Azur, also called GRS A ( German Research Satellite ), was the first German satellite. He served as an introduction to the space research and cost the Federal Republic of Germany, around 80 million DM
The Federal Ministry for Science and Research was this a cooperation with the U.S. space agency NASA. From the large number of proposals submitted were only a few experiments were designed to study cosmic rays and their reaction at perigee, are taken into account, since the payload was only 71 kg.
Azur was launched on November 8, 1969 at 1:52 UTC with a four-stage Scout B rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in the USA. The orbit was between 380 km and 3150 km, and was inclined at 103 ° to the equator. The satellite set after only seven months on 29 June 1970 its function, even though the specified lifetime was one year.
The control of the satellites took over on 15 November 1969, the newly established German Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, which the German Research and Testing Institute for Aerospace (now German Centre for Aerospace ) belongs.
In addition to the technical Neuland also customary in American space systems engineering and management methods by the client, were the Society for Space Research mbH ( GfW ), Bonn-Bad Godesberg and introduced the main contractor MBB. Project Manager at GfW was Ants Kutzer, head of the payload was Erhard Keppler from the Institute of Physics stratosphere at the Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy ( MPAE ) in Katlenburg- Lindau.