Author Topic: SCRUB: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 8, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6 (20:15 PST)  (Read 36067 times)

Offline eeergo

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Offline envy887

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - Dec. 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #41 on: 11/21/2018 06:13 PM »
Delay to Dec 7th:

https://twitter.com/NatReconOfc/status/1065273975381594114

Does this have anything to do with SSO-A slipping to the 27th? Can VAFB turn the range around in 48 hours, or was the 29th too tight?

Offline Newton_V

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - Dec. 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #42 on: 11/21/2018 08:01 PM »
Does this have anything to do with SSO-A slipping to the 27th?
No.

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #43 on: 11/23/2018 10:30 PM »
<Rod Serling>For your consideration...</Rod Serling>

Via browser search, I found this Yelp review, with images, on the Moffett Bay Trail, re: possible preparations at Moffett Field to load a satellite payload on a C-5.

Reviewer Fred T hypothesizes that the preparations that he witnessed were for the nighttime transfer of the NROL-71 KH-11 from the Lockheed-Martin Sunnyvale facility to Vandenberg AFB.

His images in the review were taken from the trail.  Review dated June 27, 2018.

Please read the review for his evidence/deduction chain.

Plausible?  (I'm not suggesting a definitive answer.)
« Last Edit: 11/24/2018 12:30 AM by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline Newton_V

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - Nov. 29, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #44 on: 11/25/2018 03:15 PM »
Patch-ology:
Significance of the initials on the bald eagle's two dog-tags?  I noted they were whited out in the image up-thread with the original Klingon phrase.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua_Chamberlain


Offline Alter Sachse

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #45 on: 11/30/2018 01:27 PM »
unusual
launch 08:19 PM PST ---> 04:19 UTC (?)

https://www.ulalaunch.com/missions/delta-iv-nrol-71

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #46 on: 11/30/2018 08:21 PM »
National Reconnaissance Office  8 hrs · Facebook

Our mission patch #NROL71 depicts an eagle as the symbol of both freedom and the nation, which provides a fitting mascot to represent NRO's support to our nation's warfighter. The initials "JLC" on the foreground dog-tag are in honor of Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain, a Union commander who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism at the battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, when he held the Union Army's southern flank at Little Round Top against a repeated assault from Confederate forces. Col. Chamberlain's heroism, leadership, and commitment to 'service before self' exemplify the ethos of the American service member.

The patch also includes the NRO mission number, NROL-71, along with Delta IV Heavy and Vandenberg AFB to indicate both the launch vehicle and location.

The motto "Serving Those Who Serve" rounds out the mission logo and represents NRO's commitment to delivering the mission on time to the warfighter and intelligence community.
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Offline MattBaker

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #47 on: 12/01/2018 01:34 AM »
Regarding patchology, the three parallel tears look like the ground track of a polar orbit, which would be where this type of satellite would go.

And with every pass it tears through a fog of war underneath it, showing even the hidden things going on.

Just an idea, IIRC other patches had references to the orbit, too and it's known that it's a KH-11 and there's been a dozen launches of this constellation, so it's basically public information where this birdie goes, why not put it on the patch then?

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #48 on: 12/01/2018 04:23 AM »
Noted from reading the writings and postings of several satellite observing boffins/analysts:

All (deduced) KH-11 launches have been from Vandenberg.

Amateur satellite observers have observed that all successful launches for KH-11's result in two different polar (sun-synchronous?) destination orbits labelled East and West.

All "west" satellites have launched between 18:00 and 18:30 UTC.

All "east" satellites have launched between 21:10 and 21:35 UTC.

Some questions/thoughts:

Will the launch window for NROL-71, when announced, conform to the previous pattern of strict duality?

Apparently, no.
unusual
launch 08:19 PM PST ---> 04:19 UTC (?)

https://www.ulalaunch.com/missions/delta-iv-nrol-71

And:
This launch would be the first of the KH-11's on a Delta IV-H upgraded.  Will the extra "performance" allow a greater breadth in launch time around the optimal, assuming other parameters are unchanged, such as payload mass and initial orbit?
Maybe?
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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #49 on: 12/04/2018 02:55 AM »
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
From: 30th Space Wing Public Affairs, www.vandenberg.af.mil

Delta IV Heavy Launch Scheduled

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Team Vandenberg is scheduled to support
the launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying a
National Reconnaissance Office payload from Space Launch Complex-6 on
Friday, Dec. 7, with a launch window opening at 8:19 p.m. PST. 

Col. Bob Reeves, 30th Space Vice Wing commander, will be the space launch
commander.

