Discoverer 34


CORONA KH-2 satellite
NamesCORONA 9027
Mission typeOptical reconnaissance
OperatorU.S. Air Force / NRO
Harvard designation1961 Alpha Epsilon 1
COSPAR ID1961-029A
SATCAT no.00197
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeCORONA KH-2
BusAgena B
ManufacturerLockheed Corporation
Launch mass1,150 kg (2,540 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date5 November 1961,
20:00:30 GMT[1]
RocketThor-Agena B
(Thor 330 / Agena 1117)
Launch siteVandenberg, LC-75-1-1
ContractorDouglas Aircraft Company / Lockheed Corporation
Entered service5 November 1961
End of mission
Decay date7 December 1962
Landing dateSRV 553
Landing siteNot attempted
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[2]
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Perigee altitude227 km (141 mi)
Apogee altitude1,011 km (628 mi)
Period97.20 minutes
Launch of DISCOVERER 34

DISCOVERE 34, also known as CORONA 9027, was an United States optical reconnaissance satellite which was launched on 5 November 1961. It was the ninth of ten CORONA KH-2 satellites, based on the Agena B.[3]


The launch of DISCOVERER 34 occurred at 20:00:30 GMT on 5 November 1961.[1] A Thor-Agena B launch vehicle was used, flying from Launch Complex 75-1-1 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base.[1] Although the satellite achieved orbit, and was assigned the Harvard designation 1961 Alpha Epsilon 1, the launch was unsuccessful. An anomalous angle taken during ascent resulted in the spacecraft being placed into an unusable orbit.[4] It was the second consecutive KH-2 launch failure; the previous mission, Discoverer 33, had failed to achieve orbit due to a separation failure.

DISCOVERER 34 was launched into a low Earth orbit, with a perigee of 227 km (141 mi), an apogee of 1,011 km (628 mi), 82.7° of inclination, and a period of 97.20 minutes.[2] The satellite had a mass of 1,150 kg (2,540 lb),[5] and was equipped with a panoramic camera with a focal length of 61 cm (24 in), which had a maximum resolution of 7.6 m (25 ft).[6] Images were to have been recorded onto 70 mm (2.8 in) film, and returned in a Satellite Recovery Vehicle (SRV). The Satellite Recovery Vehicle to be used by DISCOVERER 34 was SRV-553. Due to the launch failure, and a problem with a gas valve on the spacecraft, recovery of the SRV was not attempted.[4] Discoverer 34 decayed from orbit on 7 December 1962.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Report. 21 July 2021. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Trajectory: DISCOVERER 34 (1961-029A)". NASA. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 13 November 2021. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^ Krebs, Gunter (7 February 2018). "KH-2 Corona". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b Lindborg, Christina; Pike, John (9 September 2000). "KH-3 Corona". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  5. ^ Wade, Mark. "KH-3". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Corona". Mission and Spacecraft Library. NASA. Archived from the original on 3 October 2007. Retrieved 30 June 2010. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.