News of

March 1999

March 31
Arianespace is awarded a contract by Alcatel Space and Europe*Star Ltd. to launch the Europe*Star 1 satellite in mid 2000.
March 30
North Korea rejects U.S. demand to stop ballistic missiles development and export, but agrees for further talks.
March 30
Kvaerner AS plans to sell its 20% stake in the Sea Launch consortium. Kvaerner has built the Assembly & Command Ship (ACS) and refurbished the Odyssey launch platform.
March 29
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems (ELS) has selected Aydin Telemetry to provide test instrumentation for vehicle integration and launch monitoring on behalf of the Delta 4 program.
March 29
Lockheed Martin Astronautics announces that it will reduce its workforce by 1,200, or roughly 10%, before the end of the year.
 

 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.

March 28
Sea Launch successfully launches the first Zenit 3SL vehicle from the Odyssey launch platform, anchored in the Pacific Ocean, by 154°W on the Equator. The first commercial launch is tentatively planned for late August.
(See the Launch Log)
March 27
Lockheed Martin Astronautics pours about 3 million tons of concrete for the foundation of the Atlas 5 Vertical Integration Facility (VIF) near Cape Canaveral's SLC-41.
March 26
Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) plans to resume the qualification test campaign of the LE-7A cryogenic engine on March 30. The campaign had been interrupted after an anomaly was reported in the engine's pre-burner injector following its 4th static firing test on March 5. The LE-7A will power the core stage of the H-2A launch vehicle.
March 25
NASA's Johnson Space Center has experimented a technology allowing the extraction of oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. This technology, which will be tested on the Mars 2001 Lander, might be used for in-situ propellant production on future missions.
March 24
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) has contracted with Russia's VNIIEM to launch Malaysia's Tiungsat microsatellite with the Meteor 3M-N1 meteorology satellite in September. Meteor 3M-N1 will ride a Zenit 2 vehicle with 4 piggyback payloads.
March 23
The U.S. Air Force has awarded a US$7.6-million contract to Lockheed Martin Astronautics to refurbish a Minuteman 2 ballistic missile into a backup Target Delivery Vehicle (TDV, previously known as MSLS) for the test campaign of the Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) element of the National Missile Defense (NMD) system. The contract includes options for launch of the backup TDV as well as for refurbishing and launch of a second vehicle.
March 23
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) plans to conduct the first flight of its new Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) in late 1999 .
March 23
Pakistan military forces display a Ghauri missile at the National Day military parade.
March 23
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center plans to contract with the Swedish National Space Board to launch a single Black Brant sounding rocket from the Esrange facility in Kiruna in July or August on behalf of the Project ICON.
March 22
While visiting Israel, Russian Prime Yevgeny Primakov denies Iranian reports on its missiles' capability to reach Israel.
March 22
Northrop Grumman Corp. agrees to turn a US$30 million advance work performed in late 1998 for Kistler Aerospace Corp. into a firm investment in the form of preferred Kistler stocks. Northrop Grumman also holds an option to invest up to an additional US$120 million in the development of Kistler's K-1 reusable two-stage-to-orbit vehicle.
 

 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.

March 18
The U.S. Congress endorses the U.S. Department of Defense's project to implement the National Missile Defense (NMD) system to provide an operational missile defense system for all 50 states by 2005. This effort, now worth US$10.5 billion, includes the development of a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) system. A progress review is planned in June 2000.
March 18
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has begun a series of 85 static firing tests of its Fastrac engine, due to power the X-34 hypersonic demonstrator.
March 17
Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) conducts a 98-sec. static firing test of the SRB-A advanced solid rocket motor under development to serve as booster for the H-2A launch vehicle.
March 17
China Great Wall Industry Corp. postpones indefinitely the launch of a pair of Iridium satellites atop a CZ-2-3/SD booster. Technical problems are reported on the payload and the launch system.
March 15
The 26kW Electric Propulsion Space Experiment (ESEX) thruster, developed by TRW, is fired for 141 sec. onboard U.S. Air Force's Argos satellite.
March 15
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issues a license clearing Sea Launch's Zenit 3SL for its maiden flight.
March 15
Coleman Research Corp. (CRC) launches a Hera target rocket from Fort Wingate, New Mexico.
March 15
Brazil's IAE/CTA launches a VS-30 sounding rocket from its Alcantara space center.
 

