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The rocket's cargo is in fact so secret that that no federal agency will admit that the craft is theirs. The mission craft is simply called PAN. The launch guide from United Launch Alliance, which manufactures and operates the Atlas V, simply says that the PAN satellite mission is on behalf of Lockheed Martin's "U.S. Government Customer." The 45th Space Wing of the U.S. Air Force described the craft as a U.S. government communications satellite.
A New Breed: Satellite Terrorism in America
A new military satellite so highly classified the U.S. government will not even divulge which military or intelligence agency owns it is undergoing final checkout for liftoff this summer at Cape Canaveral. Comments are closed.
The placement into the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's launch schedule of the $500 million class secret mission, on a large booster and close to launch - but with no public disclosure of who will command it - is highly unusual. The satellite weighs at least two tons and is code named "PAN.
Pan inspired sudden fear in lonely places, Panic (panikon deima). Following the Titans' assault on Olympus, Pan claimed credit for the victory of the gods because he had inspired disorder and fear in the attackers resulting in the word 'panic' to describe these emotions. Of course, Pan was later known for his music, capable of arousing inspiration, sexuality, or panic, depending on his intentions. In the Battle of Marathon (490 BC), it is said that Pan favored the Athenians and so inspired panic in the hearts of their enemies, the Persians.
This mission was the 16th flight of an Atlas V rocket from the Cape and the 13th launch overall this year on the Eastern Range.
I had mentioned in my earlier post the American Starfish Prime 1.44 megaton nuclear test explosion in 1962, in space above the earth's atmosphere, and it's EMP effect on Hawaii. That same year, the Soviets did a similar test over Kazakhstan. Their bomb was only 300 kilotons, about one fifth the size of the Starfish Prime bomb, yet the EMP damage was more extensive. Why? Because they did it above a heavily populated area, and because it was also in the northern hemisphere where the Earth's magnetic field was very strong, which amplified the EMP effects, giving the smaller explosion a much stronger EMP!
by Ken Warren
45th SW Public Affairs
12/13/2007 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- Shortly after the Atlas V rumbled off the pad late Monday afternoon, Maj. Dewitt Morgan "high-fived" Rick Day in the Morrell Operations Center's mission control room and said, "Great launch! Way to turn the Range."
The two members of the 1st Range Operations Squadron were in celebratory moods as the Atlas V carried a National Reconnaissance Office payload into space. The reason: In the wake of NASA's scrubbing of the STS-122 space shuttle mission early Sunday morning, 1 ROPS led the 45th Space Wing's charge to get the Eastern Range reconfigured in less than 36 hours to support the Atlas V launch.
The successful launch also buoyed the spirits of 1st Lt. Georgene Hilb, Deputy Atlas Lead for the 5th Space Launch Squadron. In that capacity she'd worked tirelessly supporting booster processing, monitoring facility status and serving as the 45th SW's point of contact for spacecraft integration. But for her, nothing matched the thrill of launch day. "I was excited seeing this payload get into orbit. This was the shortest flow for an Atlas V from booster on stand to initial launch capability -- 43 days, seven days shorter than the Astra mission that launched in April 2006."
On launch day, Lieutenant Hilb's responsibilities included tracking Atlas V countdown processing and anomalies for the government team and providing status to senior leadership.
"The beautiful liftoff was the best part of working this mission. It's a great feeling to know that our success here directly enhances our national security," she said.
BY TODD HALVORSON
CAPE CANAVERAL - A secret national security satellite is winging its way around the planet today after a roaring rocket launch from Cape Canaveral.
The Monday liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket came less than 36 hours after NASA scrubbed the planned launch of shuttle Atlantis, a turnaround that took a monumental effort.
"It was awesome," said ULA communications director Mike Rein. "And we appreciate everything the 45th Space Wing did to reconfigure the range after yesterday's shuttle scrub to make it happen."
The Air Force's 45th Space Wing, based at Patrick Air Force Base, operates the nation's primary east coast rocket range, providing radar tracking, range safety and weather forecasting services for all launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
It typically takes two days to reset range systems between launches. The quick turnaround made it possible to pick up the Atlas 5 countdown Monday afternoon and send the rocket aloft at 5:05 p.m.
There was a two-minute delay to make certain the rocket wouldn't collide with the International Space Station as the outpost passed over the Cape.
Then the rocket rumbled off its oceanfront launch pad with a crackling roar, hurling a classified National Reconnaissance Office payload toward orbit.
