Author Topic: LIVE: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26 - Jan 17, 09  (Read 136104 times)

Offline Jirka Dlouhy

  • Veteran
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 305
  • Kladno, Czech Republic
  • Liked: 1
  • Likes Given: 3
LIVE: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26 - Jan 17, 09
« on: 04/03/2008 07:50 PM »
Now begins the operations for launch NRO L-26 milsat


http://www.ulalaunch.com/
« Last Edit: 01/15/2009 10:38 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #1 on: 04/03/2008 10:15 PM »
Interestingly, TWINS-B has reappeared on the MSDB manifest, and is sitting right next to L-26. I thought we'd seen the back of it when L-28 launched, but obviously that was not the case. Seeing as they are sitting next to each other on the manifest, and we know that TWINS-B is part of an NRO satellite, L-26 is the obvious candidate. If this is the case, however, it begs the question of the nature of L-26's mission. TWINS-B is going to Molniya orbit, but I am not aware of any NRO satellite classes which use this orbit and require a D-IVH to get there. All recent NRO launches to Molniya have used Medium EELVs (Atlas 401 for SDS, 411/DIVM+(4,2) for Trumpet). What could be big enough to need a D-IVH, if it is going to Molniya, if that is, indeed, where this is heading.

Offline faustod

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 323
  • Italy
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #2 on: 04/04/2008 04:46 PM »
Perhaps NRO-26 is a satellite similar to the old Trumpet's USA 103-112-136.
Those satellites were all launched by Titan4-Centaur into Molniya orbit.

Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #3 on: 04/04/2008 06:12 PM »
Quote
faustod - 4/4/2008  4:46 PM

Perhaps NRO-26 is a satellite similar to the old Trumpet's USA 103-112-136.
Those satellites were all launched by Titan4-Centaur into Molniya orbit.

It is possible, but most people think that the role of those satellites is now filled by NRO L-22 and L-28, which where launched by D-IVM+(4,2) and AV-411 respectively.

Offline rsnellenberger

  • Amateur wood butcher
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 585
  • Houston, TX
  • Liked: 55
  • Likes Given: 18
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #4 on: 04/04/2008 06:59 PM »
The Launch Schedule shows this one for July 28 -- does it really take 3-4 months after the booster rolls out to the pad to get it ready to launch, or is this a case where there wasn't any better use for the pad and USA wanted to free up space in the HIF?

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31222
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9495
  • Likes Given: 298
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #5 on: 04/04/2008 08:18 PM »
They haven't reduced the on pad time yet.

Offline faustod

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 323
  • Italy
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #6 on: 04/05/2008 08:45 AM »
Quote
GW_Simulations - 4/4/2008  1:12 PM

Quote
faustod - 4/4/2008  4:46 PM

Perhaps NRO-26 is a satellite similar to the old Trumpet's USA 103-112-136.
Those satellites were all launched by Titan4-Centaur into Molniya orbit.

It is possible, but most people think that the role of those satellites is now filled by NRO L-22 and L-28, which where launched by D-IVM+(4,2) and AV-411 respectively.

I am among them.
Hovever may be that, this sat, is not a new generation one, but as happened for DSP-23, the last in line of an old generation.
Substantially, may be that, they ordered three Delta IV to start the program, one for test, and two for old sats, diverted from Titan's.
Don't forget that these launches were delayed for years.

Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
RE: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #7 on: 04/08/2008 08:59 AM »
Mission Patch:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=200214497445&Category=1346&_trksid=p3907.m29

I can't find any similar patches for NRO missions, which suggests that either I'm not looking hard enough, or it is a new programme.

Offline HIPAR

  • Member
  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 586
  • NE Pa (USA)
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
RE: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #8 on: 04/10/2008 04:21 PM »
Nice pictures of the 'Heavy' and its trip to the launch pad:

http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/nrol26/

---  CHAS

Offline Antares

  • ABO^2
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5191
  • Done arguing with amateurs
  • Liked: 342
  • Likes Given: 211
RE: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #9 on: 04/10/2008 05:47 PM »
Quote
GW_Simulations - 8/4/2008  3:59 AM
Mission Patch:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=200214497445&Category=1346&_trksid=p3907.m29
The shooting star in the patch makes me wonder if the black suits have a sense of humor: L-21/USA-193?
If I like something on NSF, it's probably because I know it to be accurate.  Every once in a while, it's just something I agree with.  Facts generally receive the former.

Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
RE: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #10 on: 04/11/2008 07:54 PM »
Quote
Antares - 10/4/2008  5:47 PM

Quote
GW_Simulations - 8/4/2008  3:59 AM
Mission Patch:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&Item=200214497445&Category=1346&_trksid=p3907.m29
The shooting star in the patch makes me wonder if the black suits have a sense of humor: L-21/USA-193?

The interesting thing is that the shooting star is absent from the patch on the launch tower.
http://www.spaceflightnow.com/delta/nrol26/rollout/index3.html

Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #11 on: 04/16/2008 04:35 PM »
Okay. I've had another look at the mission patch, and I have noticed a few interesting features.

Firstly, the Statue of Liberty's crown could represent some form of dish or antenna - possibly a communication or radar reconnaissance satellite. Secondly, the differences between the mission patch on ebay, and the one on the tower suggest that there has been a change of circumstances surrounding what that star represents. There are 13 stars on the patch, 6 on the US flag, and 7 in the sky. This suggests that it may be the 7th or 13th satellite of a particular series.

