Encyclopedia Astronautica
CAPRICORN


American military communications satellite. One launch, 1998.01.29, USA 137. There was no firm information on this classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

It was at first believed to be a follow-on to the SDS data relay satellites that routed reconnaissance satellite imaging to ground stations, with secondary missile warning or ELINT equipment. However it was inadvertently revealed in 1998 that at least one payload was a prototype COBRA BRASS infrared early warning satellite sensor. It was likely that it may have been a technology test satellite combining equipment for several future projects.

The project seemed to have been several years behind schedule (based on the launch vehicle serial number).

An Odetics Corporation press release of March 1998 inadvertently provided evidence that at least one payload was indeed a Cobra Brass prototype:

QUOTE:

Odetics SSR Operational In Space on Cobra Brass Payload

Anaheim, Calif. - March 15, 1998 - Odetics was informed today by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) that "the Cobra Brass payload containing an Odetics solid-state recorder (SSR) is fully operational in space." The SSR and payload have been undergoing extensive integration and testing since delivery of the SSR in 1996.

"The Cobra Brass solid-state recorder is one of several Model SSR 1620s delivered to SNL. The SSR 1620 is a unique dual-functioning SSR that can operate as two independent units or in parallel to provide over 400 Mbps record rate," explained Bob Tripp, business development manager for space data storage products. The Cobra Brass SSR supplied to SNL is nearly identical to the one Odetics provided SNL for the Multispectral Thermal Imager (MTI) mission scheduled for launch this year. "The main differentiating feature is in radiation tolerance," according to Mr. Tripp.

Odetics' Communication Division is an international supplier of highly reliable tape and solid-state recorders (SSR) for commercial and government space programs. Odetics has pioneered data storage in space since 1969 and delivered more than 350 space-qualified recorders for space missions. Recent new programs are Boeing's SBIRS/LADS and Japan's USERS. Odetics' headquarters are located in Anaheim, CA, with additional operations in Europe and Asia. For more information about its divisions and subsidiaries, visit the company's web site at http:/www.odetics.com/.

ENDQUOTE....

First Launch: 1998.01.29.
Number: 1 .

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...

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...
  • Atlas IIA American orbital launch vehicle. Atlas IIA was a commercial derivative of the Atlas II developed for the US Air Force. Higher performance RL10A-4 (or RL10A-4-1) engines replaced Atlas II's RL10A-3-3A engines. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NRO American agency overseeing development of spacecraft. National Reconnaissance Office, USA. More...
  • Hughes American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Hughes Aircraft Co. , USA More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lockheed Martin Coporation, Atlas Family Fact Sheets, September 1998.. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC36A Atlas launch complex. Launch site built in 1960 for NASA's Atlas/Centaur development program, and used for launches of that launch vehicle until its retirement. More...

CAPRICORN Chronology


1998 January 29 - . 18:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. Launch Pad: SLC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIA. LV Configuration: Atlas IIA AC-109.
  • USA 137 - . Payload: CAPRICORN?. Nation: USA. Agency: NRO. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: CAPRICORN. USAF Sat Cat: 25148 . COSPAR: 1998-005A. Apogee: 39,500 km (24,500 mi). Perigee: 200 km (120 mi). Inclination: 63.4000 deg. Classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. It was likely that it was a technology test satellite combining equipment for several future projects, including a prototype COBRA BRASS infrared early warning satellite sensor. The project seemed to have been several years behind schedule (based on the launch vehicle serial number.

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use