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OV1-8 PASCOMSAT Gridsphere.jpg
OV1-08 PasComSat Grid-Sphere Satellite when inflated, showing plastic designed to later dissolve.
Mission type Communications
Operator US Air Force
COSPAR ID 1966-063A
SATCAT no. 2324
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type OV1
Manufacturer Goodyear Aerospace[1]
Launch mass 10.4 kilograms (23 lb)[2]
BOL mass 3.2 kilograms (7.1 lb)[1]
Dimensions 9.1-meter (30 ft) sphere[1]
Start of mission
Launch date 14 July 1966, 02:10:02 (1966-07-14UTC02:10:02Z) UTC[3]
Rocket Atlas D OV1
Launch site Vandenberg ABRES B-3
Contractor US Air Force
End of mission
Decay date 4 January 1978 (1978-01-05)[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Perigee 955 kilometers (593 mi)
Apogee 1,047 kilometers (651 mi)
Inclination 144.2 degrees
Period 105.14 minutes
Epoch 15 August 1966[4]

Passive Communications Satellite or PasComSat, also known as OV1-8 was a communications satellite launched by USAF in 1966 as part of the Orbiting Vehicle program. The satellite functioned as a reflector, not a transceiver, so that after it was placed in low earth orbit, a signal would be sent to it, reflected or bounced off its surface, and then returned to Earth.


The grid-sphere design as opposed to a fully covered sphere was aimed at reducing the effects of solar pressure and space drag found to be a problem during Project Echo. The USAF contracted with Goodyear Aerospace for construction of a 9 meters (30 ft) diameter grid-sphere balloon. It was made of a soft aluminum wire grid embedded in a special plastic designed to dissolve in space under the sun's strong ultraviolet rays. On July 13, 1966, the satellite payload was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, atop an Atlas rocket. It went into orbit and was automatically inflated with helium. The plastic covering soon dissolved, leaving an open aluminum structure orbiting the earth. Tests indicated that the satellite would remain in orbit for at least 11 years and that it had a reflective power five times greater than that of a solid sphere.[5] The satellite decayed from orbit on January 4, 1978.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Krebs, Gunter. "PasComSat (OV1 8)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "OV1- 8". National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  3. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Grid-Sphere Passive Communications Satellite". National Museum of the US Air Force. USAF. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  6. ^ "OV1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved December 5, 2013.