Sub Satellite, Particles and Fields, Apollo 16, Qualification Model
The Apollo 15 and Apollo 16 missions carried a small subsatellite designed to be released in lunar orbit just prior to the beginning of the astronauts' return flight to earth. Powered by six solar panels in 11 silver-cadmium batteries, the so-called "Particles and Fields subsatellites" contained three instruments: a magnetometer, an S-band transponder, and charged particle detectors. Instruments were designed to measure the strength and direction of interplanetary and terrestrial magnetic field, to detect variations in the lunar gravity field, and measure proton and electric flux from the solar wind.
The artifact here is the qualification model for the Particles and Fields subsatellite. It underwent extensive tests and demonstrations prior to the launch of the actual satellites. It was transferred from NASA to the Smithsonian in 1975.
[Apollo 16 Particle and Fields Subsatellite Mission to Earth's Moon]
Mission Type: Orbiter
Launch Vehicle: Saturn V SA-511
Launch Site: Eastern Test Range / launch complex 39A, Cape Canaveral, Fla., USA
Solar System Log by Andrew Wilson, published 1987 by Jane's Publishing Co. Ltd.
Nearly identical to its predecessor, the Apollo 16 Particle and Fields Subsatellite was ejected from the Apollo 16 Command and Service Module (CSM) about 4 hours prior to the crew's trans-Earth injection burn, which sent them home from the Moon.
Because of problems with the Apollo CSM main engine, the crew was forced to release the subsatellite in a low lunar orbit of 100 x 100 kilometers at 10° inclination. The orbit was rapidly altered by gravitational perturbations, and the probe crashed onto the lunar surface after 34 days in orbit rather than the planned one year. Impact point was at 10.2° north latitude and 112° east longitude at 21:00 UT on 29 May 1972. However, because of its low orbit, the spacecraft did return some valuable low-altitude data.
Materials: Aluminum, kapton foil, various materials
Dimensions: Overall: 36 x 78cm, 42kg (14 3/16 x 30 11/16 in., 92 9/16lb.) 36 cm is measured from opposite corners of the hexagon.
See more items in: National Air and Space Museum Collection
Credit Line: Transferred from NASA, Johnson Space Center.
Country of Origin: United States of America
Title: Sub Satellite, Particles and Fields, Apollo 16, Qualification Model
Restrictions & Rights: Usage conditions apply