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Rhyolite/Aquacade




A series of United States SIGINT (signals intelligence) satellites placed in quasistationary orbits in the 1970s to intercept, for example, telemetry in radio nets controlling the flight of Soviet bombers. Rhyolite satellites were also used to spy on communications during local conflicts in Vietnam, and also between India and Pakistan. When the project's codename was revealed during the espionage trial of Boyce and Lee – the "Falcon and the Snowman" – it was subsequently (from Rhyolite 3 on) changed to Aquacade. The Rhyolite/Aquacades had a similar configuration to Canyon, except that their receiving antenna had a diameter of 20 meters, and they had more than doubled in weight to 680 kg. There were four Rhyolite launch attempts between 1970 and 1978, all successful.


Related categories

   • MILITARY RECONNAISSANCE AND SURVEILLANCE
   • SATELLITES AND SPACE PROBES