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Beacon Explorer-A



Beacon Explorer-A was a small ionospheric research satellite instrumented with an electrostatic probe, a 20-, 40-, and 41-Hz ionospheric radio beacon, a passive laser tracking reflector, and a navigation experiment. Its primary objective was to obtain worldwide observations of total electron content between the spacecraft and the earth. The spacecraft was an octagonal right prism (24.5-cm high x 45.7-cm diam) terminated on top with a truncated octagonal pyramid on which the laser reflectors were mounted. Appended were four hinged paddles carrying solar cells. Each paddle was 167.6 x 25.4 cm. During the third stage operation, a malfunction of unidentified origin prevented successful orbit. Satellite and third stage descent were in the south Atlantic with no useful scientific data obtained.

Alternate Names

  • BE-A
  • BeaconExplorer-A
  • S 66A

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1964-03-19
Launch Vehicle: Delta
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 114 kg

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science Applications (United States)


  • Space Physics

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Robert E. BourdeauProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Mr. Frank T. MartinProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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