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Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-3


OAO-3 was launched on August 21, 1972. It carried an X-ray detector built by University College of London's Mullard Space Science Laboratory and an 80-cm UV telescope built by Princeton University. After its launch, it was named Copernicus to mark the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus. Copernicus operated until February 1981, and returned high resolution spectra of hundreds of stars along with extensive X-ray observations. This picture shows OAO-3 in the clean room at Kennedy Space Center.


  • Orbiting Astronomical Observatory-3 (OAO-3)
  • Observatory (space-based)





Associated Lesson

X-Ray History

This material is based upon work supported by NASA under Grant Nos. NNX09AD33G and NNX10AE80G issued through the SMD ROSES 2009 Program.

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