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OGO 6 was a large observatory instrumented with 26 experiments designed to study the various interrelationships between, and latitudinal distributions of, high-altitude atmospheric parameters during a period of increased solar activity. The main body of the spacecraft was attitude controlled by means of horizon scanners and gas jets so that its orientation was maintained constant with respect to the earth and the sun. The solar panels rotated on a horizontal axis extending transversely through the main body of the spacecraft. The rotation of the panels was activated by sun sensors so that the panels received maximum sunlight. Seven experiments were mounted on the solar panels (the SOEP package). An additional axis, oriented vertically across the front of the main body, carried seven experiments (the OPEP package). Nominally, these sensors observed in a forward direction in the orbital plane of the satellite. The sensors could be rotated more than 90 deg relative to the nominal observing position and more than 90 deg between the upper and lower OPEP groups mounted on either end of this axis. On June 22, 1969, the spacecraft potential dropped significantly during sunlight operation and remained so during subsequent sunlight operation. This unexplained shift affected seven experiments which made measurements dependent upon knowledge of the spacecraft plasma sheath. During October 1969, a string of solar cells failed, but the only effect of the decreased power was to cause two experiments to change their mode of operation. Also during October 1969, a combination of manual and automatic attitude control was initiated, which extended the control gas lifetime of the attitude control system. In August 1970, tape recorder (TR) no. 1 operation degraded, so all recorded data were subsequently taken with TR no. 2. By September 1970, power and equipment degradation left 14 experiments operating normally, 3 partially, and 9 off. From October 14, 1970, TR no. 2 was used only on Wednesdays (world days) to conserve power and extend TR operation. In June 1971, the number of "on" experiments decreased from 13 to 7, and on June 28, 1971, the spacecraft was placed in a spin-stabilized mode about the yaw (Z) axis and turned off due to difficulties with spacecraft power. OGO 6 was turned on again from October 10, 1971, through March 1972, for operation of experiment 25 by The Radio Research Laboratory, Japan. For additional information see J. E. Jackson and J. I. Vette, OGO Program Summary, NASA SP-7601, Dec. 1975.

Alternate Names

  • OGO-F
  • PL-691D
  • S 60
  • POGO 3
  • 03986

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1969-06-05
Launch Vehicle: Thor-Agena
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States
Mass: 631.8 kg

Funding Agency

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


  • Earth Science
  • Solar Physics
  • Space Physics

Additional Information

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



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Wilfred E. ScullProject ManagerNASA Goddard Space Flight Center 
Dr. Nelson W. SpencerProject ScientistNASA Goddard Space Flight Center 
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