News of

June 1999

June 30
Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems has shipped the Telkom 1 satellite, built for PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), to Kourou, French Guiana, for a launch on an Ariane vehicle in August.
June 30
Beal Aerospace Technologies is concerned by reports in Venezuelan press that the Essequibo County site, in Guyana, where the company is proposing to build a launch site for its BA-2 heavy-lift launch vehicle, is actually part of a region claimed by Venezuela since the 1940s. Beal is studying Essequibo as an alternate site to Sombrero Island, a dependence of Great-Britain's Anguilla Island.
June 30
Ellipso Inc. and Arianespace have signed a memorandum of agreement covering four Ariane 5 launches and a financial package including vendor financing and an equity investment of Arianespace in Ellipso. The Ariane 5 launches, each carrying up to four Ellipso mobile communication satellites, are planned beginning in 2002 to loft the equatorial component of the Ellipso system, the Concordia constellation. Under Ellipso's current plans, the Concordia constellation will be composed of seven satellites.
June 29
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) signs a new contract with Starsem for the launch of a seventh cluster of four Globalstar satellites on a Soyuz U/Ikar vehicle. This launch, planned for the maintenance of the constellation, will be available from 2001.
June 29
The first captive flight of the X-34 hypersonic demonstrator is successfully conducted from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards AFB, California. The 110-minute flight was intended to verify the safety of the X-34/Stargazer composite to prepare for flight certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The flight was planned to last up to two-and-a-half hour but had to be shortened after a fuselage panel was seen vibrating on the Stargazer carrier aircraft. The Stargazer, a modified Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, is normally used by Orbital Sciences Corp. (OSC) - which built the X-34 for NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center - for air launches of its Pegasus winged rockets.
June 29
The cabinet of the Indian government gives its approval for the signature, by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), of a launch contract with Arianespace to loft the Insat 3A communication and meteorology satellite on an Ariane vehicle in mid 2000. This contract is reportdely worth Rs3,527 million (US$83 million).
June 29
Space Power Inc., of San Jose, Calif., is awarded a US$2.6-million contract by NASA's Glenn Research Center to provide for a flight demonstration of a T-160E Hall effect plasma thruster system on behalf of the Future-X program.
June 28
A Chinese company is proposing to invest Rmb 4 billion (US$500 million) to develop a spaceport in the island of Hainan, Southern China. According to Go Taikonauts (formerly Dragon in Space), the project includes a launch complex, a tourists center and a hi-tech industrial park. It is not clear yet whether the project is backed by the Chinese government. The Chinese Academy of Sciences has been operating a launch site for its Zhinui sounding rockets in the island since 1998.
 

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

June 25
Snecma and Volvo Aero have signed a cooperation agreement regarding R&D on turbomachinery for space propulsion systems.
June 25
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems has identified a breach in the thrust chamber of the second stage's Pratt&Whitney RL10B-2 engine has the likely cause of the failure of its second Delta 3 vehicle on May 5. The breach resulted in an explosion and caused the second stage's propulsion to shut down. Two unexplained shocks were recorded: one 4.5 seconds into the first burn of the RL10B-2 and the second, much larger, 3.5 seconds into the second burn. This second shock caused the engine's turbomachinery to stop and the vehicle began to tumble. An increase of temperature, probably from hot gases flowing into space was recorded, followed by an immediate decrease, probably from a cryogen propellant breach. The investigation is proceeding to identify the root cause of the failure. The investigation is now focusing on structural integrity of the thrust chamber, loads induced by the gimbaling system and quality control on the engine. The RL10B-2 is the latest evolution of Pratt&Whitney's highly successful RL10 series of cryogenic engines introduced in 1963. The May 5 flight was its first operational use in space. To achieve a 106-kN thrust with a 466-second Isp, the RL10B-2's chamber pressure has been increased to 42.2 atm compared to 41.5 atm on the RL10A-4's.
June 25
NASA plans to conduct the first captive flight of the X-34 hypersonic demonstrator, built by Orbital Sciences Corp. (OSC), on June 29. The 18-m long vehicle will be flown under the belly of OSC's "Stargazer" carrier aircraft, a modified Lockheed L-1011 TriStar used by OSC for air launches of its Pegasus winged rockets. The captive test flight, to be conducted from Edwards AFB, Calif., on behalf of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, is the first of a series planned as part of a certification process by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Unpowered drop tests and powered flights of the X-34 are due to begin later this year at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.
June 25
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and Lockheed Martin Michoud Space Systems have signed a Space Act Agreement to demonstrate a hybrid propulsion sounding rocket system. A demonstration flight is planned in early 2000 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, in Wallops Island, Va., with a 220-kN-thrust rocket able to loft 550 kg of payload to an altitude of more than 280 km. LMMSS has led the industrial team for MSFC's Hybrid Propulsion Demonstration Program since 1996 but the program has been slowed down after a successful series of four test-flights of Hyperion hybrid-powered sounding rockets from November 1996 to April 1997. Planned static firing tests of a 1,100-kN-thrust motor were not performed.
June 25
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center plans to hire Lee & Associates to continue an independent review of its Fastrac low-cost engine development program through September 30. Lee & Associates have been providing independent review of the program for the past two years.
June 24
Japan's Asahi Shimbun announces that North Korea has conducted an engine combustion test for its Taepo Dong 2 ballistic missile in early May.
June 24
Rotary Rocket claims to have secured satellite launch contracts worth more than US$900 million over 10 years. The company, which has been communicating on its "revolutionary" concept of rotor landing, has still to demonstrate its capability to achieve single-stage-to-orbit capability with a rocket-powered, privately-developed, manned vehicle. No real engineering information has been released on the Roton's proposed RocketJet powerplant whose development has been postponed. Moreover, Rotary Rocket still has to raise 80% of its US$150-million development budget. However, the start-up venture, which is highly active on the Internet to support and advertise its project, still claims to be able to fly operational missions in 2001. Rotary Rocket conducted its second rotor test on the Roton Atmospheric Test Vehicle (ATV) at Mojave Airport June 23. A hovering test is due within a month.
June 23
NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center has postponed the second drop test of the X-38 Vehicle 132 from a B-52N carrier aircraft over Edwards AFB, Calif., from June 24 to July 9 in order to fix an electrical problem with the demonstrator's flight controllers. Vehicle 132, a subscale model of the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle prototype, was first dropped on March 5. On its second flight, it will be released at an altitude 9,600 m to perform a 31-second glide. The X-38 program has already experienced a 11-month delay due to parafoil problems. This resulted in introduction of an operational Crew Return Vehicle for the International Space Station to slip from December 2003 to mid-2004, and now possibly to early 2005. A space reentry test of a full scale X-38 (Vehicle 201), scheduled for November 2000, is now expected in the third quarter of 2001.
June 23
Pakistan successfully test fires the main engine of its new Ghauri 3 intermediate range ballistic missile. The Ghauri 3, which could be a derivative of North Korea's Tapeo Dong 2 missile, would have a range of 2,700 to 3,500 km.
June 23
The launch of a Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg AFB is postponed indefinitely due to "technical difficulties."
June 22
Rotary Rocket has selected the Fastrac low-cost engine, developed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, to power the Roton Prototype Test Vehicle in order to reduce development risks and costs. Eight Fastrac-derived engines will be clustered around the vehicle to provide thrust for lift off. Development of the rotary RocketJet system is delayed.
June 21
Russian-Ukrainian ISC Kosmotras has signed two launch contracts with Great-Britain's Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. for two launches to be conducted on NPO Yuzhnoe Dnepr vehicles - refurbished RS-20 ballistic missiles - in March-April and October-November 2000.
June 21
The city of Merced, Calif., joins the competition for the selection of a launch site for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' VentureStar proposed reusable single-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle. Merced is proposing a site located near the former Castle AFB. More than 30 sites over the United States are competing, including three others in California: Lancaster and Palmdale, both near Edwards AFB, and Vandenberg AFB. A decision whether or not to develop the VentureStar is expected in late 2000 after completion of the test flight campaign of the X-33 advanced technology demonstrator.
June 21
Rotary Rocket lays off most of its staff (20 people) as a consequence of financial difficulties. Rotary Rocket still needs to raise US$120 million to proceed with the development of its Roton single-stage-to-orbit concept. Rotary Rocket claims to have signed a letter of intent with Applied Space Resources for the launch of its Lunar Retriever 1 commercial sample return probe to the Moon in 2002.

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

June 18
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is studying the feasibility of launching five Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission Study spacecraft simultaneously under the 3-m diameter fairing of a Boeing Delta 2/7925 vehicle.
June 18
Russia's NPO Mashinostroeniya plans to conduct the first test flight of its Strela small satellite launcher in mid-2000 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. On this demonstration flight, the Strela, a refurbished RS-18 ballistic missile with modernized avionics, is expected to loft a Russian military satellite but could be available for a commercial payload. A second demonstration flight, to validate a new launch complex, will be performed in mid-2001 from Svobodniy, Eastern Siberia. NPO-M is teaming with Rosvoorouzheniye to market the Strela. A launch price of US$7-10 million was announced.
June 17
The first ground firing test of Snecma's new 1,350-kN Vulcain 2 engine is conducted on the P5 stand at DLR's test center in Lampoldshausen, Germany. The 7-sec. burn is performed with the M201 engine which successfully reaches full thrust. Sixteen more static firing tests are due through November. A second test engine will be mounted on a test stand at Snecma's facilities in Vernon, Normandy, in September. Seven Vulcain 2 test engines are due to perform 120 tests totalling 56,000 sec. of burn time before the first flight model flies on Ariane 5 in late 2001.
June 17
FiatAvio completes the second ground firing test of its Zefiro motor in Salto di Quira, Sardinia. The Zefiro, which was first test-fired on June 18, 1998, is proposed to be used as the second stage of Europe's Vega launcher if the European Space Agency's council decides to proceed with its development in October.
June 17
NASA's Space Shuttle could be still flying in 2020 or even 2030 according to Boeing Reusable Space Systems vice-president and general manager Richard Stephens. The shuttle system should be able to sustain its flight rate with upgrades already planned through 2015. A decision on the development of Liquid Fly Back Boosters (LFBB) is not expected before 2002 at the earliest.
June 17
The space division of Spain's Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA) has completed the development and qualification of a new clamp ring spacecraft separation system to be introduced on the 5th and 6th flights of Ariane 5 later this year.
June 17
North Korean military forces are aparently preparing for the first test flight of the 6,000-km-range Taepo Dong 2 ballistic missile shortly according to Japanese government sources. Satellite pictures are showing that the launch pad in Musudan has been enlarged and that propellant has been transported to store-houses, presumably for a launch in July or August.
June 16
According to Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Space Systems/Loral is currently considering the switch of its Telstar 7 satellite from the first Atlas 3A vehicle, now due for launch circa August 17, to an Arianespace Ariane 4. Neither Loral nor Arianespace officials have commented the issue. If Telstar 7 does not fly on the maiden Atlas 3A mission, Lockheed Martin's newest launch vehicle could actually loft a dummy payload. SS/L currently holds two unassigned launch contracts with Arianespace. Due to continuous delays in the delivery of satellites in Kourou, French Guiana, Arianespace has several launchers already delivered at its launch site and is thus expected to be able to provide Telstar 7 a launch slot shortly.
June 16
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems plans to resume launches of its ill-fated Delta 3 vehicle in October. A Delta 3/8930 is lated to launch an ICO mobile communications satellite for Hughes Space & Communications on behalf of ICO Global Communications provided that the cause of the May 5 failure is fully understood and corrected. If the customer decides not to go, the third Delta 3 could eventually loft a dummy spacecraft.
June 16
