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This spacecraft was the first to be launched using the privately-developed winged Pegasus rocket booster released from an aircraft in flight. The project involved DARPA, DoD, and NASA. The three-function payload included instrumentation to help establish the launch vehicle payload environment measuring variations in launch vehicle and spacecraft attitude, temperature, pressure, structural loading and vibrations. It also ejected a small Navy experimental communications relay satellite (90-028B). The third function was a pair of barium chemical release experiments. These experiments were part of a NASA plan to recover some science objectives lost when the CRRES spacecraft was reconfigured from a Shuttle launch to an Atlas-Centaur launch. Interactions of photoionized barium with magnetic and electric fields in the Earth's magnetosphere and ionosphere were observed from a network of ground sites in central Canada and the United States. Both releases, on April 16 and April 25, 1990, were successfully observed by the western stations. In addition, this mission marked the first coordinated use of the Canadian ground-based system of magnetometers and photometers, Canopus, with a satellite or rocket campaign.

Alternate Names

  • 20546

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1990-04-05
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus
Launch Site: Edwards Air Force Base, United States
Mass: 178 kg

Funding Agencies

  • Department of Defense-Department of the Navy (United States)
  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Space Physics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. Timothy E. Eastman



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Charles P. HolmesProgram ScientistRaytheon
Dr. E. Gary MullenProject ManagerPhillips Laboratory (nee USAF Geophysics Lab, nee Cambridge Labs)
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