OV1-8 PASCOMSAT Gridsphere.jpg
OV1-08 PasComSat Grid-Sphere Satellite when inflated, showing plastic designed to later dissolve.
Mission typeCommunications
OperatorUS Air Force
COSPAR ID1966-063A
SATCAT no.2324
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeOV1
ManufacturerGoodyear Aerospace[1]
Launch mass10.4 kilograms (23 lb)[2]
BOL mass3.2 kilograms (7.1 lb)[1]
Dimensions9.1-meter (30 ft) sphere[1]
Start of mission
Launch date14 July 1966, 02:10:02 (1966-07-14UTC02:10:02Z) UTC[3]
RocketAtlas D OV1
Launch siteVandenberg ABRES B-3
ContractorUS Air Force
End of mission
Decay date4 January 1978 (1978-01-05)[4]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude955 kilometers (593 mi)
Apogee altitude1,047 kilometers (651 mi)
Inclination144.2 degrees
Period105.14 minutes
Epoch15 August 1966[4]

Passive Communications Satellite or PasComSat, also known as OV1-8, was a communications satellite launched by USAF in 1966 as part of the Orbiting Vehicle program. The satellite functioned as a reflector, not a transceiver, so that after it was placed in low earth orbit, a signal would be sent to it, reflected or bounced off its surface, and then returned to Earth.


The grid-sphere design as opposed to a fully covered sphere was aimed at reducing the effects of solar pressure and space drag found to be a problem during Project Echo. The USAF contracted with Goodyear Aerospace for construction of a 9 meters (30 ft) diameter grid-sphere balloon. It was made of a soft aluminum wire grid embedded in a special plastic designed to dissolve in space under the sun's strong ultraviolet rays. On July 13, 1966, the satellite payload was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, atop an Atlas rocket. It went into orbit and was automatically inflated with helium. The plastic covering soon dissolved, leaving an open aluminum structure orbiting the earth. Tests indicated that the satellite would remain in orbit for at least 11 years and that it had a reflective power five times greater than that of a solid sphere.[5] The satellite decayed from orbit on January 4, 1978.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Krebs, Gunter. "PasComSat (OV1 8)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved December 7, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "OV1- 8". National Space Science Data Center. Retrieved December 7, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved December 7, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite Catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved December 7, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Grid-Sphere Passive Communications Satellite". National Museum of the US Air Force. USAF. Archived from the original on December 14, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "OV1". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved December 5, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)