Orbital Focus - International Spaceflight Facts and Figures
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USA 179

Tyneside, UK
2022 Aug 15
Monday, Day 227

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USA-179 Analysis:

USA 179 and its Role

USA 179 is probably an SDS-3 type satellite. It goes under the alternative name NROL 1 as a payload operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office. USA 179 was launched from Launch Complex 36A at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station 2004 August 31. The launch was delayed several times over the period of one week - initially by technical issues and then by the weather. The launch vehicle was the 63rd, and last, Atlas IIAS.

USA 179 patchThe satellite is multi-tasking but its major function is reportedly to act as a radio-relay for data collected US military and intelligence-gathering satellites in low orbit. It is operating as part of a constellation of three satellites including two other classified objects.

Orbital elements for USA 179 can be found on the Web in Mike McCants's "classified.tle" file. The other two satellites in the constellation are USA 137 and USA 198. As at 2007 July 7, USA 179's orbit was 1,177 x 39,169 kilometres at 62.8 degrees inclination with an orbital period of 717.6 minutes.

Transmission Frequencies

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Freq (MHz) Satellite Mission Signal Type Notes