A Half Century of Solar Science

Fifty years ago today — March 7, 1962 — the first Orbiting Solar Observatory launched from Cape Canaveral on a Thor Delta rocket.

(Orbiting Solar Observatory 1. NASA image.)


was the first satellite to have pointed instruments and onboard tape recorders for data storage. The OSO 1 platform consisted of a sail section, which pointed two experiments continuously toward the sun, supplying power to the experiments from the solar batteries and rechargeable chemical batteries; and a wheel section, which spun about an axis perpendicular to the pointing direction of the sail and carried seven experiments.

More information on OSO-1 is available from NASA’s High Energy Astrophysics Science Archive Research Center (HEASARC).

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