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center plans to modify and enhance GASL test facilities in New York to prepare for testing of advanced airbreathing propulsion systems under the Rocket Based Combined Cycle (RBCC) effort of the Advanced Reusable Technology program.
June 16
NASA has contracted with Boeing Expendable Launch Systems for the launch of its Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) in December 2001. The launch vehicle will be a Delta 2/7920H, i.e. a two-stage Delta 2 with nine GEM-46 solid rocket motors as strap-on boosters. Developed by Alliant Techsystems for the Delta 3 program, the GEM-46 is a stretched and wider version of the Delta 2's standard GEM-40 booster. NASA is funding the development of the new Delta 2H version.
June 16
Sea Launch announces that it was awarded four more firm launches by Hughes Space & Communications over the 2001-2003 period. The launches are not options exercized on the previous bulk contract signed by Hughes in 1996 but were ordered through an amendment to this contract, which means that launch prices were re-negotiated. The company expects to sign its first contract outside the U.S. before the end of the year. According to Sea Launch's president, Allen Ashby, a Zenit 3SL launch is currently sold for US$70 to 90 million. Sea Launch's backlog now stands at 19 firm launch commitments, 14 for Hughes and five for Space Systems/Loral. Only six satellites are already assigned to Sea Launch flights, all on behalf of Hughes: DirecTV-1R, for DirecTV Inc.; PAS-9 for PanAmSat Corp.; Thuraya 1, for Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co.; an ICO mobile communications satellite for ICO Global Communications and two unidentified Hughes satellites likely to be the two XM digital audio radio satellites for XM Radio. The 5,500-kg Thuraya 1 is also manifested on Arianespace's Ariane 5.
June 15
Atlantic Research Corp. (ARC) has completed the critical design review for the SPT-140 stationary plasma thruster and the preliminary design review for its associated power processing unit on behalf of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) program. The 4.5 kW SPT-140 thruster will provide up to 280-mN thrust for orbital maneuvers such as geostationary transfers. It was designed and developed by Russia's OKB Fakel and will be marketed by International Space Technology Inc. (ISTI), a joint venture of ARC, Fakel, the Moscow Aviation Institute, Snecma and Space Systems/Loral.
June 15
Human errors caused the failure of three Titan 4 vehicles between August 1998 and April 1999 according to Keith Hall, U.S. assistant secretary of the Air Force for Space. Hall told the U.S. House of Representants' Technical and Tactical Intelligence subcommittee that the failure of a Centaur upper stage carrying a US$800-million Milstar 2 military communication satellite was due to a misplaced decimal point in the attitude control software of the Lockheed Martin Astronautics-built stage.
June 15
Pratt&Whitney Space Propulsion Operations unveils a new 225-kN thrust cryogenic engine, the RL50, intended to power upper stages for next generation launch vehicles. Pratt&Whitney plans to invest more than US$100 million to develop the RL50 engine which is planned to be qualified in 2003. Static firing tests are scheduled to begin in late 2000 or early 2001. The RL50 is an expander cycle restartable and throttlable engine about the size of today's RL10. It could be flown on current RL10-powered stages with minor adaptation. Development of the RL50 will benefit from advanced technologies, mainly for chamber cooling or turbine bearings, which were previously developed under U.S. Air Force's Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology program.
June 15
RKK Energiya unveils its new Kvant launcher, developed in cooperation with GP Krazmashzavod, and funded from the regional budgets of Moscow and Krasnoyarsk oblasts. The Kvant is based on a new first stage powered by NPO EnergoMash's RD-180 engine with a Block DM-SL (the third stage of Sea Launch's Zenit 3SL) as second stage. NPO-AP provides the avionics and the fiaring is inherited from the Proton K vehicle. Compatible with Zenit launch facilities in Baykonur and Plesetsk as well as with Sea Launch's Odyssey launch platform, the Kvant will be able to loft up to 4,800 kg to a 200 km, 51.6° circular orbit or 900 kg to geostationary transfer orbit.
