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Alexis was a small satellite which carried an ultrasoft X-ray telescope array for astronomy studies and and a high-speed VHF receiver/digitizer (Blackbeard) for studying the effect of lightning and electromagnetic impulse from exploding nucear devices on the ionospheric transmission. It was launched on a Pegasus booster from the wing of a B-52, but a solar paddle was damaged during the flight. No contact with the satellite was established until three months after launch. New attitude control techniques were developed and the satellite was brought under control. The telemetry system performed nominally. The spacecraft is spin-stabilized with a period of 2 rpm and the axis points sunward. The Blackbeard experiment operated successfully. The astronomy data needed a full pointing and aspect solution in order to be interpreted.

Alternate Names

  • 22638

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1993-04-25
Launch Vehicle: Pegasus
Launch Site: Edwards Air Force Base, United States
Mass: 113 kg
Nominal Power: 50 W

Funding Agency

  • Department of Energy (United States)


  • Communications
  • Surveillance and Other Military
  • Astronomy

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Jeffrey J. BlochProject ScientistLos Alamos National
Dr. William C. PriedhorskyProject ScientistLos Alamos National

Other Sources for ALEXIS Information/Data

The ALEXIS Project (LANL)
The ALEXIS Project (UC Berkeley)

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