News of

January 1999

DOWNLOAD THE TITAN 4A-20 FAILURE REPORT
(Including Pictures - 396 K - Zip Compressed)

January 29
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center plans to contract with Norsk Romsenter to procure sounding rocket launch services, involving Black Brant and Viper 3A vehicles, from Andøya Rocket Range, Lofoten Islands, in July 1999.
January 29
Lockheed Martin Astronautics is awarded a US$7.6-million contract by U.S. Air Force's Space & Missile Systems Center to refurbish a Minuteman 2 ballistic missile into a suborbital launch vehicle under the Multi Service Launch System (MSLS) program. Launch is due in June 2000.
January 28
Boeing has identified a faulty vernier engine as the cause of the aborted launch of a Delta 2 vehicle carrying the Argos satellite and the Sunsat and Oersted microsatellites on January 27. One of the first stage's two Boeing Rocketdyne LR-101-NA-11 vernier engine failed to ignite and both the RS-27 main engine and the other vernier were shut down. The Delta 2 launcher due to loft NASA's Stardust probe on February 6 is under review.
January 28
The launch of a Proton K vehicle carrying Loral Skynet's Telstar 6 is postponed to February 17 to allow the replacement of the fourth stage's digital computer. International Launch Services provides the launch. This delay will affect following commercial Proton launches.
January 28
Boeing signs an agreement with Spaceport Florida Authority to finance and build the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) for the Delta 4 launch system at Cape Canaveral Air Station. SFA will later lease back the 9,500 sq.m facility to Boeing under a long-term agreement.
January 28
A new laser-guided positioning system has been successfully tested at the X-33 advanced technology demonstrator launch site at Haystack Butte in Edwards AFB. This system, developed by NASA's Kennedy Space Center engineers, will allow to quickly place the X-33 on the launch platform and rotate it into launch position.
January 28
Kistler Aerospace has raised US$100 million to proceed with the development of its K-1 two-stage reusable launch vehicle.
January 27
Microcosm Inc. successfully completes the first test flight of its Scorpius SR-S low-cost single engine suborbital rocket.
January 27
The Ariane 4 launch due February 3, carrying Arab League's Arabsat 3A and Great-Britain's Skynet 4E is postponed to February 26, after Arianespace has decided to replace servoactuator mechanisms on the first and second stages' engine gimballing systems.
January 26
The governments of the United States, Russia and Kazakhstan sign the Technology Safeguard Agreement (TSA), a comprehensive trilateral agreement governing the conditions under which U.S.-built satellites can be launched from Baykonur.
 
This signature allows Starsem to proceed with the preparation of the first Soyuz/Ikar vehicle for a launch in mid February to loft four Globalstar satellites. It also allows International Launch Services (ILS) to prepare the launch of the AsiaSat 3S satellite atop a Proton K/DM3 on February 21.
January 26
NASA's Lewis Research Center (LeRC) plans to develop avanced ion propulsion technologies for use as primary propulsion system on power-limited spacecraft (less than 500W).
 

 For additional information regarding launch vehicles, payloads and space industry, refer to
 THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE INDUSTRY REPORT
 A biweekly newsletter jointly published by
 Launchspace Publications and Takyon International.

January 22
Russian Prime Yevgeny Primakov has signed a decree for the construction of a new launch pad within the GIK-2 spaceport in Svobodniy, Amur oblast, for NPO Mashinostroeniye's Strela launchers. The Strela, which is the commercial version of the UR-100N Sotka intercontinental ballistic missile, can loft up to 1,700 kg to low Earth orbit at a cost of US$10 million. A launch rate of four flights per year is expected.
January 22
Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA) was awarded two contracts for launch vehicle structural elements. CASA will build cylindrical structures for the lower part of Ariane 5 on behalf of Aerospatiale under a contract worth 15 million of Euros, and under a US$25 million contract from Lockheed Martin Astronautics, it will provide 21 adapters for the future Atlas EELV launcher.
January 21
India has postponed a test flight of its Agni intermediate range ballistic missile initially due on January 26 under pressure from the U.S. and Japan. A derivative of ISRO's SLV-3 and ASLV space launch vehicles, the nuclear-capable Agni missile, whose development has resumed in 1998, has an estimated range of 2,500 km.
January 21
Arianespace postpones its next Ariane 4 launch, initially due on February 3, to conduct a technical component review on servoactuators in the launcher's engines.
January 21
The signature of the Technology Safeguard Agreement (TSA) between the government of the United States, the Federation of Russia and the Republic of Kazakhstan, is expected within one to three weeks. It will clear Starsem and International Launch Services (ILS) for future commercial launches from Baykonur, Kazakhstan.
 

