Geophysical Satellite

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Geophysical Satellite


an artificial satellite whose construction and equipment are designed for the study of geophysical parameters such as air density, the geomagnetic field, and the earth’s radiation field. Satellites can be used both for the calculation of separate measurements and for complex geophysical studies to ascertain the correlation between different parameters. The first satellite of this kind was the third Soviet artificial satellite, launched in 1958. In 1964 and in subsequent years a series of orbiting geophysical observatories (OGO’s) and polar orbiting geophysical observatories (POGO’s) were launched to conduct various geophysical surveys, particularly in the region of the auroras and the polar ice cap.

In some cases, measurements taken by geophysical satellites are combined with the special program of observation by the network of earth stations, making it possible to study earth-solar relations and the relations between separate geophysical parameters. An example of such a satellite is Kosmos 261, launched in 1968, which takes measurements simultaneously with the network of ionospheric stations in socialist countries. There are special types of geophysical satellites that carry out operational observations and have functional purposes—for example, meteorological satellites.

The development of geophysical research with the assistance of artificial earth satellites will probably lead to the creation of specialized orbiting geophysical observatories. Geophysical observations may also be included in the work program of orbiting stations that have broader purposes. For example, such observations were made in June 1971 by the crew of the orbiting station Saliut, consisting of G. T. Dobrovol’skii, V. N. Volkov, and V. I. Patsaev.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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