The Savant satellites were part of a series of so called Program 11 or P-11 "Subsatellite Ferrets", low orbit ELINT/SIGINT satellites to pinpoint and characterize different Radar emitters in the Soviet Union and Warsaw pact states.
The satellites were based on Lockheed's P-11 bus, which was designed to fit on the aft rack of the Agena-D upper stage. The bus contained each one or two focused payload black boxes and different antenna configurations according to payload, as well as deployable solar arrays. The satellite featured two solid rocket motors, which allowed them to rise and circularize their orbit after deployment from the host satellite. Both spin or gravity gradient stabilization was possible.
The first P-11s had essentially nondirectional antennas and were intended to collect specific emitters, primarily to obtain textual content of the intercept data. These were directed-coverage missions, which included Pundit and Savant for on-pad and launch telemetry and Weston for radio teletype and voice content of the Soviet VHF and UHF point-to-point communications system.
Savant were telemetry intelligence (TELINT) payloads, which were designed to collect the emissions of Soviet missiles and rockets during flight tests. The intercepted data consisted of 25% anti-ballistic missile targets, 70% ICBM targets, and 5% “other,” which may have included space launches. The Savant payloads were manufactured by the Electronics Systems Laboratory.
These subsatellites were deployed from the propulsion rack of the Agena-D stage of KH-4A Corona reconnaissance satellites. They used two solid-fuel kick-motors to maneuver themselves into their operational orbits after deployment.
|Type / Application:||ELINT, SIGINT, TELINT|
|Operator:||US Air Force (USAF)|
|Contractors:||Lockheed (bus); Electromagnetic Systems Lab (payload)|
|Power:||Solar cells, batteries|
|Orbit:||498 km × 514 km, 80.21° (#1); 484 km × 491 km, 85.17° (#2)|
|Savant 1 (P-11 4409, Mission 7320, OPS 1873)||1967-062B||16.06.1967||Va SLC-1W||Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D||with KH-4A 42|
|Savant 2 (P-11 4419, Mission 7336, OPS 4710)||1969-079B||22.09.1969||Va SLC-3W||Thorad-SLV2G Agena-D||with KH-4A 52|