AWST: NRO Spacecraft In Wrong Orbit

From: Ted Molczan (sslmolcz@rogers.com)
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 19:42:20 EDT

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    This is likely to complicate our search.
    
    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=space&id=news/nro06157.xml&headline=NRO%20Spacecraft%20In%20Wrong%20Orbit
    
    
    Excerpts:
    
    Jun 15, 2007
    
    Craig Covault/Aviation Week & Space Technology
    
    "Two top secret National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) ocean surveillance
    spacecraft were fired into the wrong orbit June 15 when the 200-foot-tall Atlas
    V rocket they were riding on stopped firing too early in space following launch
    from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
    
    The top secret satellites separated safely from the malfunctioning booster,
    however, and have enough rocket propellant to continue their mission, an
    official said on background."
    
    and
    
    "The Centaur completed the first firing normally to place the spacecraft in a
    correct initial orbit. The vehicle then coasted about halfway around the world
    where the Centaur RL10 engine was fired a second time about an hour after
    liftoff.
    
    This time, however, the Centaur did not fire for as long as it was scheduled to.
    The exact parameters involved are still secret.
    
    The spacecraft may have to use their onboard propellant to maneuver into a
    higher orbit, which could affect their mission life. Whether that is the case is
    still being determined by NRO."
    
    End excerpts
    
    Ted Molczan
    
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