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Quasar
USA 125
USA 125
Credit: Manufacturer Image
Classified communications and data relay satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

AKA: Aquila; Capricorn; Nemesis; NROL. Status: Operational 1976. First Launch: 1976-06-02. Last Launch: 2014-05-22. Number: 17 .

Atlas flight AV-046 left the USA 252 payload in an 840 x 35745 km x 20.7 deg geostationary transfer orbit. It was expected to enter geostationary orbit and was thought to be a QUASAR communications and data relay satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office - either QUASAR 18 or 19, uncertain due to the difficulty of distinguising early QUASAR and JUMPSEAT satellites in the 1970s.

Subtopics

STS-38 Deployed a classified payload. Launch delayed from July 1990 for series of technical problems. First post-Challenger landing at KSC after mission extended one day due to unacceptable crosswinds at original planned landing site, Edwards.

STS-53 Deployed classified military satellite USA-89. The ODERACS payload was unable to be deployed because of payload equipment malfunction.

Family: Communications, Surveillance. Country: USA. Launch Vehicles: Titan, Atlas, Space Shuttle, Titan 34B, Titan 405A, Atlas IIA, Atlas IIAS, Atlas V, Atlas V 401, Delta 4M+(4,2), Delta IV. Launch Sites: Cape Canaveral LC36A, Vandenberg SLC4W, Cape Canaveral LC37B, Cape Canaveral LC40, Cape Canaveral LC36B, Cape Canaveral LC41, Cape Canaveral LC39A, Cape Canaveral LC39B. More at: 6811.

1976 June 2 - . 20:56 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34B.
  • SDS no. 1 - . Payload: SDS no. 1 / OPS 7837. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO, USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 8871 . COSPAR: 1976-050A. Apogee: 39,315 km (24,429 mi). Perigee: 380 km (230 mi). Inclination: 63.3000 deg. Period: 703.80 min.

1976 August 6 - . 22:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34B.
  • SDS no. 2 - . Payload: SDS no. 2 / OPS 7940. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO, USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 9270 . COSPAR: 1976-080A. Apogee: 39,315 km (24,429 mi). Perigee: 380 km (230 mi). Inclination: 63.3000 deg. Period: 703.80 min. Satellite Data Systems 2..

1978 August 5 - . 05:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34B.
  • SDS no. 3 - . Payload: SDS no. 3 / OPS 7310. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO, USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. Decay Date: 2001-02-08 . USAF Sat Cat: 10993 . COSPAR: 1978-075A. Apogee: 39,053 km (24,266 mi). Perigee: 315 km (195 mi). Inclination: 62.5000 deg. Period: 697.10 min. Or Jumpseat..

1980 December 13 - . 16:04 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34B.
  • SDS no. 4 - . Payload: SDS no. 4 / OPS 5805. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO, USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 12093 . COSPAR: 1980-100A. Apogee: 39,130 km (24,310 mi). Perigee: 250 km (150 mi). Inclination: 63.8000 deg. Period: 697.40 min.

1987 February 12 - . 06:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC4W. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 34B.
  • USA 21 - . Payload: SDS no. 7. Mass: 700 kg (1,540 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO, USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 17506 . COSPAR: 1987-015A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 610 km (370 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

1989 August 8 - . 12:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39B. Launch Platform: MLP2. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
  • USA 40 - . Payload: SDS B-1. Mass: 5,900 kg (13,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 20167 . COSPAR: 1989-061B. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min. Deployed from STS-28 8 August 1989..

1990 November 15 - . 23:48 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. Launch Platform: MLP1. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
  • USA 67 - . Mass: 2,500 kg (5,500 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO, USAF. Class: Surveillance. Type: Naval signals intelligence satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 20963 . COSPAR: 1990-097B. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min. Deployed from STS 38 15 November 1990. Boosted to geostationary orbit. Last known longitude (31 December 1990) 99.16 deg W drifting at 0.050 deg W per day..

1992 December 2 - . 13:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC39A. Launch Platform: MLP1. LV Family: Shuttle. Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle.
  • USA 89 - . Payload: SDS B-3. Mass: 5,900 kg (13,000 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 22518 . COSPAR: 1992-086B. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min. Deployed from STS-53 12/2/92..

1996 July 3 - . 00:31 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC40. LV Family: Titan. Launch Vehicle: Titan 405A.
  • USA 125 - . Payload: SDS B-4. Mass: 6,300 kg (13,800 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO, USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 23945 . COSPAR: 1996-038A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min. Unknown orbit.

