Encyclopedia Astronautica
Early Bird



earlybir.jpg
Early Bird
Credit: NASA
American civilian surveillance satellite. 2 launches, 1997.12.24 (Early Bird) and 2000.11.20 (QuickBird 1). Civilian earth resources / intelligence photo-imaging program.

First Launch: 1997.12.24.
Last Launch: 2000.11.20.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Kosmos 3 In 1961 Isayev and Reshetnev developed the Voskhod space launch system on the basis of the R-14 IRBM. The initial version of the two stage rocket was designated Kosmos-1. The first 'Voskhod' launch complex was at Baikonur, a modification of one of the pads at the R-16 ICBM launch complex 41. More...
  • Topol Containerised all-solid propellant Nadiradze ICBM designed for launch from mobile and silo launchers. Replaced UR-100/UR-100NU in silos. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Kosmos 3 Russian orbital launch vehicle. In 1961 Isayev and Reshetnev developed the Voskhod space launch system on the basis of the R-14 IRBM. The initial version of the two stage rocket was designated Kosmos-1. The first 'Voskhod' launch complex was at Baikonur, a modification of one of the pads at the R-16 ICBM launch complex 41. More...
  • Kosmos 11K65M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Definitive and prolific production version of satellite launcher based on Yangel R-14 IRBM. After further development at NPO Polyot (Omsk, Chief Designer A S Klinishkov), the modified Kosmos-3M added a restartable second stage with an orientation system. This booster was launched form two 'Cusovaya' launch complexes from 1967. The second stage used low thrust rockets using gas generator output to adjust the final velocity of the stage More...
  • Topol Russian containerised all-solid propellant intercontinental ballistic missile designed for launch from mobile and silo launchers. Replaced UR-100/UR-100NU in silos. More...
  • Start-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Launch vehicle based on decommissioned ICBM's. Launched from mobile transporter. Liftoff mass 47 tonnes. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • OSC American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Orbital Sciences Corporation, USA. More...

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.
  • 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
  • Plesetsk Plesetsk was the Soviet Union's northern cosmodrome, used for polar orbit launches of mainly military satellites, and was at one time the busiest launch centre in the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union put the main launch site of Baikonur in Kazakh territory. It now seems that once the Proton rocket is retired, Baikonur will be abandoned and Plesetsk will be Russia's primary launch centre. Upgrades to existing launch facilities will allow advanced versions of the Soyuz rocket and the new Angara launch vehicle to be launched from Plesetsk. Plesetsk's major drawback was the lower net payload in geosynchronous orbit from a northern latitude launch site. However Russia is planning to remove the disadvantage by looping geosynchronous satellites around the moon, using lunar gravity to make the necessary orbital plane change. More...
  • Svobodniy Headquarters of an RVSN Division, 1961-1994, equipped with 90 light ICBM (UR-100) silos. The number of operational silos declined to 60 by 1993. The break-up of the Soviet Union left the main Russian cosmodrome on foreign territory (Baikonur, in Kazakhstan). The Northern Cosmodrome at Plesetsk did not have facilities for large launch vehicles and was not suited for support of launches into lower-inclination orbits. Therefore Svobodniy Cosmodrome, located 7,777 km east of Moscow, was established as the Second State Space Trials Launch Centre (GIK-2) on 2 February 1996. More...

Early Bird Chronology


1997 December 24 - . 13:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Svobodniy. Launch Complex: Svobodniy LC5. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Start-1.
  • Early Bird - . Payload: EarlyBird. Nation: USA. Agency: DigitalGlobe. Manufacturer: McLean. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Early Bird. Decay Date: 2000-07-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 25123 . COSPAR: 1997-085A. Apogee: 488 km (303 mi). Perigee: 479 km (297 mi). Inclination: 97.3000 deg. Period: 94.10 min.

2000 November 20 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC132/1. LV Family: Kosmos 3. Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 11K65M. LV Configuration: Kosmos 11K65M 47165-631. FAILURE: Second stage failed to restart at apogee.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • QuickBird 1 - . Mass: 950 kg (2,090 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DigitalGlobe. Manufacturer: Ball. Class: Surveillance. Type: Civilian surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: Early Bird. Decay Date: 2000-11-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 26617 . COSPAR: 2000-074A. Apogee: 614 km (381 mi). Perigee: 80 km (49 mi). Inclination: 65.7000 deg. Period: 91.49 min. The Kosmos-3M second stage entered an 81 x 614 km x 65.8 deg orbit but failed to restart at apogee, and reentered at the next perigee over Uruguay. The loss of the QuickBird 1 satellite was a heavy blow to EarthWatch Inc. QuickBird1 was a 1-m resolution commerical imaging satellite using a Ball Aerospace BCP-2000 bus. Their earlier satellite, EarlyBird, failed after a few days in orbit in December 1997. EarthWatch's rival, SpaceImaging, lost one satellite as well but its second Ikonos was operating in orbit.

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