Encyclopedia Astronautica
DSCS III



dscs3.jpg
DSCS-3
Credit: USAF
dscs.jpg
DSCS
Credit: USAF
American military communications satellite. 15 launches, 1982.10.30 (DSCS III-01) to 2003.08.29 (USA 170). DSCS satellites provided secure voice and data communications for the US military.

The contract was managed by the DCA (Defense Communications Agency) for the USAF.

The spacecraft was 3-axis stabilized (0.1 deg control in pitch, roll) using reaction wheels, earth and sun sensors. Two articulated solar arrays produced 1240 W (BOL), powered a 28V bus, and recharged NiCd batteries of 105 AHr capacity. S-Band (SGLS) and X-Band command and telemetry links were provided. The blowdown hydrazine propulsion system used 16 x 1-lbf thrusters. The satellite had both full Earth and narrow coverage communications capabilities. Receive antennas included two Earth coverage horns and one steerable 61-beam nulling lens. Transmit antennas comprised two Earth coverage horns, two steerable 19-beam wave guide lens, and one high gain parabolic gimbaled dish. The payload included six SHF channels as follows:

  • Ch1: 50 MHz, 40 W
  • Ch2: 75 MHz, 40 W
  • Ch3: 85 MHz, 10 W
  • Ch4: 85 MHz, 10 W
  • Ch5: 60 MHz, 10 W
  • Ch6: 50 MHz, 10 W

General Electric the received contract in February 1977 for DSCS III. The first launch was in 1982. Recurring cost was quoted as $160 million in Aviation Week on 7 August 1995.

AKA: Defense Satellite Communications System.
Gross mass: 2,613 kg (5,760 lb).
Height: 2.10 m (6.80 ft).
Span: 11.50 m (37.70 ft).
First Launch: 1982.10.30.
Last Launch: 2003.08.29.
Number: 15 .

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 IV The Delta IV was the world's first all-Lox/LH2 launch vehicle and represented the only all-new-technology launch vehicle developed in the United States since the 1970's. It was the winner of the bulk of the USAF EELV orders and was based on the all-new RS-68-powered Lox/LH2 cryogenic Common Booster Core (CBC). This could be used with new Delta cryogenic upper stages powered by the RL10 engine but unrelated to previous Centaur upper stages. More...
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...
  • Titan The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. 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...
  • Titan American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...
  • Shuttle American winged orbital launch vehicle. The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. Redesign of the shuttle with reliability in mind after the Challenger disaster reduced maximum payload to low earth orbit from 27,850 kg to 24,400 kg. More...
  • Titan 34D American orbital launch vehicle. Stretched Titan core designed for use with 5 1/2 segment solid rocket motors. IUS (Interim/Inertial Upper Stage) solid upper stages, Transtage, or used without upper stages. More...
  • Atlas II American orbital launch vehicle. The Atlas II booster was 2.7-meters longer than an Atlas I and included uprated Rocketdyne MA-5A engines. The Atlas I vernier engines were replaced with a hydrazine roll control system. The Centaur stage was stretched 0.9-meters compared to the Centaur I stage. Fixed foam insulation replaced Atlas I's jettisonable insulation panels. The original Atlas II model was developed to support the United States Air Force Medium Launch Vehicle II program. Its Centaur used RL10A-3-3A engines operating at an increased mixture ratio. The first Atlas II flew on 7 December 1991, successfully delivering AC-102/Eutelsat II F3 to orbit. 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...
  • Delta IV American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta IV was the world's first all-Lox/LH2 launch vehicle and represented the only all-new-technology launch vehicle developed in the United States since the 1970's. It was the winner of the bulk of the USAF EELV orders and was based on the all-new RS-68-powered Lox/LH2 cryogenic Common Booster Core (CBC). This could be used with new Delta cryogenic upper stages powered by the RL10 engine but unrelated to previous Centaur upper stages. It could be flown without augmentation, or use 2-4 large GEM-60 solid rocket boosters. The heavy lift version used two core vehicles as a first stage, flanking the single core vehicle second stage. More...
  • Delta IV Medium American orbital launch vehicle. Basic Delta-4 vehicle with no strap-ons, the core vehicle, and RL10B-1 upper stage with a 4 m diameter payload fairing. World's first all-cryogenic launch vehicle. More...