 For up-to-date information regarding launch vehicles, payloads and space industry, refer to
 ISIR NEWSLINE
 An on-line news service provided by
 Launchspace Publications and Takyon International.

January 20
The U.S. Department of Defense will spend an additional US$6.6 billion through 2005 to develop and possibly deploy a limited National Missile Defense (NMD) system. This effort, now worth US$10.5 billion, includes the development of a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) system. The GBI, which will have to boost an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) to intercept incoming warheads, will be based on a GEM-40 motor provided by Alliant TechSystems and an Orbus upper stage supplied by United Technologies Corp.'s Chemical Systems Division (UTC/CSD). As NMD lead system integrator, Boeing will be in charge of integrating the GBI.
January 20
The first flight of NASA's US$1.2-billion X-33 advanced technology demonstrator, built by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, has been postponed from December 1999 to July 2000 at the earliest due to problems related to its composite liquid hydrogen tanks. The second of the two Alliant Techsystems-built tanks was damaged during autoclave curing at Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space facilities on December 22. One of the tank's four lobe skins showed bubbles and cracks and will have to be replaced.
January 18
Eurockot Launch Services GmbH has been selected to launch the NEMO remote sensing satellite atop a Rokot vehicle in the second half of 2000. Since the satellite is developed by STDC on behalf of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, an actual deal still needs clearance by the U.S. government.
 

 For additional information regarding launch vehicles, payloads and space industry, refer to
 THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE INDUSTRY REPORT
 A biweekly newsletter jointly published by
 Launchspace Publications and Takyon International.

January 16
The U.S. Air Force's Accident Investigation Board releases its final report on the launch failure of the last Lockheed Martin Astronautics Titan 4A launch on August 12, 1998. The report pinpoints a pre-launch wire insulation damage as the cause of the second costliest launch failure in history. The damage escaped pre-launch inspections and caused a short in the vehicle's power supply system. This short resulted in the onboard computer loosing attitude references from the inertial measurement unit for 187 milliseconds. The computer then tried to compensate what it interpreted as a pitch/yaw deviation and commanded the vehicle to pitch down and yaw right, causing its destruction by aerodynamic stress.
(Download the report [396 K])
January 16
Boeing Rocketdyne completes powerpack testing of the XRS-2200 linear aerospike engine at NASA's Stennis Space Center. Hot firing tests are due in the second quarter of this year.
January 12
The European Space Agency will spend 3,177.8 million of Euros (US$3,686 million) in its launchers programs in 1999.
January 12
Globalstar LP announces that it has contracted with Boeing Expendable Launch Services for seven Delta 2 launches through early 2000. Six launches are planned in 1999 - including 4 Delta 2/7420 from Cape Canaveral and 2 Delta 2/7920 from Vandenberg during the 4th quarter - and one - a Delta 2/7420 - in 2000. Globalstar has also contracted with Starsem for six launches on Soyuz/Ikar vehicles and with Arianespace for a launch on an Ariane 42P vehicle.
With these 14 launch commitments, Globalstar LP has the ability to move its satellites to the next available launch vehicle in case of delay or failure on any single system. Some of these launches might eventually be rescinded or delayed for future replenishment missions.
January 11
Iridium LLC signs a contract with Eurockot Launch Services GmbH for the launch of a pair of Iridium satellites in December 1999. The contract includes options for the launch of 12 more pairs of satellites.
 

 For up-to-date information regarding launch vehicles, payloads and space industry, refer to
 ISIR NEWSLINE
 An on-line news service provided by
 Launchspace Publications and Takyon International.

January 8
Brazil's INPE confirms that the second test launch of the country's VLS-1 small launch vehicle is now planned for mid 1999. The VLS-1 failed at its maiden launch in November 1997.
January 6
The Sea Launch consortium plans to conduct a 17-day launch dress rehearsal campaign off Baja California in early February. Tests will include full countdown of a Zenit 3SL launch conducted with an unfuelled vehicle.
January 6
A report on Starsem's project to build a Soyuz launch pad in Kourou will be released in January according to Arianespace's chairman J.-M. Luton.
January 6
Arianespace announces that it plans to launch 3 Ariane 5s and 10 to 11 Ariane 4s in 1999. But delays in satellite deliveries could disturb this schedule.
January 4
NASA's Lewis Research Center issues a NASA Research Announcement for lightweight materials and structures as well as for integrated thermal management for Rocket-Based Combined Cycle (RBCC) propulsion systems which could be used on future Air-Breathing Launch Vehicles (ABLV).
 

 For additional information regarding launch vehicles, payloads and space industry, refer to
 THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE INDUSTRY REPORT
 A biweekly newsletter jointly published by
 Launchspace Publications and Takyon International.

 

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