The neutral atmospheric composition experiment on the San Marco - 3 satellite has measured the composition of the equatorial atmosphere from 29 April to 29 November 1971. Preliminary results on the diurnal variation of atmospheric composition from 19 May to 30 June at 225 km. altitude are presented. The diurnal variation of helium is seen to reach its maximum near 0800 hours and its minimum in the late afternoon in contrast to the behavior of molecular nitrogen and argon. The atomic oxygen densities show smaller variations than the other gases. The mass densities calculated from the composition data agree well with those determined from the in situ drag force measurements and from orbital decay measurements.