Encyclopedia Astronautica
KH-1


American military surveillance satellite. 22 launches, 1959.01.21 (Thor Agena test) to 1960.09.13 (Discoverer 15). First US film reconnaissance satellite, and first polar orbiting satellite.

Carried one 'C' type camera, with a focal length of 61 cm and a ground resolution of 12 m.

Gross mass: 779 kg (1,717 lb).
First Launch: 1959.01.21.
Last Launch: 1960.09.13.
Number: 22 .

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 Agena A American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-18A + 1 x Agena A More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • DARPA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (formerly ARPA), USA. More...
  • Lockheed American manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Lockheed Martin, Sunnyvale, CA, 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.
  • Bramscher, Robert G, "A Survey of Launch Vehicle Failures", Spaceflight, 1980, Volume 22, page 351.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • 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 SLC1E Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1967. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC1W Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

KH-1 Chronology


1959 January 21 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 160. FAILURE: Launch vehicle failure.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Thor Agena test - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F590121A. Summary: First flight test of Thor-Agena for KH program..

1959 February 28 - . 21:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 163 / Agena A 1022.
  • Discoverer 1 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype / Agena A 1022. Mass: 618 kg (1,362 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-03-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 13 . COSPAR: 1959-Beta-1. Apogee: 968 km (601 mi). Perigee: 163 km (101 mi). Inclination: 89.7000 deg. Period: 96.00 min. Summary: First polar orbiting satellite; KH-1 prototype; did not carry camera or film capsule..

1959 April 13 - . 21:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 170 / Agena A 1018.
  • Discoverer 2 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype / Agena A 1022. Mass: 743 kg (1,638 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-04-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 14 . COSPAR: 1959-Gamma-1. Apogee: 346 km (214 mi). Perigee: 239 km (148 mi). Inclination: 89.9000 deg. Period: 90.40 min. KH-1 prototype; tested capsule recovery techniques; did not carry camera; capsule recovery failed. Because of a timing error, the US believed that the capsule landed somewhere on the island of Spitsbergen, north of Norway, instead of landing in the recovery zone near Hawaii. The capsule was never found; and CIA officials suspect it may have been snatched by the Soviets. The search for this capsule formed the basis of the book and film 'Ice Station Zebra'.

    In the winter of 1960/1961, a US Discovery spy satellite capsule was found by loggers near Kalinin, 200 km north of Moscow. The loggers cracked it open with an axe. Sergei Khrushchev believed this to be the Discoverer 2 capsule. What was left was examined by Soviet engineers but didnít reveal much information - it was a polished aluminium sphere, 30 cm in diameter, gilded on the exterior. Some said it was found as early as the winter of 1959.


1959 June 3 - . 20:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 174 / Agena A 1020. FAILURE: No telemetry after Agena ignition.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Discoverer 3 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype / Agena A 1018. Mass: 753 kg (1,660 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-06-03 . COSPAR: F590603A. Summary: KH-1 prototype; did not carry camera; film capsule recovery failed..
  • SRV - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F590603B.

1959 June 25 - . 22:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 179 / Agena A 1023. FAILURE: Insufficient stage 2 velocity.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • Discoverer 4 - . Payload: KH-1 9001. Mass: 743 kg (1,638 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-06-25 . COSPAR: F590625A. Summary: KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance. Failed to achieve orbit..
  • SRV 102 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F590625B.

1959 August 13 - . 19:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 192 / Agena A 1029.
  • Discoverer 5 - . Payload: KH-1 9002 / Agena A 1029. Mass: 781 kg (1,721 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-09-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 18 . COSPAR: 1959-Epsilon-1. Apogee: 731 km (454 mi). Perigee: 214 km (132 mi). Inclination: 79.9000 deg. Period: 94.10 min. Summary: KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule boosted into higher orbit, decayed 2/11/61. Mission failed. Power supply failure. No recovery..
  • Discoverer 5 Capsule - . Payload: KH-1 9002 Capsule. Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1961-02-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 26 . COSPAR: 1959-Epsilon-2. Apogee: 1,700 km (1,000 mi). Perigee: 218 km (135 mi). Inclination: 78.9000 deg. Period: 104.30 min. Summary: KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule boosted into higher orbit, decayed 2/11/61. Mission failed. Power supply failure. No recovery..

