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SAMOS 2 was launched from the Pacific Missile Range into a near-circular polar orbit to determine the capability for making observations of space, the atmosphere, and the nature of the globe from satellites. The 4100-lb spacecraft was a cylinder 22 ft long and 5 ft in diameter, and it comprised the entire Agena A second stage. Included in the instrumentation were photographic and associated test equipment, acoustical micrometeorite detection apparatus, a plasma probe, and an electric field meter. The computer on board was digital-to-analog. Telemetry, tracking, and command equipment completed the payload. Details about the satellite's transmitter were not announced. A conical nose cap detached from the satellite casing and remained in orbit. The expected lifetime of the satellite was 15 years, and the expected lifetime of the nose cap was 12 years.

Alternate Names

  • 00070
  • 1961 Alpha 1
  • SAMOS2

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1961-01-31
Launch Vehicle: Atlas
Launch Site: Point Arguello, United States
Mass: 1900 kg

Funding Agency

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Air Force (United States)


  • Planetary Science
  • Space Physics

Additional Information

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



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