Encyclopedia Astronautica
LES



les.jpg
LES
Credit: NASA
American communications technology satellite. 8 launches, 1965.02.11 (LES 1) to 1976.03.15 (LES 9).

The LES spacecraft were designed and built by MIT's Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts, as part of the an Air Force-sponsored program to test in orbit new devices and techniques for use in military satellite communication systems.

LES-5, launched July 1, 1967, was designed primarily to aid in the development of a tactical satellite communication (TACSATCOM) system for the Department of Defense. It was used for the first communications by satellite among Army, Navy, and Air Force units, including aircraft in flight, submarines and surface vessels, and a variety of ground terminals. LES-5 was the first communication satellite to operate entirely in the government-allocated UHF-band (225-400 MHz), and it carried the first UHF-band satellite antenna system that generated circularly polarized radio signals to minimize fading and communication dropouts and to allow a surface terminal to use a very small, simple antenna such as a whip or stub monopole. LES-3, a UHF-band radio signal generator launched in December 1965, helped to establish design criteria for LES-5. LES-1, -2, and -4, also launched in 1965, operated at X-band (approximately 8,000 MHz), and successfully tested a number of important new devices and techniques, including the first all-solid-state communication satellite transmitters and the first "electronically despun" (earth-sensing and antenna-beam-switching) system to increase the effective radiated power from the satellite.

AKA: Lincoln Experimental Satellite.
First Launch: 1965.02.11.
Last Launch: 1976.03.15.
Number: 8 .

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 3A American orbital launch vehicle. Titan with Transtage third stage. Core for Titan 3C. More...
  • Titan 3C American orbital launch vehicle. Titan 3A with five segment solid motors. Man-rated design originally developed for Dynasoar spaceplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • USAF American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. United States Air Force, USA. More...
  • Lincoln American manufacturer of spacecraft. MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 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.
  • Aerospace Yearbook, 1966,

Associated Launch Sites
  • Cape Canaveral America's largest launch center, used for all manned launches. Today only six of the 40 launch complexes built here remain in use. Located at or near Cape Canaveral are the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, used by NASA for Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches; Patrick AFB on Cape Canaveral itself, operated the US Department of Defense and handling most other launches; the commercial Spaceport Florida; the air-launched launch vehicle and missile Drop Zone off Mayport, Florida, located at 29.00 N 79.00 W, and an offshore submarine-launched ballistic missile launch area. All of these take advantage of the extensive down-range tracking facilities that once extended from the Cape, through the Caribbean, South Atlantic, and to South Africa and the Indian Ocean. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC20 Titan, Super Chief, Loki, Prospector, Aries launch complex. Complexes 15, 16, 19, and 20 were built for the Titan ballistic missile program. The sites were accepted by the U.S. Government between February and mid-September 1959. All four sites supported Titan I launches in 1959 and the early 1960s. Complex 20 was modified to support four Titan IIIA flights which took place between 1 September 1964 and 7 May 1965. The site was deactivated in April 1967, but it got a new lease on life toward the end of the 1980s. Complex 20 was selected for the Starbird program in 1987, and it supported a Starbird launch on 18 December 1990. Between 18 June 1991 and 29 May 1993, the complex supported the commercial Joust-1 launch and four Red Tigress and Red Tigress II missions sponsored by the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization. Much of Complex 20's electronic equipment and both of its rail launchers were removed in 1995, rendering the site inactive. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC40 Titan launch complex. Constructed as part of the Titan Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV vehicles. More...
  • Cape Canaveral LC41 Titan, Atlas V launch complex. Complexes 40 and 41 were constructed as part of the Integrate-Transfer-Launch (ITL) Titan launch facility at the north end of Cape Canaveral in the early 1960s. Over the next three decades, the complexes supported a wide variety of military space missions involving Titan IIIC, Titan 34D and Titan IV. Complex 41 was deactivated at the end of 1977, then upgraded for the Titan IV program in the 1986-88 period. In October 1999, Complex 41 was demolished with high explosives in order for a new pad for launch of the Atlas 5 rocket to be erected. By then it had been the starting point for 27 Titan flights. More...

