LCS (Lincoln Calibration Sphere) were hollow metal spheres with a precisely defined radar cross-section to calibrate ground based radars.
The satellites were manufactured at Rohr Corp., Chula Vista, California, for the Lincoln Laboratory. They consisted of a 1.12 m diameter hollow Aluminium sphere with a optical unit cross section of 1 m² and a wall thickness of 3.2 mm.
LCS 1 was successfully launched on a Titan-3A on 6th May 1965. It was deployed in a circular orbit of about 2700 km height and a life time of about 30000 years.
The second satellite, LCS 2, was lost on 15th October 1965, when the Transtage upper stage of the Titan-3C launch vehicle exploded in low earth orbit, before it could be deployed in a 735 km circular orbit.
LCS 3 also was lost in a launch failure on 16th August 1968, when the payload fairing of the Atlas-SLV3 Burner-2 collapsed.
LCS 4 was successfully orbited on 7th August 1971 on an Atlas-F OV1 launch vehicle. This satellite is in a low earth orbit with a life time of about 75 years.
The LCS 1 and LCS 4 satellites are still being used for radar calibration measurements.
|Type / Application:||Radar Calibration|
|Lifetime:||~ 30000 years (#1); ~75 years (#4)|
|Mass:||34 kg (#1)|
|Orbit:||2704 km × 2869 km, 32.1° (#1); 735 km × 735 km, 32.6° (#2, planned); 795 km × 913 km, 87.6°|
|LCS 1||06.05.1965||CC LC-20||Titan-3A [Star-13A]||with LES 2|
|LCS 2||15.10.1965||CC LC-40||f||Titan-3C||with OV2 1|
|LCS 3 (P68-1)||16.08.1968||Va SLC-3E||F||Atlas-SLV3 Burner-2||with Orbiscal 1, OV5 8, Gridsphere 1, Gridsphere 2, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere, LIDOS, RM 18 & UVR, Radcat, SECOR 11, SECOR 12|
|LCS 4 (P70-2)||07.08.1971||Va BMRS-A2||Atlas-F OV1 [Star-13A]||with OV1 20, LOADS 2 and OV1 21, RTDS, Gridsphere 1, Gridsphere 2, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere|