Jan 26 Atlas launch

Allen Thomson (thomsona@netcom.com)
Mon, 19 Jan 1998 10:53:06 -0800 (PST)

   Has a launch azimuth or upper stage configuration been announced for 
the classified Atlas mission described in this excerpt from Florida
Today's Web page?

   Jan. 26: Air Force Atlas 2A on AC-109 with a classified National 
   Reconnaissance Office payload from pad 36A at Cape Canaveral Air 
   Station, Fla., during a launch period of 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. EST (1715-
   1915 GMT). 

   If it's going into a Molniya orbit, it may be a test platform for
the COBRA BRASS/SBIRS + TRUMPET follow-on that has been discussed for 
some time now, and is apparently going to become operational in, IIRC, 
2001 or thereabouts:

Excerpts from http://www.defensedaily.com/peds/airf/0603441F.htm

                   FY 1997 RDT&E Descriptive Summary

   Program Element:  0603441F
   Budget Activity:  4 - Demonstration and Validation
   Program Element Title:  Space Based IR Arch (Dem/Val) (Space) 
   (U)  This PE funds the SBIRS Demonstration/Validation activities: 
   Space and Missile Tracking System (SMTS) and Cobra Brass (CB).  SMTS
   is the Dem/Val effort for the LEO component of SBIRS, CB will provide
   data for the GEO and HEO components.  This program is in the
   demonstration and validation Budget Activity Research Category because
   it funds the risk reduction and an advanced technology demonstration
   (U)  CB is currently being developed by Sandia National Laboratory,
   Albuquerque, NM.  CB is planning to launch in FY98.