Galactic Radiation and Background

Galactic Radiation and Background

The Galactic Radiation and Background (GRAB) series of intelligence satellites were operated by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory shortly after the Cold War U-2 Crisis of 1960. The satellites carried two sets of instruments--an unclassified experiment (called Solrad) and a then-classified payload to collect electronic intelligence (ELINT) (called "Tattletale"). Of five attempted launches, two missions were successful. The program is also known by the later codeword "Canes".

The first GRAB satellite was launched 22 June 1960 on the same rocket as "Transit 1B", an early naval navigation satellite. Called GRAB 1, it has the distinction of being the first successful U.S. intelligence satellite, returning intelligence data on 5 July 1960. It operated for four months.

The other successful GRAB mission, called "GRAB 2" was launched 29 June 1961, atop the same Thor-Able-Star launch vehicle as "Injun", a geophysical science satellite from the University of Iowa, and "Transit 4A". GRAB 2 functioned in orbit for fourteen months. The last GRAB launch attempt was 26 April 1962.

The existence of the program was declassified by the NRL in 1998. The program was continued by the POPPY program after the estatblishment of the National Reconnaissance Office in 1962.

** Launch: 22 June 1960
** Site: Cape Canaveral
** Vehicle: Thor-Able-Star
** COSPAR ID: 1960-ETA 2 or [ 1960-007B] (still in orbit as of March 2007)

*(2nd GRAB launch attempt)
** Launch: 30 November 1960
** Site: Cape Canaveral
** Vehicle: Thor-Able-Star (failure)
** COSPAR ID: 1960-F16

** Launch: 29 June 1961
** Site: Cape Canaveral
** Vehicle: Thor-Able-Star
** COSPAR ID: 1960-OMICRON-2 or [ 1961-015B] (still in orbit as of March 2007)

*(4th GRAB launch attempt)
** Launch: 24 January 1962
** Site: Cape Canaveral
** Vehicle: Thor-Able-Star (failure)
** COPSAR ID: 1960-F02

*(5th GRAB launch attempt)
** Launch: 26 April 1962
** Site: Naval Missile Facility, Point Arguello, California
** Vehicle: Scout (failure)
** COSPAR ID: 1962-F03

External links

* [ GRAB at FAS]
* [ GRAB at NRL]


* MacDonald, Robert A. and Moreno, Sharon K. " [ Raising the Periscope... Grab and Poppy, America's early ELINT Satellites.] " Pub. by NRO, 2005.

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