NROL-25 to launch FIA Radar 2

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sun Mar 25 2012 - 06:26:11 UTC

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    NROL-25 is scheduled for launch on a Delta IV Medium+ (5,2), from Vandenberg AFB, on 2012 Mar 29 at 22:30 UTC. I am
    confident that its payload is the second FIA Radar satellite. 
    FIA Radar 1 (10046A / 37162) was launched on NROL-41, from VAFB, aboard an Atlas V-501. If NROL-25's ascent trajectory
    is identical to that of NROL-41, then the payload's orbit at the first ascending node after separation from the second
    stage will be:
                                                           1067 X 1080 km
    1 79701U          12090.05719863  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    08
    2 79701 122.9931 201.7813 0008524  77.8521 282.3398 13.49540846    03
    Since the launch vehicle is different, it is reasonable to expect small differences from the above elements.
    Northern hemisphere observers will have evening visibility. Southern hemisphere observers will have morning visibility.
    Since the performance of the Delta IV Medium+ (5,2) exceeds that of the Atlas V-501, it is reasonable to expect that
    NROL-25's second stage will de-orbit soon after payload separation, the same as NROL-41's Centaur.
    FIA Radar 1 manoeuvred over a 21 day period to adjust its orbit to an altitude of 1103 km, with the argument of perigee
    frozen near 90 deg.
    FIA Radar 2's RAAN will be nearly 180 deg east of that of FIA Radar 1, and their planes will be 114 deg apart.
    I expect NROL-39 and NROL-45 to complete the initial FIA Radar constellation. Both are Atlas V-501 launches from VAFB.
    Ted Molczan
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