Alouette 1

Alouette 1

"Alouette 1" was Canada's first satellite, and the first satellite operated by a country other than the USSR or the United States. Occasionally, Alouette I is misrepresented as the third satellite successfully put in orbit, rather than being from the third country ever to do so, but numerous Sputnik and Explorer program missions preceded it. The name "Alouette" came from the French "skylark" and from the title of a popular French-Canadian folk song, "Alouette."


Satellite launch and mission progress

"Alouette 1" was launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from the Pacific Missile Range from Vandenberg AFB, California at 06:05 UTC on September 29, 1962, into orbit around the earth. Alouette was used to study the ionosphere, an area of the upper atmosphere where many future satellites would be placed in orbit. Alouette's mission lasted for 10 years before the unit was deliberately switched off. The mission brought a modicum of fame to its Canadian director, John Herbert Chapman and its Chief Electrical Engineer, Colin A. Franklin. "Alouette 1" remains in orbit and some of those pioneerswho? suggest there is a slim chance it might turn on if the right signals were transmitted.

Duplicate construction

Two satellites were built for redundancy in case of a malfunction; if the first unit failed, the second could be launched with only a couple of months delay. It took 3½ years after Alouette's proposal to have it developed and built. The mechanical frame was made in Downsview (de Havilland Canada), that building is now the [ Toronto Aerospace Museum] . The satellite S27-2 (Prototype) S27-3 (Which became the flight bird) and S27-4 (which became the backup), was assembled by Defense Telecommunications Establishment Electronics Lab in Ottawa. The batteries used for Alouette were developed by another branch of DRB and responsible for the long lifetime of the satellite. The antennas used were the first of the STEM antennas used in space and at launch were the longest (125 foot tip to tip). (Al Bingham S27-3 Electronics Technologist)When completed Alouette weighed 145 kg (320 lb) and was launched from a Thor Agena-B two-stage rocket. Alouette 1's backup was later launched as Alouette 2 in 1965 to "replace" the older Alouette 1.


* The "Alouette 1" is featured on the Amory Adventure Award.

See also

*Timeline of artificial satellites and space probes

External links

* [ 1962-049A] also known as 1962-Beta-Alpha-1 entry at NSSDC
* [ CSA Alouette Site]
* [ Canada's Digital Collections government website - About Alouette]
* [ CBC Digital Archives - Launching the Digital Age: Canadian Satellites]
* [ Article on satellite development based on interviews with original research engineers.]

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