Explorer 16


Explorer 16
Mission typeSpace physics
Harvard designation1962 Beta Chi 1
COSPAR ID1962-070A[1]
SATCAT no.506
Mission duration7 months
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass100.8 kg (222 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date16 December 1962, 14:38 (1962-12-16UTC14:38) UTC[2]
RocketScout X-3
Launch siteWallops LA-3
End of mission
Last contactJuly 1963
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude750 km (470 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude1,181 km (734 mi)[1]
Period104.3 minutes[1]
Epoch16 December 1962[1]

Explorer 16, also called S-55B, was an American satellite launched as part of the Explorers program. Explorer 16 was launched on December 19, 1962, at Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, United States, with a Scout rocket.


Explorer 16 was the second in the series of micrometeoroid satellites orbited by NASA. Its purpose was to obtain data on the near-earth meteoroid environment, thus providing an accurate estimate of the probability of penetration in spacecraft structures by meteoroids and allowing a more confident definition of the relationship between penetration flux and material thickness to be derived.

The cylindrically shaped spacecraft, about 61 by 192 centimetres (24 in × 76 in), was built around the burned-out fourth stage of the Scout launch vehicle that remained as part of the orbiting satellite. Explorer 16 carried stainless steel pressurized-cell penetration detectors, impact detectors, capacitor detectors, and cadmium sulfide cell detectors to obtain data on the size, number, distribution, and momentum of dust particles in the near-earth environment. The spacecraft operated satisfactorily during its 7-month life (December 16, 1962, to July 1963), and all mission objectives were accomplished.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "S 55B". 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".