NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header




The purpose of the OGO 1 spacecraft, the first of a series of six Orbiting Geophysical Observatories, was to conduct diversified geophysical experiments to obtain a better understanding of the earth as a planet and to develop and operate a standardized observatory-type satellite. OGO 1 consisted of a main body that was parallelepipedal in form, two solar panels, each with a solar-oriented experiment package (SOEP), two orbital plane experiment packages (OPEP) and six appendages EP-1 through EP-6 supporting the boom experiment packages. One face of the main body was designed to point toward the earth (+Z axis), and the line connecting the two solar panels (X axis) was intended to be perpendicular to the earth-sun-spacecraft plane. The solar panels were able to rotate about the X axis. The OPEPs were mounted on and could rotate about an axis which was parallel to the Z axis and attached to the main body. Due to a boom deployment failure shortly after orbital injection, the spacecraft was put into a permanent spin mode of 5 rpm about the Z axis. This spin axis remained fixed with a declination of about -10 deg and right ascension of about 40 deg at launch. The initial local time of apogee was 2100 h. OGO 1 carried 20 experiments. Twelve of these were particle studies and two were magnetic field studies. In addition, there was one experiment for each of the following types of studies: interplanetary dust, VLF, Lyman-alpha, gegenschein, atmospheric mass, and radio astronomy. Real-time data were transmitted at 1, 8, or 64 kbs depending on the distance of the spacecraft from the earth. Playback data were tape recorded at 1 kbs and transmitted at 64 kbs. Two wideband transmitters, one feeding into an omnidirectional antenna and the other feeding into a directional antenna, were used to transmit data. A special-purpose telemetry system, feeding into either antenna, was also used to transmit wideband data in real time only. Tracking was accomplished by using radio beacons and a range and range-rate S-band transponder. Because of the boom deployment failure, the best operating mode for the data handling system was the use of one of the wideband transmitters and the directional antenna. All data received from the omnidirectional antenna were noisy. During September 1964, acceptable data were received over 70% of the orbital path. By June 1969, data acquisition was limited to 10% of the orbital path. The spacecraft was placed in a standby status November 25, 1969, and all support was terminated November 1, 1971. By April 1970 the spacecraft perigee had increased to 46,000 km and the inclination had increased to 58.8 deg.

Alternate Names

  • 00879
  • EOGO 1
  • OGO-A
  • OGO1
  • S 49

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1964-09-05
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Agena B
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 487.2 kg

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Planetary Science
  • Space Physics
  • Astronomy

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. H. Kent Hills



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. George H. LudwigProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Mr. Wilfred E. ScullProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
[] NASA Logo -