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Mission type  Weather Satellite
COSPAR ID  1968-068A
Mission duration  38 days
Launch date  10 August 1968
Launch mass  391 kg
Rocket  Atlas-Agena
Operator  NASA
SATCAT №  03344
Bus  HS-306
Period  1.6 hours
Launch mass  391 kg
Manufacturer  Hughes Aircraft Company
ATS-4 httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Similar  ATS‑3, ATS‑2, ATS‑6, ATS‑1, Surveyor 7

ATS-4 (Applications Technology Satellite) was a communications satellite launched by NASA on August 10, 1968 from Cape Canaveral through an Atlas-Agena D rocket.



The objective of ATS-4 was to investigate the possibilities of a gravity gradient stabilization system (the method of stabilizing artificial satellites)[1].


The satellite has a cylindrical shape with a 142cm diameter and 183cm (about 360 cm considering the motor cover) with the surface covered by solar panels, and stabilized by gravity gradient.


A total of four experiments were conducted during the mission:

  • Microwave Transponder
  • Gravity Gradient Stabilization
  • Image Orthicon (Day/Night) Camera
  • Ion Thruster
  • Mission

    The ATS-4 launch vehicle failed in the ignition, resulting in an unplanned low elliptical orbit. The stress resulting from this orbit precipitated the fall of the spacecraft, yet, still achieved good results in some of the experiments. The primary objective to put a spacecraft stabilized by gravity gradient in orbit was not reached. The satellite reentered the atmosphere on 17 October 1968.


    ATS-4 Wikipedia

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