News of June 2001

Dates are those of the events (in UT) when available.
 
Commercial Launchers | Government Launchers | Small Launchers
Missile Systems | RLVs and Reentry Systems | Space Propulsion
Spaceports | Industry | Launch Market | Miscellaneous

 Commercial Launchers

June 28 - Nimiq 2 on Atlas 5
Télésat Canada has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Commercial Space for the in-orbit delivery of its new Nimiq 2 direct broadcasting satellite. The A2100AX-type spacecraft, carrying 32 Ku-band transponders and a Ka-band payload, will be launched in the fourth quarter of 2002 atop the first Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 vehicle of the 500 series (with a 5-m-wide payload fairing). The launch will be conducted under one of the two launch contracts awarded by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space to International Launch Services (ILS) earlier in June. The contract includes a backup launch capability on a GKNPTs Khrunichev Proton vehicle.
Editor's note: The actual choice between the Atlas 5 and Proton options will have to be confirmed about 6 months before launch. .
June 22 - Arianespace Announces Record-Breaking Backlog
Arianespace has added two more launch contracts to its backlog for two undisclosed satellites with customers requiring confidentiality. These last launch commitments bring to eight the number of launch contracts announced by Arianespace during the Paris Air Show. The total value of the deals nears ¤600 million. The backlog now stands at 54 payloads (45 satellites and 9 ATVs) and is worth some ¤4.9 billion.
June 21 - Arianespace to Launch France's New Milcomsat
Alcatel Space has signed a launch contract with Arianespace for the launch of the Syracuse 3A military communication satellite on behalf of Délégation Générale pour l'Armement, the French defense procurement agency. The 3,700-kg spacecraft, based on Alcatel's Spacebus 3100 bus, will be lofted by an Ariane 5 vehicle during the last quarter of 2003.
Editor's note: According to DGA, Arianespace was put in competition with other launch providers for this mission.
June 20 - Melco Commits to Delta 4 Launch
As part of a wide industrial pact also covering space communications and navigation and air traffic management, Mitsubishi Electric Co. has selected Boeing as its preferred non-Japanese launch provider. A contract is under final negotiations for one Delta 4 launch with options for up to five more between 2002 and 2007.
June 19 - Arianespace to Launch Rosetta Probe
The European Space Agency has signed a contract with Arianespace for the launch of its Rosetta probe to the asteroids Otawara and Siwa and the comet P/Wirtanen. The probe, built by Astrium, will fly in January 2003 atop an Ariane 5ESV with a restartable EPS/V upper stage. The 3,000-kg probe will fly by Earth and Mars in 2005, asteroid Otawara in 2006, Earth again in 2007 and Siwa in 2008 prior to its rendezvous with comet 46P/Wirtanen in 2011 for a 2-year observation mission.
 


  
Atlas 5 and Ariane 5ECA
(ILS/Arianespace)
June 19 - Inmarsat Taps Atlas and Ariane to Launch Inmarsat 4
Inmarsat has selected International Launch Services and Arianespace to launch its next generation of satellites, the 6-ton Inmarsat 4s. The two rival launch providers will be awarded a firm contract for one launch with options for more. The contract with ILS has already been approved by Inmarsat's board and is under final negotiation. The contract with Arianespace will be reviewed by the board by late June and will be signed shortly after. Three Inmarsat 4 satellites have been ordered in 2000 from Astrium. The first two are due for launch in the 3rd quarter of 2003 and in early 2004. The third one will be a ground spare. The ILS contract will cover a dedicated launch on an Atlas 5 while Arianespace's one will be for a dual launch atop an Ariane 5ECA. Since none of these vehicles has flown yet, the contracts will be subject to revision if preset development deadlines are not met. According to Inmarsat unsuccessful bids were submitted by Sea Launch, for a dedicated Zenit 3SL flight, and Boeing, for a dual launch on a Delta 4H.
 

