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ATS 1 (Applications Technology Satellite) was designed and launched for the purpose of (1) testing new concepts in spacecraft design, propulsion, and stabilization, (2) collecting high-quality cloudcover pictures and relaying processed meteorological data via an earth-synchronous satellite, (3) providing in situ measurements of the aerospace environment, and (4) testing improved communication systems. The spin-stabilized spacecraft was cylindrically shaped and measured 135 cm long and 142 cm in diameter. The primary structural members were a honeycombed equipment shelf and thrust tube. Support rods extended radially outward from the thrust tube. Solar panels were affixed to the support rods and formed the outer walls of the spacecraft. Equipment components and payload were mounted in the annular space between the thrust tube and solar panels. In addition to solar panels, the spacecraft was equipped with two rechargeable nickel-cadmium batteries to provide electrical power. Eight 150-cm-long VHF experiment whip antennas were mounted around the aft end of the spacecraft, while eight telemetry and command antennas were placed on the forward end. Spacecraft guidance and orbital corrections were accomplished by 2.3-kg hydrogen peroxide and hydrazine thrusters, which were activated by ground command. The satellite was initially placed at 151.16 deg W longitude over the Pacific Ocean in a geosynchronous orbit. In general, most of the experiments were successful. Data coverage was nominal until about 1970, after which limited real-time data acquisition was carried out by NOAA until the May 1974 launch of SMS 1. Limited ATS 1 data acquisition was begun by NASA at about that time for ATS 1 - ATS 6 correlative studies. The spacecraft has served as a communications satellite for a number of state, federal, and public organizations up to the present. It is planned to continue operations at its final longitude of 164 deg E until September 1983 and then move the spacecraft out of the geostationary orbit.

Alternate Names

  • 02608
  • ATS-B
  • ATS1
  • Advanced Tech. Sat. 1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1966-12-07
Launch Vehicle: Atlas-Agena D
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 352 kg

Funding Agency

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


  • Space Physics
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. R. J. DarceyProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Mr. Charles M. MacKenzieProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Thomas L. AggsonProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center


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