Explorer 15


Explorer 15
Explorer 15 (EPE-C)
Mission typeSpace physics
Harvard designation1962 βλ1
COSPAR ID1962-059A[1]
SATCAT no.445
Spacecraft properties
BusEPE Bus
Launch mass44.4 kg (98 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date27 October 1962, 23:17 (1962-10-27UTC23:17) UTC[2]
RocketDelta A[3]
Launch siteCape Canaveral LC-17B
End of mission
Decay date19 December 1978 (1978-12-20)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeHighly Elliptical
Perigee altitude300 km (190 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude17,438 km (10,835 mi)[1]
Period311.4 minutes[1]
Epoch27 October 1962[1]

Explorer 15, also called EPE-C, was an American satellite launched as part of the Explorers program. Explorer 15 was launched on October 27, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, United States, with a Delta rocket.


Explorer 15 was a spin-stabilized, solar cell-powered spacecraft instrumented to study the artificial radiation belt produced by the Starfish high-altitude nuclear burst of July 1962. The backup payload for Explorer 14 was modified and used for Explorer 15. The instrumentation included three sets of particle detectors to study both electrons and protons, and a two-axis fluxgate magnetometer to determine magnetic aspect. A 16-channel PFM/PM time-division multiplexed telemeter was used. The time required to sample the 16 channels (one frame period) was 0.323 s. Half of the channels were used to convey eight-level digital information, and the others were used for analog information. During ground processing of the telemetered data, the analog information was digitized with an accuracy of 1/100 of full scale.

One analog channel was subcommutated in a pattern 16 frames long and was used to telemeter spacecraft temperatures, power system voltages, electric currents, etc. A digital solar aspect sensor measured the spin period and phase, digitized to 0.041 s, and the angle between the spin axis and the sun direction to about 3° intervals. During launch the spacecraft failed to despin. The spin rate ranged from 72.9 to 73.2 rpm during the life of the spacecraft. The spin axis pointed at right ascension 80.97° and declination 20.9°.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Explorer 15". NSSDC Master Catalog. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Jonathan's Space Page".
  3. ^ "EPE". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Mark Wade. Retrieved June 9, 2018.