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LES 1, 2

LES 1 with Star-13A
kick motor [USAF]

LES 1 and 2 (Lincoln Experimental Satellite 1 and 2) were essentially identical experimental communications satellites. Both featured a single X-band transponder and an 8-horn electronically switched antenna. Additionally, attitude control and sensing experiments were conducted.

The initial program objective was to build, launch, and field a system to demonstrate practical military satellite communications. The availability of Project West Ford's advanced superhigh-frequency (SHF) technology (at seven to eight gigahertz) contributed to the decision to design the system for that band. The Department of Defense's concurrent procurement of a series of SHF satellites and terminals, commencing with the Initial Defense Communications Satellite Program (IDCSP), meant that lessons learned from the experiments would find an additional application.

LES-1, launched from Cape Canaveral on 11 February 1965, accomplished only a few of its objectives. Apparently because of miswiring of the ordnance circuitry, the satellite never left circular orbit and ceased transmitting in 1967. 46 years after it fell silent, in 2013 the satellite began again transmitting, likely due to the the batteries have failed in a manner that allows them to carry charge directly through to the transmitter, when the satellite receives sunlight.

LES-2, the twin of LES-1 achieved its planned final orbit on 6 May 1965.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Experimental communication
Operator: MIT Lincoln Laboratory, USAF
Contractors: MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Equipment: ?
Configuration: ?
Propulsion: ?
Power: Solar cells
Mass: 31 kg (#1); 37 kg (#2)
Orbit: 2783 km × 2809 km, 32.1 (#1); 2771 km × 14810 km, 32.2 (#2)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
LES 1 1965-008C 11.02.1965 CC LC-20 f Titan-3A [Star-13A] Star-13A failed
LES 2 1965-034B 06.05.1965 CC LC-20 Titan-3A [Star-13A] with LCS 1


Further LES missions: