Air Force Successfully Launches Satellite Aboard Pegasus Rocket
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Air Force used a Pegasus rocket to launch a satellite that will study the effects of radiation and charged particles on the solar panels that power it.
The APEX satellite was sent into orbit Wednesday aboard a 40,000-pound Pegasus rocket. The rocket was launched from a B-52 aircraft which took it aloft.
During its $30 million mission, which is to last one to three years, the satellite will investigate the effects of radiation and ionized gases called plasma on arrays of 2-inch by 2-inch squares that collect solar energy.
Recent problems with Pegasus rockets led the Air Force to postpone a series of satellite launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
A Pegasus XL rocket, which is longer than the standard Pegasus, was deliberately destroyed by remote control three minutes after a June 27 launch because of a steering malfunction and other problems. Also lost was a 767- pound satellite carrying Air Force experiments.
On May 19, a similar satellite was placed into a lower-than-planned orbit by a Pegasus booster.