Upper Stage, Launch Vehicle, Agena-B

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    Upper Stage, Launch Vehicle, Agena-B

    Cylindrical, with nosecone and cut away section at rear, covered with plexiglas cover to reveal rocket engine and other parts. Overall, white with black checkerboard pattern around periphery at rear, above the cutaway section. With black vertical markings, "USAF" beneath one section of the nosecone; three non-ferrous metal spheres, possibly aluminum, each about 16 inches in diameter, in back of Agena, around engine, on one side; each sphere partly covered with foil and non-ferrous wires that secure the foil covering over the spheres

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    Usage Conditions Apply

    There are restrictions for re-using this media. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Upper Stage, Launch Vehicle, Agena-B

    Cylindrical, with nosecone and cut away section at rear, covered with plexiglas cover to reveal rocket engine and other parts. Overall, white with black checkerboard pattern around periphery at rear, above the cutaway section. With black vertical markings, "USAF" beneath one section of the nosecone; three non-ferrous metal spheres, possibly aluminum, each about 16 inches in diameter, in back of Agena, around engine, on one side; each sphere partly covered with foil and non-ferrous wires that secure the foil covering over the spheres

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    Agena-B Upper Stage at the Udvar-Hazy Center

    The Agena-B upper stage was used during the 1960s as an orbital injection vehicle for Midas and other satellites and as an intermediate stage booster for Ranger and early Mariner space probes.
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This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

James S. McDonnell Space Hangar

This is the Agena-B upper stage used during the 1960s as an orbital injection vehicle for Midas and other satellites. It was also an intermediate stage booster for Ranger and early Mariner space probes. Made by Lockheed, it was fitted on the Thor or Atlas-D launch vehicles that became known as the Thor-Agena and Atlas-Agena.

Most notably, Agena-B also served as the Corona photo reconnaissance satellite which then flew under the cover name Discoverer. Agena-B used a restartable and gimbaled liquid-fuel rocket engine made by the Bell Aerospace Company. This Agena-B was transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the Smithsonian Institution in 1965.