Orbital Test Satellite

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Orbital Test Satellite 2
Mission type Technology demonstration
Communications satellite
Operator ESA
COSPAR ID 1978-044A
SATCAT no. 10855
Mission duration Final: 12 years, 7 months, 21 days
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer British Aerospace[1]
Launch mass 865 kg (1,907 lb)[1][2]
BOL mass 445 kg (981 lb)[1]
Dimensions 2.4 × 2.1 m (7.9 × 6.9 ft)[1]
Power 600 watts[1]
Start of mission
Launch date 11 May 1978, 22:59 (1978-05-11UTC22:59) UTC[2]
Rocket Delta 3914[2]
Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-17A[2]
End of mission
Disposal Placed in graveyard orbit
Deactivated 2 January 1991 (1991-01-03)[2]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geosynchronous

The Orbital Test Satellite programme was an experimental satellite system inherited by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1975 from its predecessor, the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO).

The first of the pair of OTS satellites (OTS-1) were lost at launch in the failure of its US Delta launcher in September 1977. OTS-2 was successfully launched in 1978, again using the Delta rocket and became one of the first geostationary communications satellites to carry six Ku-band transponders and was capable of handling 7,200 telephone circuits. With a mass of approximately 445 kg on station, the OTS 2 bus was hexagonal with overall dimensions of 2.4 m by 2.1 m. Two solar panels with a span of 9.3 m provided 0.6 kW of electrical power. British Aerospace was the prime contractor from the European MESH consortium which developed the OTS vehicle. It completed its primary mission in 1984 after which the spacecraft was involved in a 6-year program of experiments, including the testing of a new attitude control technique taking advantage of solar radiation pressure forces. In January 1991, OTS 2 was moved out of the geostationary ring and into a graveyard orbit.


This article contains information that originally came from a U.S. Government website, in the public domain.

  1. ^ a b c d e "OTS 2". National Space Science Data Center. NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "ECS/OTS". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 6 January 2017.