SOLRAD 2 SOLRAD 2 - ImagesGram


SOLRAD (SOLar RADiation) 2 was the public designation for a combination surveillance and solar X-Ray and ultraviolet scientific satellite, the second in the SOLRAD program developed by the United States Navy's Naval Research Laboratory. The SOLRAD scientific package aboard the satellite provided cover for the GRAB (Galactic Radiation and Background) electronic surveillance package, the mission of which was to map the Soviet Union's air defense radar network.

SOLRAD 2 was launched along with Transit 3A atop a Thor DM-21 Ablestar rocket on November 30, 1960, but both satellites failed to reach orbit when the booster flew off course and was destroyed, raining debris over Cuba, which instigated official protests from the Cuban government. As a result, future SOLRAD flights were programmed to avoid a Cuban flyover during launch.