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Atlas 3



The third flight in a series of Space Shuttle-Spacelab missions, designated the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS), was part of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. The series was intended to study the composition of the middle atmosphere and its possible variations due to solar changes over the course of an 11-year solar cycle. The third flight of ATLAS focused on atmospheric and solar physics and consisted of the same experments as in ATLAS-2 with the addition of two co-manifested experiments. The ATLAS-3 instruments were mounted on Spacelab pallets in the Shuttle payload bay. The Shuttle's changing orientation to Earth placed the experiments in advantageous orbiting locations to observe the atmosphere and the Sun. The Shuttle orbiter orientation was either inertially fixed so that the selected instruments were pointed at the Sun, or nadir pointed for observations of the Earth's atmosphere. Crew members were in consultation with the investigators while controlling and monitoring the experiments. The ATLAS-3 core instruments consisted of: (1) Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor (ACRIM); (2) Measurement of the Solar Constant (SOLCON); (3) Solar Spectrum Measurement (SOLSPEC); (4) Solar Ultraviolet Spectral Irradiance Monitor (SUSIM); (5) Atmospheric Trace Molecule Spectroscopy (ATMOS); and (6) Millimeter-Wave Atmospheric Sounder (MAS). The ATLAS-3 payload was co-manifested with the 6th flight of the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet (SSBUV-06) experiment, the German Space Agency (DARA) Shuttle Pallet Satellite/Cryogenic Infrared Spectrometers and Telescopes for the Atmosphere (SPAS/CRISTA) from Germany, and the Middle Atmospheric High Resolution Spectrograph Investigation (MAHRSI) from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Both MAHRSI and CRISTA were mounted on the German SPAS carrier and were integrated into the ATLAS-3 science plan.

Alternate Names

  • STS 66/Atlas 3
  • Atlas3

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1994-11-03
Launch Vehicle: Shuttle
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications United States


  • Solar Physics
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Earl J. MontoyaProgram ManagerNASA Headquarters
Mr. Anthony M O'NeilMission ManagerNASA Marshall Space Flight
Dr. Jack A. KayeProgram ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Timothy L. MillerMission ScientistNASA Marshall Space Flight
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