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The magnetically aligned spacecraft Azur, or GRS-A (German Research satellite A), launched into a near-polar orbit on 8 November 1969 from Vandenberg AFB, was the first West German satellite. It was a product of a joint effort by NASA-GSFC and the German Bundesministerium fur Wissenschaftliche Forschung (BMWF) and had as its primary purpose the acquisition of terrestrial radiation belt data. Specifically, the scientific mission of the spacecraft was as follows: (1) to scan the energy spectra of inner zone protons and electrons, (2) to measure the fluxes of electrons of energy greater than 40 keV that are parallel, antiparallel, and perpendicular to the magnetic lines of force over the auroral zone and to measure associated optical emission, and (3) to record solar protons on alert. After about 24 hours in orbit, a command system instability developed and persisted intermittently throughout the flight. The tape recorder failed on December 8, 1969. Prior to this failure, the German project office estimated that 85-90% of the expected data had been obtained. All experiments were operating normally until the spacecraft telemetry system malfunctioned in early July 1970.

Alternate Names

  • 04221
  • GRS-1
  • GRS-A
  • GRS-A1
  • German Research Satellite
  • PL-694D

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1969-11-08
Launch Vehicle: Scout
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 70.7 kg

Funding Agencies

  • Deutsche Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) (Federal Republic of Germany)
  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Space Physics
  • Solar Physics

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Gerald D. RepassGeneral ContactNASA Goddard Space Flight
Dr. Alois W. SchardtGeneral ContactNASA Headquarters
Mr. Bernard G. NarrowGeneral ContactNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Raymond E. MillerGeneral ContactNASA
Mr. Charles F. RiceGeneral ContactNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Mr. Allen L. FrantaProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight
Mr. Ants KutzerProject ManagerGes fur Weltraumforschung
Dr. George F. PieperProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight
Ms. Della StewartGeneral ContactNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Ehrhard KepplerProject ScientistMax-Planck-Institut fur
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