Applications Technology Satellite
November 3, 2006 10:54pm CST
The Applications Technology Satellite (ATS) was a series of six satellites developed for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to test advanced techniques, control systems, and components for future communications, navigational, and meteorological satellites. They also gathered scientific data on the orbital environment and the ionosphere. The five first-generation satellites of the series, which was an outgrowth of project SYNCOM, were launched between 1966 and 1969; the more advanced ATS 6 was launched in May 1974. Only ATS 1, 3, and 6 were completely successful, and a proposed ATS 7 was canceled before it could be completed.ATS 1 was launched on Dec. 6, 1966, into a nearly circular geosynchronous orbit. Instrumentation consisted of two communications experiments (microwave repeaters), two meteorological experiments (a camera and a data relay), three experimental devices for controlling satellites in orbit, and sensors to measure environmental parameters such as ions, magnetic fields, and the effects of space radiation on solar cells. ATS 3, launched Nov. 5, 1967, transmitted pictures in black-and-white of the Earth's disk.The advanced model ATS 6, launched May 30, 1974, carried instrumentation for 20 different experiments in communications, space environment, and spacecraft control. Between August 1975 and July 1976, ATS 6 participated in the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment with India. Educational television programs were relayed to sets in 2,400 remote villages of that nation as well as to remote areas in the United States.