Friday, May 8, 2015

Titan IVB 25 Launch 8 May 1998

The Titan IVB 25 space launch vehicle launched a National Reconnaissance Office ( NRO ) payload from Cape Canaveral AFS, Florida on 8 May 1998:

Information from the lefty, anti-American Federation of American Scientists that I can neither confirm nor deny: 

From Charles P. Vick's 1-17, 2009 article "MENTOR [Advanced ORION]: NRO/CIA/NSA, SIGINT Spacecraft"

"Code name MENTOR 1-3 was the new unified one serves all SIGINT satellite design successor to the Magnum/Orion, Vortex series the next in a long series of earth orbit NRO/CIA/NSA, SIGINT (signals intelligence) spacecraft used by the CIA/USAF and intelligence Community for a variety of mission. They were launched by the Titan-4A Centaur booster with a total of three MENTOR 1-3 successful launches identified. The spacecraft were actually nothing more than CIA/NSA mission specific sophisticated earth orbit space based earth receiving stations operating over the entire emitted electro magnetic radio spectrum frequency range. The MENTOR 1-3 spacecraft introduced the very large unfurling dish structures “wrap-rib” large deployable bleached white gold colored mesh covered receiving dish antenna design of about 350 feet in diameter with a total spacecraft estimated mass of an estimated 10,000 pounds for the Titan-4A Centaur and 12,700 pounds for the Titan-4B Centaur. MENTOR’s first launch was May 14, 1995 and the second subsequent launch was May 9, 1998 while its third and last launch was on September 9, 2003.
The MENTOR 1-3 series were designed to monitor and pick up from the ground and in flight electronic signals intelligence (ELINT), radio, communications intelligence (COMINT) and radar emitters emissions intelligence (RADINT) in addition to the primary missile test telemetry intelligence (TELINT) acquisitions capabilities all coming under the general SIGINT heading. They were fully dedicated mission operations that were highly successful in acquiring SIGINT through the larger mission general SIGINT “wrap-rib” white gold colored mesh covered reflector dishes. Its primary mission was TELINT intercepts of Soviet missile flight test telemetry traffic across the former Soviet Union missile test ranges out into the Pacific Ocean as well as the equivalent PRC Chinese in country flight tests."
To compare the rejected mission patch for the TitanIVB24:

And the approved patch, which was orders of magnitude more annoying:

The approved TitanIVB25 mission patch (Jack was the name of the TitanIVB booster and Walter was the name of the Centaur) was even more annoying than the TitanIVB24 patch:

I don't know who decided on the patch. Since the mission number was B25, they included a B25 bomber in the design:

Bomber was named for famous US Army Air Force curmudgeon, Billy Mitchell, so don't know why the Titan mission wasn't named either Billy or Mitchell, but those decisions were made above my pay grade:

Instead, because the CCAFS launch squadron thought the rocket was a "lemon" they passive aggressively named the rocket after Jack Lemmon. Since the Centaur IUS people wanted to distance themselves from Titan, they called themselves Walter after Matthau in a snarky reference to the "The Odd Couple". Jerks. At least Jack Lemmon served in the US Navy during WWII, so the rocket was named for an honorable veteran:

1945:Served as communications officer (ensign) with the US Naval Reserve

Finally, the Titan SPO (System Program Office) poem to Wanda the Weather Witch, which is simply a reworking of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha":

The fuel and oxidizer for the liquid engines for the core were hypergolic vs cryogenic for the Centaur (Titan IV liquid core was basically the same as Titan III configuration):

INU = Inertial Navigation Unit

SRMUs = Solid Rocket Motor Upgrade:

Centaur was name of upper stage booster:

FYI, "America's Silent Hero" was Lockheed Martin's motto for the Titan Rocket:

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