Whatever happened to 1963-055C?

From: Dinogeorge@aol.com
Date: Thu Nov 03 2005 - 03:20:03 EST

  • Next message: Russell Eberst: "2005NOV3.OBS"

    Way back in early 1964, shortly after the 1963  US space program completed, 
    some government agency or other under the auspices  of newly installed 
    president Lyndon B. Johnson produced a list of the 60  spacecraft (if I remember 
    correctly) orbited by the United States in 1963.  Included in that list, for the 
    final launch of the year, were these  spacecraft:
    1963-055A    Classified USAF  payload    Thor Agena D    December 21,  1963   
    1963-055B    Classified USAF  payload
    1963-055C    Classified USAF payload 
    and they  were first listed in the Spring 1964 TRW Space Log, with orbital 
    elements for  the first two spacecraft only. The third was listed by Space Log 
    as "status  unknown."
    The next issue of Space Log to carry listings for 1963 had  dropped 
    1963-055C, and it never appeared in that publication again. In the last  Space Log 
    (1991) to list 1963 launches, the vehicle had been corrected to TAT  Agena D, but 
    neither 55A nor 55B was given a name. Only two objects have been  catalogued 
    for this launch, namely, 55A (#718) and 55B (#719), which the RAE  table calls 
    Discoverer 74 and Hitchhiker 3, and Jos Heyman lists as KH 4-26 and  
    Hitchiker-4 [sic], respectively.
    Whatever they're called, it's pretty  clear that 55B was a piggyback payload 
    on 55A. My question is, was there a  second piggyback on 55A that didn't or 
    failed to deploy? This would account for  the discrepancy between the government 
    report and the satellite catalogue. Or  was this just an error plain and 
    simple? I've been bothered by this little  conundrum off and on for a few decades 
    now, and I wonder whether anything  official has ever appeared about it.  
    Subscribe/Unsubscribe info, Frequently Asked Questions, SeeSat-L archive:  

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Nov 03 2005 - 03:27:58 EST