First Geosynchronous Science Satellite

Thirty-five years ago today — July 14, 1978 — “the first spacecraft dedicated completely to scientific measurements in an equatorial geostationary orbit” was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Thor Delta rocket.

(A GEOS satellite in a test chamber. Image from the “Earth Observation Portal.”)

Called GEOstationary Scientific Satellite 2, it was identical to a previous version that ended up in the wrong orbit. Built by the European Space Agency and instrumented primarily to measure Earth’s magnetic field, GEOS 2 was originally a back-up satellite. Once on orbit, according to the Earth Observation Portal, GEOS 2 “provided two years of data, was placed in hibernation for eight months, then [was] revived for eight months in 1981” to support upper atmospheric studies. After those studies, it continued to operate through 1983.

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4 Responses to First Geosynchronous Science Satellite

  1. Guy Stewart says:

    I’m posting this just to let you know that I read these FAITHFULLY! Your blog is on my Favorites bar — and I keep a close watch to see if they inspire any ideas for a feature on my blog I call “Ideas On Tuesday”. The “alien intervention” in the flight of Phobos 2 will be featured in my next “SF Trope” idea. Thanks for doing this!