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

Associated Programs
Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Report (Internet Newsletter), Harvard University, Weekly, 1989 to Present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lockheed Martin Coporation, Atlas Family Fact Sheets, September 1998.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA/GSFC Orbital Information Group Website, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Space-Launcher.com, Orbital Report News Agency. 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...
  • Cape Canaveral LC40 Titan launch complex. Constructed as part of the Titan Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV vehicles. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC39A Shuttle, Saturn V launch complex. LC39A and LC39B, part of the Kennedy Space Center, were built on Merritt Island (north/northwest of the Cape) to support the Saturn V/Apollo lunar landing program. The sites were modified in the last half of the 1970s to support the manned Space Shuttle program. Construction began in December 1963. Complex 39A was completed on 4 October 1965. Complex 39A supported two unmanned and nine manned Saturn V/Apollo missions between 9 November 1967 and 8 December 1972. The site also supported the launch of the Skylab space station on 14 May 1973. Both complexes were modified to support Space Shuttle missions later on. Complex 39A supported the first Space Shuttle launch on 12 April 1981. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC37B Saturn I, Delta IV launch complex. Complexes 34 and 37 were designed to support NASA's Saturn I and Saturn IB program. Complex 37 was built in 1962, and it was occupied by NASA in January 1963. Complex 37 supported eight Saturn I and Saturn IB missions, including the first flight of an unmanned Apollo lunar module, between 29 January 1964 and 23 January 1968. Complexes 34 and 37 were mothballed in November 1971, and their service structures were scrapped in April 1972. NASA retained control of both complexes, and both sites became NASA tour stops. More...

DSCS III Chronology

  • DSCS III-01 - . Payload: DSCS III F-1. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 13637 . COSPAR: 1982-106B. Apogee: 36,171 km (22,475 mi). Perigee: 36,132 km (22,451 mi). Inclination: 8.8000 deg. Period: 1,454.80 min. Summary: Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 105 deg W in 1982-1983; 135 deg W in 1983-1989; 130 deg W in 1989-1999. As of 2006 Sep 9 located at 94.39E drifting at 5.469W degrees per day..

1985 October 3 - . 15:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Shuttle. LV Configuration: Space Shuttle 51-J.
  • USA 11 - . Payload: DSCS III F-2. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 16116 . COSPAR: 1985-092B. Apogee: 35,963 km (22,346 mi). Perigee: 35,434 km (22,017 mi). Inclination: 0.3000 deg. Period: 1,436.00 min. Summary: Released from STS 51J 10/4/85. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Positioned in geosynchronous orbit; at 12 deg W in 1986; 42 deg W in 1995..
  • USA 12 - . Payload: DSCS III F-3. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 16117 . COSPAR: 1985-092C. Apogee: 35,963 km (22,346 mi). Perigee: 35,633 km (22,141 mi). Inclination: 0.3000 deg. Period: 1,436.00 min. Released from STS 51J 4 October 1985; boosted into orbit with DSCS 3 F3 on single IUS booster. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Positioned in geosynchronous orbit; at 180 deg E in 1994.

1989 September 4 - . 05:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC40. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34D/Transtage. LV Configuration: Titan 34D/Transtage 34D-2 (05D-7).
  • USA 43 - . Payload: DSCS II F-16. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 20202 . COSPAR: 1989-069A. Apogee: 35,799 km (22,244 mi). Perigee: 35,777 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 6.1000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Positioned in geosynchronous orbit; at 57 deg E in 1995..
  • USA 44 - . Payload: DSCS III F-4. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 20203 . COSPAR: 1989-069B. Apogee: 35,808 km (22,250 mi). Perigee: 35,771 km (22,227 mi). Inclination: 5.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.30 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Positioned in geosynchronous orbit; at 60 deg E in 1995..

1992 February 11 - . 00:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-101 / Centaur II 8101.
  • USA 78 - . Payload: DSCS III B-14. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 21873 . COSPAR: 1992-006A. Apogee: 35,503 km (22,060 mi). Perigee: 30,675 km (19,060 mi). Inclination: 0.9000 deg. Period: 1,300.50 min. Summary: Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B). Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit; at 135 deg W in 1995..

