Heat Capacity Mapping Mission

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Heat Capacity Mapping Mission
HCMM (Heat Capacity Mapping Mission)
Explorer 58
COSPAR ID1978-041A
SATCAT no.10818
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass117 kg (258 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date10:20, April 26, 1978 (UTC) (1978-04-26T10:20Z)
Launch siteVandenberg AFB
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Perigee altitude558 km (347 mi)
Apogee altitude646 km (401 mi)
Period96.7 min
EpochApril 26, 1978[1]

The Heat Capacity Mapping Mission (HCMM) was the first Applications Explorer Mission. HCMM provided comprehensive, accurate, high-spatial-resolution thermal surveys of the surface of the Earth.

HCCM was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on April 26, 1978 by a Scout-F rocket. Its mass was 117.0 kilograms (257.9 lb).

The HCMM spacecraft was placed in a circular sun-synchronous orbit, allowing the spacecraft to sense surface temperatures near the maximum and minimum of the diurnal cycle. There was no on-board data storage capability, so only real-time data were transmitted when the satellite came within reception range of seven ground stations.

During February 21–23, 1980, the HCMM orbital altitude was lowered from 620 km to 540 km to stop the drift of the orbit plane to unfavorable sun angles which in turn reduced the power collection capability of the solar panels. The operations of the spacecraft were terminated on September 30, 1980.


  1. ^ "NSSDCA Master Catalog - HCMM". nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov. NASA. Retrieved 26 August 2016.