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In photos: Alouette I launch anniversary marks 60 years of Canada in space

Rocket about to launch Alouette

The Canadian flag appears on the rocket about to launch Alouette I into space, in . (Credit: CRC)

Launched on , the Alouette I science satellite marked Canada's entry into the space age. Canada was one of the first countries to design and build its own satellite, long before the creation of the Canadian Space Agency.

Experts from Canada's Defence Research Telecommunications Establishment had to overcome many challenges in the process of designing and building the state-of-the-art satellite, but Alouette I was a tremendous success by any measure. Although it was designed with a one-year lifetime, Alouette I transmitted useful data for over 10 years! From its 1000-km orbit, it provided over one million images to study the ionosphere, the electrically charged layer of the upper atmosphere that can affect long-distance radio transmission.

Following this great accomplishment, Canada and the United States signed an agreement to launch more satellites: Alouette II, ISIS I and ISIS II were launched in , and respectively. And many other collaborations in space missions followed.

Here are a few archive images:

Electrical tests on the Alouette

Peter Townsend and Bert Schriber are carrying out electrical tests on the Alouette I satellite. (Credit: CRC)

Alouette I thermal testing

Alouette I is being set up for thermal testing in Quebec City, as part of the preliminary round of thermal tests. (Credit: CRC)

Mechanical tests on Alouette

Men are doing mechanical tests on Alouette I. (Credit: CRC)

Satellite is being prepared for shipment

The satellite is being prepared for shipment. (Credit: CRC)

Engineers are retracting the satellite antennas

Engineers are retracting the satellite STEM (Storable Tubular Extendible Member) antennas. (Credit: CRC)

Alouette I is being installed on the rocket

Alouette I is being installed on the Thor-Agena rocket. (Credit: CRC)

John H. Chapman

John H. Chapman, who played a key role in the Alouette/ISIS program, is considered the pioneer of the Canadian space program. In the background is the Thor-Agena rocket, about to launch Alouette I into space in . (Credit: CRC)

Rocket leaves the launch pad

The Thor-Agena rocket leaves the launch pad at the Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying the Canadian Alouette I spacecraft into orbit. (Credit: CRC)

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