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Ariel 4



The United Kingdom Research Satellite 4 (UK 4) was a small observatory designed to investigate the interactions between electromagnetic waves, plasmas, and energetic particles present in the upper ionosphere. Experiments included observations of radio noise, electron density and temperature, very low frequency (VLF) and extremely low frequency (ELF) propagation, VLF impulses, and characteristics of low-energy charged particles. The satellite structure was similar to that of previous UK satellites, with four paddles extending out and downward from the base of the main satellite body. These paddles served as solar power cell mountings and as mounting for experiments. The satellite was a right cylinder attached to a right conical structure with solar cells placed on the cylindrical surface. The satellite was spin stabilized with an attitude control system that maintained the spacecraft's spin axis within 5 degrees of parallel alignment with the geomagnetic axis. With the particle experiment mounted at the apex of the cone, it looked at the northern geomagnetic pole. Tape-recorded data of global coverage were of low resolution, while the real-time observations taken within telemetry range of read-out stations were of high resolution. The satellite had a design lifetime of 1 yr.

Alternate Names

  • 05675
  • Ariel4
  • UK 4

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1971-12-11
Launch Vehicle: Scout
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 99.5 kg

Funding Agencies

  • Science Research Council, UK (United Kingdom)
  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Space Physics
  • Astronomy

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Herbert L. EakerProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Mr. Jerome F. SmithProject ManagerScience Research Council
Mr. Robert DalzielProject ScientistRutherford Appleton Laboratory
Dr. George F. PieperProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight
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