A-103 (spacecraft)

The mission A-103 (also called Pegasus 1 ) was the first flight within the Apollo Program, NASA, who brought an active research satellite into space. A two-stage Saturn I with a dummy of the Apollo spacecraft transported the satellite Pegasus 1 in a low Earth orbit (LEO ). It was the first of three Pegasus missions.


The object of the Pegasus missions was to investigate the incidence of micrometeorites on the order of 1.E - 7 to 1.E -4 g in the near-Earth space.

There was also a further test of the interaction between Apollo and Saturn, as well as the Apollo rocket apparatus (LES ).


Active Launch Escape System ( LES): functional rescue rocket with 4.70 m height and escape tower, a 3.05 m high support structure for the rescue rocket.

Apollo dummy (BP -16), the lifelike model (English Boilerplate called ), weighed 4500 kg and consisted of the Command Module (CM ): a conical aluminum construction with a base diameter of 3.91 m and 3.56 m height. And the service module (SM): an aluminum construction served as a payload fairing of the satellite, was mounted on the instrument unit of the second stage by means of an adapter section.

The Pegasus Satellite, he was firmly attached to the second stage, had a size of 5.28 x 2.13 x 2.41 meters and weighed 1805 kg. The central unit comprised the electronics, sensors, solar panels and the mechanics of deploying the two retractable detector surfaces. These were 29.3 meters long, 4.3 meters wide and registered the micro- meteorite impact. At the time of launching the Pegasus satellites were with a total mass of about 1,500 kg, the heaviest payloads that were previously placed in an earth orbit.


The steps were delivered between 22 and 30 October 1964 Kennedy Space Center and built on the Launch Complex 37B. There were no significant complications.

History of the flight

The launch took place on February 16, 1965 at 14:38:00 UTC. After the first stage was separated, and the second had ignited, and the LES was separated as planned by the engines of the rocket apparatus.

10 minutes and 30 seconds after the start of swinging the rocket into an orbit. Less than 3 minutes later, the Apollo spacecraft from the second stage ( and on their mounted satellite ) isolated and placed on a separate trajectory. Was Pegasus remained in the planned orbit and unfolded a minute later his detector surfaces.

His life was calculated for about 1188 days, but only after more than 13 years burned up the satellite on September 17, 1978 in the atmosphere.

Impact on the Apollo program

The mission was a complete success. Although minor errors occurred in the rocket and the satellite, but it met all the goals.

The next two missions should bring two more Pegasus satellites into space.


NASA joined in 1964 the first stage manufacturer. Model Serial No. SA -9 is the last of eight, which was manufactured by Marshall; SA -8, SA -10 and the following for the Saturn IB should come from Chrysler. Since Chrysler for the development took some time longer flew SA -9 first. The mission designations ( A-101 to A -105 ), however, remained chronologically. So A-103/SA-9 and A-104/SA-8 revealed.