Encyclopedia Astronautica
Mercury ELINT



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APMTE Hughes
Credit: Hughes
American military naval signals reconnaisance satellite. 3 launches, 1994.08.27 (USA 105) to 1998.08.12 (Mercury ELINT). Class of heavy signals intelligence satellites introduced at the end of the 1990's.

First Launch: 1994.08.27.
Last Launch: 1998.08.12.
Number: 3 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • 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
  • 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...
  • Titan 4 American orbital launch vehicle. Developed to handle military payloads designed for launch on Shuttle from Vandenberg before the USAF pulled out of the Shuttle program after the Challenger disaster. Further stretch of core from Titan 34, 7-segment solid rocket motors (developed for MOL but not used until 25 years later). Enlarged Centaur G used as upper stage (variant of stage designed for Shuttle but prohibited for flight safety reasons after Challenger). Completely revised electronics. All the changes resulted in major increase in cost of launch vehicle and launch operations. 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, Jonathon, "US Reconnaissance Satellite Programs Part 2", Quest, 1995, Volume 4, Issue 4, page 49.

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 LC41 Titan, Atlas V launch complex. Complexes 40 and 41 were constructed as part of the Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) Titan launch facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Over the next three decades, the complexes supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV. Complex 41 was deactivated at the end of 1977, then upgraded for the Titan IV program in the 1986-88 period. In October 1999, Complex 41 was demolished with high explosives in order for a new pad for launch of the Atlas 5 rocket to be erected. By then it had been the starting point for 27 Titan flights. More...

Mercury ELINT Chronology


1994 August 27 - . 08:58 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan Centaur 401A. LV Configuration: Titan 401A/Centaur K-9/TC-11 (45E-2).
  • USA 105 - . Payload: Mercury ELINT 1. Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Military. Type: Electronic intelligence satellite. Spacecraft: Mercury ELINT. USAF Sat Cat: 23223 . COSPAR: 1994-054A. Apogee: 35,790 km (22,230 mi). Perigee: 35,780 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.10 min. Summary: First launch of Mercury ELINT satellite..

1996 April 24 - . 23:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan Centaur 401A. LV Configuration: Titan 401A/Centaur K-16/TC-15 (45E-4).
  • USA 118 - . Payload: Mercury ELINT 2. Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; USAF. Class: Military. Type: Electronic intelligence satellite. Spacecraft: Mercury ELINT. USAF Sat Cat: 23855 . COSPAR: 1996-026A. Perigee: 30,000 km (18,000 mi). Summary: Second launch of Mercury ELINT satellite..

1998 August 12 - . 11:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan Centaur 401A. LV Configuration: Titan 401A/Centaur 4A-20/TC-9 (K-17). FAILURE: Due to guidance system loss of heading after power interrupt, booster pitched over 40 seconds after launch, and was destroyed by range safety.. Failed Stage: G.
  • Mercury ELINT - . Payload: Mercury ELINT 3. Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; NSA. Manufacturer: TRW. Class: Military. Type: Electronic intelligence satellite. Spacecraft: Mercury ELINT. COSPAR: F980812A. Summary: Third launch of Mercury ELINT satellite..

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