Craig Covault, senior editor of the trade magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology, said the clandestine cargo was a spacecraft that relays images and other data to the ground from other NRO satellites.
Originally posted by tribewilder
The problem here is that we will never know what it is that was put into orbit.
Why the secrecy?? Who doesn't want who to know what??
Dammit, I hate being out of the loop..
45th Space Wing Public Affairs
9/9/2009 - CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. -- The 45th Space Wing launched successfully a United Launch Alliance-built Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle from Space Launch Complex 41 at 5:35 p.m. (EDT) today.
The Atlas V rocket carried a U.S. government communications satellite into space.
"This launch helps to ensure that vital communications will continue to bolster our nation's capabilities and showcases why the 45th Space Wing is the world's premiere gateway to space," said Brig. Gen. Edward L. Bolton, Jr., 45th Space Wing commander.
"The 45th Space Wing is in the midst of a very busy launch season and during our Operational Readiness Inspection. We are looking forward to many more successful missions before the year's end," General Bolton said. "This is perhaps the cleanest countdown we've seen this year."
This mission was the 16th flight of an Atlas V rocket from here and the 13th launch overall this year on the Eastern Range.
"This launch was an outstanding achievement for the entire Atlas team," said Staff Sgt. Brad Tavares, Atlas V Mission Assurance Technician. "It makes me extremely proud to be a part of the success of this mission and I look forward to providing continued mission assurance for all future launches."
Contact: 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
PAN, which officially stands for “Palladium At Night”, is also known as P360. It is a communications satellite, which was built by the Special Programs division of Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
Space Imaging launched the worlds first, and currently only, one-metre resolution, commercial satellite, IKONOS, on 24 September, 1999.
Now if the NRO are claiming nothing to do with it it could belong to DARPA or the air force (maybe someone knows more about the little blue sign top middle of the patch.
But now something odd has happened that has satellite observers scratching their heads: the Air Force has announced the upcoming launch of a classified satellite from Cape Canaveral, but no government agency, certainly not the NRO, has claimed ownership. Its mission remains mysterious, as do other aspects of its existence. It was supposed to launch on August 12, but that date has now slipped to September 8.
Our PAN P360 team just celebrated our first anniversary since contract award. As program manager, I am very proud of the extraordinary effort and excellent team that has been leading this endeavor. We have successfully hit every milestone on a 30-month firm-fixed-price program that will change the future of how government programs will be contracted and run. This opportunity is a great challenge to build a government satellite that uses the A2100 spacecraft bus and commercial off-the-shelf components and processes. There are numerous future Lockheed Martin opportunities that hinge on the success of this program.
Originally posted by pixanomalyor the air force (maybe someone knows more about the little blue sign top middle of the patch.
A mission sticker offers little insight. It shows a smiling frog riding a rocket, waving a cowboy hat with planet Earth in the background. A slogan beneath the rocket says: "The Simplest Of Programs." Its nosecone is inscribed "P360/PAN."
ABOUT THE IMAGES: Click to enlarge the mission sticker (top) and you can barely see the little cartoon of the frog riding the rocket at the bottom of the image. The Palladium At Night patch will not enlarge, but note the interesting question mark hidden in the plume trailing the rocket. The spooks have outdone themselves this time.
Originally posted by pixanomaly
you linked to IKONOS PAN
United Launch Alliance (ULA), formed in December 2006, is a joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company. The combined Atlas and Delta teams provide spacecraft launch services for the U.S. government. U.S. government launch customers include the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other organizations.
Atlas and Delta expendable launch vehicles have supported space programs for more than 50 years, carrying a variety of payloads including weather, telecommunications and national security satellites that protect and improve life on Earth, as well as deep space and interplanetary exploration missions in support of scientific research.
Three families of launch vehicles – Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V – continue to support strategic U.S. space initiatives. ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Alabama, and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
SpaceX challenged the antitrust legality of the launch services monopoly on October 23, 2005. SpaceX is interested in competing for government launch contracts with the Falcon 9 rocket. On January 7, 2006 the Department of Defense gave preliminary approval to the United Launch Alliance while the Federal Trade Commission had yet to issue a final decision.
The June 15 shortfall of a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle with a pair of classified National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) ocean surveillance spacecraft onboard may delay upcoming military missions by the Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint venture.
Among them could be the first Boeing-built Wideband Gapfiller System (WGS) satellite, designed to begin replacing the aging Defense Satellite Communications Spacecraft (DSCS) constellation.