This strip of magnetic tape includes a portion of raw telemetry data for the Explorer 7 satellite. This listing is for a section of tape in an acrylic case that was taken from a larger spool recorded in October 1959.
In 1955, even before any artificial satellites had been launched, planning for a satellite-tracking network was already underway at NASA.
Two years later, the Minitrack network of 11 stations positioned around the globe was completed just 3 days before the launch of Sputnik 1.
As satellites populated the skies, interferometers recorded their positions and velocities at each of these stations. This section of tape is from the Minitrack station in Johannesburg, South Africa.
One of the early satellites tracked by this network was Explorer 7 (aka Iota 59), which was launched in 1959 and collected scientific data about Earth’s atmosphere for 2 years before losing communication.
Among the most notable data it collected was the first satellite measurements of the heat balance of Earth’s atmosphere, initiating NASA’s mission of collecting valuable climate data just a year after the agency was formed.
Explorer 7 remains in orbit to this day. Track the satellite's current position in the tab below.
This item was featured in a recent Matter box. More may come available if we have leftovers after shipping this batch.