Injun (satellite)

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The Injun program was a series of six satellites designed and built by researchers at the University of Iowa to observe various radiation and magnetic phenomena in the ionosphere and beyond.

The design specifics of the satellites had little in common, though all were solar-powered and the first five used magnetic stabilization to control spacecraft attitude. (The last in the series was spin-stabilized.) Instruments included particle detectors of varying types, magnetometers, and photometers for observing auroras.[1] The last three satellites were launched as part of the Explorer program.

In spite of various hardware difficulties and the loss of Injun 2 due to an upper stage failure, the program was generally successful. In particular they produced data on the Van Allen radiation belts including electrical convection in the magnetosphere[2] and the radiation after effects of the Starfish Prime high-altitude nuclear test.[3]

Program details[edit]

Name Also known as Launched Vehicle Ceased operation Notes
Injun 1 June 29, 1961 Thor-Able March 6, 1963 Failed to separate from Solrad 3; still in orbit[4]
Injun 2 January 24, 1962 Thor-Able failed at launch Upper stage produced insufficient thrust
Injun 3 December 12, 1962 Thor-Agena August 25, 1968 Orbit decay and re-entry on August 25, 1968
Injun 4 IE B, Explorer 25 November 21, 1964 Scout X-4 December 1966 still in orbit[5]
Injun 5 IE C, Explorer 40 August 8, 1968 Scout X-4 June 1971 still in orbit[citation needed]
Injun 6 IE D, Hawkeye, Explorer 52, Neutral Point Explorer June 3, 1974 Scout X-4 April 28, 1978 main article: Explorer 52


  1. ^ Swift, Daniel W.; Gurnett, Donald A. (1973). "Direct comparison between satellite electric field measurements and the visual aurora". Journal of Geophysical Research. 78 (31): 7306–7313. Bibcode:1973JGR....78.7306S. doi:10.1029/JA078i031p07306. hdl:2060/19730016689.
  2. ^ Gurnett, Donald. Dyer, E.R. (ed.). Electrical Fields and Plasma Observations in the Magnetosphere, in Critical Problems in Magnetospheric Physics (PDF). Washington, D.C.: American Geophyscial Union. pp. 123–138. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  3. ^ Hess, Wilmot N. (September 1964). "The Effects of High Altitude Explosions" (PDF). National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA TN D-2402. Retrieved 2007-10-07. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ "Injun 1". NASA National Space Science Data Center.
  5. ^ "Injun 4". NASA National Space Science Data Center.