Encyclopedia Astronautica
SURCAL


American military target satellite. 15 launches, 1962.01.24 (Surcal) to 1969.09.30 (Surcal).

SURveillance CALibration (SURCAL) satellites were produced in cooperation with the NRL group that had designed and developed the Naval Space Surveillance (NAVSPASUR) system. The satellites provided objects with known shapes, masses, and dimensions, thereby providing a means to calibrate the space tracking system. NAVSPASUR was the successor to NRL's innovative Vanguard tracking system, the Minitrack. Launched between 1962 and 1965, the SURCALs were built in different shapes and sizes.

First Launch: 1962.01.24.
Last Launch: 1969.09.30.
Number: 15 .

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...
  • Thor Able-Star American orbital launch vehicle. As Thor Able but with enlarged Ablestar second stage with 2 1/2 x greater burn time. More...
  • Thor Agena D American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x Agena D 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, 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...
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC1W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC2E Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. 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...
  • Vandenberg SLC2W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

SURCAL Chronology


1962 January 24 - . 09:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC17B. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able-Star. LV Configuration: Thor Ablestar 311 AB010. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Surcal - . Payload: Surcal. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. COSPAR: F620124E.

1962 December 13 - . 04:07 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 365 / Agena D 2351.
  • SURCAL 1A - . Mass: 37 kg (81 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. Decay Date: 1966-01-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 508 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Tau-4. Apogee: 2,160 km (1,340 mi). Perigee: 227 km (141 mi). Inclination: 70.3000 deg. Period: 109.30 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • SURCAL 2A - . Payload: NRL PL121. Mass: 3.00 kg (6.60 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF; USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. Decay Date: 1963-07-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 507 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Tau-3. Apogee: 2,762 km (1,716 mi). Perigee: 222 km (137 mi). Inclination: 70.2000 deg. Period: 115.80 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1963 June 15 - . 14:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D. LV Configuration: Thor Agena D 378 / Agena D 2353.
  • SURCAL 1B - . Mass: 3.00 kg (6.60 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. Decay Date: 1963-07-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 597 . COSPAR: 1963-021F. Apogee: 802 km (498 mi). Perigee: 172 km (106 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 94.40 min. Summary: Surveillance Calibration. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1965 March 9 - . 18:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D SLV-2. LV Configuration: Thor SLV-2 Agena D 419 / Agena D SS-01A 2701.
  • SURCAL 2B - . Mass: 5.00 kg (11.00 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. Decay Date: 1981-03-27 . USAF Sat Cat: 1310 . COSPAR: 1965-016G. Apogee: 947 km (588 mi). Perigee: 902 km (560 mi). Inclination: 70.1000 deg. Period: 103.50 min. Summary: Surveillance Calibration. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1965 August 13 - . 22:11 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Able-Star. LV Configuration: Thor Ablestar 455 AB020.
  • Long Rod - . Payload: Navspasur Rod. Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 1515 . COSPAR: 1965-065G. Apogee: 1,194 km (741 mi). Perigee: 1,090 km (670 mi). Inclination: 90.0000 deg. Period: 108.10 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • SURCAL 5 - . Payload: NRL PL150C?. Nation: USA. Agency: USN. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. USAF Sat Cat: 1521 . COSPAR: 1965-065K. Apogee: 1,196 km (743 mi). Perigee: 1,083 km (672 mi). Inclination: 90.0000 deg. Period: 108.11 min.

1967 May 31 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena D SLV-2. LV Configuration: Thor SLV-2 Agena D 443 / Agena D SS-01B 2704.
  • Surcal 160 - . Payload: NRL PL160 / Agena D 2704. Mass: 2.00 kg (4.40 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 2825 . COSPAR: 1967-053B. Apogee: 927 km (576 mi). Perigee: 923 km (573 mi). Inclination: 69.9000 deg. Period: 103.50 min. Summary: 20 inch dia. calibration sphere. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Surcal (152) - . Payload: NRL PL152 / OPS 5712. Mass: 4.00 kg (8.80 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 2873 . COSPAR: 1967-053G. Apogee: 910 km (560 mi). Perigee: 902 km (560 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 103.10 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • Surcal (153) - . Payload: NRL PL153 / OPS 5712. Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 2874 . COSPAR: 1967-053H. Apogee: 912 km (566 mi). Perigee: 905 km (562 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 103.20 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • SURCAL 150B - . Payload: NRL PL150B. Mass: 2.00 kg (4.40 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: SURCAL. USAF Sat Cat: 2909 . COSPAR: 1967-053J. Apogee: 816 km (507 mi). Perigee: 805 km (500 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 101.10 min. Summary: 16 inch dia. calibration sphere. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1969 September 30 - . 13:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thorad Agena D SLV-2G. LV Configuration: Thorad SLV-2G Agena D 525 / Agena D.
  • Surcal - . Payload: NRL PL162 / OPS 7613. Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 4237 . COSPAR: 1969-082E. Apogee: 925 km (574 mi). Perigee: 899 km (558 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 103.30 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • Surcal - . Payload: NRL PL163 / OPS 7613. Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 4247 . COSPAR: 1969-082F. Apogee: 925 km (574 mi). Perigee: 898 km (557 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 103.20 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • Surcal - . Payload: NRL PL161 / OPS 7613. Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 4259 . COSPAR: 1969-082D. Apogee: 928 km (576 mi). Perigee: 899 km (558 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 103.30 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..
  • Surcal - . Payload: NRL PL176 / OPS 7613. Nation: USA. Agency: NRL. Class: Military. Type: Radar calibration target. Spacecraft: Surcal. USAF Sat Cat: 4256 . COSPAR: 1969-082B. Apogee: 918 km (570 mi). Perigee: 893 km (554 mi). Inclination: 70.0000 deg. Period: 103.10 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A)..

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