Encyclopedia Astronautica
RME


American military strategic defense satellite. One launch, 1990.02.14, USA 52. The Relay Mirror Experiment (RME) was launched as a dual payload with LACE.

Both satellites carried defense experiments intended to aid in design of space-based anti-missile lasers. RME validated stabilization, tracking, and pointing technologies at performance levels required for Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) missions through a credible demonstration of a space-based relay mirror system. RME's 24-inch mirror was used to test laser pointing technology by deflecting ground-based beams back to earth.

RME's attitude control system malfunctioned immediately after launch, shutting off a reaction wheel. Nevertheless the Maui Optical Observatory atop Mount Haleakala established the first relay on 26 June 1991, with Kihei, Hawaii. The precision relay mirror was 24 in. (61 cm) and had a pointing accuracy of 0.2 arcsec. The payload also included the Wideband Angular Vibration Experiment (WAVE), which measured low-level angular vibrations affecting performance of acquisition, tracking, and pointing (ATP) systems.

AKA: Relay Mirror Experiment.
Gross mass: 1,040 kg (2,290 lb).
First Launch: 1990.02.14.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Delta The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Development began in 1955 and it continued in service in the 21st Century despite numerous candidate replacements. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Delta American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta launch vehicle was America's longest-lived, most reliable, and lowest-cost space launch vehicle. Delta began as Thor, a crash December 1955 program to produce an intermediate range ballistic missile using existing components, which flew thirteen months after go-ahead. Fifteen months after that, a space launch version flew, using an existing upper stage. The addition of solid rocket boosters allowed the Thor core and Able/Delta upper stages to be stretched. Costs were kept down by using first and second-stage rocket engines surplus to the Apollo program in the 1970's. Continuous introduction of new 'existing' technology over the years resulted in an incredible evolution - the payload into a geosynchronous transfer orbit increasing from 68 kg in 1962 to 3810 kg by 2002. Delta survived innumerable attempts to kill the program and replace it with 'more rationale' alternatives. By 2008 nearly 1,000 boosters had flown over a fifty-year career, and cancellation was again announced. More...
  • Delta 2 6000 American orbital launch vehicle. The Delta 6000 series used the Castor 4A strap-ons with the ultimate Extra Extended Long Tank core with RS-27 engine. More...
  • Delta 6920-8 American orbital launch vehicle. Three stage vehicle consisting of 9 x Castor 4A + 1 x EELT Thor/RS-27+ 1 x Delta K with 2.4 m (8 foot) diameter fairing) More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • SDIO American agency overseeing development of spacecraft. Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (renamed the BMDO), USA. More...
  • Ball American manufacturer of spacecraft. Ball Aerospace and Technology, Boulder, Colorado, 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, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 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 LC17B Delta launch complex. Part of a dual launch pad complex built for the Thor ballistic missile program in 1956. Upgraded over the decades for use with Thor, Delta, Delta II, and Delta III launch vehicles, it remained in use for over half a century. More...

RME Chronology


1990 During the Year - .
  • Relay Mirror Experiment first successful laser relay - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: RME. Summary: The Maui Optical Observatory atop Mount Haleakala established the first relay with Kihei, Hawaii..

1990 February 14 - . 16:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Delta 6920-8. LV Configuration: Delta 6920-8 D192.
  • USA 52 - . Payload: RME. Mass: 1,040 kg (2,290 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: SDIO. Class: Military. Type: Strategic defense satellite. Spacecraft: RME. Decay Date: 1992-05-24 . USAF Sat Cat: 20497 . COSPAR: 1990-015B. Apogee: 281 km (174 mi). Perigee: 261 km (162 mi). Inclination: 43.1000 deg. Period: 89.90 min. Relay Mirror Experiment; also known as Losat-R. RME validated stabilization, tracking, and pointing technologies for Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) missions through a credible demonstration of a space-based relay mirror system. The Wideband Angular Vibration Experiment (WAVE) measured low-level angular vibrations affecting performance of acquisition, tracking, and pointing systems. The experiment demonstrated that a laser beam can be accurately relayed from the earth to an orbiting satellite 450 kilometers away and then back to a 3-meter target on the ground. It achieved relay beam pointing accuracy which was 16 times better than the technical requirement. WAVE demonstrated the capability to discern platform disturbance amplitudes of a few nanoradians at discrete frequencies and is therefore a candidate to fulfill similar requirements for future ATP experiments.

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