Discoverer 24


Discoverer 24
Mission typeOptical reconnaissance
OperatorUS Air Force/NRO
Mission durationFailed to orbit
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeKH-5 Argon
Launch mass1,150 kilograms (2,540 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date8 June 1961, 21:16 (1961-06-08UTC21:16Z) UTC
RocketThor DM-21 Agena-B 302
Launch siteVandenberg LC-1 launch pad 75-3-4
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
The launch of Discoverer 24

Discoverer 24, also known as Corona 9018A, was an American area survey optical reconnaissance satellite which was launched in 1961 but failed to achieve orbit. It was a KH-5 Argon satellite, based on an Agena-B.[1] It was the third KH-5 to be launched.

The launch of Discoverer 24 occurred at 21:16 UTC on 8 June 1961. A Thor DM-21 Agena-B rocket was used, flying from launch pad 75-3-4 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.[2] Thor performance was normal and cutoff and staging occurred on time, but the Agena suffered a massive power supply failure during ascent. Since the power failure had caused loss of Agena telemetry data, it was unclear exactly what happened following staging or if engine start ever occurred. Radar tracking indicated that the stage was on a ballistic trajectory and tumbling. It impacted the Pacific Ocean some 400 miles downrange.[3]

Discoverer 24 was to have operated in a low Earth orbit. It had a mass of 1,150 kilograms (2,540 lb),[4] and was equipped with a frame camera with a focal length of 76 millimetres (3.0 in), which had a maximum resolution of 140 metres (460 ft).[5] Images would have been recorded onto 127-millimeter (5.0 in) film, and returned in a Satellite Recovery Vehicle, before the satellite ceased operations. The Satellite Recovery Vehicle carried aboard Discoverer 24 was SRV-541.[4]


  1. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "KH-5 Argon (Agena-B based)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  2. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  3. ^ Lindborg, Christina (9 September 2000). "KH-5 Argon". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b Wade, Mark. "KH-5". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 13 January 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  5. ^ "Corona". Mission and Spacecraft Library. NASA. Archived from the original on 3 October 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2010.