Advanced Orbiting Solar Observatory


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Space Science exhibition at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a full-scale engineering mockup of the Advanced Orbiting Solar Observatory (AOSO) representing its most complete configuration. This satellite was designed as a scaled-up counterpart to the Orbiting Solar Observatory series in the early 1960s. It was conceived as a free-flying, robotic, polar-orbiting satellite system capable of continuously monitoring the sun and near solar environment using an array of detectors and electronic imaging devices covering a broad frequency band from the x-ray to the visual range. Many of the scientific instruments planned for AOSO eventually were developed for the Skylab Apollo Telescope Mount, which flew in 1973.

The AOSO program was canceled in 1965, and this object was transferred to NASM by NASA in 1969.

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

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration


Aluminum sheet and bar stock


Overall: 4ft 12in. x 10ft 6in., 1075lb. (152.4 x 320cm, 487.6kg)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Inventory Number