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Parcae (NOSS-1, White Cloud)

Parcae satellite [NRL]

NOSS (Naval Ocean Surveillance Satellites), which were also referred by the code names White Cloud and Parcae, are constellations of passive ELINT satellite, which pinpoint the location of ships by triangulation of their Radar emissions.

These satellites were developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) based on the experience on the Grab and Poppy ELINT satellites. Each launch on top of an modified Atlas-E/F or an Atlas-H rocket consisted of the MSD (Multiple Satellite Dispenser) mother satellite, which also acted as an upper stage for the stack. In orbit, three NOSS satellites were separated and flew together in a triangle formation. They had gravity gradient orientation booms 10-15 meters long. These ensured that the side of the satellite body where the signal antennas were mounted was constantly oriented toward the Earth. The satellites maintained an assigned position in a group at distances of 30 to 240 km one from the other by using on-board low-thrust engines. This satellite array determined the location of radio and radars transmitters, using triangulation, and the identity of naval units, by analysis of the operating frequencies and transmission patterns. As a result of ground processing of direction-finding data on the signals from target emitters provided by a group of satellites, and also sequentially by several groups of satellites, the coordinates, direction and speed of travel were obtained.

The first two sets of satellites were manufactured by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), then the production of the satellites had been turned over to Martin Marietta“under direction of USAF’s Space and Missile Systems Organization, with technical assistance provided by the Naval Research Laboratory.

The follow-on system used the larger NOSS-2 satellite triplets.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Ocean Surveillance, ELINT
Operator: ?
Contractors: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) (#1, 2); Martin Marietta (#3 - 9)
Equipment: ?
Configuration: Gravity gradient stabilized
Propulsion: ?
Power: 4 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime:
Mass:
Orbit: 1050 km × 1150 km, 63° (typical)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Parcae 1A (NOSS 1A, NRL-PL 181) 1976-038C 30.04.1976 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 1, Parcae 1B, Parcae 1C
Parcae 1B (NOSS 1B, NRL-PL 182) 1976-038J 30.04.1976 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 1, Parcae 1A, Parcae 1C
Parcae 1C (NOSS 1C, NRL-PL 183) 1976-038D 30.04.1976 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 1, Parcae 1A, Parcae 1B
Parcae 2A (NOSS 2A, NRL-PL 191) 1977-112D 08.12.1977 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 2, Parcae 2B, Parcae 2C
Parcae 2B (NOSS 2B, NRL-PL 192) 1977-112E 08.12.1977 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 2, Parcae 2A, Parcae 2C
Parcae 2C (NOSS 2C, NRL-PL 193) 1977-112F 08.12.1977 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 2, Parcae 2A, Parcae 2B
Parcae 3A (NOSS 3A) 1980-019C 03.03.1980 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 3, Parcae 3B, Parcae 3C
Parcae 3B (NOSS 3B) 1980-019D 03.03.1980 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 3, Parcae 3A, Parcae 3C
Parcae 3C (NOSS 3C) 1980-019G 03.03.1980 Va SLC-3W Atlas-F MSD with MSD 3, Parcae 3A, Parcae 3B
Parcae 4A (NOSS 4A) 1980-F03 09.12.1980 Va SLC-3W F Atlas-E MSD with MSD 4, Parcae 4B, Parcae 4C, LIPS 1
Parcae 4B (NOSS 4B) 1980-F03 09.12.1980 Va SLC-3W F Atlas-E MSD with MSD 4, Parcae 4A, Parcae 4C, LIPS 1
Parcae 4C (NOSS 4C) 1980-F03 09.12.1980 Va SLC-3W F Atlas-E MSD with MSD 4, Parcae 4A, Parcae 4B, LIPS 1
Parcae 5A (NOSS 5A) 1983-008E 09.02.1983 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 5, Parcae 5B, Parcae 5C, LIPS 2
Parcae 5B (NOSS 5B) 1983-008F 09.02.1983 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 5, Parcae 5A, Parcae 5C, LIPS 2
Parcae 5C (NOSS 5C) 1983-008H 09.02.1983 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 5, Parcae 5A, Parcae 5B, LIPS 2
Parcae 6A (NOSS 6A) 1983-056C 09.06.1983 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 6, Parcae 6B, Parcae 6C
Parcae 6B (NOSS 6B) 1983-056D 09.06.1983 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 6, Parcae 6A, Parcae 6C
Parcae 6C (NOSS 6C) 1983-056G 09.06.1983 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 6, Parcae 6A, Parcae 6B
Parcae 7A (NOSS 7A) 1984-012C 05.02.1984 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 7, Parcae 7B, Parcae 7C
Parcae 7B (NOSS 7B) 1984-012D 05.02.1984 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 7, Parcae 7A, Parcae 7C
Parcae 7C (NOSS 7C) 1984-012F 05.02.1984 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 7, Parcae 7A, Parcae 7B
Parcae 8A (NOSS 8A, USA 16) 1986-014E 09.02.1986 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 8, Parcae 8B, Parcae 8C
Parcae 8B (NOSS 8B, USA 17) 1986-014F 09.02.1986 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 8, Parcae 8A, Parcae 8C
Parcae 8C (NOSS 8C, USA 18) 1986-014H 09.02.1986 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 8, Parcae 8A, Parcae 8B
Parcae 9A (NOSS 9A, USA 23) 1987-043E 15.05.1987 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 9, Parcae 9B, Parcae 9C, LIPS 3
Parcae 9B (NOSS 9B, USA 24) 1987-043F 15.05.1987 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 9, Parcae 9A, Parcae 9C, LIPS 3
Parcae 9C (NOSS 9C, USA 25) 1987-043H 15.05.1987 Va SLC-3E Atlas-H MSD with MSD 9, Parcae 9A, Parcae 9B, LIPS 3