Please make a donation to support Gunter's Space Page.
Thank you very much for visiting Gunter's Space Page. I hope that this site is useful and informative for you.
If you appreciate the information provided on this site, please consider supporting my work by making a simple and secure donation via PayPal. Please help to run the website and keep everything free of charge. Thank you very much.

Rhyolite 1, 2, 3, 4 / Aquacade 1, 2, 3, 4

The Rhyolite (later renamed to Aquacade, when the former name became public) are geostationary signals intelligence satellites. Their purpose was to intercept missile telemetry from the Soviet Union and China. Unlike the Canyon SIGINT crafts, they were positioned in geostationary orbit.

Prime contractor for the Rhyolite satellites was TRW, which was awarded the contract to build four Rhyolites in 1966.

The Rhyolite satellites were also known as Program 720 and Program 472. After the second launch, they were renamed Aquacade as the original name was leaked . They were succeeded by the Magnum / Orion series.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: ELINT
Operator: USAF
Contractors: TRW, E-Systems
Equipment: ?
Configuration: ~ 20 m   Dish Antenna, 3-Axis-Stabilization
Propulsion: ?
Mass: 700 kg
Orbit: GEO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Rhyolite 1 → Aquacade 1 (OPS 5346) 1970-046A 19.06.1970 CC LC-13 Atlas-SLV3A Agena-D
Rhyolite 2 → Aquacade 2 (OPS 6063) 1973-013A 06.03.1973 CC LC-13 Atlas-SLV3A Agena-D
Aquacade 3 (OPS 4258) 1977-114A 11.12.1977 CC LC-13 Atlas-SLV3A Agena-D
Aquacade 4 (OPS 8790) 1978-038A 07.04.1978 CC LC-13 Atlas-SLV3A Agena-D
Further high orbit ELINT missions:

Geostationary orbit COMINT (Canyon-Chalet-Vortex-Mercury series) Geostationary orbit SIGINT (Rhyolite-Aquacade-Magnum-Orion series) High elliptical orbit (Jumpseat-Trumpet series)