Template:Infobox spaceflight

Thor Agena B with Discoverer 31 (Sep. 17, 1961)

The launch of Discoverer 31

Discoverer 31, also known as Corona 9024, was an American optical reconnaissance satellite which was launched in 1961. It was a KH-3 Corona''' satellite, based on an Agena-B.[1]

The launch of Discoverer 31 occurred at 21:00 UTC on 17 September 1961. A Thor DM-21 Agena-B rocket was used, flying from Launch Complex 75-1-1 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.[2] Upon successfully reaching orbit, it was assigned the Harvard designation 1961 Alpha Beta 1.

Discoverer 31 was operated in a low Earth orbit, with a perigee of 233 kilometres (Template:Convert/round mi), an apogee of 380 kilometres (Template:Convert/round mi), 82.7 degrees of inclination, and a period of 90.7 minutes.[3] The satellite had a mass of 1,150 kilograms (Template:Convert/round lb),[4] and was equipped with a panoramic camera with a focal length of 61 centimetres (Template:Convert/round in), which had a maximum resolution of 7.6 metres (Template:Convert/round ft).[5] Images were recorded onto 70-millimeter (Template:Convert/LoffAonSon) film, and were to have been returned in a Satellite Recovery Vehicle. The Satellite Recovery Vehicle carried aboard Discoverer 31 was SRV-552. During the spacecraft's thirty-third orbit, the attitude control and power systems malfunctioned, and as a result Discoverer 31 was unable to complete its mission or return images.[4][6] It decayed from orbit on 26 October 1961.[3]


  1. Krebs, Gunter. "KH-3 Corona". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  2. McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wade, Mark. "KH-3". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  5. "Corona". Mission and Spacecraft Library. NASA. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  6. Lindborg, Christina; Pike, John (9 September 2000). "KH-3 Corona". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
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