Encyclopedia Astronautica
FLTSATCOM



fltsatcm.jpg
Fltsatcom
Credit: USAF
American military communications satellite. 8 launches, 1978.02.09 (Fltsatcom 1) to 1989.09.25 (USA 46).

The FLTSATCOM system provided world-wide, high-priority UHF communications between naval aircraft, ships, submarines, and ground stations and between the Strategic Air Command and the national command authority network. Fully operational in January 1981, the FLTSATCOM constellation was replaced by the UFO (UHF Follow-on) spacecraft.

The 3-axis stabilized satellite was powered by two solar arrays (13.2 m across) that generated over 1400 W. Three hexagonal modules with aluminum structure made up the bus. A hydrazine propulsion system was used for stationkeeping (120 kg fuel).

The payload consisted of twelve transponders with UHF/SHF uplink and UHF downlink. The large 4.9 meter diameter UHF receive antenna was made of silver-filled mesh. There was an offset mast UHF transmit antenna. Flights 6 and 7 carried experimental EHF transponder (20 W) to evaluate new ground terminals.

AKA: Fleet Satellite Communications.
Gross mass: 2,032 kg (4,479 lb).
Height: 1.30 m (4.20 ft).
First Launch: 1978.02.09.
Last Launch: 1989.09.25.
Number: 8 .

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...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...
  • TRW American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. TRW Corporation, Redondo Beach, CA, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Krebs, Gunter, Gunter's Space Page, University of Frankfurt, 1996. 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.

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 LC36B Atlas V, Atlas launch complex. Atlas Centaur launch pad, in service from 1964 until the retirement of the launch vehicle. More...

FLTSATCOM Chronology


1978 February 9 - . 21:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur SLV-3D. LV Configuration: SLV-3D Centaur AC-44 / Centaur D-1AR 5024.
  • Fltsatcom 1 - . Mass: 1,884 kg (4,153 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. USAF Sat Cat: 10669 . COSPAR: 1978-016A. Apogee: 36,170 km (22,470 mi). Perigee: 36,119 km (22,443 mi). Inclination: 14.6000 deg. Period: 1,454.40 min. Fleet Satellite Communications. 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 Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Americas at 100 deg W in 1978-1987; over the Pacific Ocean 177 deg W in 1987-1992; over the Atlantic Ocean 15 deg W in 1992-1996;over the Indian Ocean 72 deg E in 1996-2001. Last known longitude (26 July 1999) 71.17 deg E drifting at 0.004 deg W per day.

1979 May 4 - . 18:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur SLV-3D. LV Configuration: SLV-3D Centaur AC-47 / Centaur D-1AR 5027.
  • Fltsatcom 2 - . Mass: 1,884 kg (4,153 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. Completed Operations Date: 1992-02-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 11353 . COSPAR: 1979-038A. Apogee: 36,331 km (22,574 mi). Perigee: 36,227 km (22,510 mi). Inclination: 13.5000 deg. Period: 1,461.30 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 Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 23 deg W in 1979-1980; 72 deg E in 1980-1992 As of 5 September 2001 located at 90.48 deg W drifting at 6.234 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 12.01W drifting at 6.223W degrees per day.

1980 January 18 - . 01:26 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur SLV-3D. LV Configuration: SLV-3D Centaur AC-49 / Centaur D-1AR 5029.
  • Fltsatcom 3 - . Mass: 1,884 kg (4,153 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. Completed Operations Date: 1991-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 11669 . COSPAR: 1980-004A. Apogee: 35,851 km (22,276 mi). Perigee: 35,669 km (22,163 mi). Inclination: 9.1000 deg. Period: 1,434.80 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 Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 22 deg W in 1980-1990 As of 28 August 2001 located at 174.83 deg W drifting at 0.082 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 84.20W drifting at 0.376E degrees per day.

1980 October 31 - . 03:54 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur SLV-3D. LV Configuration: SLV-3D Centaur AC-57 / Centaur D-1AR 5037.
  • Fltsatcom 4 - . Mass: 1,800 kg (3,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. USAF Sat Cat: 12046 . COSPAR: 1980-087A. Apogee: 35,803 km (22,246 mi). Perigee: 35,769 km (22,225 mi). Inclination: 9.2000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 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 Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 171 deg E from 1981. Last known longitude (25 July 1999) 172.61 deg E drifting at 0.001 deg W per day.

1981 January - .
  • FLTSATCOM constellation declared operational - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: FLTSATCOM. Summary: The FLTSATCOM system provided world-wide, high-priority UHF communications between naval aircraft, ships, submarines, and ground stations and between the Strategic Air Command and the national command authority network..

1981 August 6 - . 08:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur SLV-3D. LV Configuration: SLV-3D Centaur AC-59 / Centaur D-1AR 5039. FAILURE: Failure of the fiberglass fairing during ascent.. Failed Stage: S.
  • Fltsatcom 5 - . Mass: 1,884 kg (4,153 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. Completed Operations Date: 1986-07-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 12635 . COSPAR: 1981-073A. Apogee: 36,300 km (22,500 mi). Perigee: 36,221 km (22,506 mi). Inclination: 8.9000 deg. Period: 1,460.40 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. The Atlas G Centaur delivered a badly damaged but operating FLTSATCOM spacecraft to its correct orbit. Investigation showed that the most likely cause was failure of the fiberglass fairing during ascent. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 90 deg W in 1981; 90-114 deg W in 1982; 44 deg W in 1982-1986 As of 5 September 2001 located at 140.32 deg W drifting at 6.003 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 10 located at 31.85E drifting at 6.002W degrees per day.

1986 December 5 - . 02:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur G. LV Configuration: Atlas G Centaur AC-66 / Centaur D-1AR 5046G.
  • USA 20 - . Payload: Fltsatcom 7. Mass: 2,310 kg (5,090 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. USAF Sat Cat: 17181 . COSPAR: 1986-096A. Apogee: 35,832 km (22,264 mi). Perigee: 35,740 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.9000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 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 Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 100 deg W in 1987-1999 Last known longitude (27 July 1999) 100.33 deg W drifting at 0.027 deg W per day.

1987 March 26 - . 21:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur G. LV Configuration: Atlas G Centaur AC-67 / Centaur D-1AR 5048G. FAILURE: Lightning strike zapped guidance at T+51 seconds. Fault was directly attributed to a random memory upset that forced rocket to veer off course. Destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Fltsatcom 6 - . Payload: Fltsatcom 6. Mass: 2,300 kg (5,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. Decay Date: 1987-03-26 . COSPAR: F870326A.

1989 September 25 - . 08:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas Centaur G. LV Configuration: Atlas G Centaur AC-68 / Centaur D-1AR 5047G.
  • USA 46 - . Payload: Fltsatcom 8. Mass: 2,310 kg (5,090 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft: Fltsatcom. USAF Sat Cat: 20253 . COSPAR: 1989-077A. Apogee: 35,797 km (22,243 mi). Perigee: 35,777 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 4.1000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Last in series of 8. 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 Positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 23 deg W in 1989-1999.

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