World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0010177014
Reproduction Date:

Title: Thor-Agena  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Spaceflight/On This Day/Index, Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 2, Thor (rocket family), Delta 0100, Delta G
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A Thor Agena, ready to launch the Discoverer 37 (KH-3) spacecraft, 13 January 1962

Thor-Agena was a series of orbital launch vehicles. The rockets used Thor first stages and Agena second stages. They are thus cousins of the more famous Thor-Deltas, which founded the Delta rocket family. The first attempted launch of a Thor-Agena was in January 1959. The first successful launch was on February 28, 1959, launching Discoverer-1.


Among other uses, the clandestine Corona program used Thor-Agenas from June 1959 until January 1968 to launch US military reconnaissance satellites operated by the CIA. During this program, Thor-Agena launch vehicles were used in 145 launch attempts[1] now known to have been part of satellite surveillance programs.

Also, Alouette 1, Canada's first satellite, was launched on a Thor-Agena-B.


  • 16 launches between 21 Jan 1959 and 13 Sep 1960
  • The Discoverer 14 satellite used in the Corona spy satellite program was launched by a Thor-Agena-A. On 1960-08-19 usable photographic film from the satellite was recovered by a C-119 recovery aircraft. This was the first successful recovery of film from an orbiting satellite and the first mid-air recovery of an object returning from Earth orbit.[2]
  • First successful launch: Nov 12, 1960 with Discoverer 17
  • Last launch: May 15, 1966 with Nimbus 2
  • First launch: Jun 28, 1962
  • Last launch: Jan 17, 1968


  1. ^ Day, Dwayne, John Logsdon, and Brian Latell. Eye in the Sky: The Story of the Corona Spy Satellites. Smithsonian Institution Press (1998) pp 236-245
  2. ^ "Discoverer 14 - NSSDC ID: 1960-010A". NASA. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.