USA-247

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
USA-247
Nrol-39 gemsat.png
Mission type Radar imaging
Operator US NRO
COSPAR ID 2013-072A
SATCAT № 39462
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type Topaz
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin
Start of mission
Launch date 6 December 2013, 07:14:30 (2013-12-06UTC07:14:30Z) UTC
Rocket Atlas V 501 AV-042
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-3E
Contractor ULA
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth (retrograde)
Perigee 1,106 kilometers (687 mi)[1]
Apogee 1,115 kilometers (693 mi)[1]
Inclination 123.01 degrees[1]
Period 107.35 minutes[1]
Epoch 15 September 2014, 20:09:48 UTC[1]
Nrol-39.jpg

USA-247, also known as NRO Launch 39 or NROL-39, is an American reconnaissance satellite, operated by the National Reconnaissance Office. The USA-247 launch received a relatively high level of press coverage due to the mission's choice of logo which depicts an octopus sitting astride the globe and the motto "Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach".[2] The logo choice was extensively criticized in light of the 2013 surveillance disclosures.[3]

Launch details[edit]

Launched in 2013, it has been identified as a Topaz radar imaging satellite, developed as part of the Future Imagery Architecture program,[4] to replace the earlier Onyx spacecraft.[2][5]

USA-247 was launched by United Launch Alliance using an Atlas V carrier rocket flying in the 501 configuration, along with twelve CubeSats being carried as secondary payloads. Five of the CubeSats were a part of NASA ELaNa II manifest. Space Launch Complex 3E at the Vandenberg Air Force Base was used to conduct the launch, which took place at 07:14:30 UTC on 6 December 2013 (23:14 local time on 5 December).[6] Identified as NRO Launch 39, it marked the forty-third flight of an Atlas V. The rocket used had been named Belle, and had tail number AV-042.[7]

[edit]

The mission's official logo was a monstrous octopus with its massive arms wrapped around the world, accompanied by the motto "Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach".[2] This image was widely deemed controversial in light of the 2013 Global surveillance disclosures.

A spokesperson for the NRO explained:[8] [9][3]

"NROL-39 is represented by the octopus, a versatile, adaptable, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide. 'Nothing is beyond our reach' defines this mission and the value it brings to our nation and the warfighters it supports, who serve valiantly all over the globe, protecting our nation."

After the Director of National Intelligence announced the launch on Twitter,[10] the image was criticized as "tone-deaf" to the political climate caused by the 2013 surveillance disclosures.[3]

In a segment discussing mass surveillance entitled "That Thing They Said They're Not Doing? They're Totally Doing", American satirist Jon Stewart commented on the logo:[11]

I feel like, at this point, our intelligence community is pretty much even owning the fact that they are getting nefarious.
Last week, the National Reconnaissance Office launched this spy satellite into orbit;
And the logo they chose for their spy rocket-- this is real-- a giant octopus sucking the face off North America.

Some outlets drew satirical parallels with anti-communist imagery.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Peat, Chris (15 September 2014). "USA 247 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Graham, William (5 December 2013). "Atlas V launches NROL-39 from Vandenberg". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "U.S. Spy Rocket Has Octopus-Themed 'Nothing Is Beyond Our Reach' Logo. Seriously". Forbes Magazine. "'Nothing is beyond our reach' defines this mission and the value it brings to our nation and the warfighters it supports..." 
  4. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Topaz 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (FIA-Radar 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Molczan, Ted (6 December 2013). "NROL-39 search elements". SeeSat-L. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Ray, Justin (6 December 2013). "Atlas Launch Report - Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "NROL launches". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  8. ^ "US spy agency launched this Earth-conquering octopus logo into orbit". Io9.com. 
  9. ^ "New US spy satellite features world-devouring octopus". Ars Technica. 
  10. ^ "Twitter / ODNIgov: Ready for launch? An Atlas ...". Twitter. Archived from the original on 2014-02-03. "Ready for launch? An Atlas 5 will blast off at just past 11PM, PST carrying an classified NRO payload (also cubesats)" 
  11. ^ Kelley, Michael (2013-12-10). "A US Spy Agency Came Up With The Worst Possible Logo — And Jon Stewart Ripped It To Shreds". Archived from the original on 2013-12-10. 
  12. ^ "US spy satellite features supervillain logo of giant space octopus enveloping Earth".