1992 July 2 - . 21:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-103 / Centaur II 8103.
  • USA 82 - . Payload: DSCS III B-12. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 22009 . COSPAR: 1992-037A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,775 km (22,229 mi). Inclination: 0.2000 deg. Period: 1,436.20 min. Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 12 deg W in 1995-1996. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C).

1993 July 19 - . 22:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-104 / Centaur II 8104.
  • USA 93 - . Payload: DSCS III B-9. Mass: 2,615 kg (5,765 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 22719 . COSPAR: 1993-046A. Apogee: 35,764 km (22,222 mi). Perigee: 183 km (113 mi). Inclination: 26.1000 deg. Period: 625.80 min. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 175 deg E in 1995-1997.

1993 November 28 - . 23:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas II. LV Configuration: Atlas II AC-106 / Centaur II 8106.
  • USA 97 - . Payload: DSCS III B-10. Mass: 2,615 kg (5,765 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 22915 . COSPAR: 1993-074A. Apogee: 35,501 km (22,059 mi). Perigee: 195 km (121 mi). Inclination: 26.4000 deg. Period: 625.40 min. Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 52 deg W in 1995; 60 deg E in 1997. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C).

1995 July 31 - . 23:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIA. LV Configuration: Atlas IIA AC-118.
  • USA 113 - . Payload: DSCS III B-7. Mass: 2,610 kg (5,750 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 23628 . COSPAR: 1995-038A. Apogee: 35,787 km (22,236 mi). Perigee: 35,787 km (22,236 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Summary: Positioned in geosynchronous orbit; located at 53 deg W in 1997..

1997 October 25 - . 00:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIA. LV Configuration: Atlas IIA AC-131.
  • USA 135 - . Payload: DSCS III B-13. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: Valley Forge. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 25019 . COSPAR: 1997-065A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,770 km (22,220 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Summary: Geosynchronous. Launch vehicle put payload into geosynchronous transfer orbit with GCS trajectory option..

2000 January 21 - . 01:03 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-138.
  • USA 148 - . Payload: DSCS III B-8. Mass: 1,232 kg (2,716 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: Valley Forge. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 26052 . COSPAR: 2000-001A. Apogee: 35,790 km (22,230 mi). Perigee: 35,780 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Summary: Part of the US Air Force Defense Satellite Communications System. To be stationed in geosynchronous orbit over the Pacific Ocean..

2000 October 20 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. Launch Pad: SLC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIA. LV Configuration: Atlas IIA AC-140 MLV-9.
  • USA 153 - . Payload: DSCS III B-11. Mass: 1,235 kg (2,722 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Manufacturer: Valley Forge. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 26575 . COSPAR: 2000-065A. Apogee: 35,790 km (22,230 mi). Perigee: 35,780 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Military Communications satellite. Launch delayed from October 12 by spacecraft problem. The US Air Force Defense Satellite Communications System satellite was placed by the Centaur upper stage into a 148 km x 898 km x 29.3 deg parking orbit. A second burn put it into a 218 km x 35,232 km x 26.0 deg transfer orbit. The DSCS III B-11 IABS-8 apogee stage, with two Primex R4D liquid apogee engines, circularised the orbit at geostationary altitude on October 21 and then separated from the DSCS.

2003 March 11 - . 00:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Medium. LV Configuration: Delta 4M D4-2 (296) 4040.
  • USA 167 - . Payload: DSCS III A-3. Mass: 1,235 kg (2,722 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Program: DSCS. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 27691 . COSPAR: 2003-008A. Summary: First flight of a fully cryogenic orbital launch vehicle. Delayed from December 2001, February 2, 6, 8, 11, 12 and March 8 2003. Satellite mas 2,733 kg with kick stage..

2003 August 29 - . 23:13 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta IV Medium. LV Configuration: Delta 4M D4-3 (301) 4040.
  • USA 170 - . Payload: DSCS-3-B6. Mass: 1,235 kg (2,722 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: DSCS III. USAF Sat Cat: 27875 . COSPAR: 2003-040A. Summary: Delayed from July 1, 11 and 23, then August 3 and 28..

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