Project Overview

Introduction IMP 8 (Explorer 50), the last satellite of the IMP series, was launched October 26, 1973. It is a drum-shaped spacecraft, 135.6 cm across and 157.4 cm high, instrumented for interplanetary, magnetotail, and magnetospheric boundaries stud ies of cosmic rays, energetic solar particles, plasma, and electric and magnetic fields. Its initial orbit was more elliptical than intended, with apogee and perigee distances of about 45 and 25 earth radii. Its eccentricity decreased afte r launch. Its orbital inclination varies between 0 deg and about 55 deg with a periodicity of several years. The spacecraft spin axis is close to being normal to the ecliptic plane, and the spin rate is approximately 23 rpm. The data telemetry ra te is 1600 bps. The spacecraft is in the solar wind for 7 to 8 days of every 12.2 day orbit. Telemetry coverage was 90% in the early years, but only 50-70% through most of the 1980's and into the 1990's. The telemetry is VHF and the spacecraft i s tracked by Wallops Island, VA; Redu, Belgium; Tasmania Australia; Santiago Chile; and Hawaii. The objectives of the extended IMP-8 operations are similar to the original goals with emphasis on providing solar wind parameters as input for magne tospheric studies and as a 1-AU baseline for deep space studies, and to continue solar cycle variation studies with a single set of well-calibrated and understood instruments.

For additional information on IMP-8 see the IMP-8 Page at the NSSDC.

Instrument Descriptions MAG

Comments/Questions/Suggestions: Natalie Jaquith
Official NASA Contact: Barbara Giles
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