|The Fast Auroral Snapshot(FAST) satellite is part the NASA Small Explorers(SMEX) Program. It was launched on August 21, 1996 by a winged Pegasus XL rocket released from an L-1011 jet aircraft at an altitude of about 12,200 meters(40,000 feet) travelling at Mach 0.8. The FAST satellite was inserted into a polar orbit with an altitude range of 350 to 4200 km(220 to 2,600 miles) above Earth. FAST carries instruments to measure energetic electrons and ions, electric fields, and magnetic fields above the Earth's auroral zones. A Transportable Orbital Tracking Station(TOTS) maintained by NASA was placed at Poker Flat, Alaska to collect real-time data while the spacecraft is passing through the northern polar regions. Data is also collected by the European Space Agency(ESA) using a tracking station in Kiruna, Sweden.|
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