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In 1970, Hughes Aircraft Company (HAC) Space and Communications Group offered the first[citation needed] standardized satellite: the HS 333 design. A spinning satellite, it was based on previous one-design satellites like Intelsat I. HAC built eight of these 300 watt, 12 channel single antenna satellites between 1970 and 1977.[1]


The early satellites were designed with cylindrical bodies to maximize the size of the satellite that could fit inside of the rocket's nose cone or fairing which was also round. The early design satellites also relied on spinning at about 30 rpm for stability in orbit. The spinning satellite is a gyroscope.

Several parallel decks, including the top and bottom, were used to mount the propulsion, attitude control, communication, Telemetry & Command (T&C), and power equipment. The upper deck or top of the satellite contained the payload antenna and the T&C antenna.

The outer surface of the cylindrical body was covered with solar cells to generate power for operating the satellite's electrical equipment. Batteries provide power during eclipse, when the satellite is in the shadow of the earth. The batteries are recharged by excess power from the solar array.

The HS 333 was 1.8 m (6 ft) in diameter and nominally 3.3 m (11 ft) high. The solar array and batteries provided sufficient power over the satellites 7 year design life to power the 190 W payload and 233 W spacecraft equipment. The payload contributed 54 kg (119 lb) of the HS 333's 146 kg (542 lb) dry mass.


Eight HS-333 satellites were launched:

Satellite Operator Launch date
Carrier rocket[2] Mass Longitude Retirement Remarks
Anik A1[3] Canada Telesat Canada[4] 10 November 1972
Delta 1914[4] 560 kilograms (1,230 lb)[4]
Anik A2[3] Canada Telesat Canada[4] 20 April 1973
Delta 1914[4] 560 kilograms (1,230 lb)[4]
Westar 1[3] United States Western Union[5] 13 April 1974
Delta 2914[5] 574 kilograms (1,265 lb)[5]
Westar 2[3] United States Western Union[5] 10 October 1974
Delta 2914[5] 574 kilograms (1,265 lb)[5]
Anik A3[3] Canada Telesat Canada[4] 7 May 1975
Delta 2914[4] 560 kilograms (1,230 lb)[4]
Palapa A1[3] Indonesia Perumtel[6] 8 July 1976
Delta 2914[6] 574 kilograms (1,265 lb)[6]
Palapa A2[3] Indonesia Perumtel[6] 10 March 1977
Delta 2914[6] 574 kilograms (1,265 lb)[6]
Westar 3[3] United States Western Union[5] 20 August 1979
Delta 2914[5] 574 kilograms (1,265 lb)[5]


  1. ^ Hughes Aircraft Corporation, Space and Communications Group, SBS F6 Prime sales brochure, 1985
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Krebs, Gunter. "Hughes: HS-333 / HS-356". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Krebs, Gunter. "Anik A 1, 2, 3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Krebs, Gunter. "Westar 1, 2, 3". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Krebs, Gunter. "Palapa A 1, 2". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 

See also[edit]