Explorer-12 and Meteor/TOMS

Two bits of space history today.

First, 50 years ago, Explorer-12 was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Thor-Delta rocket. Part of the extensive Explorer series, Explorer-12 was the first of a sub-series of four satellites orbited to “measure cosmic-ray particles, trapped particles, solar wind protons, and magnetospheric and interplanetary magnetic fields.”

(Model of the Explorer-12 satellite, on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum. NASM image.)

And then 20 years ago a U.S. meteorological instrument — a Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) — was for the first time launched as part of a Soviet satellite. The Meteor/TOMS launched from Plesetsk on a Tsiklon-3 (read, “Cyclone-3”) rocket.

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