I then compared it to several other NRO patches, from this, I was able to identify several similarities with the NRO L-21 payload patch.
Firstly, the group of five stars on the L-26 patch which contain the shooting star, are in a very similar pattern to the five stars on the left hand side of the L-21 patch. There are also 12 stars on the L-21 patch - one less than the L-26 patch. Sometimes the number of stars corresponds to a satellite's position in a series, and the fact that there is one more on the L-26 patch suggests that it could be the next in that series. This would also explain the shooting star - L-21 is now out of orbit, so the tail on the star in the patch was added to represent this (Antares' joke may not have been far from the truth) - possibly this was changed after the patch was painted onto the tower at LC-37, explaining the difference in patches - it will be interesting to see which version is painted on the rocket. There is also a similarity between details on the handle of the torch of the Statue of Liberty in the L-26 patch, and the Eagle's tongue in the L-21 patch, but I'm not sure what this could represent. Obviously L-21 was a lot smaller than L-26, but it is possible that it may be a new-generation satellite, and L-26 may be the last of an old series. Lacrosse 2 has been in orbit since 1991. Lacrosse 1, which was launched a little over two years previously, is long out of service. It was replaced during the second group of Lacrosse launches, but Lacrosse 2 was not replaced. I suspect that L-26 is it's replacement, and the last Lacrosse satellite before they are replaced by something a lot smaller. A launch to a 68 orbit, somewhere between 450-700km in altitude will confirm this. I would also expect a large payload fairing to be used (if different lengths are available).

I am disregarding what I said earlier about TWINS-B, as I don't think NASA know what is going on with it. NASA's Science Directorate seem to think that it was launched on 26 February (there was no launch on that date, although L-28 was scheduled for it, for a while). GSFC seem to think that is scheduled for a Delta IV from Vandenberg, in early 2008 (no such launch, although L-28 was transferred from Delta IV to Atlas). I think that L-28 carried TWINS-B, and the MSDB entry was a mistake. Anyway, according to the reported masses of the old Trumpet satellites, D-IVH would still be overkill, an M+(5,4) should be able to handle it, or even an M+(4,2) at a push.

I think this is either a big LEO satellite, or it is going directly to GSO. If I was a betting man, I would have money on Lacrosse.

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31222
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9495
  • Likes Given: 298
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #12 on: 04/16/2008 06:32 PM »
Reading too much into things.  Lacrosse is a west coast bird, shuttle mission was only due to backlog and VAFB shutdown

Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #13 on: 04/16/2008 06:41 PM »
Quote
Jim - 16/4/2008  6:32 PM

Reading too much into things.  Lacrosse is a west coast bird, shuttle mission was only due to backlog and VAFB shutdown

I disagree with you there (morituri te salutant). Lacrosse 5 was launched from Canaveral as well (on a Titan). SLC-6 is not currently able to take D-IVH, and is closed for refurbishment anyway. Presumably if L2 is ageing, there will be some urgency to get a replacement up, so they can't wait for Vandenberg.

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12674
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3463
  • Likes Given: 578
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #14 on: 04/16/2008 06:48 PM »
Quote
GW_Simulations - 16/4/2008  1:41 PM

SLC-6 is not currently able to take D-IVH, and is closed for refurbishment anyway. Presumably if L2 is ageing, there will be some urgency to get a replacement up, so they can't wait for Vandenberg.

How could SLC-6 be closed for refurbishment?  The place was just modified for Delta IV a few years ago.  There have only been two Delta IV launches from Six.  

Are they prepping it to support Heavy?

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Jim

  • Night Gator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31222
  • Cape Canaveral Spaceport
  • Liked: 9495
  • Likes Given: 298
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #15 on: 04/16/2008 07:00 PM »
Quote
GW_Simulations - 16/4/2008  2:41 PM

Quote
Jim - 16/4/2008  6:32 PM

Reading too much into things.  Lacrosse is a west coast bird, shuttle mission was only due to backlog and VAFB shutdown

I disagree with you there (morituri te salutant). Lacrosse 5 was launched from Canaveral as well (on a Titan). SLC-6 is not currently able to take D-IVH, and is closed for refurbishment anyway. Presumably if L2 is ageing, there will be some urgency to get a replacement up, so they can't wait for Vandenberg.

This still applies.
Reading too much into things.

As for the other point, we can disagree


Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #16 on: 04/16/2008 07:15 PM »
Quote
edkyle99 - 16/4/2008  6:48 PM

Are they prepping it to support Heavy?


As I understand it. I believe the next launch will be in December 2010. Lacrosse 2 will be approaching 20 years on-orbit by then, assuming it is still going - Lacrosse 1 only lasted 8 years. That is why I suspect it will be replaced soon by an east-coast launched satellite. I could be wrong, but that is my belief.

I don't know why they couldn't have done this when they built it.

Offline William Graham

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4049
  • Liked: 79
  • Likes Given: 50
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #17 on: 05/01/2008 07:53 PM »
Apparently, ULA have announced that it is a GSO launch. Much to my surprise this eliminates Lacrosse. If, as Faustod stated earlier, this satellite was originally scheduled for Titan IV, it is almost certain to be Advanced Orion. Otherwise, it could be a successor. I'm not sure whether the codename Prowler has been used in conjunction with such a programme.

Offline faustod

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 323
  • Italy
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #18 on: 05/07/2008 06:13 AM »
According to Spaceflight Now, the launch date is now 9 September.

Offline daver

  • Regular
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 324
  • South Carolina
  • Liked: 78
  • Likes Given: 774
Re: Delta IV Heavy: NRO L-26
« Reply #19 on: 05/15/2008 02:56 AM »
Spacefellowship says that the launch is on May 15th @ 8:00.
Is this possible?
http://spacefellowship.com/Calendar/calendar.php?mode=view&id=5324

Tags: