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.

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 Byeman code name is not known.

The development contract for the Future Imagery Architecture program, consisting of an optical (FIA-O) and a radar (FIA-R, Topaz) 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 NGRST (Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, WFIRST) observatory.

Note: The NROL designations refer to the launch, not to the payload.

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


Further FIA missions:

Cite this page: