[FPSPACE] Atlas-2AS AC-167 NROL-1 payload speculation
thomsona at flash.net
Fri Jun 25 09:02:11 EDT 2004
> It seems, the NROL-1 payload is going to a ~57° low earth orbit.
> This leads to my speculation, if this payload is a follow on to the
Lacrosse/Onyx radar spysats.
Lacorsse 1 and 3 were also launched to a 57° orbit (2 and 4 were at 68°).
The LAC follow-ons are supposed to be part of the Future Imagery
Archictecture, which is still at least a few years in the, ah, future. I'm
not going to bet a lot of money on what NROL-1 is, but a SDS-like payload
seems the most likely possibility. If so, MES2 will put the satellite into
a highly elliptical ~12- hour orbit and at some point a plane change
maneuver will be performed to increase the inclination by ~6 degrees,
resulting in a Molniya orbit.
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