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The MIDAS 5 (MIssile Defense Alarm System) satellite was designed primarily to detect the exhaust heat from a recently launched ICBM by use of infrared sensors. Secondary objectives included measuring cosmic radiation, energetic particles, and the effects of the space environment on certain metals and emulsions. The spacecraft was cylindrically shaped, measuring approximately 6 m in length and 1.5 m in diameter. Once in orbit, the spacecraft was stabilized in a nose-down attitude so that the IR sensors and antenna were always facing earthward.

Alternate Names

  • Missile Defense Alarm System 5
  • 00271
  • 1962 Kappa 1
  • MIDAS5

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1962-04-09
Launch Vehicle: Atlas
Launch Site: Point Arguello, United States
Mass: 2000 kg

Funding Agency

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


  • Surveillance and Other Military
  • Space Physics
  • Astronomy

Additional Information

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



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