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Alouette 2



Alouette 2 was a small ionospheric observatory instrumented with a sweep-frequency ionospheric sounder, a VLF receiver, an energetic particle experiment, a cosmic noise experiment, and an electrostatic probe. The spacecraft used two long dipole antennas (73 m and 22.8 m, respectively) for the sounder, VLF, and cosmic noise experiments. The satellite was spin-stabilized at about 2.25 rpm after antenna deployment. End plates on the 73 m antenna corrected the rapid despin that had occurred on Alouette 1, and which was believed to result from thermal distortion of the antenna and from radiation pressure. There was no tape recorder, so that data were available only when the spacecraft was in line of sight of telemetry stations. Telemetry stations were located so that primary data coverage was near the 80 deg W meridan plus areas near Hawaii, Singapore, Australia, the UK, India, Norway, and Central Africa. Initially data were recorded about 8 hours/day. Degradation of the power supply system had, by June 1975, reduced the operating time to about 1/2 h per day. Routine operations were terminated in July 1975. The spacecraft was successfully reactivated on November 28 and 29, 1975, in order to obtain data on its 10th annniversary. A data restoration effort began in the late nineties and successfully saved a considerable portion of the high-resolution data before the telemetry tapes were discarded. More information about this effort and access to the data on CDAWeb can be found at

Alternate Names

  • 01804
  • Alouette-B
  • Alouette2
  • ISIS-X
  • S 27B

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1965-11-29
Launch Vehicle: Thrust Augmented Thor-Agena B
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 146.5 kg

Funding Agencies

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)
  • Defence Research Board-Defence Research Telecommunications Establishme (Canada)


  • Space Physics
  • Solar Physics
  • Astronomy

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. Dieter K. Bilitza



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. John H. ChapmanProject CoordinatorDepartment of Communications/Communications Research Centre
Dr. C. A. FranklinProject EngineerDepartment of Communications/Communications Research Centre
Mr. John E. JacksonProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Erwin R. SchmerlingProgram ScientistNASA Headquarters
Mr. Frank W. GaetanoProgram ManagerNASA Headquarters
Dr. J. H. WhittekerGeneral ContactDepartment of Communications/Communications Research Centre
Mr. C. D. FloridaProject ManagerDefence Research Board - Defence Research Telecommuncations Establish
Mr. J. S. JohnsonProgram ManagerDepartment of Communications/Communications Research Centre
Mr. E. D. NelsenProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Irvine PaghisProject ScientistDefence Research Board - Defence Research Telecommuncations Establish
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