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Detector, Plasma Wave, OGO-5


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Exploring the Planets exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a flight spare for the sensor system carried on the OGO-V satellite designed to measure the energy characteristics in the radiation belts surrounding the Earth. The long boom carries a set of special antennas which sent their signal to a small pre-amplifier attached to the base of the boom. From there the signal went into the main body amplifier (Catalogue #19860561000). This apparatus was manufactured by the Space and Technology Group of TRW; the firm donated it to NASM in February 1985. It is now on display at NASM in the Exploring the Planets Gallery.

OGO-V was the fifth in a series of standardized spacecraft capable of performing many related geophysical experiments during the middle 1960s. The sensor formed part of an experiment that measured the electrostatic and electromagnetic plasma properties of the region of space from the upper ionosphere to the solar wind. The flight model of the plasma wave detector was placed in orbit from Cape Kennedy on March 4, 1968. Data from this instrument provided the first evidence for the shock wave observed in the solar wind as it encounters the Earth's magnetic field, the so-called bow shock.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Credit Line

Gift of TRW Space and Technology Group


Mixed metals


3-D: 22.9 x 134.6cm (9 x 53 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number