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Explorer 4



Explorer 4 was a cylindrically shaped satellite instrumented to make the first detailed measurements of charged particles (protons and electrons) trapped in the terrestrial radiation belts. An unexpected tumble motion of the satellite made the interpretation of the detector data very difficult. The low-power transmitter and the plastic scintillator detector failed September 3, 1958. The two Geiger-Mueller tubes and the cesium iodide crystal detectors continued to operate normally until September 19, 1958. The high-power transmitter ceased sending signals on October 5, 1958. It is believed that exhaustion of the power batteries caused these failures. The spacecraft decayed from orbit after 454 days on October 23, 1959.

Alternate Names

  • 1958 Epsilon 1
  • 00009
  • Explorer4

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1958-07-26
Launch Vehicle: Juno
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 25.5 kg

Funding Agencies

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Army (United States)
  • NASA Jet Proplusion Laboratory (United States)


  • Space Physics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. J. FroelichProject ManagerNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. Albert R. HibbsProject ScientistNASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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