USA-245

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USA-245
Kh11b.jpg
Artist's impression of a KH-11 satellite
Mission type Optical imaging
Operator US National Reconnaissance Office
COSPAR ID 2013-043A
SATCAT № 39232
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type KH-11
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Start of mission
Launch date 28 August 2013, 18:03:00 (2013-08-28UTC18:03Z) UTC
Rocket Delta IV Heavy D364
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-6
Contractor United Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Slot West plane
Semi-major axis 7,000.78 kilometers (4,350.08 mi)[1]
Eccentricity 0.0509754[1]
Perigee 272 kilometers (169 mi)[1]
Apogee 986 kilometers (613 mi)[1]
Inclination 97.88 degrees[1]
Period 97.16 minutes[1]
Epoch 7 August 2014, 21:14:08 UTC[1]

USA-245 or NRO Launch 65 (NROL-65) is an American reconnaissance satellite which is operated by the National Reconnaissance Office. Launched in August 2013, it is the last KH-11 reconnaissance satellite, and the last spacecraft to be launched in the Keyhole program.[2]

Details of USA-245's mission are classified by the US military, however numerous independent analysts identified it as a KH-11 before launch, and amateur satellite watchers have since observed it in the orbit used by such satellites.[3][4] KH-11 satellites are used to provide high-resolution optical and infrared imagery for US intelligence agencies.[5]

USA-245 was launched by United Launch Alliance, using a Delta IV Heavy rocket[6] with the flight number Delta 364 and the name Victoria. The launch took place from Space Launch Complex 6 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base at 18:03 UTC (11:03 local time) on 28 August 2013.[7] After deploying its payload, the rocket's upper stage was deorbited after completing one orbit.[2] The launch was the first Delta IV mission to use a new ignition sequence aimed at reducing damage to the first stage insulation caused by igniting a cloud of hydrogen around the vehicle at liftoff. To mitigate this, the rocket's starboard engine was lit two seconds earlier than on previous flights.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Peat, Chris (7 August 2014). "USA 245 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Graham, William (28 August 2013). "ULA Delta IV-H launches with NROL-65". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Molczan, Ted (28 August 2013). "RE: NROL-65 search elements". Seesat-L. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Langbroek, Marco (28 August 2013). "NROL-65 seen". Seesat-L. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "KH-11 / Kennen / Crystal". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "National Reconnaissance Office Mission Successfully Launches on World's Largest Rocket, the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy". United Launch Alliance. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Ray, Justin (28 August 2013). "Delta Launch Report - Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Ray, Justin (25 August 2013). "America's largest rocket set for launch Wednesday". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 28 August 2013.