On March 26, 1958, the United States launched its third satellite into space. Explorer-3 Almost the same Explorer-1 Was. Explorer-1 was the first satellite launched by the United States.
About spacecraft and launch
Explorer-3 was launched by the US military to coincide with the International Geophysical Year (IGY).
Explorer-3 with rockets Juno-1 It was launched from Cape Canaveral and entered an unusual orbit. That is, it followed a long elliptical path around the earth. The purpose of this spacecraft was to continue the experiments that began with Explorer-1.
The payload includes a cosmic ray counter (a Geiger-Muller tube) and a micrometeorite detector (a wire mesh array and acoustic detector). The Explorer-3 spacecraft was rotationally stabilized and carried a recorder to provide a complete radiation history for each orbit.
Its total weight was 14 kg, of which 4.8 kg were the instruments carried by the spacecraft. The outer skin of the instrument section was painted in alternating white and dark green stripes to provide passive temperature control of the satellite.
Electric power was provided by batteries, which accounted for approximately 40% of the cargo’s weight. These batteries provided the power to operate the high power transmitter for 31 days and the low power transmitter for 105 days.
Achievements of Explorer-3
Explorer-3 and Explorer-1 data led to the discovery of the radiation belt Van Allen which is considered one of the outstanding discoveries of the International Geophysical Year (IGY).
The Van Allen Belt is a region around the Earth where charged particles from the Sun are trapped by the Earth’s magnetic field.
Explorer-3 spent approximately 93 days in orbit before it was destroyed in orbit. An example of this spacecraft is currently in the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.