June 18 - Boeing Finds Customer for First Delta 4
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems announces that it has signed in June with a customer for the maiden flight of its new Delta 4 vehicle. The identity of the customer and its payload should be unveiled before August. The mission, with a Delta 4M+ (4,2) vehicle (4-m fairing and two Alliant Techsystems GEM-60 strap-on boosters), is scheduled on April 30, 2002. The first flight model of the Boeing Rocketdyne RS-68 engine will be delivered in July while the engine qualification should be completed in August with 19,000 sec. of cumulated burn time (14,000 sec. already logged). The first Common Booster Core stage will arrive in Cape Canaveral on August 21. The SLC-7 launch complex will be ready for launch in October. Boeing claims to have signed more than 50 launch contracts on Delta 4 (including 21 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle launches for the U.S. Department of Defense) but declines to provide any details, citing confidentiality requirements by its customers.
June 18 - Delta 4H Launch Opportunity
Boeing Expendable Launch Systems has been allowed to sell the room under the fairing of its first Delta 4H vehicle to a commercial customer. The U.S. Air Force has agreed to pay US$141 million for this demo flight now due during the fourth quarter of 2002.
June 18 - Sea Launch Signed for Two Additional Launches
Sea Launch claims to have signed two more contracts, in March and June, for a single contractor requiring confidentiality. Sea Launch backlogs thus stands now at 16 firm launch commitments. The Boeing-led launch venture is also negotiating with a would-be customer for a launch in late 2001 and claims to be able to reach a launch rate of 7 flights per year in 2003. Next year it will also try to conduct two Zenit 3SL launches during a single trip to the Equator. Such an operation would require to transfer the integrated vehicle from the Assembly & Command Ship to the Launch Platform while at sea.
June 18 - ILS Announces Two New Contracts
International Launch Services has announced two new launch contracts for its Atlas 5 vehicle. The customer is Lockheed Martin Commercial Space for operators who have required confidentiality. The launches are due in the 4th quarter of 2002 and the 3rd quarter of 2003. The two satellites are reportedly in the 3.5-ton class.
June 17 - Arianespace Adds Three to Backlog
Arianespace was awarded three launch contracts by PanAmSat Corp. to loft three 1,700-kg communication satellites ordered earlier to Orbital Sciences Corporation. Galaxy 12 will be launched in late 2002 on an Ariane 5 or an Ariane 4 while PAS Light 2 and 3 are scheduled to fly on Ariane 5 vehicles in the second half of 2003 and in 2004.
June 13 - Arianespace Confirms Losses
Arianespace has given the final figure for its results in 2000. Last year, the Ariane launch system operator posted sales worth ¤1,108 million (US$955 million), a 13.5% increase compared to 1999, and recorded its first losses in 20 years, worth ¤242 million (US$209 million). As previously reported, theses losses were caused by large investments for the introduction of Ariane 5 and the building of new dedicated infrastructures in Europe and French Guiana. Arianespace reportedly expects to get back in the black in 2001.
 



Zenit 3SL
(Sea Launch)
June 8 - Sea Launch Wants Access to Institutional Payloads
Sea Launch has proposed NASA to use its Zenit 3SL launch vehicle to loft payloads to the International Space Station according to Space News. Under the current U.S. policy, government payloads have to fly atop U.S. launchers unless the launch is provided free of charge as part of an international agreement. Sea Launch would like to breach this limitation and to get access to the U.S. government launch market, currently under control of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
Editor's note: To be considered a U.S. launch service, Sea Launch should be more than 50%-owned by U.S. shareholders and make more than 50% of its expenditures in the United States. This could be achieved if Kvaerner AS can sell its 20% stake to a U.S. partner. However, Kvaerner has been trying to leave the venture since 1999.
 

June 8 - Ariane Launch Delayed by Weather
Arianespace had to scrub the launch of its 104th Ariane 4 vehicle 25 minutes before liftoff due to high winds over the launch site. A new launch attempt has been set for June 9.
June 6 - First Atlas 5 Lands in Florida
Lockheed Martin's first Atlas 5 core stage was delivered in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station by an Antonov 124 carrier aircraft. The Centaur upper stage arrived earlier, on June 3. The two stages, which are flight models due for launch in May 2002, will be used for compatibility tests at the operations center and later at the new Vertical Integration Facility to validate umbilical connections and autocouplers on the mobile launch platform at SLC-41.

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 Government Launchers

June 25 - DSCS on Delta 4
As planned since 1998, the U.S. Air Force has officially assigned the launch of its last Defense Satellite Communication System spacecraft (DSCS-3/A-3) to a Boeing Delta 4M vehicle in the second quarter of 2003.
Editor's note: This launch is one of the 19 initially awarded to Boeing under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) procurement contract in October 1998.
 



CZ-5 family of launchers
(Star.net.cn - Go Taikonauts)
June 7 - China Unveils CZ-5 Launchers
China's Star.net.cn website has published the first graphics of the new family of Chinese launchers currently under development, according to Go Taikonauts. The Chang Zheng 5 (CZ-5 "Long March") series will include three basic versions based on modular stages with diameters of 5, 3.35 and 2.25 m. The booster stages will be powered by 1,200-kN-thrust hydrocarbon engines and the upper stages by 500-kN-thrust cryogenic engines.
Editor's note: The heavy-lift version is apparently composed of a 2-stage all-cryogenic 5-m-diameter core vehicle with four hydrocarbon boosters (two 2.25-m and two 3.35-m diameter). It would be able to loft 13 tons of payload to geostationary transfer orbit or 325 tons to low Earth orbit. A medium-lift version would be based on the 3.35-m-diameter hydrocarbon booster stage with two cryogenic upper stage (or one hydrocarbon and one cryogenic), four 2.25-m-diameter hydrocarbon strap-on boosters and a 4-m diameter payload fairing. The smallest version would be based on the 2.25-m-diameter hydrocarbon booster stage with a small cryogenic upper stage.
 

