Author Topic: LIVE: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - August 28 2013  (Read 63062 times)

Offline sdsds

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #45 on: 07/27/2013 11:57 PM »
I think Jim may be making a veiled reference to something like "Misty" (KH-11) et al., where a second, high-visibility payload might be carried to distract attention away from the primary — more stealthy — vehicle. Hypothetically if that has ever been done, the USG probably now understands that amateur observers will prevent a similar ruse from being successful in the future.

Just for example, see:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3077830/ns/technology_and_science-space/t/spy-satellites-rise-faked-fall
"A spy satellite’s rise ... and faked fall"
Amateurs could see what Russia missed, historian says
By Robert Windrem
July 12, 2001
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Online William Graham

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #46 on: 08/01/2013 09:04 AM »
As per today's SpaceFlightNow article, "Liftoff will be possible between 10 a.m. and 12 noon local time (1-3 p.m. EDT; 1700-1900 GMT)", still set for Aug 28th.

http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d363/preps/#.UfnUxJK1GSo

From a quick glance at passes on Heavens-Above, the plane of USA-186's orbit seems to cross the launch site during the launch period. I don't know how to compute the exact in-plane time, but it is likely that the launch window won't open until at least about an hour into the period.

USA-186 (NROL-20) was the payload of the last Titan launch, conducted from Vandenberg in 2005, and is believed to be the operational satellite in the West plane of the KH-11 system, with USA-129 as its backup. A launch to the west plane would be consistent with the usual pattern of alternating between the planes - USA-224 is in the East plane.

Offline Star One

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #47 on: 08/01/2013 05:34 PM »
As per today's SpaceFlightNow article, "Liftoff will be possible between 10 a.m. and 12 noon local time (1-3 p.m. EDT; 1700-1900 GMT)", still set for Aug 28th.

http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d363/preps/#.UfnUxJK1GSo

From a quick glance at passes on Heavens-Above, the plane of USA-186's orbit seems to cross the launch site during the launch period. I don't know how to compute the exact in-plane time, but it is likely that the launch window won't open until at least about an hour into the period.

USA-186 (NROL-20) was the payload of the last Titan launch, conducted from Vandenberg in 2005, and is believed to be the operational satellite in the West plane of the KH-11 system, with USA-129 as its backup. A launch to the west plane would be consistent with the usual pattern of alternating between the planes - USA-224 is in the East plane.

Do you believe that it will replace USA-186 as the main satellite with USA-129 being de-orbited and then USA-186 becoming the backup?

Online William Graham

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #48 on: 08/02/2013 12:15 AM »
As per today's SpaceFlightNow article, "Liftoff will be possible between 10 a.m. and 12 noon local time (1-3 p.m. EDT; 1700-1900 GMT)", still set for Aug 28th.

http://spaceflightnow.com/delta/d363/preps/#.UfnUxJK1GSo

From a quick glance at passes on Heavens-Above, the plane of USA-186's orbit seems to cross the launch site during the launch period. I don't know how to compute the exact in-plane time, but it is likely that the launch window won't open until at least about an hour into the period.

USA-186 (NROL-20) was the payload of the last Titan launch, conducted from Vandenberg in 2005, and is believed to be the operational satellite in the West plane of the KH-11 system, with USA-129 as its backup. A launch to the west plane would be consistent with the usual pattern of alternating between the planes - USA-224 is in the East plane.

Do you believe that it will replace USA-186 as the main satellite with USA-129 being de-orbited and then USA-186 becoming the backup?

NROL-65 will become the prime, and USA-186 the backup.

I'm not sure what will happen to USA-129; there is no precedent for five KH-11s being in orbit at the same time. The current situation with four is actually quite rare - the only other time both planes have had backup satellites was between 2005 and 2008, before USA-116 was deorbited. There has never been a launch to a plane with a backup satellite

From a quick glance at launch and deorbit dates, most deorbits seem to happen around half a year before a replacement is due to be launched, so I would have expected USA-129 to have been deorbited by now. I have two theories for its continued operation; the NRO could be keeping it in service for as long as it is functional and returning useful images. Alternatively, since NROL-65 is the last KH-11 and if it fails no replacement will be forthcoming, 129 might just be sticking around until L-65 reaches orbit safely.