June 14
NASA has given Lockheed Martin the go-ahead for talks with potential non-U.S. partners and investors to develop its proposed VentureStar commercial single-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicle "as long as there is no transfer of U.S. technology." Boeing, which was considered for an investment in the project, has failed to respond yet, although its Rocketdyne division is developing the VentureStar's RS-2200 aerospike engines. Snecma's Rocket Motor division, in France, could become a partner because of its expertise in high-temperature composite materials. However, Aerospatiale Matra Lanceurs Stratégiques & Spatiaux has stopped working on a carbon-carbon nose cap for the VentureStar's forerunner, the X-33 advanced technology demonstrator, since its contractor, BFGoodrich Aerospace (formerly Rohr), has eventually decided to develop a metallic nose cap for the hypersonic test vehicle. X-33 roll-out at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' facilities in Palmdale, Calif., is tentatively planned for January 2000, with a first flight in July. A decision whether to proceed with the development of a full-scale VentureStar is expected in late 2000.
June 14
NASA and the U.S. Air Force are again discussing the possible launch of a Defense Support Program (DSP) early warning satellite aboard a Space Shuttle mission in June 2001. This transfer of a TRW-built declassified spacecraft onboard the shuttle would allow the U.S. Air Force to save one of its Titan 4B vehicles for another mission.
June 14
The European Space Agency awards a contract to Starsem for the launch of its Mars Express probe to Mars atop a Soyuz U/Fregat vehicle in June 2003. The Soyuz U/Fregat combination is planned to perform two demonstration flights with Russian domestic payloads in early 2000 before lofting two pairs of Cluster 2 plasma science spacecraft for ESA in June and July 2000. The Fregat upper stage is a development by NPO Lavochkin.
June 14
Arianespace has signed its 200th launch contract since the company's inception in 1980. The customer is Matra Marconi Space, for the Nilesat 102 satellite it is building for Nilesat SA of Egypt. Arianespace's backlog now officially stands at 42 satellites to be launched.
June 14
Despite a 4-month flight interruption, Arianespace posted sales worth 1,086 million Euros (US$1.13 billion) in 1998, a 8.5% increase compared to 1997. Earnings reached 14 million Euros (US$14.6 million), compared to 11.8 million Euros (US$12.3 million) the previous year. Results for 1999 are still highly uncertain due to the delays in launches caused by late satellite deliveries. Only two Ariane 4s have been launched so far this year, lofting three satellites. However, Arianespace still plans to launch five to six more Ariane 4s in six months and up to thre Ariane 5s.
June 14
Arianespace's chief, Jean-Marie Luton, reports that the first commercial launch of Ariane 5 has slipped to August due to the unavailability of one of its payloads, namely WorldSpace's AsiaStar satellite.
June 14
Orbital Sciences Corp. has successfully tested an advanced, low-cost upper stage rocket engine developed under the joint NASA/U.S. Air Force Upper Stage Flight Experiment (USFE) program. The 140-sec. test occurred in a special facility at NASA's Stennis Space Center. The pressure-fed USFE engine, which uses a non-toxic hydrogen peroxide propellant, delivered 45 kN of thrust. A USFE-powered upper stage is planned to be test flown on a Minotaur vehicle departing from Kodiak Spaceport, Alaska, in late 2001.
June 14
Brazil's Aerospace Technical Center (CTA) now plans to conduct the second test flight of the indigenous VLS-1 small satellite launcher, in September or October. The VLS-1, which failed on its maiden flight in November 1997, is planned to perform a final test flight in 2001. Th second vehicle will carry the SACI-2 science microsatellite for the National Space Research Institute (INPE) while the third one is intended to loft a French-Brazilian technological microsatellite.

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

June 13
Germany's DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) has unveiled a concept of partly reusable two-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle they are jointly studying. Dubbed "Hopper", this 328-t vehicle, to be powered by three Vulcain 2 cryogenic, is based on the "suborbital hopper" design previously proposed under European Space Agency's Festip program. The Hopper would take off horizontally on a sled and release an expendable, cryogenic upper stage at high altitude to deliver 7,100 kg to low-Earth orbit or 5,400 kg to geostationary transfer orbit circa 2012. A demonstrator, dubbed "Phoenix", similar to the EXTV demonstrator proposed under ESA's Festip, would be developed to demonstrate the necessary technologies by the year 2002. Germany is currently not contributing to ESA's Future Launcher Technology Program (FLTP).
June 13
Orbital Sciences Corp. has selected Thiokol Propulsion, a division of Cordant Technologies, to provide two Star 30CBP kick motors to boost the B-Sat 2a and 2b satellites into geostationary orbit after their launch by Ariane vehicles in 2000 and 2001. The Star 30BCP apogee motor was introduced in July 1994 to boost Apstar 1. It later flew with Thaicom 2, Apstar 1A and Cakrawarta 1, OSC's first geostationary satellite. OSC is building the B-Sat 2 satellites for Japan's Broadcasting Satellite System Corp. (BSSC).
June 13
The demilitarization of Ukraine's 111th and last RS-18 (SS-19) ballistic missile has been completed. Thiokol Propulsion, a division of Cordant Technologies, provided technical operations, safety and maintenance oversight on the program.
June 12
NPO Yuzhnoe unveils a new version of its Zenit 2 vehicle, the Zenit 2M, which is basically a two-stage Zenit with an advanced avionics from Sea Launch's Zenit 3SL. It would be available circa 2002 for commercial launches to high-inclination orbits. Sea Launch holds exclusive rights for marketing of all versions of the Zenit vehicles. NPO Yuzhnoe also presents the Tsyklon 4 vehicle it is jointly developing with FiatAvio of Italy. This 3-stage vehicle features a new upper stage powered by a RD-861G engine, an improved version of the RD-861 jointly developed with FiatAvio. It would be available in early 2002 to loft up to 5,000 kg to low-Earth orbit.
June 12
Starsem completes an increase of its capital from FF500,000 to FF377 million (US$60 million). Part of this amount will be used to introduce a new version of the Soyuz vehicle, the Soyuz ST in early 2001. The Soyuz ST is actually the first version of the Soyuz 2 vehicle upgrade (Russian designation Soyuz 2-1A) featuring a new digital avionics, with an Ariane 4 payload fairing to be provided by Contraves Space of Switzerland. Plans to develop a Soyuz vehicle with a H10-3 cryogenic upper stage from the Ariane 4 have been dropped.
June 12
According China Great Wall Industry Corp. (CGWIC) officials at the Paris Air Show, the first unmanned test flight of a Chinese-built man-rated spacecraft is due in 2000, with the first manned mission currently planned in 2003. Photos of a man-rated CZ-2F launcher have been unveiled on the Internet on June 9.
June 12
A high-ranking Chinese military delegation visits a RS-12 Topol (SS-25) intercontinental ballistic missile unit in Novosibirsk, Russia.
June 12
KB KhimAvtomatiki (KB-KhA) unveils its new RD-0126 "Jastreb" engine which features a thrust chamber located inside the exhaust nozzle itself with an annular throat section. This 39.24-kN engine, which has already been successfully tested on stand, is able to provide a specific impulse of 476 seconds while burning liquid oxygen and hydrogen.
June 12
Moscow-based Keldysh Institute presents an electrothermal upper stage which could be used to booost satellites from low-Earth orbit to geostationary orbit in 20 to 60 days. The proposed stage uses a heat accumulator, powered by solar arrays, to warm up liquid hydrogen to 2000K and provide 100 N of thrust with a specific impulse of 750 seconds. An afterburner is also envisioned with the injection of liquid oxygen in the exhaust to increase thrust to 200-400 N with a lower specific impulse of 510-560 seconds.
June 12
Matra Marconi Space (MMS) and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) are planning to complete the merger of MMS with DASA's Raumfahrt Infrastruktur (DASA-RI) and Dornier Satellitensisteme (DSS) in July. The new company is tentaively planned to be known as "Astrium". MMS provides vehicle equipment bays for Ariane launchers. DASA-RI builds Ariane 4's second stage and Ariane 5's third stage and has a major expertise in space propulsion. DSS is a satellite manufacturer and builds Ariane 5's Speltra structure for dual launches. Astrium is planned to integrate Alenia Aerospazio's space activities in early 2000.
June 12
GKNPTs Khrunichev plans to increase the annual production of Proton launchers from 12 to 18 vehicles per year in 2000.
June 12
GKNPTs Khrunichev is negotiating with a consortium of Asia-Pacific investors for the building of launch site for its new Angara family of launchers in Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. Khrunichev is also studying various proposals for the refurbishment of the uncompleted Zenit launch facility in Plesetsk, also for the Angara. The facility is estimated 80% completed. Plans to launch Angara vehicles from Svobodniy have been shelved.
June 12
Arianespace has ordered three ASAP-5 (Ariane Structure for Auxiliary Payloads) from Matra Marconi Space. The ASAP-5 structure allows to carry up to eight 100-kg microsatellites or up to four 300-kg small satellites in addition to Ariane 5's primary payloads. Qualification of the ASAP-5 structure was completed in January 1999.
