TOMS launched

Allen Thomson (
Tue, 2 Jul 1996 11:38:14 -0700

   July 2, 1996
   Following a  successful launch by a Pegasus XL launch vehicle, the 
first satellite dedicated to mapping the Earth's ozone layer has been 
successfully deployed in orbit. 
   The TRW-built Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer Earth Probe  
(TOMS-EP) is expected to begin transmitting critical environmental 
data to NASA scientists by the end of July. 
   The lightweight satellite was launched on July 2 at 12:48 a.m.  
PDT over the Pacific Ocean, approximately 60 miles offshore from 
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.  The Pegasus XL vehicle carrying 
the TOMS-EP payload was released from an L-1011 aircraft at an 
altitude of approximately 38,000 feet. 
   The three-stage Pegasus rocket successfully fired, sending the  
satellite into a highly elliptical transfer orbit 214 miles (345 
kilometers) at its closest point by 592 miles (955 kilometers) at its 
farthest point.  Over the next three weeks, TOMS-EP's orbit will be 
circularized into its final 310-mile (500 kilometers) orbit using 
the satellite's integrated on-board propulsion system.