Space: October 21, 2001


The US launched a data relay satellite on 10 October from Cape Canaveral on an Atlas IIAS booster. This satellite will be critical in carrying intelligence data from both photographic and eavesdropping satellites. This was placed into a geosynchronous orbit. Satellites of this type have been associated with KH-11 "Keyhole" photo-recon satellites. This was the fifth launch for the National Reconnaissance Office in five weeks (two were ocean recon types), and the Pentagon has asked contractors who build military satellites if they could increase the rate at which satellites are built and launched. The US launched a new KH-11 spy satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a Titan-IVB on 5 October. This satellite is expected to be used to support the Afghan War and then later focus on China and other areas. Russia launched a geostationary Raduga-class communications relay satellite on a Proton-K booster from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 8 Oct.--Stephen V Cole


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