Encyclopedia Astronautica
KH-9


American military surveillance satellite. 26 launches, 1971.06.15 (KH-9 no. 01 (Big Bird)) to 1986.04.18 (SRV-4). Popularly known as 'Big Bird'. Titan 3C-class film-return reconnaissance satellite.

Ground resolution 0.6 m. 2 x 1.52 m focal length camera; on 5 missions 1 x 0.30 m focal length mapping camera was carried. 4 capsules for return of film. Developed as backup to cancelled Manned Orbiting Lab. Mission life up to 275 days by end of program.

AKA: 1900; Hexagon.
Gross mass: 11,400 kg (25,100 lb).
Height: 15.20 m (49.80 ft).
First Launch: 1971.06.15.
Last Launch: 1986.04.18.
Number: 26 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Titan The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Titan American orbital launch vehicle. The Titan launch vehicle family was developed by the United States Air Force to meet its medium lift requirements in the 1960's. The designs finally put into production were derived from the Titan II ICBM. Titan outlived the competing NASA Saturn I launch vehicle and the Space Shuttle for military launches. It was finally replaced by the USAF's EELV boosters, the Atlas V and Delta IV. Although conceived as a low-cost, quick-reaction system, Titan was not successful as a commercial launch vehicle. Air Force requirements growth over the years drove its costs up - the Ariane using similar technology provided lower-cost access to space. More...
  • Titan 3D American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3C without transtage. More...
  • Titan 34D American orbital launch vehicle. Stretched Titan core designed for use with 5 1/2 segment solid rocket motors. IUS (Interim/Inertial Upper Stage) solid upper stages, Transtage, or used without upper stages. 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.
  • Krebs, Gunter, Gunter's Space Page, University of Frankfurt, 1996. 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
  • 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 SLC4E Titan, Atlas launch complex. First designated PALC2-4 and used to launch Atlas Agena D with KH-7 spysats. Rebuilt after MOL cancellation in 1970 to handle Titan 3D with KH-9 and KH-11 spysats. Upgraded in 1989-1990 for Titan 4. More...

KH-9 Chronology


1971 June 15 - . 18:41 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-1.
  • KH-9 no. 01 (Big Bird) - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1971-08-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 5297 . COSPAR: 1971-056A. Apogee: 300 km (180 mi). Perigee: 180 km (110 mi). Inclination: 96.4000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1972 January 20 - . 18:36 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-2.
  • KH-9 no. 02 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1972-02-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 5769 . COSPAR: 1972-002A. Apogee: 330 km (200 mi). Perigee: 153 km (95 mi). Inclination: 97.0000 deg. Period: 89.30 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1972 July 7 - . 17:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-5.
  • KH-9 no. 03 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1972-09-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 6094 . COSPAR: 1972-052A. Apogee: 254 km (157 mi). Perigee: 176 km (109 mi). Inclination: 96.0000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space. .

