Satellite, Explorer 12, Backup

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This is a fully instrumented back-up for the Explorer 12 spacecraft. Explorer 12 was the first in a series of four satellites designed specifically to study the behavior of energetic particles near the Earth. They carried instruments to provide data on the solar wind, the interplanetary field, trapped radiation, and cosmic rays. The octagonal spacecraft carried six experiments contributed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, the NASA Ames Research Center, the University of New Hampshire, and Iowa State University. Power was supplied by four windmill-like solar panels. The satellite was placed into a highly elliptical orbit that ranged from 170 to 50,000 miles on December 6, 1961. It transmitted scientific data during its lifetime of 112 days. The satellite was manufactured at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center where the instruments were integrated and tested.
Alternate Name
Explorer 12 Satellite (Backup)
National Air and Space Museum
Restrictions & Rights
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center
Credit Line
Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Mixed metals, electronics
Overall: 4 ft. tall x 1 ft. 9 in. wide, 38 lb. (121.92 x 53.34cm, 17.2kg)
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National Air and Space Museum Collection
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA
Exhibit Station
Space Science
Country of Origin
United States of America
Inventory Number