launched toward the South Pole in an attempt to achieve polar orbit, but was unsuccessful. A CIA report, later declassified, concluded that "Today, most people believe the DISCOVERER I landed somewhere near the South Pole."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clayton K. S. Chun, Thunder Over the Horizon: From V-2 Rockets to Ballistic Missiles (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006), pp74-75
  2. ^ David L. Hancock (1995), Kevin C. Ruffner (ed.), Corona: America's First Satellite Program (PDF), CIA Cold War series, CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, p. 16

External links[edit]