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 Small Launchers

June 20 - Rokot Targets GTO
GKNPTs Khrunichev is developing a new version of the Breeze manueverable upper stage, dubbed Breeze KS, to conduct launches to geostationary transfer orbit from Plesetsk. With a dry mass 80-kg lighter than the current Breeze KM, the Breeze KS will be used to loft Khrunichev's Yakht Dialog satellites. The spacecraft will then use an onboard xenon propulsion system to reach the geostationary orbit. Two Yakht Dialog satellites have been ordered by Intersputnik and will be launched in 2003 as Intersputnik M1 and M2. The launch themselves will be subcontracted to Eurockot.
June 20 - Lockheed Martin to Support Japan's J-2
Lockheed Martin Astronautics plans to take a share in Japan's Galaxy Express, the new company incorporated by Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries to market the J-2 launcher. Lockheed Martin will provide an Atlas tankage for the vehicle's NK-33 powered first stage.
June 17 - Vega Undergoes PDR
ELV SpA, the joint-venture of FiatAvio and ASI, the Italian space agency, has turned all the technical specifications for the Vega small satellite launcher to the European Space Agency for its preliminary design review. The PDR is expected to be completed in late July in order to allow the award of contracts for the actual development phase before the end of the year. Vega's maiden flight is tentatively set for 2005 from Kourou, French Guiana. Options for the new launcher's ground segment are discussed by ESA, CNES and Arianespace.
Editor's note: Vega will be developed for ESA by ELV and operated by Arianespace.
June 16 - Boeing Air Launch Study Proceeds
Boeing has invested US$3 million in 2001 to continue the study on its proposed Air Launch System. The 3-stage airborne launcher would be based on two Thiokol Castor 120 motors and a new Star 95 as third stage. The carrier aircraft would be a current Boeing B-747 Shutlle Carrier Aircraft (SCA). The concept vehicle is currently undergoing wind tunnel testing. A full-scale development could later be decided to be ready to support U.S. Air Force's Space Maneuvering Vehicle (SMV) circa 2005.
June 15 - Taurus to Loft Taiwan's RoCSat 2
Taiwan's National Space Program Office has selected Orbital Sciences Corp. for the launch of its RoCSat 2 satellite atop a Taurus XL vehicle in 2003. The Astrium-built satellite, due for launch into Sun-synchronous orbit from Vandenberg, will incorporate a high resolution remote sensing payload.
Editor's note: NSPO had reportedly contracted in 2000 with India's Antrix Corp. Ltd. for a launch on a PSLV vehicle but had to back off in February 2001 under pressure from the United States.
June 8 - Kosmos 3M Resumes Flight
A Kosmos 3M vehicle successfully lofts a Parus-type Russian military navigation satellite. This 402nd launch of the 3M version since its introduction in 1967 is also the first since the loss of EarthWatch's QuickBird 1 on November 20, 2000, due to the failure of the vehicle's 2nd stage. A first launch attempt, on April 27, had to be scrubbed after an anomaly was detected in the control systems of the vehicle second stage's vernier engines.
Editor's note: The production of Kosmos 3M launchers ahs reportedly been discontinued in 1995.
June 5 - Pegasus Postponed After HXLV Failure
NASA and Orbital Sciences Corp. have decided to postpone the launch of a Pegasus XL vehicle due to carry the US$85-million High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (HESSI) satellite from June 7 to June 12 at the earliest while an investigation is underway to identify the cause of the failure of the Hyper-X Launch Vehicle (HXLV) shortly after mid-air release on June 2. The vehicle apparently failed only 8 seconds into powered flight, possibly loosing one of its aft control surfaces. It had to be destroyed 51 seconds into flight, at an altitude of 7,400 m above the Pacific Ocean, after veering off course, out of control.
Editor's note: The HXLV is a modified version of the Pegasus XL's first stage designed to boost NASA's X-43A scramjet demonstrator to about Mach 7. It features extra thermal protection and a reinforced structure to withstand increased atmospheric heating and aerodynamic loads.
 



