Space: September 14, 2000

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The Air Force has secretly launched the fourth Lacrosse radar imaging satellite from Vandenberg AFB on 17 August. This was the fourth Lacrosse, and the second of the new advanced type. The first pair were launched in 1988 and 1991; the third was launched (and the first brought into a controlled crash in the ocean) in 1997. The new one will replace the 1991 bird in a few months. The new one has been maneuvered into an orbit that is 425 miles above sea level and inclined at 68 degrees. The Lacrosse birds are built by Lockheed Martin and the National Reconnaissance office. The newest one weighs 15 tons. The cost of one new Lacrosse and its Titan IVB booster is over $1 billion.--Stephen V Cole

 


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