USA-215
NamesNRO Launch 41
NROL-41
Gladys
Mission typeImaging radar
OperatorNational Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
COSPAR ID2010-046A
SATCAT no.37162
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeFIA Radar
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Start of mission
Launch date21 September 2010,
04:03:30 UTC
RocketAtlas V 501 s/n AV-025
Launch siteVandenberg, SLC-3E
ContractorUnited Launch Alliance (ULA)
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[1]
RegimeLow Earth orbit (retrograde)
Perigee altitude1,103 km (685 mi)
Apogee altitude1,105 km (687 mi)
Inclination122.99°
Period107.35 minutes
 

USA-215, also known as NRO Launch 41 or NROL-41, is an American reconnaissance satellite, operated by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Launched in 2010, it has been identified as the first in a new series of imaging radar satellites, developed as part of the Future Imagery Architecture (FIA) programme,[2] to replace the earlier Lacrosse spacecraft.

Launch

USA-215 was launched by an Atlas V launch vehicle, flying in the 501 configuration, operated by United Launch Alliance (ULA). The rocket was launched from Space Launch Complex 3E at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, at 04:03:30 UTC on 21 September 2010.[3] It was identified as NRO Launch 41, and was the twenty-third flight of an Atlas V; the vehicle had the tail number AV-025, and was named Gladys.[4]

Mission

The satellite's orbit and mission are officially classified; however, it has been located by amateur observers in a retrograde low Earth orbit. As of 14 February 2021, it was in an orbit with a perigee of 1,103 km (685 mi), an apogee of 1,105 km (687 mi) and 122.99° of orbital inclination.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b "USA 215 - Orbit". Heavens Above. 14 February 2021. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  2. ^ Krebs, Gunter (11 December 2020). "Topaz 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (FIA-Radar 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  3. ^ Ray, Justin (21 September 2010). "Atlas Launch Report - Mission Status Center". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  4. ^ Krebs, Gunter (21 December 2020). "NROL launches". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 10 March 2021.