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LCS 1, 2, 3, 4

LCS satellite [Lincoln Laboratory]

LCS (Lincoln Calibration Sphere) were hollow metal spheres with a precisely defined radar cross-section to calibrate ground based radars.

The satellites were manufactured at Rohr Corp., Chula Vista, California, for the Lincoln Laboratory. They consisted of a 1.12 m diameter hollow Aluminium sphere with a optical unit cross section of 1 m² and a wall thickness of 3.2 mm.

LCS 1 was successfully launched on a Titan-3A on 6th May 1965. It was deployed in a circular orbit of about 2700 km height and a life time of about 30000 years.

The second satellite, LCS 2, was lost on 15th October 1965, when the Transtage upper stage of the Titan-3C launch vehicle exploded in low earth orbit, before it could be deployed in a 735 km circular orbit.

LCS 3 also was lost in a launch failure on 16th August 1968, when the payload fairing of the Atlas-SLV3 Burner-2 collapsed.

LCS 4 was successfully orbited on 7th August 1971 on an Atlas-F OV1 launch vehicle. This satellite is in a low earth orbit with a life time of about 75 years.

The LCS 1 and LCS 4 satellites are still being used for radar calibration measurements.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Radar Calibration
Operator: MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Contractors: Rohr Corp.
Equipment: None
Configuration: Sphere
Propulsion: None
Power: None
Lifetime: ~ 30000 years (#1); ~75 years (#4)
Mass: 34 kg (#1)
Orbit: 2704 km × 2869 km, 32.1 (#1); 735 km × 735 km, 32.6 (#2, planned); 795 km × 913 km, 87.6 (#4)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
LCS 1 1965-034C 06.05.1965 CC LC-20 Titan-3A [Star-13A] with LES 2
LCS 2 1965-082B 15.10.1965 CC LC-40 f Titan-3C with OV2 1
LCS 3 (P68-1) 1968-F07 16.08.1968 Va SLC-3E F Atlas-SLV3 Burner-2 with Orbiscal 1, OV5 8, Gridsphere 1, Gridsphere 2, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere, LIDOS, RM 18 & UVR, Radcat, SECOR 11, SECOR 12
LCS 4 (P70-2) 1971-067E 07.08.1971 Va BMRS-A2 Atlas-F OV1 [Star-13A] with OV1 20, LOADS 2 and OV1 21, RTDS, Gridsphere 1, Gridsphere 2, Mylar Balloon, Rigidsphere
Further STP missions:

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