|Mission type||Space physics|
|Harvard designation||1962 Beta Chi 1|
|Mission duration||7 months|
|Launch mass||100.8 kg (222 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||16 December 1962, 14:38UTC|
|Launch site||Wallops LA-3|
|End of mission|
|Last contact||July 1963|
|Perigee altitude||750 km (470 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||1,181 km (734 mi)|
|Epoch||16 December 1962|
Explorer 16, also called S-55B, was an American satellite launched as part of Explorers program. Explorer 16 as launched on December 19, 1962, on Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia, United States, with a Scout rocket.
Explorer 16 was the second in the series of micrometeoroid satellites orbited by NASA. Its purpose was to obtain data on the near-earth meteoroid environment, thus providing an accurate estimate of the probability of penetration in spacecraft structures by meteoroids and allowing a more confident definition of the relationship between penetration flux and material thickness to be derived.
The cylindrically shaped spacecraft, about 61 by 192 centimetres (24 in × 76 in), was built around the burned-out fourth stage of the Scout launch vehicle that remained as part of the orbiting satellite. Explorer 16 carried stainless steel pressurized-cell penetration detectors, impact detectors, capacitor detectors, and cadmium sulfide cell detectors to obtain data on the size, number, distribution, and momentum of dust particles in the near-earth environment. The spacecraft operated satisfactorily during its 7-month life (December 16, 1962, to July 1963), and all mission objectives were accomplished.
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