USA-245

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USA-245
Mission typeOptical imaging
OperatorUS National Reconnaissance Office
COSPAR ID2013-043A
SATCAT no.39232
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeKH-11
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Start of mission
Launch date28 August 2013, 18:03:00 (2013-08-28UTC18:03Z) UTC
RocketDelta IV Heavy D364
Launch siteVandenberg SLC-6
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeSun-synchronous
SlotWest plane
Semi-major axis7,014.27 kilometers (4,358.47 mi)[1]
Eccentricity0.0523552[1]
Perigee altitude276 kilometers (171 mi)[1]
Apogee altitude1,010 kilometers (630 mi)[1]
Inclination97.86 degrees[1]
Period97.44 minutes[1]
Epoch8 January 2015, 19:32:46 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]

In 2020, MIT Technology Review reported that USA-245 was likely being "stalked" by a Russian satellite, Kosmos 2542, in a possible attempt to spy on US-245 to deduce its camera aperture and resolution, or its computer functionality and operating times.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Peat, Chris (8 January 2015). "USA 245 - Orbit". Heavens-Above. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  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. Archived from the original on 7 December 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.
  9. ^ Patel, Neel V. (3 February 2020). "A Russian satellite is probably stalking a US spy satellite in orbit". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 6 February 2020.