Classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. No firm information. Theories included: 1) follow-on to the SDS data relay satellites that route reconnaisance satellite imaging, with secondary missile warning or ELINT equipment; 2) prototype COBRA BRASS infrared early warning satellite. The project seemed to have been several years behind schedule (based on the launch vehicle serial number). It is likely that it may have been a technology test satellite combining equipment for several future projects.
An Odetics Corporation press release of March 1998 inadvertently provided evidence that at least one payload was indeed a Cobra Brass prototype:
Odetics SSR Operational In Space on Cobra Brass Payload
Anaheim, Calif. - March 15, 1998 - Odetics was informed today by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) that "the Cobra Brass payload containing an Odetics solid-state recorder (SSR) is fully operational in space." The SSR and payload have been undergoing extensive integration and testing since delivery of the SSR in 1996.
"The Cobra Brass solid-state recorder is one of several Model SSR 1620s delivered to SNL. The SSR 1620 is a unique dual-functioning SSR that can operate as two independent units or in parallel to provide over 400 Mbps record rate," explained Bob Tripp, business development manager for space data storage products. The Cobra Brass SSR supplied to SNL is nearly identical to the one Odetics provided SNL for the Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) mission scheduled for launch this year. "The main differentiating feature is in radiation tolerance," according to Mr. Tripp.
Odetics' Communication Division is an international supplier of highly reliable tape and solid-state recorders (SSR) for commercial and government space programs. Odetics has pioneered data storage in space since 1969 and delivered more than 350 space-qualified recorders for space missions. Recent new programs are Boeing's SBIRS/LADS and Japan's USERS. Odetics' headquarters are located in Anaheim, CA, with additional operations in Europe and Asia. For more information about its divisions and subsidiaries, visit the company's web site at http:/www.odetics.com/.
Classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.