Angara 1.1
(Khrunichev)
June 4 - Angara Faces Delays
The maiden flight of GKNPTs Khrunichev's new Angara launch vehicle is now set for 2003 at the earliest, instead of 2001 as initially planned. The development of the new family of launchers reportedly had to face numerous difficulties regarding government funding of the overall effort, increase of the Angara core module's mass and delays in the refurbishment of the Zenit launch facilities in Plesetsk to accommodate the new boosters. The first vehicle to be introduced will be the Angara 1.1 small launcher. Larger versions will be brought in on the following years.
Editor's note: Angara is wholly funded by the Russian government. Neither International Launch Services nor Lockheed Martin have any plan to invest in the program. However, ILS will eventually take over the international marketing of the Angara launchers. The Angara 1.1 is due to replace the current Rokot vehicle which will have to be phased out in 2007.
 

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 Missile Systems

June 28 - DoD Proposes to Scrap MX ICBMs
The U.S. Department of Defense has asked the U.S. Congress for an authorization to dismantle its 50 MX Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles. The plan would be considered as a first step toward a unilateral reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal while pushing ahead the missile defense systems.
June 27 - DoD to Boost NMD Budget
The U.S. Department of Defense plans to increase its budget for missile defense programs by about US$2 billion to reach US$8 billion in FY2002 according to the independent U.S. Center for Defense Information. Most of the increase is actually expected to support the U.S. Navy's Theater Wide (NTW) defense program for boost-phase interception of incoming missiles which could be deployed as early as 2004.
June 27 - NMD Not Mature Enough to be Tested
None of the U.S. National Missile Defense (NMD) systems are mature enough to allow adequate performance evaluation, according to an internal report prepared in August 2000 by the U.S. Department of Defense and recently released to members of the U.S. Congress. According to this report, the only successful NMD interception test to date, on October 3, 1999, was made possible by a Global Positioning System inside the dummy warhead which helped guide the Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) to its target.
 



RS-18
(RVSN)
June 26 - NPO-M Wants RS-18 to Stay
Russia should keep its RS-18 (SS-19 "Stiletto") intercontinental ballistic missiles in active duty according to Gerbert Yefremov, director general and chief designer of the NPO Mashinostroeniya. After the RS-20 (SS-18 "Satan") are discarded, only the RS-18 will be able to fulfill its mission "in the contemporary conditions" says Yefremov. A RS-18 missile was successfully flown from Baykonour, Kazakhstan, to the Kura proving ground in Kamchatka peninsula.
Editor's note: With a 4.5-ton lift capability, the RS-18 is better suited to the launch of multiple warheads than the RS-12M Topol which can carry only 1 ton of payload. More than 900 warheads are currently deployed in 140 RS-18 silos. Rbl 80 million were allocated in 2001 to keep them operational, 2% of which have been paid to NPO Mashinostroeniya. Under the current treaties, all RS-18 must be discarded before late 2007. The RS-18 is the basis of Eurockot's Rokot and NPO Mashinostroeniya's Strela launch vehicles.
 

