|Mission type||Auroral plasma physics|
|Operator||NASA / Goddard |
Space Sciences Laboratory
|Mission duration||Planned: 1 year |
Final: 12 years, 8 months, 9 days
|Manufacturer||NASA / Goddard|
|Launch mass||191.3 kg (421.7 lb)|
|Payload mass||65.3 kg (144.0 lb)|
|Dimensions||1.02 × 0.93 m (3.3 × 3.1 ft)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||August 21, 1996, 09:47UTC|
|Launch site||Stargazer |
Vandenberg AFB, California, U.S.
|End of mission|
|Deactivated||May 1, 2009|
|Semi-major axis||8,300.4 km (5,157.6 mi)|
|Perigee altitude||346.8 km (215.5 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||3,497.8 km (2,173.4 mi)|
|Argument of perigee||109.0590°|
|Mean motion||11.4802 rev/day|
|Epoch||September 5, 2015, 03:48:35 UTC|
The Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer (FAST) was a NASA plasma physics satellite, and was the second spacecraft in the Small Explorer program. It was launched on August 21, 1996, from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Pegasus XL rocket. The spacecraft was designed and built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Flight operations were handled by Goddard for the first three years, and thereafter were transferred to the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.
FAST was designed to observe and measure the plasma physics of the auroral phenomena which occur around both of Earth's poles. While its Electric Field Experiment failed around 2002, all other instruments continued to operate normally until science operations were ended on May 1, 2009. Various engineering tests were conducted afterward.
Media related to FAST at Wikimedia Commons