Fast On-orbit Recording of Transient Events (FORTE), the first satellite made of an all-composite structure, tested new technologies to spot secret nuclear weapons test in other countries.
The FORTE satellite is sponsored by the Department of Energy as a testbed for technologies applicable to U.S. nuclear detonation detection systems. FORTE’s successful development and launch were the result of several years of dedicated work by a joint Los Alamos National Laboratory / Sandia National Laboratories project team.
FORTE is in a circular, 800-km-altitude orbit inclined 70 degrees from the Earth’s equator. FORTE carries a suite of optical and RF instruments that have been used to study lightning from space as well as nuclear event detection technologies.
Image credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory