Explorer 35


Explorer 35
Mission typeSpace physics
COSPAR ID1967-070A
SATCAT no.2884
Mission duration2,167 days
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLangley Research Center
Launch mass104.3 kilograms (230 lb)
Start of mission
Launch dateJuly 19, 1967, 14:19:02 (1967-07-19UTC14:19:02Z) UTC
RocketDelta E1
Launch siteCape Canaveral LC-17B
End of mission
DeactivatedJune 24, 1973 (1973-06-25)
Decay dateMid-late 1970s
Orbital parameters
Reference systemSelenocentric
Semi-major axis7,886 kilometers (4,900 mi)
Periselene altitude764 kilometers (475 mi)
Aposelene altitude7,886 kilometers (4,900 mi)
Inclination147.3 degrees
Period710 minutes
RAAN90.2825 degrees
Argument of periselene39.3155 degrees
Mean anomaly321.7298 degrees
Mean motion14.95777010
EpochMar 3, 1969 11:06:06 UTC
Revolution no.16777
Lunar orbiter
Orbital insertionJuly 21, 1967

Explorer 35 (IMP-E, AIMP 2, Anchored IMP 2, Interplanetary Monitoring Platform-E) was a spin-stabilized spacecraft built by NASA as part of the Explorers Program. Designed for the study of the interplanetary plasma, magnetic field, energetic particles, and solar X rays.[1] Launched into an elliptical lunar orbit, the spacecraft was shut down on June 24, 1973 after all its mission objectives were achieved after 6 years.[1] Part of the Interplanetary Monitoring Platform series of satellites, it was of a design similar to Explorer 33 (IMP-D), which launched in 1966. However, Explorer 34 (IMP-F), with a different design and mission objectives, was launched about two months prior to IMP-E. Explorer 41 (IMP-G) was the next IMP spacecraft to fly after Explorer 35, in 1969.

Science instruments


The Ames magnetometer experiment consisted of a boom-mounted triaxial fluxgate magnetometer and an electronics package. The sensors were orthogonally mounted, with one sensor oriented along the spin axis of the spacecraft. A motor interchanged a sensor in the spin plane with the sensor along the spin axis every 24 hours, allowing inflight calibration. The instrument package included a circuit for demodulating the outputs from the sensors in the spin plane. The noise threshold was about 0.2 nT . The instrument had three ranges covering plus or minus 20, 60, and 200 nT full scale for each vector component. The digitization accuracy for each range was 1% of the entire range covered. The magnetic field vector was measured instantaneously, and the instrument range was changed after each measurement. A period of 2.05 seconds elapsed between adjacent measurements and a period of 6.14 s elapsed between measurements using the same range. The instrument performance was normal.

The experiment consisted of a boom-mounted triaxial fluxgate magnetometer. Each sensor had dual ranges of minus to plus 24 nT and 64 nT, with digitization resolutions of minus to plus 0.094 nT and 0.25 nT, respectively. Zero level drift was checked by periodic reorientation of the sensors until May 20, 1969, when the flipper mechanism failed. Past this point, data analysis was more difficult as the zero level drift of the sensor parallel to the spacecraft spin axis was not readily determined. Spacecraft interference was less than 0.125 nT. One vector measurement was obtained each 5.12 s. The bandpass of the magnetometer was 0 to 5 Hz, with a 20-dB per decade decrease for higher frequencies. Except for the flipper failure, the experiment functioned normally from launch to spacecraft turnoff (June 24, 1973).

Explorer 35 provided important reference data for magnetic field measurements taken on the moon during the Apollo program.[2]

Bistatic Radar Observations

The purpose of this experiment was to study the electromagnetic reflective properties of the lunar surface. The 136.10-MHz (2.2 m) telemetry transmissions from the spacecraft were scattered from the lunar surface and then recorded by use of the 150-ft Stanford dish antenna. The reflected signal intensity depended upon the lunar reflectivity, the spacecraft altitude above the lunar surface, and the mean curvature of the Moon. The returned signal bandwidth was proportional to RMS lunar surface slopes. Occultation phenomena permitted a determination of the scattering properties of the lunar limb. The dielectric constant of the lunar subsurface in the scattering region below a depth of about 25 cm was then determined from a profile of reflectivity values vs the angle of incidence on the Moon. The mean lunar slope over each area from which signals were reflected has also been inferred. The observations were located within about 10 degrees of the lunar equator. Experiment operation was normal as of March 1971.

Ion chambers and Geiger tubes

This experiment consisted of a 12-cm Neher-type ionization chamber and two Lionel type 205 HT Geiger-Müller (GM) tubes. The ion chamber responded omnidirectionally to electrons above 0.7 MeV and protons above 12 MeV. Both GM tubes were mounted parallel to the spacecraft spin axis. GM tube 1 detected electrons above 45 keV that were scattered off a gold foil. The acceptance cone for these electrons had a 70-deg full-angle and an axis of symmetry that was 20 deg off the spacecraft spin axis. GM tube 2 responded to electrons and protons above 22 and 300 keV, respectively, in an acceptance cone of 70-deg full-angle centered at the spacecraft spin axis. Both GM tubes responded omnidirectionally to electrons and protons of energies above 2.5 and 50 MeV, respectively. Pulses from the ion chamber and counts from each GM tube were accumulated for 39.72 s and read out every 40.96 s. In addition, the time between the first ion chamber pulses in an accumulation period was also telemetered. This experiment performed well initially.

Micrometeoroid detector

This experiment was designed to measure the ionization, momentum, speed, and direction of micrometeorites, using thin film charged detectors, induction devices, and microphones.

Faraday cup

A multigrid, split-collector Faraday cup mounted on the equator of the spacecraft was used to study the directional intensity of solar wind positive ions and electrons with particular emphasis on the interaction of the solar wind with the Moon. Twenty-seven integral current samples (requiring about 4.3 s) were taken in an energy-per-charge window from 80 to 2850 eV. Then the current was sampled in eight differential energy-per-charge windows between 50 and 5400 eV at the azimuth where the peak current appeared in the previous series of integral measurements. These measurements (integral and differential) took about 25 s. Both the sum and difference of collector currents were obtained for positive ions. Only the sum was obtained for electrons. A complete set of measurements (two collector plate sums and one difference for protons, and one collector plate sum for electrons) required 328 s. The experiment worked well from launch until its failure in July 1968.

See also


  1. ^ a b "NASA - NSSDCA - Spacecraft - Details". nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  2. ^ Apollo 16 Preliminary Science Report (NASA SP-315), 1972. Chapter 12, Lunar Portable Magnetometer Experiment. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Scientific and Technical Information Office.

External links

  • National Space Science Data Center Page on AIMP 2 (Explorer 35)