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During the flight, the Air Force lifted the veil of secrecy only to admit that the payload was successfully deployed, and that an Inertial Upper Stage was used.
According to most accounts, STS-51C’s payload was ORION, an eavesdropping satellite for signals intelligence. Parked in geosynchronous orbit, it unfurled a dish almost as wide as a football field is long (hence the need for the shuttle’s large payload bay) to listen in on ground communications and telemetry. No one involved with the mis
On the other hand, the STS-4 payload, identified only as “P82-1,” didn’t impress Mattingly. “It was a rinky-dink collection of minor stuff they wanted to fly,” he recalls. P82-1 turned out to be the Cryonic InfraRed Radiance Instrumentation for Shuttle (CIRRIS) and the Ultraviolet Horizon Scanner (UHS), two sensors designed to test missile detection from space. A cover failed to open, so neither worked
Between 1982 and 1992, NASA launched 11 shuttle flights with classified payloads, honoring a deal that dated to 1969, when the National Reconnaissance Office—an organization so secret its name could not be published at the time—requested certain changes to the design of NASA’s new space transportation system. The NRO built and operated large, expensive reconnaissance satellites, and it wanted a bigger shuttle cargo bay than NASA had planned. The spysat agency also wanted the option to fly “once around” polar missions, which demanded more flexibility to maneuver for a landing that could be on either side of the vehicle’s ground track.
According to most accounts, STS-51C’s payload was ORION, an eavesdropping satellite for signals intelligence. Parked in geosynchronous orbit, it unfurled a dish almost as wide as a football field is long
Based on current claims, it looks as though Branson's Virgin Galactic will be the first of these so-called 'new space' companies to take paying customers into space. While it has not set a date for first flights, the company is already taking bookings for $200,000 flights aboard its six-passenger spacecraft SpaceshipTwo and is expected to unveil the vehicle for the first time later this year. This is all the more remarkable considering that three engineers working on the project were killed during an explosion in 2007. Based on the design of Burt Rutan's X-prize-winning SpaceshipOne, the vehicle will be launched from a mothership — WhiteKnightTwo — which is currently undergoing rigorous, high-altitude test flights. Both have been constructed in the Mojave desert in New Mexico by The Spaceship Company (TSC), a manufacturing enterprise established by Virgin and Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites.
Originally posted by Kevin_X2
If they can put a satellite in Geosynch that's wider then a football field in the 80s, where do the possibilities end?
Originally posted by Chadwickus
Interesting that this Orion satellite is roughly the same size as the ISS.
It should be fairly clear in the sky like the ISS is.
Originally posted by yeebsy
Scaled composites is a company founded by a guy called Burt Rutan (the company was called the Rutan Aircraft Factory.
Richard Branson also has something to do with it.
I heard long ago that she flies secret all military flights.
On January 31, 1977, it was taken by road to Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, to begin operational testing.
While at NASA Dryden, Enterprise was used by NASA for a variety of ground and flight tests intended to validate aspects of the shuttle program. The initial nine-month testing period was referred to by the acronym ALT, for "Approach and Landing Test". These tests included a maiden "flight" on February 18, 1977 atop a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) to measure structural loads and ground handling and braking characteristics of the mated system. Ground tests of all orbiter subsystems were carried out to verify functionality prior to atmospheric flight.
The mated Enterprise/SCA combination was then subjected to five test flights with Enterprise unmanned and unactivated. The purpose of these test flights was to measure the flight characteristics of the mated combination. These tests were followed with three test flights with Enterprise manned to test the shuttle flight control systems.
Finally, Enterprise underwent five free flights where the craft separated from the SCA and was landed under astronaut control. These tests verified the flight characteristics of the orbiter design and were carried out under several aerodynamic and weight configurations.
With the completion of critical testing, Enterprise was partially disassembled to allow certain components to be reused in other shuttles, then underwent an international tour visiting France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the U.S. states of California, Alabama, and Louisiana (during the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition). It was also used to fit-check the never-used shuttle launch pad, SLC-6 at Vandenberg AFB, California. Finally, on November 18, 1985, Enterprise was ferried to Washington, D.C., where it became property of the Smithsonian Institution.