"Team V has put in a lot of hard work for this launch," said Reeves. "We are
dedicated to mission success and proud to work alongside United Launch
Alliance and the National Reconnaissance Office."

The 4th Space Launch Squadron executes integrated launch operations with a
focus on mission assurance for this spacelift mission. 

"Every mission is unique and this Delta IV Heavy launch is a prime example
of teamwork with a laser focus on mission success," said Lt. Col. Kenneth
Decker, 4th SLS commander and Air Force Launch Director for the mission.
"Our mission assurance technicians and engineers have worked diligently with
United Launch Alliance and the other mission partners to reduce risk in
order to assure mission safety and security.  The men and women of the 4 SLS
are proud to contribute to this important mission."
______________________________________________________________
Tony De La Rosa

Offline William Graham

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #50 on: 12/04/2018 09:41 PM »
So the plot thickens. Ted Molczan has posted a plot of the hazard areas on SeeSat-L (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Dec-2018/0014.html) and it appears that the target inclination is about 74 degrees! That this is not going to sun-synchronous orbit is unusual to say the least.

The USSR did operate Zenit photoreconnaissance satellites in similar orbits (up to about 73 degrees) but these launches ended in the 1980s and there were also a very small number of Corona satellites that used a 75-degree orbit in  the 1960s. Russia has also used this inclination for ELINT satellites, but DIVH would seem like overkill for an ELINT bird.

I am considering three possibilities:
 * A KH-11 or successor targeting a different inclination
 * A Misty/USA-144 follow-on (either operating in a 74 degree orbit, or manoeuvring to ~63 degrees)
 * Something completely different
« Last Edit: 12/05/2018 09:21 PM by William Graham »

Offline Star One

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Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #51 on: 12/05/2018 10:37 AM »
So the plot thickens. Ted Molczan has posted a plot of the hazard areas on SeeSat-L (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Dec-2018/0014.html) and it appears that the target inclination is about 74 degrees! That this is not going to sun-synchronous orbit is unusual to say the least.

The USSR did operate Zenit photoreconnaissance satellites in similar orbits (up to about 73 degrees) but these launches ended in the 1980s and there were also a very small number of Corona satellites that used a 75-degree orbit in  the 1960s. Russia has also used this inclination for ELINT satellites, but DIVH would seem like overkill for an ELINT bird.

I am considering three possibilities:
 * A KH-11 or successor targeting a different inclination
 * A Misty/USA-144 follow-on (either operating in a 74 degree orbit, or manoeuvring to ~63 degrees)
 * Something completely different

Could it be that is being deliberately launched into this orbit to hide its purpose and then manoeuvre into a more typical orbit after launch or would that kind of change require the use of too much propellant.
« Last Edit: 12/05/2018 10:38 AM by Star One »

Offline William Graham

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #52 on: 12/05/2018 09:18 PM »
So the plot thickens. Ted Molczan has posted a plot of the hazard areas on SeeSat-L (http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Dec-2018/0014.html) and it appears that the target inclination is about 74 degrees! That this is not going to sun-synchronous orbit is unusual to say the least.

The USSR did operate Zenit photoreconnaissance satellites in similar orbits (up to about 73 degrees) but these launches ended in the 1980s and there were also a very small number of Corona satellites that used a 75-degree orbit in  the 1960s. Russia has also used this inclination for ELINT satellites, but DIVH would seem like overkill for an ELINT bird.

I am considering three possibilities:
 * A KH-11 or successor targeting a different inclination
 * A Misty/USA-144 follow-on (either operating in a 74 degree orbit, or manoeuvring to ~63 degrees)
 * Something completely different

Could it be that is being deliberately launched into this orbit to hide its purpose and then manoeuvre into a more typical orbit after launch or would that kind of change require the use of too much propellant.

From a very quick approximation, I think the Delta-V requirement would be somewhere on the order of 3km/s, which does seem excessively high - especially for a satellite the size of KH-11. This is assuming a 1,200 km circular orbit inclination change from of 74 to 98 degrees - in reality the perigee is likely to be lower, resulting in a greater Delta-V requirement.

My earlier suggestion of a change to 63 degrees (the orbit previously used by MISTY) would be about half of the Delta-V to SSO, but that still seems too high to be likely, so I suspect the final orbit will be closer to 74 degrees (although it could still manoeuvre by a few degrees).