1959 August 19 - . 19:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 200 / Agena A 1028.
  • Discoverer 6 - . Payload: KH-1 9003 / Agena A 1028. Mass: 783 kg (1,726 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-10-20 . USAF Sat Cat: 19 . COSPAR: 1959-Zeta-1. Apogee: 846 km (525 mi). Perigee: 207 km (128 mi). Inclination: 83.9000 deg. Period: 95.10 min. Summary: KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule recovery failed. Mission failed. Retro rockets malfunctioned negating recovery..

1959 November 7 - . 20:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 206 / Agena A 1051.
  • Discoverer 7 - . Payload: KH-1 9004 / Agena A 1051. Mass: 794 kg (1,750 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: DARPA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1959-11-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 24 . COSPAR: 1959-Kappa-1. Apogee: 820 km (500 mi). Perigee: 158 km (98 mi). Inclination: 81.6000 deg. Period: 94.40 min. Summary: KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; satellite tumbled; film capsule not recovered. Mission failed. Failed to achieve orbit..

1959 November 20 - . 19:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 212 / Agena A 1050.
  • Discoverer 8 - . Payload: KH-1 9005 / Agena A 1050. Mass: 795 kg (1,752 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-03-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 25 . COSPAR: 1959-Lambda-1. Apogee: 1,661 km (1,032 mi). Perigee: 186 km (115 mi). Inclination: 80.5000 deg. Period: 103.50 min. Summary: KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance; film capsule recovery failed. Mission failed. Eccentric orbit negating recovery..

1960 February 4 - . 18:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 218 / Agena A 1052. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 9 - . Payload: KH-1 9006. Mass: 765 kg (1,686 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-02-04 . COSPAR: F600204A. Summary: KH-1; 1st generation low resolution photo surveillance. Mission failed..
  • SRV 113 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F600204B.

1960 February 19 - . 20:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 223 / Agena A 1054. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 10 - . Payload: KH-1 9007. Mass: 765 kg (1,686 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-02-19 . COSPAR: F600219A. Summary: KH-1; Mission failed..
  • SRV 110 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F600219B.

1960 April 15 - . 20:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 234 / Agena A 1055.
  • Discoverer 11 - . Payload: KH-1 9008 / Agena A 1055. Mass: 790 kg (1,740 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-04-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 32 . COSPAR: 1960-Delta-1. Apogee: 603 km (374 mi). Perigee: 166 km (103 mi). Inclination: 80.4000 deg. Period: 92.20 min. Summary: KH-1; film capsule recovery failed. Mission failed. Attitude control system malfunctioned..

1960 June 29 - . 22:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 160 / Agena A 1053. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 12 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype. Mass: 790 kg (1,740 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-06-29 . COSPAR: F600629A. Summary: KH-1 prototype; designed to test capsule recovery system; did not carry camera..
  • SRV - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-1. COSPAR: F600629B.

1960 August 10 - . 20:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 231 / Agena A 1057.
  • Discoverer 13 - . Payload: KH-1 prototype / Agena A 1057. Mass: 850 kg (1,870 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-11-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 48 . COSPAR: 1960-Theta-1. Apogee: 683 km (424 mi). Perigee: 258 km (160 mi). Inclination: 82.8000 deg. Period: 94.00 min. Summary: KH-1 prototype; designed to test capsule recovery system; did not carry camera; capsule successfully recovered from ocean..

1960 August 18 - . 19:57 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 237 / Agena A 1056.
  • Discoverer 14 - . Payload: KH-1 9009 / Agena A 1056. Mass: 850 kg (1,870 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-09-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 54 . COSPAR: 1960-Kappa-1. Apogee: 803 km (498 mi). Perigee: 177 km (109 mi). Inclination: 79.6000 deg. Period: 94.40 min. Summary: KH-1; film capsule recovered 1.2 days later; 1st successful photosurveillance mission. First successful mission. Cameras operated satisfactorily..

1960 September 13 - . 22:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena A. LV Configuration: Thor Agena A 246 / Agena A 1058.
  • Discoverer 15 - . Payload: KH-1 9010 / Agena A 1058. Mass: 863 kg (1,902 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-1. Decay Date: 1960-10-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 57 . COSPAR: 1960-Mu-1. Apogee: 755 km (469 mi). Perigee: 200 km (120 mi). Inclination: 80.9000 deg. Period: 94.10 min. Summary: KH-1; film capsule lost at sea. Mission failed. Attained orbit successfully. Capsule sank prior to retrieval..

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use