stasisLAX From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3313 posts, RR: 7 Posted (3 years 7 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 5261 times:
An unmanned rocket blasted off from Vandenburg AFB along the California coast on April 3 carrying a clandestine new generation spy satellite for the U.S. military. Unlike many of the South Base launch pads, Vandenburg's SLC-6 launch pad is tucked into a valley and not visible for spectators, at least in the liftoff phase.
The United Launch Alliance (Boeing and Lockheed-Martin) Delta 4 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:12 p.m. PDT (2312 GMT) on a mission to orbit a highly classified satellite, called NROL-25, for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. This was an important launch for the Delta 4 program since it was the first to launch using a version of the booster called the "Delta 4 Medium-plus 5,2 configuration, which uses a common Delta 4 core flanked by twin solid rocket boosters and topped with a 5-meter fairing to cover the satellite payload." There are 3 other NRO satellite launches scheduled for this year, all thought to be next-generation radar imaging satellites, replacing several older, less advanced, and heavier radar recon satellites that the NRO had been utilizing.
Nice to see that the updates to the Delta 4 seems to have worked perfectly!
aklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 1188 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 5108 times:
Does anyone know who made the satellite? I don't see that mentioned in any articles.
The launch pad may be impossible to see at launch time, but before that it is clearly visible from the Coast Daylight train that runs right through Vandenberg only a few hundred feet from SLC-6. It's a great ride anyway, and the views in Vandenberg are a plus. I guess they have to cancel or reroute the trains when a rocket is fueled and waiting to go. The rail line snakes through several launch complexes.
Stitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 33446 posts, RR: 85
Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5070 times:
Quoting aklrno (Reply 1): Does anyone know who made the satellite? I don't see that mentioned in any articles.
I expect it would be Lockheed-Martin, though as a radar imaging bird it might be a Boeing. After Boeing blew the budget on the Future Imagery Architecture program, the government killed it and had Lockheed-Martin take over with improved versions of their pre-existing designs. Boeing still had the Radar Imaging satellite contract after that, but USA-193 is said to have been an LM bird using Boeing's FIA radar design.
Revelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 14619 posts, RR: 27
Reply 3, posted (3 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 4995 times:
Quoting Stitch (Reply 2):
Should be Lockheed-Martin. After Boeing blew the budget on the Future Imagery Architecture program, the government killed it and had Lockheed-Martin take over with improved versions of their pre-existing designs.
http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2012/...h-nrol-25-military-satellite-vafb/ is a good read too. It's amazing how many different kinds of satellites there are in orbit: signal relay, signal intelligence, electro-optical imaging, radar imaging, missile launch detection, weather, GPS, etc. Most of these have iterated through various generations, as have their launch vehicles.