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FIA-Optical 1, 2

The "FIA-Optical" (Future Imagery Architecture - Optical) satellites were the optical component of the FIA system. They were to be the successors of the KH-11 Crystal reconnaissance satellites. No details have been published.

The development contract for the Future Imagery Architecture program, consisting of an optical (FIA-O) and a radar (FIA-R) component, was awarded to Boeing in 1999. The electro-optical satellites should feature optics, that could take wide-angle images, showing large areas on the ground, as well as tightly focused, detailed pictures of small objects. The during development troubles with the too complex optical system and substandard components arose. A torrent of defective parts, like gyroscopes and electric cables, repeatedly stalled work. After running into massive cost overruns and delays of the delivery date of the FIA-O component, in September 2005 the contract for the electro-optical satellites was cancelled and shifted to Lockheed Martin, which was to reopen the KH-11 Crystal production and build an updated model of its old photo satellite. The FIA-Radar satellite program remained at Boeing.

A likely candidate for a FIA-Optical satellite appeared in the launch schedules as NROL-29, which would have been launched from Vandenberg on an Atlas-5(521) launch vehicle. At around the time of FIA-O's cancellation NROL-29 mission disappeared from the launch schedule.

In August 2012, the NRO donated two telescopes with 2.4 m diameter prime mirror to NASA, which were left over from a defunct reconnaissance satellite program. These optics are possibly remnants from the FIA-Optical program. One of these will used for the WFIRST observatory.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Reconnaissance, Optical
Operator: NRO
Contractors: Boeing
Equipment:
Configuration:
Propulsion:
Power:
Lifetime:
Mass:
Orbit:
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
FIA-Optical 1 (NROL 29) ? - cancelled Va SLC-3E Atlas-5(521)
FIA-Optical 2 - cancelled Va

References:

Further FIA missions: