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Trumpet 1, 2, 3

Trumpet signal intelligence satellites were launched by Titan-4(01)A Centaur-T into highly elliptic Molniya-type orbits. In their elliptical orbits they would move very slowly over the northern hemisphere for most of their orbital period, allowing 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.

Trumpet replaced the earlier Jumpseat satellites. 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.

Amateur observations show, that all three satellites were still maintaining operational orbits in 2017 and are likely still operational.

Their successors are the much smaller "Trumpet Follow On"-satellites.

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

Nation: USA
Type / Application: SIGINT
Operator: NRO
Contractors: Boeing ?
Equipment: ?
Configuration: Large Dish Antenna, 3-Axis-Stabilization
Propulsion: ?
Mass: ~ 6000 kg
Orbit: 1000 km × 39000 km, 64.0 Molniya Orbit
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
Trumpet 1 (USA 103) 1994-026A 03.05.1994 CC LC-41 Titan-4(01)A Centaur-T
Trumpet 2 (USA 112) 1995-034A 10.07.1995 CC LC-41 Titan-4(01)A Centaur-T
Trumpet 3 (USA 136, NROL 4, IPS 1) 1997-068A 08.11.1997 CC LC-41 Titan-4(01)A Centaur-T
Further high orbit SIGINT missions:

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

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