This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Polar Bear

Other Designations: Polar Beacon Experiment & Auroral Research. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere. Nation: United States. Agency: USAF, Defense Nuclear Agency. Manufacturer: JHU/APL.

Polar Beacon and Research satellite. Polar Bear, also known as STP P87-1, was a military mission designed to study communications interference caused by solar flares and increased auroral activity. The data from the mission complements data taken by its predecessor, HILAT. The core vehicle was a Transit navigational satellite that was retrieved from the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum where it had been on display for 8 years. Spacecraft: Gravity gradient stabilised by deployable boom with tip mass.4 small deployable solar arrays. Payload: Auroral Imaging Remote Sensor imaged the aurora borealis; Beacon Experiment monitored ionospheric propagation over the poles.


Design Life: Transit design life = 3 years. Total Length: 1.3 m. Maximum Diameter: 0.4 m. Total Mass: 125 kg.

Polar Bear Chronology

14 November 1986 Polar Bear Launch Site: Vandenberg . Launch Vehicle: Scout G. Mass: 125 kg. Perigee: 955 km. Apogee: 1,013 km. Inclination: 89.6 deg.

Polar Beacon and Research satellite. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C).


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .