- Magnum (satellite)
Magnum is the code name for a class of SIGINT spy satellites reportedly operated by the National Reconnaissance Office for the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The program remains classified, and the information that exists is speculative.
It is believed that two or three Magnum satellites were launched from space shuttle missions between 1985 and 1990: STS-51-C (1985), STS-33 (1989) and possibly from STS-38 (1990). The satellites reportedly have a mass of 2,200–2,700 kg (4,900–6,000 lb), operating in near-geosynchronous orbits, using Inertial Upper Stages to get from the shuttle's orbit to the higher geosynchronous orbit. According to Jim Slade, ABC News, Magnum 2 (USA-48), launched on STS-33, was replacing Magnum 1 (USA-8), which after more than 4 years in orbit was running out maneuvering fuel required for keeping its station over the Indian Ocean. The mission of Magnum 1 and Magnum 2 was to listen in to military and diplomatic communications from the Soviet Union, China, and neighbouring countries.
The Magnum satellites, built by TRW, are rumored to have large (estimated 100 m (330 ft) diameter) umbrella-like reflecting dishes to collect RF signals from Earth. The Magnum/Orion satellites replaced the older Rhyolite/Aquacade series of SIGINT satellites, and have themselves been succeeded by the Mentor/Advanced Orion satellites.
- Magnum 1, deployed from STS-51-C launched 24 January 1985, (COSPAR 1985-010B) (USA-8)
- Magnum 2, deployed from STS-33 launched 23 November 1989,(COSPAR 1989-090B) (USA-48)
- Magnum 3, deployed from STS-38 launched 15 November 1990,(COSPAR 1990-097B)(USA-67)(Some sources identify USA-67 as a SDS-2 military communications satellite)
- ^ Jonathan's space report No. 369 (1998-08-22)
- ^ Slade, Jim (1989-11-22). "ABC News Coverage of the STS-33 Launch". ABC News. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJXXBVJbXAs.
- ^ Cassutt, Michael (2009-08-01). "Secret Space Shuttles: When you’re 200 miles up, it’s easy to hide what you’re up to". Air & Space Magazine. http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/Secret-Space-Shuttles.html?c=y&page=3.
- ^ Spy satellites of the NSA (fr)
- ^ List of satellite launches from Jonathan's Space Report
- Richelson, Jeffrey T. ed. U.S. Military Uses of Space, 1945-1991 Vol 1, Guide. National Security Archive. 1991.
- Information from astronautix.com
- Gunter's Space Page - information on Magnum
- Globalsecurity- Magnum/ Mentor/ Orion
IMINTLACROSSE ·· SIGINT MASINTPrimary missionSecondary mission Research and
developmentPrimary missionMiTEx ·Secondary mission·
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