June 11
DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (DASA) and Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA) sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the merger of CASA into DASA. Both companies are Arianespace shareholders and will jointly hold 12.3% of Arianespace's capital. DASA is prime contractor for Ariane 4's secnd stage and Ariane 5's upper stage. The company is aos involved in space propulsion and holds 51% of Eurockot. CASA provides payload adapeters and structural elements for Ariane vehicles as well as conical structural parts for the Atlas 5 program under a contract from Lockheed Martin Astronautics.
June 10
Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) decides to postpone the launch of its Lunar A probe atop a M-5 vehicle from August 1999 to April 2002 at the earliest, following the failure of two prototype penetrators last year. Lunar A was initially intended to fly in 1997 atop the first M-5.
June 9
Pictures of a new Chinese vehicle, the CZ-2F, are released on the Internet. The CZ-2F is actually a man-rated version of the CZ-2E. Pictures clearly show a payload fairing closely similar to that of man-rated Soyuz U launchers, with an escape tower and stabilization grids. The CZ-2E is the rocket which failed at launching Hughes-built satellite in 1992 and 1995 and apparently led to unauthorized transfers of U.S. launcher technology to China, according to the Cox report. The released pictures of the CZ-2F are said to have been taken during a rehearsal in May 1998 in Jiuquan, Inner Mongolia, where a new launch pad has been built.
June 9
The Lockheed Martin Anomaly Investigation Team issues a preliminary finding on the failure of an Athena 2 vehicle April 27. According to the team, the electrical signal which was to trigger the ordnance system for the opening of the payload fairing did not occur due to open circuits in redundant connectors. These open circuits were apparently caused by deflection of the fairing after the firing of a previous ordnance system intended to separate the fairing from the Orbital Adjust Module (OAM). As a result, the 518-kg composite fairing did not split open and remained atop the module, preventing orbital injection and payload separation.
June 9
Alaska's governor has signed a legislation to provide an additional US$6-million yearly grant to the Alaska Aerospace Development Corp. (AADC) for construction and marketing of the Kodiak Island spaceport.
June 8
Boeing has formed an independent panel of experts to review the company's mission assurance processes and procedures to strengthen its expendable launch vehicle reliability. This Mission Assurance Review Team will examine the Delta, Sea Launch and Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) programs.
June 8
GenCorp Aerojet has successfully tested ignition, reliability anf throttlability of fuel- and oxidizer-rich preburners as the first step in the development of a highly reusable rocket engine on behalf of U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Integrated Powerhead Demonstration Program. This program intends to develop technologies for low-cost, lightweight and reliable rocket engines similar to those developed by Russian industry.
June 7
A team of Australian and Asia-Pacific investors is proposing to develop a new launch site on Hummock Hill Island on the Queensland coast, Australia, to operate a new launch vehicle, the ULV-22 (Unity Launch Vehicle). The ULV-22 is said to be under development by GRTsKB Makeyev, which developed Russian sea-launched ballistic missile systems. The vehicle's first stage would be powered by three RD-120U engines provided by NPO EnergoMash, and the second stage by a RD-0136 engine from KB KhimAvtomtiki. A third stage will be powered by thrusters developed by NII Mashinostroeniye. Quoted payload capability is 4,000 kg to a 500-km, 51.6° orbit. KBTM will provide launch infrastructure. A first test flight could be conducted in late 2001. The project is fostered by United Launch Services International (ULSI), a consortium led by Projects International Australia (PIA) and Thai Satellite Telecommunications (TST).
June 7
AlliedSignal Inc. and Honeywell Inc. have signed an agreement for a US$14.82-billion stock merger to form a combined company which will keep the name Honeywell. The merger has been approved by the boards of the two companies and has still to be approved by the shareholders and regulatory authorities. Full integration is expected to be completed within 10 months. AlliedSignal and Honeywell are both major providers of avionics subsystems for the space transportation industry.
June 7
Sea Launch officially announces that its first operational launch will occur in the August/September timeframe. A Zenit 3SL departing from the Odyssey offshore launch platform is due to loft the Hughes-built DirecTV 1R direct broadcasting satellite to geostationary transfer orbit. According to Sea Launch, this will be the second flight for Hughes since the launch of the DemoSat dummy spacecraft on March 27 was also sponsored by Hughes as the first of its 11 ordered launches.
June 7
Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) plans to resume the qualification test campaign of the LE-7A cryogenic engine June 8 at Tanegashima's Liquid Engine Testing Facility. The campaign has been interrupted since March 30 after a defect was spotted in the slit part of the engine's pre-burner injection unit. The LE-7A engine, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), is due to power the core stage of the H-2A launcher.

