Launch of USA-245
|Mission type||Optical imaging|
|Operator||National Reconnaissance Office|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||28 August 2013, 18:03:00 UTC|
|Rocket||Delta IV Heavy (Delta 364)|
|Launch site||Vandenberg, SLC-6|
|Contractor||United Launch Alliance|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit|
|Perigee altitude||276 km|
|Apogee altitude||1010 km|
|Epoch||8 January 2015, 19:32:46 UTC|
USA-245 or NRO Launch 65 (NROL-65) is an American reconnaissance satellite which is operated by the National Reconnaissance Office. Launched in August 2013, it is the last KH-11 reconnaissance satellite, and the last spacecraft to be launched in the Keyhole program.
Details of USA-245's mission are classified by the US military, however numerous independent analysts identified it as a KH-11 before launch, and amateur satellite watchers have since observed it in the orbit used by such satellites.
USA-245 was launched by United Launch Alliance, using a Delta IV Heavy rocket with the flight number Delta 364 and the name Victoria. The launch took place from Space Launch Complex 6 at the Vandenberg Air Force Base at 18:03 UTC (11:03 local time) on 28 August 2013. After deploying its payload, the rocket's upper stage was deorbited after completing one orbit. The launch was the first Delta IV mission to use a new ignition sequence aimed at reducing damage to the first stage insulation caused by igniting a cloud of hydrogen around the vehicle at liftoff. To mitigate this, the rocket's starboard engine was lit two seconds earlier than on previous flights.
In 2020, MIT Technology Review reported that USA-245 was likely being "stalked" by a Russian satellite, Kosmos 2542, in a possible attempt to spy on US-245 to deduce its camera aperture and resolution, or its computer functionality and operating times.