Miranda (satellite)


COSPAR ID1974-013A
SATCAT no.07213[1]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerHawker Siddeley Dynamics
Launch mass92 kilograms (203 lb)[2]
Power2 deployable solar arrays
Start of mission
Launch date9 March 1974, 02:22:00 (1974-03-09UTC02:22Z) UTC
RocketScout D-1
Launch siteVandenberg SLC-5
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth Orbit
Perigee altitude714 kilometres (444 mi)
Apogee altitude916 kilometres (569 mi)
Inclination97.8 degrees
Period101.2 minutes
Epoch8 March 1974, 08:22:00 UTC [3]

Miranda, also known as X-4, is a British satellite in low Earth orbit. The satellite was launched in March 1974 as an engineering test bed of technologies in orbit.[2]

Miranda was named after a character in the Shakespeare play The Tempest,[4][5] just like Prospero (spacecraft) and Ariel 1.



Miranda used propane cold gas thrusters for attitude control.[1]


It contained a Canopus star sensor to determine the reflectivity and interference caused by the propane.[1]


Miranda was due to be launched by a British Black Arrow rocket, but due to the project's cancellation the payload was instead launched on the NASA-owned rocket Scout.[5]


Designed as an engineering test bed for various technologies in orbit, Miranda carried various sensors and detectors.[2]

Current status

The satellite is now non-active, but remains in low Earth orbit.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "General information about Miranda". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. Retrieved 29 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Miranda (X 4)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Launch/Orbital information for Miranda". NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive. Retrieved 30 April 2018.
  4. ^ Hill 2001, p. 201.
  5. ^ a b Gruntman 2004, p. 17.


  • Gruntman, Mike (2004). Blazing the Trail: The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry. AIAA. ISBN 9781563477058.
  • Hill, Charles N. (2001). A Vertical Empire: The History of the UK Rocket and Space Programme 1950-1971 (1st ed.). World Scientific. ISBN 9781783261451.
  • Trevorrow, E. U. (3 March 1977). "Miranda Data Processing - Interfaces" (PDF). Royal Aircraft Establishment.