The Mission and Spacecraft Library

Applications Technology Satellite-6
Part of the ATS (Applications Technology Satellites) program

In addition to its technology experiments, ATS-6 became the world's first educational satellite. During its 5 year life, ATS-6 transmitted educational programming to India, the US and other countries. The vehicle also conducted air traffic control tests, was used to practice satellite-assisted search and rescue techniques, carried an experimental radiometer subsequently carried as a standard instrument aboard weather satellites, and pioneered direct broadcast TV. The satellite also played a major role in the Apollo/Soyuz docking in 1975 when it relayed signals to the Houston Control center. It was boosted above GEO when thruster failures threatened to prevent further control of the spacecraft.

9 m diameter deployed antenna reflector. Pointing accuracy 0.1 deg. 2 half cylinder drum arrays on booms provide 645 W BOL. 3 axis stabilized.

VHRR (Very High Resolution Radiometer) instrument, millimeter wave propagation experiment, L-band communications package, C-band communication equipment

Country of Origin United States
Customer/User NASA, NSF
Manufacturer(s) Fairchild
Size 8.5 m high with solar paddles on booms spanning 16 m
Orbit GEO (over Pacific), incl. = 1.6 deg.
Design Life 2 years

Launch Facts
 Name  Int'l Desig.  Date  Site  Vehicle  Orbit  Mass(kg)
 ATS 6  1974-039A  5/30/74  ESMC  Titan 3C  GEO  930
    Application Technology Satellite; experimental commsat

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