Perhaps Lacrosse 4 will go into a 68 deg inclination after all.

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@home.com)
Date: Wed Aug 16 2000 - 08:20:59 PDT

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    Further to my earlier posts with the subject, "NRO mission patch hints at
    Lacrosse payload on VAFB Titan IV launch", I am now changing my guess as to the
    inclination of today's scheduled launch.
    
    Notwithstanding that this patch may have been used at some fund-raising event:
    
    http://www.floridatoday.com/space/explore/images/2000b/nro2000.jpg
    
    I believe that the two quasi 60 deg inclination orbits are symbolic of the 57
    deg and 68 deg Lacrosse orbital planes.
    
    Moreover, I believe that the symbolic spacecraft in those orbital planes
    provide a clue as to the intended inclination of Lacrosse 4.
    
    First, consider that both planes have two spacecraft, which is consistent with
    4 Lacrosse launches, counting today's launch.
    
    Now, consider that the 57 deg orbit, depicted by the shallower of the two
    orbits, shows its leading satellite in black, with a white outline, and the one
    trailing behind it as solid white. I suspect that the leading symbol denotes
    Lacrosse 1, which was the first 57 deg Lacrosse, and that it is in black
    because it is no longer in orbit. The trailing symbol denotes Lacrosse 3, the
    second 57 deg Lacrosse, shown as solid white because it remains in orbit.
    
    Finally, consider the 68 deg orbit, depicted by the steeper of the two orbits.
    The leading symbol should be Lacrosse 2, the first 68 deg Lacrosse, depicted as
    solid white because it remains in orbit. The trailing symbol depicts Lacrosse
    4, which is about to be launched, shown as solid white since it would be in
    orbit.
    
    If this interpretation is correct, then I believe that the available clues now
    point more strongly to a 68 deg inclination than my earlier guess of 57 deg.
    
    Notwithstanding my latest reading of the tea leaves, I recommend that observers
    be prepared to observe both inclinations, per my pre-launch elements:
    
    T-IV 2nd stage   9.8  3.0  0.0  4.8 v
    1 70001U          00230.16663982  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    07
    2 70001  57.0090  47.0200 0177212 165.0881 195.5654 15.06051010    07
    
    T-IV 2nd stage   9.8  3.0  0.0  4.8 v
    1 70002U          00230.16663982  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    08
    2 70002  68.0000  37.0500 0177212 169.0000 195.5000 15.06050101    05
    
    Ted Molczan
    
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