Encyclopedia Astronautica
Calsphere


American military target satellite. 11 launches, 1964.10.06 (Calsphere 1) to 1971.02.17 (Calsphere 5). Radar calibration objects (but also cover for other classified subsatellites).

First Launch: 1964.10.06.
Last Launch: 1971.02.17.
Number: 11 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Atlas The Atlas rocket, originally developed as America's first ICBM, was the basis for most early American space exploration and was that country's most successful medium-lift commercial launch vehicle. It launched America's first astronaut into orbit; the first generations of spy satellites; the first lunar orbiters and landers; the first probes to Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn; and was America's most successful commercial launcher of communications satellites. Its innovative stage-and-a-half and 'balloon tank' design provided the best dry-mass fraction of any launch vehicle ever built. It was retired in 2004 after 576 launches in a 47-year career. More...
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Thor Able-Star American orbital launch vehicle. As Thor Able but with enlarged Ablestar second stage with 2 1/2 x greater burn time. More...
  • Atlas F American intercontinental ballistic missile. Final operational version of Atlas ICBM. Differed in guidance systems. Deployed as missiles from 1961 to 1966. After retirement, the ICBM's were refurbished and used for over thirty years as space launch vehicles. More...
  • Thor Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x Agena D More...
  • Thor Burner 2 American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Star 37B More...
  • Thor Burner American orbital launch vehicle. Thor DM-18A with 'Burner' upper stage solid rocket packages used for launch of classified payloads. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2E Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC10W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a launch emplacement in 1965. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC3E Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas test facility, originally designated PALC1-2, then LC1-2, and finally upgraded to a Space Launch Facility in 1966. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

Calsphere Chronology


1964 October 6 - . 17:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able-Star. LV Configuration: Thor Ablestar 423 AB016.
  • Calsphere 1 - . Payload: Dragsphere 1. Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. USAF Sat Cat: 900 . COSPAR: 1964-063C. Apogee: 1,034 km (642 mi). Perigee: 997 km (619 mi). Inclination: 90.1000 deg. Period: 105.50 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Calsphere 2 - . Payload: Dragsphere 2. Mass: 10 kg (22 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. USAF Sat Cat: 902 . COSPAR: 1964-063E. Apogee: 1,078 km (669 mi). Perigee: 1,049 km (651 mi). Inclination: 90.2000 deg. Period: 106.50 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1965 August 13 - . 22:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able-Star. LV Configuration: Thor Ablestar 455 AB020.
  • Calsphere 4A - . Payload: NRL PL 158?. Mass: 2.00 kg (4.40 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. USAF Sat Cat: 1520 . COSPAR: 1965-065H. Apogee: 1,179 km (732 mi). Perigee: 1,077 km (669 mi). Inclination: 90.1000 deg. Period: 107.90 min. Summary: Surveillance Calibration; white 14 inch dia. sphere. .

1967 May 31 - . 09:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D SLV-2. LV Configuration: Thor SLV-2 Agena D 443 / Agena D SS-01B 2704.
  • Calsphere 4 - . Payload: Agena D 2704 / OPS 5712. Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. USAF Sat Cat: 2826 . COSPAR: 1967-053A. Apogee: 834 km (518 mi). Perigee: 815 km (506 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 101.40 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Calsphere 3 - . Payload: NRL PL159. Mass: 38 kg (83 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. USAF Sat Cat: 2872 . COSPAR: 1967-053F. Apogee: 906 km (562 mi). Perigee: 900 km (550 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 103.10 min. Summary: Surveillance Calibration. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1968 August 16 - . 20:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC3E. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Burner 2. LV Configuration: Atlas Burner 2 7004 / Burner-2 (No Agena). FAILURE: Failure.
  • AVL-802 Mylar Sphere - . Payload: AVL-802. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Calsphere. COSPAR: F680816D.
  • AVL-802 Grid Sphere 7-2 - . Payload: AVL-802. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Calsphere. COSPAR: F680816B.
  • AVL-802 Rigid Sphere - . Payload: AVL-802. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: Calsphere. COSPAR: F680816L.

1971 February 17 - . 03:52 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC10W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Burner 2. LV Configuration: Thor Burner 2 249.
  • Calsphere 4 - . Payload: NRL PL170B / OPS 5268. Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. Decay Date: 1989-09-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 4958 . COSPAR: 1971-012D. Apogee: 502 km (311 mi). Perigee: 486 km (301 mi). Inclination: 98.4000 deg. Period: 94.50 min. Summary: Radar calibarion sphere. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Calsphere 5 - . Payload: NRL PL170C / OPS 5268. Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. Decay Date: 1990-01-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 4963 . COSPAR: 1971-012E. Apogee: 360 km (220 mi). Perigee: 340 km (210 mi). Inclination: 98.2000 deg. Period: 91.50 min. Summary: Radar calibarion sphere. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Calsphere 3A - . Payload: NRL PL170A / OPS 5268. Mass: 1.00 kg (2.20 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Calsphere. Decay Date: 1989-10-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 4957 . COSPAR: 1971-012C. Apogee: 531 km (329 mi). Perigee: 509 km (316 mi). Inclination: 98.4000 deg. Period: 95.00 min. Summary: Radar calibarion sphere. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

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