June 25 - U.S. Sub Fires Three Trident FBMs
Three Trident 2 (D5) fleet ballistic missiles were launched from the USS Louisiana (SSBN-743) nuclear submarine off the coast of Florida near Cape Canaveral. The operational evaluation test flights scored the 92nd, 93rd and 94th successes in a row for the latest U.S. sea-launched ballistic missile system.
Editor's note: The U.S. Navy has purchased 384 Trident 2 (D5) missiles from Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space since initial production began in 1987.
June 19 - Russia Plans MIRVs if ABM Treaty Collapses
Russia will install Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) on its intercontinental ballistic missiles if the United States deploys its controversial National Missile Defense (NMD) system, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The modification of the currently deployed vehicles could be accomplished under a minimum funding according to Russia.
Editor's note: Russia agreed to retire its existing fleet of multiple warhead missiles as part of the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start 2), signed with the United States in 1993.
June 19 - Astrium Proposes European Missile Defense
Astrium has dusted off its studies for a European ballistic missile defense system. According to the company's chairman & CEO, Armand Carlier, Astrium has the capability to develop a system of early warning satellites based on its Eurostar 3000 bus and incorporating infrared sensors before 2010 while its parent company EADS has the technical know-how to prepare the development of interceptor missiles for a theater missile defense system. Astrium has proposed to Délégation Générale pour l'Armement, the French defense procurement agency, to develop two demonstration microsatellites in geostationary transfer orbit.
June 11 - Logicon Gets NMD Contract
Northrop Grumman's Logicon was awarded two contracts by Boeing, totalling US$89 million in value, to provide the ground software to compute interception paths for the U.S. National Missile Defense system's Ground-Based Interceptors as well as system engineering and integration support for the development of the whole NMD. These contracts continue Logicon's involvement in the NMD program which has generated more than US$125 million in revenue since 1998.
June 8 - NMD Deployment Possibly Speeded Up
The U.S. administration is evaluating options to speed up the development of its controversial U.S. National Missile Defense (NMD) system in order to field the first operational Ground-Based Interceptors by 2004, before the end of President George W. Bush's current term, according to the Washington Post. The lead contractor, Boeing, reportedly presented various options to the U.S. Defense Department on April 23, including one that would place five GBIs in Alaska by March 2004.
Editor's note: The GBI is due to be flight tested for the first time in the coming months, more than one year beyond initial schedule. Its payload, the Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), has logged one hit in three interception tests under reportedly simplified conditions. A fourth interception test is due in late July. One June 7, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Defense Ministers of 15 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), that the United States would not make decisions on the configuration of the missile defense system until the technologies have been tested.
June 8 - Next NMD Interception Test in July
The U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Organization plans to resumes test flights of the Boeing-built prototype Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) in late July as part of the preliminary development of a U.S. National Missile Defense (NMD) system. The EKV will ride a Lockheed Martin Payload Launch Vehicle departing from U.S. Army's Kwajalein Missile Range in Marshall Islands to attempt an interception on an incoming warhead launched by a Minuteman 2 intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg AFB, California.
Editor's note: The EKV precedently scored a successful interception on October 2, 1999 and two failures, due to a faulty sensor cooling system on January 19, 2000 and to a malfunction of its PLV carrier rocket on July 8, 2000.
June 7 - U.S. to Resume Talks With North Korea
U.S. President George W. Bush plans to resume talks with North Korea regrading the country's production and exports of advanced missile technologies and other topics. The U.S. will reportedly ask for "verifiable constraints on North Korea's missile programs and a ban on its missile exports."
Editor's note: The talks, initiated by the previous U.S. administration had been on hold since the election as the new U.S. government was reviewing its policy toward North Korea.
June 5 - Russia Links ABM Treaty to 32 Accords
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov considers that if the United States withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile interdiction treaty signed in 1972 with the Soviet Union, this will also invalidate 32 strategic weapon limitation agreements which have been signed since then between the U.S. and Soviet or Russian governments.
June 5 - Herley to Supply Trident Monitoring Systems
Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space has awarded a contract to Herley Industries to supply telemetry data acquisition systems for performance monitoring of Trident 2 D5 sea-launched ballistic missiles during operational evaluation test flights. Beyond initial engineering development, the contract includes options for up to 13 years of production with a total value potentially exceeding US$23 million.
June 4 - Japan Considers Buying North Korean Missiles
The Japanese government is reportedly studying the possibility to set up an international organization to buy up and scrap North Korean missiles. The United States, South Korea and the European Union might join the project according to diplomatic sources. The organization would be in charge of acquiring all North Korean No Dong missiles while the North Korean government would agree not to build more of them for export. The profit from the sales would also have to be used only for non-military purposes.
June 1st - U.S./Russian Inspections Completed
The last round of mutual inspections by U.S. and Russian teams to testify the elimination of short and medium range ballistic missiles has been completed. The inspections were conducted on behalf of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty which was signed by the United States and Russia on December 8, 1987. From July 1988 to May 1991, the two the sides scrapped all the hardware covered by the agreement: 846 missiles and 289 launch systems for the United States, and 1,846 missiles and 825 launch systems for the Soviet Union.

