|Operator||Project OSCAR / DoD|
|Launch mass||16.3 kilograms (36 lb)|
|Dimensions||20 cm × 30 cm (7.9 in × 11.8 in)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||9 March 1965, 18:29:47 UTC|
|Rocket||Thor SLV-2 Agena-D|
|Launch site||Vandenberg LC-75-1-2|
|Perigee altitude||884 kilometers (549 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||917 kilometers (570 mi)|
|Epoch||9 March 1965|
OSCAR III (a.k.a. OSCAR 3) is the third amateur radio satellite launched by Project OSCAR into Low Earth Orbit. OSCAR 3 was launched March 9, 1965 by a Thor-DM21 Agena D launcher from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc, California. The satellite, weighing 16.3 kg, was launched piggyback with seven United States Air Force satellites. The satellite employed no attitude control system. OSCAR III linear transponder lasted 18 days. More than 1000 amateurs in 22 countries communicated through the linear transponder. The two beacon transmitters continued operating for several months.
Project OSCAR Inc. started in 1960 with radio amateurs from the TRW Radio Club of Redondo Beach, California, many of whom worked at TRW and defense industries, to investigate the possibility of putting an amateur satellite in orbit. Project OSCAR was responsible for the construction of the first Amateur Radio Satellite, OSCAR-1, that was successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB in California. OSCAR-1 orbited the earth for 22 days, transmitting a “HI” greeting in Morse Code.
In 1969, AMSAT-NA was founded by radio amateurs working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and in the Baltimore-Washington DC region, to continue the efforts begun by Project OSCAR. Its first project was to coordinate the launch of Australis-OSCAR 5, constructed by students at the University of Melbourne.
Today, over fifty years later, Project OSCAR still exists as part of the San Jose (CA) Amateur Radio Club. Its mission is “To initiate and support activities that promote the Satellite Amateur Radio Hobby”. The primary goal is to reach out and provide logistical support, training and in some cases equipment to amateur radio associations, schools and the public at large.
Oscar III was an upgrade from the earlier Oscar I and Oscar II amateur satellites, three years earlier. Improvements included:
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.