1972 October 10 - . 18:03 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-3.
  • KH-9 no. 04 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1973-01-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 6227 . COSPAR: 1972-079A. Apogee: 281 km (174 mi). Perigee: 160 km (90 mi). Inclination: 96.5000 deg. Period: 88.90 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1973 March 9 - . 21:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-6.
  • KH-9 no. 05 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1973-05-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 6382 . COSPAR: 1973-014A. Apogee: 262 km (162 mi). Perigee: 150 km (90 mi). Inclination: 95.7000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1973 July 13 - . 20:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-7.
  • KH-9 no. 06 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1973-10-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 6727 . COSPAR: 1973-046A. Apogee: 291 km (180 mi). Perigee: 143 km (88 mi). Inclination: 96.2000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1973 November 10 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-8.
  • Titan 23D no. 8 stage - . Payload: SSF 32. Mass: 60 kg (132 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1973-11-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 6929 . COSPAR: 1973-088C. Apogee: 508 km (315 mi). Perigee: 486 km (301 mi). Inclination: 96.3000 deg. Period: 94.50 min. Summary: ABM monitoring. .
  • KH-9 no. 07 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1974-03-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 6928 . COSPAR: 1973-088A. Apogee: 275 km (170 mi). Perigee: 158 km (98 mi). Inclination: 96.9000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1974 April 10 - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-9.
  • KH-9 no. 08 Capsule - . Payload: P 73-7 / OPS 4547. Mass: 60 kg (132 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. USAF Sat Cat: 7244 . COSPAR: 1974-020xx. Apogee: 830 km (510 mi). Perigee: 786 km (488 mi). Inclination: 94.6000 deg. Period: 101.10 min. Summary: Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • KH-9 no. 08 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1974-07-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 7242 . COSPAR: 1974-020A. Apogee: 285 km (177 mi). Perigee: 153 km (95 mi). Inclination: 94.5000 deg. Period: 88.90 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1974 October 29 - . 19:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-4.
  • KH-9 no. 09 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1975-03-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 7495 . COSPAR: 1974-085A. Apogee: 272 km (169 mi). Perigee: 115 km (71 mi). Inclination: 96.7000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1975 June 8 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-10.
  • KH-9 no. 10 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1975-11-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 7918 . COSPAR: 1975-051A. Apogee: 272 km (169 mi). Perigee: 157 km (97 mi). Inclination: 96.3000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1975 December 4 - . 20:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-13.
  • KH-9 no. 11 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1976-04-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 8467 . COSPAR: 1975-114A. Apogee: 234 km (145 mi). Perigee: 157 km (97 mi). Inclination: 96.3000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1976 July 8 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-14.
  • KH-9 no. 12 - . Mass: 13,000 kg (28,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1976-12-13 . USAF Sat Cat: 9006 . COSPAR: 1976-065A. Apogee: 242 km (150 mi). Perigee: 159 km (98 mi). Inclination: 97.0000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1977 June 27 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-17.
  • KH-9 no. 13 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1977-12-23 . USAF Sat Cat: 10111 . COSPAR: 1977-056A. Apogee: 239 km (148 mi). Perigee: 155 km (96 mi). Inclination: 97.0000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). .

1978 March 16 - . 18:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-20.
  • KH-9 no. 14 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1978-09-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 10733 . COSPAR: 1978-029A. Apogee: 240 km (140 mi). Perigee: 160 km (90 mi). Inclination: 96.4000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1979 March 16 - . 18:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-21.
  • KH-9 no. 15 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1979-09-22 . USAF Sat Cat: 11305 . COSPAR: 1979-025A. Apogee: 258 km (160 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 96.4000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1980 June 18 - . 18:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-16.
  • KH-9 no. 16 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1981-03-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 11850 . COSPAR: 1980-052A. Apogee: 262 km (162 mi). Perigee: 164 km (101 mi). Inclination: 96.4000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1982 May 11 - . 18:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3D. LV Configuration: Titan IIID 23D-24.
  • KH-9 no. 17 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1982-12-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 13170 . COSPAR: 1982-041A. Apogee: 262 km (162 mi). Perigee: 177 km (109 mi). Inclination: 96.4000 deg. Period: 88.90 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). .

1983 June 20 - . 18:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34D. LV Configuration: Titan 34D 34D-5 (04D-3).
  • KH-9 no. 18 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1984-03-21 . USAF Sat Cat: 14137 . COSPAR: 1983-060A. Apogee: 259 km (160 mi). Perigee: 159 km (98 mi). Inclination: 96.5000 deg. Period: 88.80 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). .

1984 June 25 - . 18:43 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34D. LV Configuration: Titan 34D 34D-4 (04D-1).
  • USA 2 - . Payload: KH-9 no. 19. Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO; CIA. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1984-10-18 . USAF Sat Cat: 15063 . COSPAR: 1984-065A. Apogee: 230 km (140 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 96.5000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. Summary: KH-9 type satellite. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication (US Cat C). .

1986 April 18 - . 17:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4E. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34D. LV Configuration: Titan 34D 34D-9 (04D-2). FAILURE: SRM case insulation burned through, causing case burn-through and catastrophic explosion over pad at T+8.5 seconds.. Failed Stage: 0.
  • KH-9 no. 20 - . Mass: 13,300 kg (29,300 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Military surveillance satellite. Spacecraft: KH-9. Decay Date: 1986-04-18 . COSPAR: F860418A. Summary: KH-9 type satellite..
  • SRV-2 - . Payload: SRV-2. Mass: 11,400 kg (25,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: KH-9. COSPAR: F860418C.
  • SRV-3 - . Payload: SRV-3. Mass: 11,400 kg (25,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: KH-9. COSPAR: F860418D.
  • SRV-4 - . Payload: SRV-4. Mass: 11,400 kg (25,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: KH-9. COSPAR: F860418E.
  • SRV-1 - . Payload: SRV-1. Mass: 11,400 kg (25,100 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF AFSC. Spacecraft: KH-9. COSPAR: F860418F.

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