For the record, USA-129 has had a longer operational lifespan than any other KH-11; it was the prime (indeed, only) satellite in the West plane for a little under nine years, and has been in orbit for almost 17. USA-116 lasted about 13 years, with around six as the prime satellite in the East plane, before its deorbit in 2008. In addition to USA-129, the other satellites in service at the moment are USA-161, 186 and 224, which have been up for a few months short of 12, 8 and 2 years respectively.
« Last Edit: 08/02/2013 12:26 AM by William Graham »

Offline Targeteer

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #49 on: 08/02/2013 04:30 AM »
It will be very interesting to see what happens to USA-186's orbit if NROL-65 is successfully launched.  Following USA-224's launch, USA-161 was maneuvered into an unprecedented, low and almost circular orbit for the type (from Heavens Above)

USA-129      310 x 773 km, 97.6°
USA-161   386 x 392 km, 97.0°
USA-186   260 x 1,026 km, 97.9°
USA-224   258 x 1,025 km, 97.9°

for historical reference the orbits for earlier birds in the class (from wikipedia and I know that's dangerous)

USA-27     300 km × 1000 km, i=98°
USA-33     300 km × 1000 km, i=98°
USA-86     408 km × 931 km, i=97.7°
USA-116   405 km × 834 km, i=97.7°
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Online kevin-rf

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #50 on: 08/02/2013 01:31 PM »
USA-161   386 x 392 km, 97.0°

I wonder if it has some sort of extended mission that provides global high res coverage, thus not having to expend fuel to take a closer look at objects of interest.

It would not be as high as the lower ~260km perigee other vehicles in the family provide, but those orbits provide limited high res coverage to specific latitudes. 

It would also provide a sneaky way to take a hi res look at areas of interest without tipping your hand to people tracking these satellites.

But I am way off topic, we can speculate all day long about what they will do with USA-129. Honestly, I would let the plane drift to early morning, shortly after sunrise to catch dawn activities.
« Last Edit: 08/02/2013 01:32 PM by kevin-rf »
Are trampolines safe?

Offline vapour_nudge

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 28 2013
« Reply #51 on: 08/07/2013 12:31 PM »
ULA have added a flash page for this launch:
http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/Launch.shtml#/42/
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Online kevin-rf

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 28 2013
« Reply #52 on: 08/07/2013 01:07 PM »
Are trampolines safe?

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #53 on: 08/07/2013 01:14 PM »
Interesting
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Online William Graham

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #54 on: 08/07/2013 01:32 PM »
Do we know yet whether this launch is using the composite (Delta) or metallic (Titan) fairing? I believe L-49 used the composite.

Offline Jim

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - Aug 2013
« Reply #55 on: 08/07/2013 02:01 PM »
it will be composite

Offline averagespacejoe

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - August 28 2013
« Reply #56 on: 08/20/2013 09:54 PM »
I know I am being picky but is there any image of the Digital Space Patch bigger and clearer than the one provided by Spaceflightnow for NROL-65. It is so hard to make out any detail and once it is blown up it becomes blurry. 140x139 pixels doesn't cut it.

Offline c3infinity

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - August 28 2013
« Reply #57 on: 08/20/2013 10:22 PM »
I know I am being picky but is there any image of the Digital Space Patch bigger and clearer than the one provided by Spaceflightnow for NROL-65. It is so hard to make out any detail and once it is blown up it becomes blurry. 140x139 pixels doesn't cut it.

Better, I hope? Doing this on my phone, so hopefully the attachments come out right.

Offline averagespacejoe

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - August 28 2013
« Reply #58 on: 08/20/2013 10:28 PM »
Holy cow that is gorgeous where do you find those?

Offline robertross

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Re: Delta IV Heavy - NROL-65 - August 28 2013
« Reply #59 on: 08/20/2013 11:36 PM »
I know I am being picky but is there any image of the Digital Space Patch bigger and clearer than the one provided by Spaceflightnow for NROL-65. It is so hard to make out any detail and once it is blown up it becomes blurry. 140x139 pixels doesn't cut it.

Better, I hope? Doing this on my phone, so hopefully the attachments come out right.

Spectacular, thanks!

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