LES Chronology


1965 February 11 - . 15:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3A. LV Configuration: Titan IIIA 3A-3.
  • LES 1 - . Mass: 31 kg (68 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. USAF Sat Cat: 1002 . COSPAR: 1965-008C. Apogee: 2,809 km (1,745 mi). Perigee: 2,783 km (1,729 mi). Inclination: 32.1000 deg. Period: 145.80 min. Summary: Lincoln Experimental Satellite; communications experiments. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1965 May 6 - . 15:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC20. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3A. LV Configuration: Titan IIIA 3A-6.
  • LES 2 - . Mass: 37 kg (81 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. USAF Sat Cat: 1360 . COSPAR: 1965-034B. Apogee: 14,810 km (9,200 mi). Perigee: 2,771 km (1,721 mi). Inclination: 32.2000 deg. Period: 309.90 min. Summary: Experimental commsat. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1965 December 21 - . 14:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C. LV Configuration: Titan IIIC 3C-8.
  • LES 4 - . Mass: 52 kg (114 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. Decay Date: 1977-08-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 1870 . COSPAR: 1965-108B. Apogee: 33,632 km (20,897 mi). Perigee: 189 km (117 mi). Inclination: 26.6000 deg. Period: 589.20 min. Summary: Lincoln Experimental Satellite; experimental commsat; transmitted in X-band. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .
  • LES 3 - . Mass: 16 kg (35 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. Decay Date: 1968-04-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 1941 . COSPAR: 1965-108D. Apogee: 4,829 km (3,000 mi). Perigee: 267 km (165 mi). Inclination: 26.5000 deg. Period: 139.90 min. Summary: Radio signal source for commsat tests. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1967 July 1 - . 13:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C. LV Configuration: Titan IIIC 3C-14.
  • LES 5 - . Mass: 194 kg (427 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. USAF Sat Cat: 2866 . COSPAR: 1967-066E. Apogee: 33,609 km (20,883 mi). Perigee: 33,196 km (20,626 mi). Inclination: 12.0000 deg. Period: 1,316.00 min. Summary: Experimental commsat. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). .

1968 September 26 - . 07:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C. LV Configuration: Titan IIIC 3C-5.
  • LES 6 - . Mass: 163 kg (359 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. Completed Operations Date: 1976-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 3431 . COSPAR: 1968-081D. Apogee: 35,839 km (22,269 mi). Perigee: 35,776 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 12.8000 deg. Period: 1,437.20 min. Experimental commsat. Space craft engaged in investigation of spaceflight techniques and technology (US Cat A). Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Atlantic Ocean at 38 deg W in 1968-1975 As of 26 August 2001 located at 61.90 deg W drifting at 0.101 deg E per day. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 73.59W drifting at 0.201E degrees per day.

1976 March 15 - . 01:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC40. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 3C. LV Configuration: Titan IIIC 23C-12 (3C-30).
  • LES 8 - . Mass: 454 kg (1,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. Completed Operations Date: 1992-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 8746 . COSPAR: 1976-023A. Apogee: 35,835 km (22,266 mi). Perigee: 35,728 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 11.4000 deg. Period: 1,435.80 min. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication. Also tested pulsed plasma engines. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Atlantic Ocean at 1976-77; over the Americas at 106-110 deg W in 1978-1986; over the Atlantic Ocean 60-70 deg W in 1987-1991;over the Americas at 94-106 deg W in 1991-1992. As of 6 September 2001 located at 105.16 deg W drifting at 0.010 deg E per day. As of 2007 Mar 9 located at 107.51W drifting at 0.001E degrees per day.
  • LES 9 - . Mass: 454 kg (1,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Technology. Type: Communications technology satellite. Spacecraft: LES. Completed Operations Date: 1992-01-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 8747 . COSPAR: 1976-023B. Apogee: 35,825 km (22,260 mi). Perigee: 35,745 km (22,210 mi). Inclination: 17.0000 deg. Period: 1,436.00 min. Spacecraft engaged in practical applications and uses of space technology such as weather or communication. Also tested pulsed plasma engines. Positioned in geosynchronous orbit over the Atlantic Ocean at 30-40 deg W in 1976-78; over the Americas at 90-100 deg W in 1980-81; over the Americas at 100-106 deg W in 1981-1990; over the Atlantic Ocean 10 deg W in 1991; over the Americas at 105 deg W in 1992-on. As of 1 September 2001 located at 103.85 deg W drifting at 0.023 deg W per day. As of 2007 Mar 11 located at 107.07W drifting at 0.018W degrees per day.

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