News of

October 1998

October 30
U.S. Air Force Space Command announces the standdown of all U.S. Air Force Titan launch vehicles pending completion of the investigation on the Titan 4A launch failure on August 12. All Titan 4B and Titan 2 launches have been placed in an indefinite hold status.
October 30
SpaceDev is evaluating several designs of launch vehicles which could be developed from hybrid rocket engine technology acquired from AmRoC.
 

  PHOTO GALLERY: ARIANE 503 LAUNCH SUCCESS

 

 

    

 

 

 


The last qualification flight of European Space Agency's Ariane 5 heavy-lift launcher was successfully conducted on October 21 by Arianespace, on behalf of CNES which is prime for the vehicle's development. First commercial launch is now due in April 1999. Photos © ESA/CNES/Arianespace-service optique CSG.

 

 

 

   

   

 

 

 


European Space Agency
's Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator (ARD) capsule, built by Aerospatiale, was successfully released on a suborbital trajectory by Ariane 5 and performed an accurate reentry and landing in the Pacific Ocean. It demonstrated technologies developed under the Hermes program with potential applications on future manned spacecraft and reusable launch vehicles. Photos © ESA/CNES-service optique CSG & ESA/ECPA Pm. Deluc.

 

October 28
Starsem orders three more Globalstar launch dispensers from Aerospatiale Espace & Defense for launches atop Soyuz/Ikar vehicles.
October 28
NASA's Kennedy Space Center awards two IDIQ contracts potentially worth up to US$400 million to Orbital Sciences Corp. and Coleman Research Corp. on behalf of the second Small Expendable Launch Vehicle Services (SELVS-2) procurement. OSC and Coleman will compete for up to 16 launches over 5 years, respectively with their Pegasus/Taurus and LeoLink (LK) families of small launchers. LK vehicles are U.S.-built derivatives of Israel Aircraft Industries' Shavit launchers. The procurement covers 9 missions of the Pegasus/LK-1 class and 7 of the Taurus/LK-2 class.
 

  PHOTO GALLERY: LEOLINK LAUNCHERS

 

 

    

 

 

 


LeoLink
, a joint-venture of Coleman Research Corp., Israel Aircraft Industries and Matra Marconi Space, unveiled its LK-1 and LK-2 launchers in September. LK-1 is an improved version IAI's current Shavit 1. LK-2 features a Thiokol Castor 120 as first stage. Photos © S. Barensky.

 

October 27
NASA postpones the test flights of its X-33 advanced technology demonstrator, mainly due to delays in the development of the vehicle's XRS-2200 aerospike engine. First short range flights are now due to begin in late 1999. Long range flights are not expected before 2001.
October 26
ICO Global Communications issues a new launch plan for its 12-satellite constellation for mobile telephony in medium Earth orbit (MEO) adding one Atlas 2AS and one Proton K to replace two Zenit 3SL launches. The new plan now includes 2 Atlas 2AS, 4 Proton Ks, 5 Delta 3s and one Zenit 3SL. ICO has contracted with Marsh&McLennan for the insurance coverage of its satellites. The premium amounts to US$77 million.
October 26
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center asks the industry for proposals regarding manufacturing and commercialization of its Fastrac low-cost engine.
October 26
RKA, the Russian space agency, proposes to consolidate the Russian Federation's space propulsion industry into a single public company to improve the international marketing of its technologies.
October 26
Kistler Aerospace signs its final agreement with NTS Development Corp. to set up a commercial spaceport within Nevada's nuclear test site.
 

 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.

October 23
NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center gathers hypersonic flight data from an instrumented "glove" flown on the wing of a Pegasus vehicle. The Pegasus Hypersonic Experiment (PHYS-X) provides data through velocities beyond Mach 8.
October 22
The fifth test launch of a Russian RS-12M2 "Topol M" intercontinental ballistic missile fails seconds into flight, apparently due to a faulty self-destruct system.
October 21
The U.S. President signs the FY99 NASA Appropriations Bill which includes full US$282.8-million funding for the X-33 program.
October 21
The third and last qualification flight of European Space Agency's Ariane 5 launch vehicle is successfully conducted. The Ariane 503 vehicle lifts off at 16:37:21 UTC, releases the Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator capsule onto a reentry orbit and lofts the MaqSat 3 dummy spacecraft to geostationary transfer orbit.
 
Arianespace plans the first commercial launch in early 1999.
October 20
Boeing Expendable Launch Services completes the investigation on the failure of its first Delta 3 vehicle on August 27. The cause of the mishap is confirmed to be a faulty flight control software unable to manage an unexpected roll oscillation induced by the strap-on boosters' thrust vectoring system.
 

 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.

October 19
Boeing Expendable Launch Services has completed the preliminary design review of the Solar Orbiting Test Vehicle (SOTV) it is developing on behalf of a US$48-million contract from the U.S. Air Force.
October 16
U.S. Air Force's Space & Missile Systems Center awards two US$500-million contracts to Boeing Expendable Launch Services and Lockheed Martin Astronautics to complete the development of the vehicles they designed for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) procurement, respectively the Delta 4 and the "Heavy Atlas".
 
In addition a US$1,378-million contract is awarded to Boeing for 19 launches of the Medium and Heavy versions of the Delta 4 from 2001 to 2006. Nine more launches are contracted from Lockheed Martin for US$649 million.
 
Boeing also announces firm commercial commitments for three launches of Delta 4 in 2001 and 2002.
October 15
The U.S. Air Force puts three Titan missions on hold pending resolution of some issues regarding the launch failure of the last Titan 4A vehicle on August 12. A Titan 23G was due to loft NASA's QuikSCAT satellite on November 27 while two Titan 4B were scheduled to launch the DSP-19 early warning satellite and the Milstar 2-F1 military communications satellite on December 18 and January 27 respectively.
October 14
The second ground firing test of the RD-180-powered first stage of Lockheed Martin Astronautics' Atlas 3 launcher is terminated 2.7 seconds into a planned 56 seconds duration at Marshall Space Flight Center's Advanced Engine Test Facility
October 14
The European Space Agency, CNES, the French space agency, and Arianespace inaugurate a new website dedicated to the Ariane 503 qualification flight: http://www.ariane503.org/
 

  PHOTO GALLERY: POLYOT AIR LAUNCHED VEHICLE

 

 

     

 

 

 


A new Russian venture, Air Launch Aerospace Corp., proposes to develop the Polyot vehicle which would be ejected in altitude from an An 124 carrier aircraft. The Polyot design is based on existing technologies and elements and will use liquid oxygen and liquid methane as propellant. First test launch is expected in 2001. Photos © Air Launch Aerospace Corp.

 

October 12
Sea Launch confirms that its Zenit 3SL launch vehicle will carry a dummy payload on its maiden flight in March 1999.
October 12
PanAmSat Corp. has signed a contract with Arianespace for the launch of two satellites. an Ariane 4 will launch Galaxy 11 in March or April 1999 and another satellite will ride an Ariane 4 or an Ariane 5 during the last quarter of 1999. Galaxy 11 was previously scheduled to be lofted by Sea Launch's first Zenit 3SL.
 

 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.

October 9
Lockheed Martin Astronautics is awarded a US$1.327-billion increase on the contract for the production and launch services of Titan 4 and Titan 2 launch vehicles for the U.S. Air Force. The modification of the existing contract includes procurement of an additional Centaur upper stage, of three pairs of SRMU boosters from Alliant TechSystems and an additional SRMU ground test firing to qualify a modified nozzle.
October 9
The investigation on the launch failure of a Ukrainian-built Zenit 2 vehicle on September 9 pinpoints Russian-made onboard computer as the source of the failure, possibly due to an electrical outage.
 

  PHOTO GALLERY: ARIANE 503 LAUNCH CAMPAIGN

 

 

     

 

 

 


Preparation of the last qualification flight of European Space Agency's Ariane 5 continues in French Guiana on behalf of CNES, which is prime for the launcher's development, and Arianespace, which bought the vehicle from the industry and will take over production and launch services after this flight, now due on October 20. The Matra Marconi Space-built vehicle equipment bay was stacked atop the launcher's lower composite, followed by the EPS upper stage provided by DASA. Photos © ESA/CNES/Arianespace.

 

 

 

  The Aerospatiale-built Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator capsule is prepared for a suborbital ride on the Ariane 503 vehicle.

 

 

  Photos © ESA/CNES/Arianespace-service optique

October 9
The U.S. Congress passes a new legislation which allows private ventures to get operating licenses from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for reentry vehicles, such as reusable launch systems.
October 9
Atlantic Research Corp. agrees to acquire the liquid propulsion business of British Aerospace's Royal Ordnance.
October 8
Alaska Aerospace Development gets an operating license from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for its commercial launch site in Narrow Cape, Kodiak Island.
October 5
North Korea confirms it will proceed with test launches of its Taepo Dong missiles and launch vehicles.
October 5
Space Systems/Loral has exercized three options on its existing contract with Starsem to launch three more clusters of 4 Globalstar satellites atop Soyuz-Ikar boosters in early 1999.
 

  PHOTO GALLERY: PROTEUS CARRIER AIRCRAFT

 

 

   

 

 

 


Scaled Composites
unveils its Proteus high-altitude aircraft which could be proposed as carrier aircraft for a ultra-light lift air-launched rocket. Photos © Scaled Composites.

 

October 4
Sea Launch's Odyssey launch platform arrives at the company's Homeport in Long Beach after a 3.5-month trip from St. Petersburg via Gibraltar, the Suez canal and Singapore.
October 2
NASA's Stennis Space Center conducts first powerpack test of the Boeing Rocketdyne XRS-2200 linear aerospike engine which is intended to boost the X-33 demonstrator in 1999. During the test, the main generating and pumping components of the engines are successfully operated.
 

 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.

 

Other reliable space industry news services are available from:

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