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In Pictures: Satellite to Detect Secret Nuclear Tests

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.

Forte Satellite to Detect Secret Nuclear Testing

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

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