Eight-in-One Launch, With a Repeater

Today in space history, 45 years ago — March 9, 1965 — a Thor-Agena D-model rocket launched eight satellites at once from Vandenberg AFB.

(A 1962 Thor-Agena-D launch. USAF image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Not only was it the first time eight spacecraft had been launched at the same time, but one of those satellites — Oscar-3 — was the first solar-powered amateur radio repeater in orbit. More than a thousand amateur radio operators in 22 countries around the world used Oscar-3 (Orbital Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio) for 18 days before its transponder failed.

You can read more about Oscar-3 and amateur satellite radio on this page.

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