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 RLVs and Reentry Systems

June 29 - X-38 Drop Test Postponed
NASA had to cancel the drop test of a subscale prototype of its X-38 Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) demonstrator after the test vehicle and its NB-52B carrier aircraft had taken off from Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards AFB, California. The scrub was caused by a technical glitch with a ground-based radio equipment. A second attempt could occur as soon as July 2.
Editor's note: This drop-test is the second of the V-131R, the former V-131 which flew twice in March 1997 and February 1999 and has been refurbished to the final X-38 aerodynamic shape, designed by France's Dassault Aviation. Its first flight as V-131R occured in November 2000 to evaluate the new shape and to demonstrate European Space Agency's guidance and navigation software to be used on the actual CRV.
June 29 - Atlantis Launch Date Set
After weeks of uncertainty due to a malfunction in the backup mode of the International Space Station's Canadarm2 remote manipulator, NASA eventually clears ist Space Shuttle Atlantis for a launch on July 12. The STS-104 mission will be dedicated to the delivery of a 6,064-kg Airlock Module which will require the use of Canadarm2 to be docked to the Unity module, out of reach of the shuttle's own Canadarm manipulator.
June 25 - ISS May Loose International Involvement
International partners may jump off the International Space Station program if NASA cannot increase the number of resident crew from 3 to 6, according to NASA's ISS program manager Tommy Holloway. Under the international agreement signed with European countries, Canada and Japan in 1998, NASA is supposed to provide a 6-to-7-crewmember capability. A failure to achieve this capability would be a breach in the internattional agreement, said Holloway, according to Florida Today.
Editor's note: The current crew limitation is dictated by the size of the emergency crew return vehicle, currently a RKK Energiya Soyuz TM ship. Plans for a 7-passenger Crew Rescue Vehicle (CRV) have been shelved after a US$4-billion cost overrun on the overall ISS program has been pointed out earlier this year. With only 3 crewmembers, only 20 man-hours a week will be available for research support and flight opportunities for international astronauts to work onboard the station will be limited to short one-week stays onboard visiting Shuttle and Soyuz flights.
June 21 - CNES Proposes its ANGEL Plan to ESA
As announced in early April, CNES, the French space agency, has submitted a new proposal, dubbed Advanced New Generation European Launcher (ANGEL) to the European Space Agency, for the inception of a program to foster the necessary technologies for the development of a future, reusable launcher in Europe. If approved by ESA's ministerial council in November, ANGEL could be implemented in two phases. The ¤220-million first phase would be dedicated to technology maturation with the launch of two Pre-X vehicles to test autonomous flight and landing as well as hypersonic reentry through 2004. The ¤700-million second phase would include test flights of X-vehicles for technology demonstrations in order to allow a decision on the development of an operational reusable or semi-reusable launch system by mid-2009. France would contribute for at least 50% of the funding. If the program cannot be Europeanized, CNES considers the option of running a reduced version of the effort, at a national level, with an initial ¤100-million budget. The ANGEL study was conducted from January to June 2001 by CNES, Onera, EADS Launch Vehicles, Snecma Moteurs, Dassault Aviation and Astrium, with a contribution from Germany's DLR.
Editor's note: In May 1999, ESA's ministerial council awarded ¤48 million to the 18-month first phase of the Future Launcher Technology Program (FLTP). CNES provided an ¤31-million share of the program's initial budget. Unfortunately, due to lengthy procedures and management mismatch between the partners, the first contracts to the industry were to be issued in February when the whole program was put on hold to revise its objectives, officially due to major changes in the international market and future launcher strategies, and to improve synergy with other national programs. The FLTP-1 funds are still available and could awarded to another similar effort.
June 19 - Astrium Teams with Rosaviakosmos on IRDT
Astrium and Rosaviakosmos have signed a MoU regarding the development of new applications for NPO Lavochkin's Inflatable Reentry & Descent Technology (IRDT). A joint-venture could be incorporated later. IRDT, which was demonstrated in February 2000 on the maiden flight of Soyuz-Fregat, could be used for low-cost return of payloads from the International Space Station, on planetary missions or for the recovery of upper stages. The agreement gives exclusive rights to Astrium on IRDT development and marketing. Two IRDT test flights are due on Volna or Shtil submarine-launched vehicles in July , for the recovery of the Planetary Society's Cosmos solar sail demonstrator, and in September.
June 16 - Baikal Steals the Show
Like it did in 1999, GKNPTs Khrunichev dominates the Paris Air Show entrance with a full scale model of its proposed Baikal reusable booster stage. The 27-m-long vehicle, powered by a single NPO EnergoMash RD-191 engine, would also feature a jet engine for maneuvering during fly-back, fed with kersosene from the main propellant tank. Dry mass is 17.8 t and lift-off mass is 130.4 t. The Baikal could replace the expendable Angara booster stage on the Angara 1.2 launch vehicle. It could also replace Angara stages as strap-on boosters on heavier versions.
June 16 - Goodrich to Build New Wheels for Shuttle
Goodrich is developing new main wheels to replace the ones currently used on NASA's Space Shuttle Orbiters. The new wheels, to be available in early 2004, will allow to increase the landing speed by 10% and the allowable landing weight by 17%.
 



Atlantis
(NASA)
June 11 - Atlantis Rollout Delayed
NASA has decided to delay the rollout of its Space Shuttle Atlantis to the SLC-39B launch pad in Kennedy Space Center to June 19, at the earliest, to leave the crew onboard the International Space Station additional time to solve its problems with the backup mode of the new Canadarm2 remote manipulator system. The Canadarm2 is needed to pick up the US$164-million Airlock Module from Atlantis payload bay and plug it onto the Unity module. If the rollout is delayed further, NASA may no longer be able to keep its targeted launch date on July 12 and would have to postpone the whole STS-104 mission to September as orbital constraints with the ISS will prevent the Airlock operations to be conducted from July 17 to August 4. The STS-105 mission, with Space Shuttle Discovery, is planned on August 5 in order to change the crew onboard the ISS.
 

