Despite a five-hour postponement in the blast-off time, preparations for the first foreign launching of an American satellite proceeded smoothly yesterday (Friday) off the Kenya coast.
LV Space research platform from approaching boat (3 shots)
CV Radar scanners (2 shots)
MV INT. Visitors briefed by Professor Broglio, head of Italian team
CV Rocket seen on TV monitor
MV Technician checks instruments on deck
TV Scientists' huts on deck
LV ZOOM INTO Launch-pad from shore
Initials AH/BHH/SGM/2215 AH/BHH/SGM/0032
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Background: Despite a five-hour postponement in the blast-off time, preparations for the first foreign launching of an American satellite proceeded smoothly yesterday (Friday) off the Kenya coast. Today, Italian scientists successfully put the American satellite into orbit from their launch pad in Formosa Bay.
The use of the equatorial San Marco platform -- three miles (Five kms) off the Kenya coast -- has enabled the United States space authority to use a rocket smaller than would be required at Cape Kennedy.
The 315-pound (143 kilo) satellite it carries will do pioneer work in the relatively new science of X-ray astronomy. From an equatorial orbit 340 miles (545 kms) above the earth the satellite will locate and chart high-power X-ray sources in space.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, joint sponsors of the project with the space research centre at Rome University, claims that the satellite is expected to collect more data in its first day of operation than has been obtained since the science of X-ray astronomy was born eight years ago.
Since the launch was due on Kenya's Independence Day, the satellite has been named "Uhuru" -- though its official designation is "X-ray Explorer."