Orbiting Astronomical Observatory

OAO-1NASA launches its first space-based telescope, the unmanned Orbiting Astronomical Observatory satellite, into Earth orbit. Weighing nearly two tons and sporting visible, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma ray astronomy capabilities, OAO is in trouble mere minutes after it goes into service: a serious electrical failure leaves the spacecraft in a blind tumble, and it will be declared a loss three days after launch. NASA will attempt another OAO launch in 1968.