June 4 - Cracks Detected on Shuttle Tank
Two small cracks, about 3-cm long, have been detected on a Space Shuttle External Tank after testing at Lockheed Martin Sace Systems' Michoud Operations integration facilities in New Orleans, Louisiana. The cracks were located near support ribs of one of the liquid hydrogen tanks section. NASA and Lockheed Martin are investigating the mishap and evaluating the need for an inspection of all completed ETs.
June 4 - SRI to Study Ceramic Matrix Design
The Southern Research Institute was awarded a US$828,047 contract by NASA's Langley Research Center to develop a design methodology for ceramic matrix composite elements with aerospace applications.
Editor's note: It is not clear whether this contract is part of the US$1.6-million commitment for "airframe development" assigned to the SRI on May 18 on behalf of the Space Launch Initiative.
Reference: The initial SLI contracts are described here.
June 1st - Oceaneering to Study TPS
NASA's Langley Research Center has awarded a US$952,880 contract to Oceaneering Thermal Systems (OTS) to develop 'Advanced Thermal Protection Systems' technology.
 

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 Space Propulsion

June 27 - ISS Propulsion Module Audit
NASA did not comply with acquisition procedures to develop the US$1,558-million U.S. Propulsion Module according to an audit recently completed by the NASA Office of Inspector General. NASA did not validate requirements before beginning a preliminary design review of the USPM and consequently spent US$97 million over 19 months before it determined that the design was unacceptable. Also, NASA did not justify the selection of Boeing as the sole-source contractor. The USPM was eventually cancelled in March 2001 after NASA recognized that the estimated US$675-million cost to complete it was not affordable.
Read the entire report.
June 23 - RS-68 Flight Model Tested
The first flight model of the Boeing Rocketdyne RS-68 engine has completed its flight acceptance hot-fire test series at NASA's Stennis Space Center. Following a series of checks, the engine will be shipped to Boeing's Delta 4 assembly plant in Decatur, Alabama, to be mated with the first flight model of the Common Booster Core stage. The completed stage will be shipped to Cape Canaveral in September for launch preparation. The maiden flight of Delta 4 is now scheduled on April 30, 2002.
June 20 - Alcatel Selects Snecma's Plasma Thrusters
Alcatel Space has signed a long-term agreement with Snecma Moteurs which has been selected to provide PPS-1350 stationary plasma thrusters for Alcatel's new Spacebus 4100 large bus for telecommunication satellites. This thruster will be flight tested by CNES on its Stentor experimental satellite due for launch in December. The PPS-1350 is an improved version of OKB Fakel's SPT-100 stationary plasma thruster which has been flown on numerous Russian platforms since the 70s.
June 14 - Rumor Says Missing Pins Could Have Caused X-43A Loss
The launch failure of a modified Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL first stage carrying NASA's first X-43A scramjet demonstration vehicle on June 2 may have been caused by negligence during the stage's assembly at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center according to Sat-ND. The unidentified technical source quoted by the e-newsletter states that the assembly team simply forgot the pins to lock the vehicles control fins which fell off when the vehicle attempted its initial maneuver.
Editor's note: Missing pins and loosy pre-flight testing have already been mentionned on several previous Pegasus launch mishap in the past, however in this particular case it does not explain how the unlocked fins would have survived the captive carry test flight and the pre-drop wiggle test.
June 11 - Solar Sail Demo Flight in July
The suborbital test flight of a solar sail deployment demonstrator by the Planetary Society and Cosmos Studios is now scheduled by mid-July. The damaged test article has been repaired at NPO Lavochkin's Babakin Science & Research Center and is now ready fort flight but a new launch slot has to be found with the Russian navy. The suborbital launch, to demonstrate solar sail deployment, will be conducted atop a GRTsKB Makeyev Volna refurbished missile fired from a submarine in the Sea of Barents. Depending on the demonstrator's flight result, a new date will be set for the launch of the actual Cosmos 1 solar sail.
June 8 - Silicon as Propellant
German scientists from the Technical University of Munich are considering the use of porous silicon as a high-energy solid propellant. According to their study, silicon could provide a higher explosive power than TNT when reacting with dioxygen. The scientists propose to treat porous silicon with a layer of hydrogen atoms and place it in liquid oxygen. When the protective layer is broken by an ultaviolet flash, a chain reaction is initiated as oxygen and silicon combine to form silicon oxide and the energy of the reaction allows hydrogen and oxygen to combine too into water, thus freeing more silicon for the reaction. A pressure exceeding 10 GPa was reportedly obtained with only 3 mg of silicon.
 



