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Explorer VII

launched October 13, 1959

Launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, atop a Juno II rocket, Explorer VII carried instruments designed by Verner Suomi and Robert Parent that carried out the first ever satellite measurements of the Earth's climate, especially of its heat balance. The satellite and its instruments were powered by approximately 3000 solar cells mounted on both the upper and lower shells. Additional power was provided by 15 nickel-cadmium batteries.

The scientists discovered that the Earth absorbed more of the Sun's energy than originally thought and demonstrated that it was possible to measure and quantify seasonal changes in the global heat budget.

Useful real-time data were transmitted from launch through February 1961 and intermittently until August 24, 1961. As of 2016 it is still in orbit.

Explorer VII being placed atop its Juno II launch vehicle


Total Weight 91 pounds
Size 29 inches by 29 inches

Orbital Perigee 311 miles
Orbital Apogee 449 miles

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Physics >> Geophysics

This page was last updated on 04/14/2017.