USA-234

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USA-234
Mission typeRadar imaging
OperatorUS NRO
COSPAR ID2012-014A
SATCAT no.38109
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeTopaz
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Start of mission
Launch date3 April 2012, 23:12:57 (2012-04-03UTC23:12:57Z) UTC
RocketDelta IV-M+(5,2) D359
Launch siteVandenberg SLC-6
ContractorULA
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth (retrograde)
Perigee altitude1,107 kilometres (688 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude1,114 kilometres (692 mi)[1]
Inclination123.00 degrees[1]
Period107.35 minutes[1]
Epoch18 January 2015, 16:58:55 UTC[1]
 

USA-234, also known as NRO Launch 25 or NROL-25, is an American reconnaissance satellite, operated by the National Reconnaissance Office. Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2012, it has been identified as the second radar imaging satellite to be launched as part of the Future Imagery Architecture programme.[2]

USA-234 was launched by United Launch Alliance, using a Delta IV carrier rocket, making its first flight in the Medium+(5,2) configuration.[3] The rocket was launched from Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg, at 23:12:57 UTC (16:12:57 PDT) on 3 April 2012.[4] It was identified as NRO Launch 25, and was the nineteenth flight of a Delta IV; the vehicle was designated Delta 359, and named Electra.[5]

The satellite's orbit and mission are officially classified; however, it has been located by amateur observers in a 1,096 by 1,079 kilometres (681 by 670 mi) orbit, inclined at 123 degrees.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Peat, Chris (18 January 2015). "USA 234 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  2. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "FIA-Radar 1, 2, 3, 4". Gunter's Space Page.
  3. ^ Ray, Justin (28 March 2012). "Delta 4 poised for one last 'first flight' milestone". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  4. ^ Ray, Justin (4 April 2012). "Delta 4 rocket successfully lofts surveillance satellite". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
  5. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "NROL launches". Gunter's Space Page.
  6. ^ Molczan, Ted (6 April 2012). "NROL-25: search TLE update". Seesat. Retrieved 9 April 2012.