Saturday, December 15, 2007

NROL-24/USA-198 Kep/Freq Update 12-15-2007

A National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload was successfully launched aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) from Space Launch Complex 41, Cape Canaveral, Florida, on December 10, 2007 at 5:05 p.m. EST. This is the second Atlas V launch of an NRO payload.

“Today’s launch culminates many years of hard work and is a tribute to our dedicated government and industry team,” said Col James Norman, Mission Director.

The NRO is a joint organization engaged in the research and development, acquisition, launch and operation of overhead reconnaissance systems necessary to meet the needs of the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. This launch directly supports NRO’s goals of being the foundation for global situational awareness and for providing intelligence information on timelines responsive to user needs.

Following the tradition of NRO launches on Atlas rockets, the mission was given a name - Scorpius. The mission logo was displayed on the rocket's nose cone featuring a scorpion, a saying translated to "Beware Our Sting" and satellites flying in different types of orbits around Earth.

Ted Molczan on the SEESAT newsgroup posted the following Kep element sets for the USA 198 payload and Centaur rocket body based on recent visual observations.

USA 198 259 X 16774 km
1 32378U 07060A 07347.70298699 .00000273 00000-0 27163-4 0 05
2 32378 60.0102 316.7088 5544157 287.2561 21.4044 4.77576618 05
Arc 2007 Dec 11.01 - 13.81, WRMS residuals = 0.012 deg

Centaur 224 X 16299 km
1 32379U 07060B 07347.83811522 .00041920 00000-0 19103-2 0 03
2 32379 60.7629 317.4582 5490058 285.5459 22.5500 4.90095032 01
Arc 2007 Dec 11.01 - 13.87, WRMS residuals = 0.022 deg

And Greg Roberts in South Africa reported via the Harsat newsgroup a S-band frequency for USA 198 of 2242.500 MHz.