1998 January 29 - . 18:37 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. Launch Pad: SLC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIA.
  • USA 137 - . Payload: CAPRICORN?. Nation: USA. Agency: NRO. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 25148 . COSPAR: 1998-005A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

    Classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office. It was likely that it was a technology test satellite combining equipment for several future projects, including a prototype COBRA BRASS infrared early warning satellite sensor. The project seemed to have been several years behind schedule (based on the launch vehicle serial number.


2000 December 6 - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. Launch Pad: SLC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIAS.
  • USA 155 - . Payload: Capricorn 2? / MLV-11 'Great Bear'. Mass: 3,600 kg (7,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO. Manufacturer: El Segundo. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 26635 . COSPAR: 2000-080A. Apogee: 35,790 km (22,230 mi). Perigee: 35,780 km (22,230 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

    Classified satellite. Launch delayed 24 hours by RL10 engine problem in upper stage. USA 155 was a classified National Reconnaissance Office satellite. The Centaur placed the payload in a 176 x 831 km parking orbit and then in a 270 x 37490 km x 26.5 deg geostationary transfer orbit. The spacecraft was probably either a data relay satellite (to relay spy satellite imagery and data to the ground) and/or a signals intelligence satellite.


2001 October 11 - . 02:32 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36B. Launch Pad: SLC36B. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIAS.
  • USA 162 - . Payload: Aquila / MLV-12. Mass: 3,600 kg (7,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: USAF. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 26948 . COSPAR: 2001-046A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

    The Atlas AC-162 Centaur entered a 176 x 907 km x 28.2 deg parking orbit at 0242 GMT and then made a second burn to deploy its payload in a 274 x 37538 km x 26.5 deg geostationary transfer orbit at 0301 GMT. USA 162 was rumoured to be a data relay satellite used to return data from imaging satellites similar to the one launched on October 5 2001. It was also possible that the satellite is a signals intelligence payload. The satellite is owned and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).


2004 August 31 - . 23:17 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC36A. Launch Pad: SLC36A. LV Family: Atlas. Launch Vehicle: Atlas IIAS.
  • USA 179 - . Payload: Nemesis / NROL-1). Mass: 3,600 kg (7,900 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NRO. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 28384 . COSPAR: 2004-034A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

    63rd and last flight of Atlas IIAS. 576th and final launch of Rocketdyne-powered Atlas rockets. Final launch from LC36A after 42 years of use. Launch delayed from June 24 and 25, July 1 and 27, August 27, 28, 29 and 30. The payload was probably a communications satellite used to relay data from imaging spy satellites.


2007 December 10 - . 22:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • USA 198 - . Payload: NROL-24. Nation: USA. Agency: Martin. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 32378 . COSPAR: 2007-060A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

    Classified National Reconnaisance Office payload; probable primary payload data relay communications. May also have carried SBIRS HEO-2 infrared missile warning sensor and a TWINS-B magnetospheric research experiment. Initial orbit 261 x 16776 km x 60.0 deg.


2011 March 11 - . 23:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC37B. Launch Pad: SLC37B. LV Family: Delta IV. Launch Vehicle: Delta 4M+(4,2).
  • USA 227 - . Payload: NROL-27. Nation: USA. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 37377 . COSPAR: 2011-011A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min. Probable classified Satellite Data System communications satellite inserted into geostationary orbit..

2012 June 20 - . 12:28 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • USA 236 - . Payload: NROL-38. Nation: USA. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 38466 . COSPAR: 2012-033A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

2014 May 22 - . 13:09 GMT - . Launch Site: Cape Canaveral. Launch Complex: Cape Canaveral LC41. Launch Pad: SLC41. LV Family: Atlas V. Launch Vehicle: Atlas V 401.
  • USA 252 - . Nation: USA. Class: Communications. Type: Communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: Quasar. Spacecraft: Quasar. USAF Sat Cat: 39751 . COSPAR: 2014-027A. Apogee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Perigee: 35,800 km (22,200 mi). Inclination: 0.0000 deg. Period: 1,440.00 min.

    Atlas flight AV-046 left the USA 252 payload in an 840 x 35745 km x 20.7 deg geostationary transfer orbit. It was expected to enter geostationary orbit and was thought to be a QUASAR communications and data relay satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office - either QUASAR 18 or 19, uncertain due to the difficulty of distinguising early QUASAR and JUMPSEAT satellites in the 1970s.



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