Jumpseat signal intelligence satellites were launched by Titan-3(33)B Agena-D or Titan-3(34)B Agena-D into highly elliptic Molniya-type orbits. These orbits were very similar to those of Quasar (SDS) classified communications/data relay satellites, and identification of a launch in either series as Quasar (SDS) or Jumpseat may differ from analyst to analyst.
The primary purpose of this series was to monitor Soviet ballistic missile warning radars in the far north. In their elliptical orbits they would move very slowly over the northern hemisphere for most of their orbital period, allowing interception of the radar signals. It was reported, that these satellites operated in conjunction with P-801 ELINT satellites.
Another purpose was reportedly the interception of microwave line-of-sight communications beams. Since they would move slowly through the beams during their orbit, a constellation of such satellites was required to monitor Soviet communications throughout the day.
The satellites also probably integrated ELINT and other SIGINT functions and intercepted up- or down-links from Soviet Molniya strategic communications satellites. An additional early warning payload has also been reported.
They were succeeded by the Trumpet series.
Note: The identification of these satellites beyond the fifth is not definitely confirmed. Some may be in fact Quasar (SDS) relay satellites, which used the same Titan-3(34)B Agena-D launch vehicle and the same orbits.
|Type / Application:||SIGINT|
|Operator:||US Air Force (USAF)|
|Jumpseat 1 (7701, OPS 4788)||1971-021A||21.03.1971||Va SLC-4W||Titan-3(33)B Agena-D|
|Jumpseat 2 (OPS 1844)||1972-F01||16.02.1972||Va SLC-4W||F||Titan-3(33)B Agena-D|
|Jumpseat 3 (OPS 7724)||1973-056A||21.08.1973||Va SLC-4W||Titan-3(33)B Agena-D|
|Jumpseat 4 (OPS 2439)||1975-017A||10.03.1975||Va SLC-4W||Titan-3(34)B Agena-D|
|Jumpseat 5 (OPS 6031)||1978-021A||25.02.1978||Va SLC-4W||Titan-3(34)B Agena-D|
|Jumpseat 6 (OPS 7225)||1981-038A||24.04.1981||Va SLC-4W||p||Titan-3(34)B Agena-D|
|Jumpseat 7 (OPS 7304)||1983-078A||31.07.1983||Va SLC-4W||Titan-3(34)B Agena-D|