I'd appreciate if someone could check my figures.
« Last Edit: 12/05/2018 09:27 PM by William Graham »

Offline input~2

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Re: Delta IV-H - NROL-71 - December 7, 2018 - VAFB SLC-6
« Reply #53 on: 12/05/2018 10:58 PM »
!CARF 12/054 (KZAK A4833/18)  ZAK AIRSPACE DCC 2 ROPS AIROPS DO-1815 PART B STNR ALT RESERVATION WI AN AREA DEFINED AS 4115N14726W TO 4127N14644W TO 3957N14603W TO 3946N14645W TO POINT OF ORIGIN SFC-UNL 1812080449-1812080731

Offline input~2

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EASTERN PACIFIC.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING
080244Z TO 080551Z DEC, ALTERNATE 0244Z TO 0551Z
DAILY 09 AND 10 DEC IN AREAS BOUND BY:
A. 25-12N 116-54W, 25-02N 117-34W,
26-40N 118-05W, 26-50N 117-25W.
B. 04-41S 109-18W, 04-53S 110-04W,
00-05N 111-16W, 00-17N 110-30W.
2. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING
080449Z TO 080731Z DEC, ALTERNATE 0449Z TO 0731Z
DAILY 09 AND 10 DEC IN AREA BOUND BY
41-15N 147-26W, 41-27N 146-44W,
39-57N 146-03W, 39-46N 146-45W.
3. CANCEL THIS MSG 100831Z DEC 18.//

Authority: WESTERN RANGE 282205Z NOV 18.

Date: 030945Z DEC 18
Cancel: 10083100 Dec 18

Offline input~2

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This NOTAM for Mazatlan Oceanic FIR has not been updated yet...
A7298/18 -  DANGEROUS AREA FALLING OF FRAGMENTS OF CORE BOOSTER ROCKET LAUNCHED BY UNITED STATES AIR FORCE LATERAL LIMIT: AREA FORMED BY THE UNION OF THE FOLLOWING POINTS 25 12N  116 54W 25 02N  117 34W 26 40N  118 05W 26 50N  117 25W. MSL - UNL, 0431/0721 DLY, 30 NOV 04:31 2018 UNTIL 06 DEC 07:21 2018. CREATED: 26 NOV 18:48 2018

Offline LouScheffer

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Could it be that is being deliberately launched into this orbit to hide its purpose and then manoeuvre into a more typical orbit after launch or would that kind of change require the use of too much propellant.

From a very quick approximation, I think the Delta-V requirement would be somewhere on the order of 3km/s, which does seem excessively high - especially for a satellite the size of KH-11. This is assuming a 1,200 km circular orbit inclination change from of 74 to 98 degrees - in reality the perigee is likely to be lower, resulting in a greater Delta-V requirement.

My earlier suggestion of a change to 63 degrees (the orbit previously used by MISTY) would be about half of the Delta-V to SSO, but that still seems too high to be likely, so I suspect the final orbit will be closer to 74 degrees (although it could still manoeuvre by a few degrees).

I'd appreciate if someone could check my figures.
Assuming orbital velocity of 7.7 km/sec, we can find the delta-V required to go into the same orbit, different inclination from the law of cosines c = sqrt(a^2 + b^2 - 2*a*b*cos(theta))

Plugging in a = b = 7700, and theta = 24 degrees (74 to 98) we get 3202 m/s.

For the smaller plane change of 11 degrees, we get 1476 m/s. 

These agree with your figures, and both seem too high to be practical.
EDIT: fix typo in law of cosines.
« Last Edit: 12/07/2018 06:35 PM by LouScheffer »

Offline Star One

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Could this KH-11 be a very different beast to its predecessors, perhaps smaller with the use of electric propulsion. I remember reading several articles over the past years where the NRO indicated that they wanted to use smaller satellites than in the past.

Offline gosnold

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Could this KH-11 be a very different beast to its predecessors, perhaps smaller with the use of electric propulsion. I remember reading several articles over the past years where the NRO indicated that they wanted to use smaller satellites than in the past.

Yes but why launch it into a 74° orbit even if it has high delta-v? Unless it is stealthy, foreign countries and amateurs will be able to track it anyway.
« Last Edit: 12/06/2018 05:00 PM by gosnold »

Offline Star One

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Could this KH-11 be a very different beast to its predecessors, perhaps smaller with the use of electric propulsion. I remember reading several articles over the past years where the NRO indicated that they wanted to use smaller satellites than in the past.

Yes but why launch it into a 74° orbit even if it has high delta-v? Unless it is stealthy, foreign countries and amateurs will be able to track it anyway.

Wouldn’t the latest KH-11’s be more stealthy as par for the course in increasingly contested space?

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