News of

February 1999

February 26
GenCorp Aerojet is awarded a US$8.5-million contract by Boeing to provide attitude control systems for the first stage of the U.S. National Missile Defense booster rocket..
February 26
The Samara Regiional State Property Fund holds an auction to sell propellant tanks and other elements from Energiya heavy lift launchers.
February 25
The U.S. Air Force's Space & Missile Center has awarded a US$70.7-million contract to Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services Inc. to procure a launch on an Atlas 3B vehicle in May 2002. The Atlas 3B is an upgraded version of Lockheed Martin's new Atlas 3A launcher currently planned to be introduced in June.
February 22
Orbital Sciences Corp. (OSC) has shipped the first of the three X-34 hypersonic flight demonstrators from its facilities in Dulles, Va., to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) in Edwards AFB, Calif., where it will conduct a series of ground and in-flight tests. A first unpowered flight of the X-34 is tentatively planned in September.
February 22
Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) begins the first of two series of firing tests on a qualification model of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries LE-7A cryogenic engine intended to power the core stage of the H-2A launch vehicle. The series of 7 tests, conducted in Tanegashima Satellite Launch Center, is planned to be completed by April 2. A second test campaign with a second qualification model is planned to begin in March and end in May.
 

  Photo Gallery: Aerospatiale's Technology Demonstrators

 

 

 

 

 

 


Aerospatiale
unveils two proposed demonstrator concepts for European Space Agency's Future Launcher Technology Program. Two models of the Atmospheric Reentry Experimental Spaceplane (ARES) would be built, one for low velocities test flights and autonomous landing after mid-air release by an aircraft or a balloon, the other for high velocity test flights after launch to orbit by a medium lift vehicle. The more ambitious Themis, featuring cryogenic propulsion, would test reusability on hypersonic suborbital flights. Photos © Aerospatiale.

 

February 20
NASA installs additional sensors inside Discovery's drag chute compartment to gather data through the first few seconds of the STS-96 mission in May. On December 3, 1998, Endeavour unexpectedly lost the compartment's door at liftoff.
February 19
NASA's Langley Research Center cancels its proposed study for a steam-powered catapult launch assist system to support Marshall Space Flight Center's Bantam low-cost small launcher program.
February 15
Australia's United Launch Systems International has teamed with Russia's GRTsKB Makeyev, of Miass, and NPO Energomash, of Khimky, to develop a commercial launch venture in Australia.
February 14
The French government issues a decree clearing the merger of Aerospatiale and Matra Hautes Technologies (MHT), parent company of Matra Marconi Space. The merger should be completed before mid June.
February 11
China plans to conduct an unmanned test-flight of a reusable shuttlecraft in 2000 according to a Chinese scientist interviewed by Associated Press. No detail is available on the vehicle itself.
February 10
NASA and the State of Florida decide to invest $1.5 million and $750,000 respectively to build the Cryogenics Testbed, a laboratory to develop advanced systems for launchers using cryogenic propellants. This facility is intended to attract operators of future launch systems, such as Lockheed Martin's VentureStar proposed reusable launch vehicle, to Florida.
February 9
Starsem SA successfully conducts its first commercial mission with the launch of four Globalstar mobile telephony satellites atop a Soyuz U vehicle carrying the new Ikar maneuverable upper stage. Starsem, a joint-venture of Aerospatiale, Arianespace, RKA and the Samara Space Center, is under contract by Space Systems/Loral to launch five more Globalstar clusters.
(see the Launch Log)
February 9
Italy's FiatAvio and AEB, the Brazilian space agency, plan to invest respectively US$50 million and US$70 million to develop a launch facility within Brazil's Alcantara Launch Center (CLA) for the proposed Tsyklon 4 vehicle, under study by FiatAvio and Ukraine's NPO Yuzhnoe.
 

 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.

February 8
China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC) confirms that it is developping a new heavy-lift launch vehicle to compete with new European and U.S. launchers able to loft more than 6,000 kg to geostationary transfer orbit. The CZ-3B(A) will be a derivative of the current CZ-3B with new, stretched strap-on boosters unveiled in 1998 for the CZ-2E(A), an heavy-lift launcher for low Earth orbit missions presumably linked to China's manned space program. The CZ-2E(A) is planned to be introduced in 2000 and the CZ-3B(A) in 2002.
February 7
The Iranian minister of Defense, Ali Shamkhani, states that his country is developing a small satellite launch vehicle. According to the minister, the Shahab 4, presumably a derivative of North Korea's Taepo Dong 1, will not be used for military purposes. According to a statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State in July 1998, the Shahab 4 could be deployed between 2000 and 2003.
February 6
NASA conducts the second drop-test of a subscale model of its X-38 crew return vehicle from a B-52N carrier aircraft at Dryden Flight Research Center.
 

  Photo Gallery: X-38 Second Drop Test

 

 

   

 

 

 


Test vehicle 131, a scale model of NASA's X-38 Crew Rescue Vehicle demonstrator, successfully deployed its parafoil and demonstrated its control system before landing. Photos © NASA.

 

February 5
The Iranian minister of Defense, Ali Shamkhani, states that his country is developing a small satellite launch vehicle. According to the minister, the Shahab 4, presumably a derivative of North Korea's Taepo Dong 1, will not be used for military purposes. According to a statement by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State in July 1998, the Shahab 4 could be deployed between 2000 and 2003.
February 5
The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel issues its yearly report on NASA activities. According to the report, budget cuts and workforce reductions could affect Space Shuttle safety and lead to a major crisis in 5 to 10 years.
(Download the ASAP report [857 K])
February 5
The second drop test of a scale model of NASA's X-38 Crew Return Vehicle demonstrator at Dryden Flight Research Center is postponed to February 6 due to poor weather conditions.
 

 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.

February 4
Japan's National Space Development Agency initiates a contest to select a name and an emblem for its H-2A launch vehicle.
February 4
U.S. Air Force's Space Command approves a series of corrective actions to clear the Lockheed Martin Astronautics Titan vehicles for flight resumption after the failure of the last Titan 4A launch on August 12, 1998.
February 4
NASA's Langley Research Center prepares a conceptual study for a steam-powered catapult launch assist system to support Marshall Space Flight Center's Bantam low-cost small launcher program.
February 4
Ellipso Inc. has signed a launch deal with Boeing to loft its 17-satellite constellation into low and medium Earth orbit in 2001. Details on the number and type of launchers to be used have not been disclosed.
February 3
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center announces that rugged metallic thermal protection system panels designed by BFGoodrich Aerospace for the X-33 advanced technology demonstrator have completed an intensive series of tests including high-speed, high-temperature wind tunnel testing and test flights on a F-15B aircraft.
February 2
Lockheed Martin Astronautics announces that its new family of launchers developed under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program will eventually be known as the Atlas 5. In addition to the EELV intermediate-lift and heavy-lift versions, four new vehicles will be developed for commercial markets, based on the intermediate-lift EELV version with two, three, four or five solid strap-on boosters provided by GenCorp Aerojet under a contract potentially worth US$500 million.
 

 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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