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Ariel 6

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Ariel 6

Ariel 6, also known as Ariel VI and UK-6, was a British satellite launched in 1979 as part of the Ariel programme. It was operated by the Science Research Council, which became the Science and Engineering Research Council in 1981. Ariel 6 was used for astronomical research, and operated until February 1982.[1] It was the last Ariel satellite to be launched.[2]

The spacecraft was manufactured by the Marconi Company, and had a mass of 155 kilograms (342 lb). It carried three instruments; two of which were used for x-ray astronomy, and one which was used to detect cosmic rays. Interference from radar signals prevented the satellite from pointing correctly, and affected the data that it returned.[1]

A Scout D-1 carrier rocket, serial number S198C, was used to launch Ariel 6 from Launch Area 3A at the Wallops Flight Center. The launch was successfully conducted at 23:26:00 UTC on 2 June 1979.[3][4] The satellite was placed into a low Earth orbit, and received the International Designator 1979-047A.[2]

Ariel 6 operated in an orbit with an apogee of 651 kilometres (405 mi), a perigee of 605 kilometres (376 mi), 55 degrees of inclination and an orbital period of 97.3 minutes.[5] It decayed from orbit and reentered the atmosphere on 23 September 1990.[6]

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