 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.

March 11
According to Chinese magazine Aerospace China, the CZ-1D small launch vehicle made a successful suborbital flight in November 1997.
March 9
Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) has decided to postpone a firing test of its new LE-7A cryogenic engine, initialy due on March 15 in Tanegashima, after an anomaly was detected on the engine following a 350-sec. firing test on March 5. A defect was reported in the slid part of the inkjector of the pre-burner injection unit. The unit will thus be shipped back to the manufacturing plant in Nagoya for further inspection.
March 9
Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) plans to conduct the second of three static firing tests of a SRB-A, the improved solid strap-on booster developed for the H-2A vehicle, on March 17. A first test firing of this 65-t class motor was successfully conducted in June 1998.
 

 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.

March 7
Lockheed Martin Astronautics delivers the first completed Atlas 3 booster stage in Cape Canaveral. Erection of the stage on SLC-36B occurs on the following day.
March 5
The second scale model of NASA's X-38 Crew Rescue Vehicle demonstrator successfully completes its first drop test at Dryden Flight Research Center. Test vehicle 132 was released from a B-52N carrier aircraft at an altitude of 9,000 m and performed a 10-sec. free flight before deploying its parafoil to test rudder and flaps. Total flight duration was 9 minutes.
March 5
Sverdrup Corp. delivers the X-33 Flight Operations Center, in Edwards AFB, to NASA and Lockheed Martin. The US$32-million center includes the X-33 launch facility, cryogenic propellant storage areas and an operations control center.
March 5
Spaceport Florida Authority has accepted the transfer of 207 Super Loki suborbital rockets, worth more than US$1.5 million, from the U.S. Air Force. They will be made available to support research projects from Florida universities and community colleges, and for missions sponsored by the Aerospace States Association.
March 4
Lockheed Martin Astronautics announces that it has awarded a US$6.3-million contract to Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA) for the manufactruring of 20 conical interstage adapters for the Atlas 5 series of vehicles.
March 4
Elections are conducted on Anguilla Island to renew the country's 7-seat assembly. The polls were dominated by a debate on the negotiations with Beal Aerospace which plans to build a launch pad for its BA-2 vehicle on Anguilla's Sombrero Island.
March 4
Sea Launch announces completion of a 16-day sea trials campaign with full countdown rehearsals. Both Sea Launch vessels are due to leave the Long Beach homeport to the Equatorial launch site circa March 15 for a maiden flight of the Zenit 3SL tentatively targeted for late March.
March 4
India plans to test-fly its newest Agni 2 intermediate range ballistic missile from the "IC-4 inner Wheeler island" on the Orissa coast between March 5 and 7. The Agni 2, a derivative of the SLV series of civilian launchers, will have a range of about 1,800 km.
March 2nd
A U.S. federal grand jury is investigating whether Boeing violated criminal legislations by allowing unlicensed technology transfers with RKK Energiya and NPO Yuzhnoe during development of the Sea Launch project.
March 2nd
ICO Global Communications officially announces the previoulsly reported signature of a contract with International Launch Services (ILS) for a second Atlas 2AS launch in the first quarter of 2000.
March 1st
China denies reports on a mini-shuttle test in 2000.
March 1st
Lockheed Martin Astronautics rolls out the first completed Atlas 3 booster stage and ships it to Cape Canaveral. Maiden flight of the Atlas 3A vehicle is scheduled on June 15.
(View Lockheed Martin Astronautics' Atlas multimedia gallery)
 

  Photo Gallery: Roton ATV Rolled Out

 

 

   

 

 

 


Rotary Rocket Corp.
rolls out the Roton Atmospheric Test Vehicle, an experimental rotor-powered vehicle intended to demonstrate the vertical landing capability of the proposed Roton manned single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. Photos © Rotary Rocket.

 

 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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