Author Topic: LIVE: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - August 28 2013  (Read 65116 times)

Offline Targeteer

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LIVE: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - August 28 2013
« on: 02/01/2013 11:26 PM »
New thread because I haven't seen one yet.

This is the only NRO launch of the year after a flurry of launches in recent years.

Has the D-IVH been delivered to VAFB?  Will it use RS-68As?
« Last Edit: 08/28/2013 03:47 AM by Chris Bergin »
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/2013 03:55 AM »
Considering the value of the payload, might it be delayed by the recent RL-10 issue?
There have been several programs written that help you to arrive at the right decision by feeding in & analyzing all the relevant facts.
REASON though, is a program which allows you to specify in advance what decision you wished it to reach. The program then constructs a series of plausible series of logical sounding steps to connect the premise with the conclusion. The entire thing was bought up lock,stock & barrel by the Pentagon.

Offline Ben the Space Brit

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #2 on: 02/02/2013 09:10 PM »
Will it use RS-68As?

I would imagine that it would use RS-68A because that's the standard core engine for the current-model Delta-IV CBC.
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Offline Star One

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #3 on: 02/04/2013 05:43 PM »
Considering the value of the payload, might it be delayed by the recent RL-10 issue?

They still have some leeway though to keep to the original launch?

Offline Antares

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #4 on: 02/05/2013 03:11 AM »
Will it use RS-68As?
I would imagine that it would use RS-68A because that's the standard core engine for the current-model Delta-IV CBC.

?  Only one mission used that engine.
If you use the word "should," you shall provide evidence to back up your opinion.  Shoulds are opinions.

Offline Star One

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #5 on: 02/05/2013 05:47 PM »
Will it use RS-68As?
I would imagine that it would use RS-68A because that's the standard core engine for the current-model Delta-IV CBC.

?  Only one mission used that engine.

It is now standard on the model going forward.
« Last Edit: 02/05/2013 05:52 PM by Star One »

Offline Antares

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #6 on: 02/05/2013 05:59 PM »
Source?
If you use the word "should," you shall provide evidence to back up your opinion.  Shoulds are opinions.

Offline Star One

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« Last Edit: 02/05/2013 07:00 PM by Star One »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #8 on: 02/05/2013 07:09 PM »
Source?

See this thread.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=28771.0

From that thread.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/new-delta-4-engine-variant-part-ula-cost-cutting-strategy#.URFkrBEgGSM
During last year's discussion it was determined that the entire Delta IV fleet is to complete its standardization program and start flying only standardized DIV's in the year 2015 onward. All DIV's will also switch to RS-68A engines between late 2014 and early 2015.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #9 on: 02/06/2013 02:04 PM »
Which I take to mean as ULA plans to fly out the existing inventory RS-68's in the 2013/2014 timeframe, meaning only missions that benefit from the RS-68A will use them before the RS-68 supply is exhausted.
There have been several programs written that help you to arrive at the right decision by feeding in & analyzing all the relevant facts.
REASON though, is a program which allows you to specify in advance what decision you wished it to reach. The program then constructs a series of plausible series of logical sounding steps to connect the premise with the conclusion. The entire thing was bought up lock,stock & barrel by the Pentagon.

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #10 on: 02/06/2013 05:45 PM »
Which I take to mean as ULA plans to fly out the existing inventory RS-68's in the 2013/2014 timeframe, meaning only missions that benefit from the RS-68A will use them before the RS-68 supply is exhausted.
Correct.

Offline baldusi

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #11 on: 02/11/2013 10:42 PM »
Which I take to mean as ULA plans to fly out the existing inventory RS-68's in the 2013/2014 timeframe, meaning only missions that benefit from the RS-68A will use them before the RS-68 supply is exhausted.
I recall the ULA president saying that the timeline from ordering to launching is no less than 30 months for the Delta IV. He also said that the CDR Fleet Standarization Project (i.e. the model of Delta IV that will actually use RS-68A, among other changes) was Octover/November 2012. Add 30 months. There you have it.

Offline Star One

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #12 on: 02/12/2013 07:48 AM »
Which I take to mean as ULA plans to fly out the existing inventory RS-68's in the 2013/2014 timeframe, meaning only missions that benefit from the RS-68A will use them before the RS-68 supply is exhausted.
Correct.

So can we infer then that this flight is more than likely to fly with the RS-68 rather than the RS-68A?

Online Galactic Penguin SST

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #13 on: 03/05/2013 09:14 AM »
Found a few patches related to this launch on eBay - not sure from which organization (Jim?).

BTW this may turn out to be the last KH-11 to fly - a whooping 36.5 years since the first one takes flight. The satellite bus must be a very versatile design for it to be used for 35+ years....... 
Hmm....where can I apply for the job of United Launch Alliance internet cheerleader?

Offline William Graham

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #14 on: 03/05/2013 12:01 PM »
Found a few patches related to this launch on eBay - not sure from which organization (Jim?).[/url]

The second image looks like a metal pin version of the first.
They look like what I call the "launch patch" or "rocket patch", which I believe is USAF (although it could be ULA). Slightly strange because it doesn't keep with what was beginning to look like a standard format for launch patches on NRO launches from VAFB. "Mission" or "Payload" patches (the ones that are usually painted on the rocket or tower) don't typically list all the organisations involved.

The third patch is just the patch of the 4th Space Launch Squadron of the USAF. 4SLS is the unit responsible for EELV launches from Vandenberg. That patch is not specific to this launch.



Due to the size of the rocket and location of the launch site this can only be one of three things - KH-11, Lacrosse or Misty. Given that Lacrosse hasn't flown since 2005 and its replacements are now being launched, that is extremely unlikely. Misty was probably cancelled around 2005/07; there are some who believe one satellite remains to be launched however I am not among them.
It is widely known that two KH-11s were ordered when FIA was cancelled, and it seems very obvious that NROL-49 was the first of those, so logically this launch could be the other, and possibly the last KH-11. I'd assume the satellite will be launched into the Western plane of the constellation to replace USA-186 (NROL-20), which was launched by the last ever Titan rocket to fly, in October 2005. USA-186 will presumably then replace its 16-year-old backup USA-129, which based on previous replacements will probably be deorbited in the next few months.

A few interesting things to note about the L65 patch though... The rocket appears to be flying into the sunset, which implies this is the last launch for something. The payload would be a good guess - it's also worth noting that with the end of KH-11 and the trend towards smaller spacecraft, this could also be the last Delta IV Heavy launch from Vandenberg.
It's also possible that the symbol might mean something completely different - a similar depiction of the Sun appeared on the NROL-49, NROL-41 and NROL-34 launch patches, however none depicted a rocket flying directly towards it as this one does.

There appear to be 8 stars on the patch. I really don't know what these represent; it's the fifth Delta IV launch from Vandenberg, the seventh heavy. It is possible that at the time of the patch's design another Heavy was expected to launch before it, but this seems unlikely. Another possibility is that it could symbolise this being the eighth satellite for the Western plane of the KH-11 system, however stars on patches usually symbolise the system as a whole or not at all.

The other thing is the orbit track shown on the patch; while this is probably decorative, there have been some patches (particularly for SDS and Trumpet satellites) where the track shown has represented the target orbit. This would indicate a launch to the northwest for this mission, while I would expect a KH-11 launch to be to the south...the more westerly track might suggest a radar-imaging payload like Lacrosse, however I feel that it is far more likely that the track shown has no relevance to the actual course that the rocket will follow.

The white symbols to the left and right of the rocket (Δ and IV) are self-explanatory.

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