GemStar 1

Launch Time
Tue Aug 15, 1995 22:30 UTC

First flight of Athena.
Expended hydraulic fluid burned in first stage aft section, damaging nozzle feedback cables causing loss of gimbal control and tumbling. Separately, arcing in the IMU high-voltage power supply caused loss of attitude reference. Flight terminated by range safety officer at T+160 s.


Athena I
Image Credit: NASA
Status: Retired
Liftoff Thrust: 1,900 kN
Payload to LEO: 820 kg
Stages: 3
Rocket Height: 18.9 m

Mission Details

GemStar 1

The 136 kg mini-satellite measured 1 m in diameter and is 660 mm high. It employs gravity gradient stabilisation, was 3-axis stabillised, and was based on CTA Inc' GemStar bus (CTA refers to the satellite as GemStar 1).

It was intended to be placed into a 650 km orbit, receive 9.6 and 19.2 kbps in the 148-150.5 MHz band, and transmit at 9.6, 19.2 and 38.4 kbps in the 137-137 MHz and 400.15-401 MHz bands.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 136.0 kg
Low Earth Orbit


SLC-6, Vandenberg SFB, California, USA



47th orbital launch attempt

Athena I

1st mission
1st mission of 1995
1st failed mission