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Thor Agena B with Discoverer 34 (Nov. 5 1961)

The launch of Discoverer 34

Discoverer 34, also known as Corona 9027, 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 34 occurred at 20:00 UTC on 5 November 1961. A Thor DM-21 Agena-B rocket was used, flying from Launch Complex 75-1-1 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.[2] Although the satellite achieved orbit, and was assigned the Harvard designation 1961 Alpha Epsilon 1, the launch was unsuccessful. An anomalous angle taken during ascent resulted in the spacecraft being placed into an unusable orbit.[3] It was the second consecutive KH-3 launch failure; the previous mission, Discoverer 33, had failed to achieve orbit due to a separation failure.

Discoverer 34 was launched into a low Earth orbit, with a perigee of 225 kilometres (Template:Convert/round mi), an apogee of 970 kilometres (Template:Convert/round mi), 82.5 degrees of inclination, and a period of 96.6 minutes.[4] The satellite had a mass of 1,150 kilograms (Template:Convert/round lb),[5] 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).[6] Images were to have been recorded onto 70-millimeter (Template:Convert/LoffAonSon) film, and returned in a Satellite Recovery Vehicle. The Satellite Recovery Vehicle to be used by Discoverer 34 was SRV-553. Due to the launch failure, and a problem with a gas valve on the spacecraft, recovery of the SRV was not attempted.[3] Discoverer 34 decayed from orbit on 7 December 1962.[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Krebs, Gunter. "KH-3 Corona". Gunter's Space Page. http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/kh-3.htm. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  2. McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. http://planet4589.org/space/log/launchlog.txt. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Lindborg, Christina; Pike, John (9 September 2000). "KH-3 Corona". Federation of American Scientists. http://www.fas.org/spp/military/program/imint/kh-3.htm. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. http://planet4589.org/space/log/satcat.txt. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  5. Wade, Mark. "KH-3". Encyclopedia Astronautica. http://www.astronautix.com/craft/kh3.htm. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
  6. "Corona". Mission and Spacecraft Library. NASA. http://msl.jpl.nasa.gov/programs/corona.html. Retrieved 30 June 2010. 
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