Encyclopedia Astronautica
KH-3


American military surveillance satellite. 12 launches, 1961.08.30 (Discoverer 29) to 1962.01.13 (SRV 571). Early US reconnaissance satellite. Carried one 'C-Double Prime' panoramic camera, with a focal length of 61 cm and a ground resolution of 7.6 m.

Gross mass: 1,250 kg (2,750 lb).
First Launch: 1961.08.30.
Last Launch: 1962.01.13.
Number: 12 .

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 B American orbital launch vehicle. Two stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Thor DM-21 + 1 x Agena B More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, 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...
  • Vandenberg SLC2E Delta launch complex. Originally a Thor 75 SMS launch pad. Upgraded to a space launch complex in 1966. More...

KH-3 Chronology


1961 August 30 - . 20:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 323 / Agena B 1112.
  • Discoverer 29 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9023 / Agena B 1112. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-09-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 181 . COSPAR: 1961-Psi-1. Apogee: 542 km (336 mi). Perigee: 152 km (94 mi). Inclination: 82.1000 deg. Period: 91.50 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 2.1 days later. First use of KH-3 camera system. All frames out of focus..

1961 September 12 - . 19:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 310 / Agena B 1113.
  • Discoverer 30 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9022 / Agena B 1113. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-12-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 182 . COSPAR: 1961-Omega-1. Apogee: 557 km (346 mi). Perigee: 219 km (136 mi). Inclination: 82.5000 deg. Period: 92.30 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 2.1 days later. Best mission to date. Same out-of-focus condition as in 9023..

1961 September 17 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 324 / Agena B 1114.
  • Discoverer 31 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9024 / Agena B 1114. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-10-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 186 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Beta-1. Apogee: 403 km (250 mi). Perigee: 231 km (143 mi). Inclination: 82.6000 deg. Period: 90.80 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovery failed. Mission failed. Power failure and loss of control gas on orbit 33..

1961 October 13 - . 19:22 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 328 / Agena B 1115.
  • Discoverer 32 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9025 / Agena B 1115. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-11-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 189 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Gamma-1. Apogee: 391 km (242 mi). Perigee: 233 km (144 mi). Inclination: 81.6000 deg. Period: 90.70 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 1.1 days later. Capsule recovered on orbit 18. 96% of film out of focus..

1961 October 23 - . 19:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 329 / Agena B 1116. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 33 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9026. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-10-23 . COSPAR: F611023A. Summary: KH-3; Mission failed..
  • SRV 513 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-3. COSPAR: F611023B.

1961 November 5 - . 20:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC2E. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 330 / Agena B 1117.
  • Discoverer 34 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9027 / Agena B 1117. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1962-12-07 . USAF Sat Cat: 197 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Epsilon-1. Apogee: 859 km (533 mi). Perigee: 231 km (143 mi). Inclination: 82.4000 deg. Period: 95.60 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovery not attempted. Mission failed. Improper launch angle resulted in extreme orbit..
  • SRV 553 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-3. COSPAR: 1961-A-Epsilon-x.

1961 November 15 - . 21:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 326 / Agena B 1118.
  • Discoverer 35 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9028 / Agena B 1118. Mass: 2,100 kg (4,600 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1961-12-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 201 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Zeta-1. Apogee: 278 km (172 mi). Perigee: 238 km (147 mi). Inclination: 81.6000 deg. Period: 89.70 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 1.1 days later. All cameras operated satisfactorily. Grainy emulsion noted..

1961 December 12 - . 20:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 325 / Agena B 1119.
  • Discoverer 36 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9029 / Agena B 1119. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1962-03-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 213 . COSPAR: 1961-A-Kappa-1. Apogee: 173 km (107 mi). Perigee: 131 km (81 mi). Inclination: 89.5000 deg. Period: 87.50 min. Summary: KH-3; film capsule recovered 4.1 days later. Best mission to date..

1962 January 13 - . 21:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC1W. LV Family: Delta. Launch Vehicle: Thor Agena B. LV Configuration: Thor Agena B 327 / Agena B 1120. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Discoverer 37 - . Payload: KH-3 s/n 9030. Mass: 1,150 kg (2,530 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-3. Decay Date: 1962-01-13 . COSPAR: F620113A. Summary: KH-3. Mission failed. Last attempted flight of KH-3 series..
  • SRV 571 - . Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Spacecraft: KH-3. COSPAR: F620113B.

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