Mission Overview

OSO-6 operated from August 1969 until January 1972. The orbital period was ~ 95 minutes, with the orbital day lasting ~ 60 minutes of each orbit. The spin rate was 0.5 rps.


The hard X-ray detector (27-189 keV) was a 5.1 sq-cm NaI(Tl) scintillator, collimated to 17 deg x 23 deg FWHM. The system had 4 energy channels (separated 27-49-75-118-189 keV). The detector spun with the spacecraft on a plane containing the Sun direction within +/- 3.5 degrees. Data were read with alternate 70 ms and 30 ms integrations for 5 intervals every 320 ms.

Also on board was a NRL experiment meant primarily to monitor solar flares. This X-ray detector operated from August 1969 until January 1972. The NaI(Tl) scintillator had a frontal area of 1.3 sq-cm and was 2.54 cm thick. The detector operated during daylight periods only (~ 70% of each 99.8 minute orbit). It had 6 energy channels covering 23-82 keV, and an integral channel for >82 keV (out to about 500 keV). Spectra were accumulated for 2.56 s.


Intended primarily to study bursts and flares from the Sun, the instrument was also used to search for hard X-ray coincidences with known gamma-ray bursts (primarily those seen by the Vela satellites). Three such coincidences were observed. The NRL instrument, when combined with data from the OGO-5 satellite, confirmed 5 hard X-ray bursts (they detected 12 altogether).