The Applications Technology Satellite was a project with the purpose of improving other satellites, specifically to enhance the ability of existing and future satellites to provide weather, and communications data and air/sea navigation aids. Three types of missions were planned for ATS: one satellite in a 10,000 km earth orbit to experiment with the gravity gradient stabilisation system; two satellites in synchronous (38,300 km) orbits for meteorological, communications and navigation investigation; and two satellites in synchronous orbits using the gravity gradient system to make engineering and technological studies. The ATS were barrel-shaped spacecraft weighing about 320 kg; those equipped for gravity gradient experiments carried 30 m booms that extended like a tight-rope walker's balancing pole to stabilise the spacecraft. The program was managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Prime Contractor: Hughes Aircraft Company. Major Events: .
Applications Technology Satellite; communications and meteorological experiments.
Launch vehicle failure left in useless orbit; communications tests.
Applications Technology Satellite; Centaur oxidizer leak. No restart. Launch vehicle was to have put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit, instead was left in useless LEO orbit. Carried ion engine.
Applications Technology Satellite; communications tests. Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Spacecraft maneuvered into geostationary orbit at 108 degrees W. Also tested ion engine.
Application Technology Satellite; experimental commsat. - Also conducted Cesium ion engine test.