Hermes Communications Technology Satellite

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Type: Communications satellite
Country: CanadaCanada Canada
Operator: Department of Communications
COSPAR-ID : 1976-004A
Mission dates
Dimensions: 500 kg
Begin: January 17, 1976, 23:27 UTC
Starting place: Cape Canaveral , LC-17
Launcher: Delta 2914
Status: shut down (1979)
Orbit data
Orbit inclination : 13.8 °
Apogee height 35,857 km
Perigee height 35,688 km

Hermes was a Canadian communications satellite designed to test new technologies. The mission was a cooperation between the Canadian Department of Communications, which designed and operated the satellite, the US NASA , which was responsible for the transport to the launch site and into Earth orbit, and the European ESA , which ran the 1,200 Watt has supplied powerful solar panels and other components. The three organizations shared the knowledge they gained from this project.

Hermes was launched into orbit on January 17, 1976 on a Delta 2914 from the Cape Canaveral spaceport. The mission was originally designed for two years, but was extended to a system malfunction in November 1979. At that time, telecommunications satellites were constructed in such a way that the solar panels were located directly on the satellite body and completely covered it. Thus, due to an unfavorable position of the satellite to the sun, enough energy could still be produced to keep the systems running. However, since the Hermes satellite opted for a different shape with innovative, retractable, wing-like solar panels, it is assumed that these could no longer be precisely aligned with the sun, which then led to a power failure.

For test purposes, the satellite was used to broadcast TV signals that made it possible to send them to private households that had a small receiving system. Several communities in remote areas of Canada participated in several testing procedures. Another test was the sending and simultaneous receiving and forwarding of telecommunication data between mobile sending and receiving stations. With a transmission power of 200 W, Hermes was the most powerful satellite to date.

With the satellite, the Stanley Cup Hockey Playoffs was sent to Canadian diplomats in Peru to demonstrate the capabilities of the satellite. The satellite covered 40% of its geostationary orbit of the earth's surface.

In 1987 Canada's Department of Communications and NASA received an Emmy Award for the advanced communications technology that was developed and implemented by the Hermes CTS program and that made it possible to provide communications to remote areas of the world.

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