Flight spare of the tape recorder flown on the Ariel VI satellite, 1979.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
These machines recorded scientific data prior to beaming it down to the ground station for analysis. As with all components for use in space, this miniature tape recorder demanded the highest production standards. Special clothing needed to be worn to protect vital components from contamination by dust and grease. Ariel VI, a British satellite launched by NASA from Wallops Island, Virginia on 2nd June, 1979, carried equipment for various X-ray experiments. Unfortunately the effectivenes of the mision was limited by electromagnetic interference from ground-based radar.