RE: NROL-76 payload speculation

From: Ted Molczan via Seesat-l <>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2017 11:52:02 -0400
From Stephen Clark's pre-launch coverage for Spaceflight Now this morning:

"An NRO spokesperson said Sunday that a commercial company, Ball Aerospace, booked the launch with SpaceX as part of a
"delivery in orbit" contract with the NRO. Delivery in orbit typically describes an arrangement where a spacecraft
manufacturer - in this case, apparently Boulder, Colorado-based Ball Aerospace - is in charge of all satellite
preparations, the launch and in-orbit testing, before handing over control of the payload to the end user once it is
operational in space."

Initial impression:

Ball's BCP 5000 bus seems relevant here:

"Our BCP-5000 offers our highest performance, most capable spacecraft - DigitalGlobe's choice for WorldView-1, -2 and -3
space vehicles. This powerful spacecraft accommodates next-generation optical and synthetic aperture radar
remote-sensing payloads. The BCP-5000 provides increased power in standard increments; higher agility with control
moment gyros (CMGs) - providing rapid retargeting capability with stability for the finest-spatial-resolution payloads.
The BCP-5000 is the quintessential choice for firm, fixed-priced spacecraft missions."

An SAR version would make sense in a 50-60 deg orbit. This might well be the replacement or follow-on of USA 193.

Ted Molczan

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Received on Sun Apr 30 2017 - 15:52:02 UTC

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