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

June 4
U.S. Air Force confirms that the failed launch of a Lockheed Martin Astronautics Titan 401B/Centaur vehicle on April 30 was due to a faulty computer software which misfired the Centaur cryogenic upper stage. The failure caused the loss of a US$800-million Milstar military communications satellite.
June 4
The French Space History Institute (IFHE) is officially created in Paris in order to protect French space heritage, both hardware and documents.
(Contact Herve Moulin, general secretary of IFHE)
June 4
Snecma's Rocket Motor Division (formerly SEP) delivers its 1,000th Viking engine to Arianespace. Viking engines are used to power Ariane 4's first and second stages as well as liquid strap-on boosters. The 1,000th engine, a Viking 4 with a large bell-shaped nozzle, is tentatively planned to power the second stage of Ariane V127, possibly in December.
 

  Photo Gallery: Chandra Mated With IUS-27

 

 

 

 

 

 


NASA
's 5,700-kg Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO) was mated with a Boeing Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) June 2. The CXO/IUS composite will be installed in space shuttle Columbia's cargo bay June 24 in preparation for a launch tentatively planned for July 22. Photos © NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

 

June 3rd
Snecma's Vulcain cryogenic engine, which powers the core cryogenic stage of Arianespace's Ariane 5, conducts its 364th static firing as part of the ARTA production quality control program sponsored by the European Space Agency (ESA). With this 600-sec. test, the Vulcain engine exceeded 125,000 seconds of cumulated burn time, the equivalent of about 213 Ariane 5 flights.
June 3rd
Arianespace's next two flights are being delayed indefinitely as two of their three payloads are grounded while tests are conducted to check a possible early degradation of their solar cells. New Skies' K-TV1 and WorldSpace's AsiaStar, both built on Matra Marconi Space's Eurostar 2000 bus, were planned for launch on an Ariane 44P-3 and an Ariane 5 vehicle on June 18 and July 8 respectively. Fokker Space and TRW provided the cells. According to insurance sources, AsiaStar's co-passenger on Ariane 5, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia's Telkom 1, could be transferred on an Ariane 4 as a single payload.
(see the Launch Log)
June 1st
The first static firing of the H-2A core cryogenic stage is interrupted after only 16 sec. due to technical anomalies. Pressure at the LE-7A engine falls below the set value and a malfunction is detected in the gimbaling system. The test, part of the GTV-1 ground test campaign, was conducted by Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) at the Large Rocket Launch Site of Tanegashima Space Center.

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

 

Other reliable space industry news services are available from:

Back to the top of the Page

Back to the Archives Section

Latest News


© Takyon International - 1997/99