Smithsonian loans satellite to PARI for public display

Press release from the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI):

Rosman, NC – An ATS-6 satellite is now on display at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI). The satellite was loaned to PARI by the Smithsonian Institution and is available for public viewing in the Space Artifacts section of PARI’s Exhibit Gallery.

The PARI site was first developed by NASA as the Rosman Tracking Station and much of the development for the Applications Technology Satellite (ATS) program was conducted by scientists at Rosman. The ATS satellite series notched an impressive list of space “firsts,” including the first full-disk Earth images transmitted to the Rosman Station. Other notable ATS accomplishments included the first photo of the Earth and the Moon together, the first space-based color images of Earth and the first cloud cover images for meteorological studies. An ATS-6 satellite, similar to the one on display at PARI, was the world’s first educational satellite and pioneered direct-broadcast TV. It also conducted air traffic control tests, practiced satellite-assisted search and rescue missions, and provided the TV link for the historic Apollo-Soyuz docking in 1975.

In addition to the ATS-6 satellite, the Space Artifacts gallery at PARI houses historic Space Shuttle artifacts, including several that have flown in space. Another wing of the Exhibit Gallery contains a large collection of meteorites, rare gems and minerals. The gem collection includes hundreds of museum-grade specimens, including 15.3-carat faceted Hiddenite specimen. The meteorite section includes a specimen from 1492 that is a piece of the very first meteorite documented to have fallen to earth. The exhibit features meteorite specimens that have been gathered from around the world and includes pieces of Mars and the Earth’s Moon.

Visitors are welcome Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm. Visitor admission to the PARI campus is $6 per person, with children 10 and under admitted free. In addition to the Exhibit Gallery, PARI visitors are welcome to take self-guided campus tours, hike three miles of nature trails and enjoy scenic views from the Parks Observation Deck. Docent-led campus tours are available Wednesdays at 2 pm and Saturdays at 10, 11 and 2. Reservations are requested for the docent tours and can be made at

About PARI
The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) is a public not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) foundation established in 1998. Located in the Pisgah National Forest 30 miles southwest of Asheville, NC, the 200-acre campus is the former site of an historic NASA satellite tracking station. Today, PARI is a science education and research center. The site houses radio and optical telescopes, earth science instruments and the Astronomical Photographic Data Archive. Exhibit galleries display NASA Space Shuttle artifacts and collections of rare meteorites and minerals. PARI provides STEM educational programs at all levels, from K-12 through post-graduate research. For more information about PARI and its programs, visit


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