X-43A on HXLV
(NASA-DFRC)
June 2nd - Pegasus Stage Fails on X-43A Launch
The Hyper-X Launch Vehicle (HXLV), a modified Pegasus XL first stage provided by Orbital Sciences Corp., failed a few seconds after release from NASA's NB-52 carrier aircraft and had to be destroyed. The vehicle veered off course some 5 to 10 seconds after ignition and falling parts were reported before it was ordered to blow up 51 seconds into flight. The HXLV was intended to boost the first MicroCraft X-43A demonstrator to a speed of about Mach 7 to test a scramjet propulsion system for at least 7 seconds.
Editor's note: The Pegasus XL stage used as HXLV was modified in irder to be able to withstand the dynamic and thermal loads of a fully atmospheric flight. However, the mishap is likely to affect the launch schedule for an upcoming unmodified Pegasus XL vehicle previoulsy due to loft NASA's HESSI satellite on June 7. Two more X-43A flights are planned.
 

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 Spaceports

June 25 - Australia Provides Funding to APSC
The Commonwealth of Australia plans to invest up to A$100 million (US$52 million) through its Strategic Investment Incentives program to support the A$800-million (US$415-million) Asia Pacific Space Center project to establish a commercial spaceport on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The project is reportdely expected to generate up to 400 jobs in the construction phase and up to 550 jobs when the spaceport becomes fully operational.
Editor's note: According to unofficial sources, the reported funds were already planned to support employment and infrastructure spendings on the island.
June 20 - Russia Ready to Invest to Launch Soyuz from Kourou
Russia is ready to participate in the investments to enable Soyuz launches from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, according to Vice Prime Minister Ilia Klebanov. Russia's objective is to break even for the US$250-million investment in only two years.
June 9 - Strike Avoided in Cape Canaveral
The 630 United Space Alliance workers who had threaten to walk off their job on June 10 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center eventually agreed to sign the 3-year contract negotiated with the Boeing/Lockheed Martin joint-venture. This would have been the first strike directly affecting the pre-launch processing of the Space Shuttle.
June 7 - Talks Over Kwajalein's Future
The United States and the Republic of Marshall Islands have entered talks regarding the future of U.S. Army's Kwajalein Missile Range, which has become a strategic U.S. interest for the testing of the National Missile Defense (NMD) system. Although the U.S./Marshall/Micronesia Compact of Free Association, which gave independence to the archipelago in 1986, is set to expire on October 21, the current lease agreement for Kwajalein will last another 15 years. The United States currently pay US$13 million per year to the Marshall Islands for Kwajalein. A modification of the facility's status is under consideration with the United States getting an "indefinite" use of the atoll in exchange for "money put up front into a trust fund."
June 6 - Strike in Cape Canaveral
About 630 United Space Alliance workers plan to go on strike on June 10 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. USA is NASA's prime contractor for the Space Shuttle program but no effect is expected on the launch schedule. The strike will affect almost 10% of USA's 6,500-member Cape Canaveral shuttle work force and includes crane operators, electricians, and workers who help transport the shuttle to the launch pad.

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 Industry

June 23 - France to Privatize Part of Snecma
French Prime Lionel Jospin announces that about 25% of Snecma's capital will be sold on the public stock exchange during the 4th quarter. The French government expects that this move will allow Snecma to consolidate its aerospace propulsion business with other European motorists. Snecma, which is currently 97.3% state-owned, posted consolidated sales worth ¤5.65 billion in 2000, some 12% of which came from its space activities, mainly through Snecma Moteurs and Techspace Aéro.
Editor's note: Snecma's value is currently estimated circa ¤6 billion, giving a target price of about ¤1.5 billion for the privatization. The French government has apparently gave up plans to link Snecma's partial privatization to a preliminary merger agreement with another European motorist such as Italy's FiatAvio.
June 16 - Herakles Joint-Venture to be Formed by Year End
Snecma Moteurs expects to be able to incorporate its Herakles solid propulsion joint-venture with Groupe SNPE by late 2001. The two groups initially expected to be able to make the announcement during the Paris Air Show but their talks were hampered by difficulties during the evaluation of the assets to be merged.
June 13 - Moog to Acquire PerkinElmer Valves
Moog Inc. announced that it will acquire PerkinElmer Fluid Sciences' space valve product line, formerly known as Wright Components, which is a major provider of valves for space thrusters. The product line will be moved from Phelps, New York, and integrated with Moog's Systems Group in Aurora, New York.
June 12 - Northrop Grumman Takes Over Litton
Northrop Grumman Corp. has completed its acquisition of Litton Industries Inc.
June 12 - Two Banks to Prepare Snecma's Privatization
The French Ministry of Finances has select two consultant banks to prepare for the privatization of Snecma: Crédit Suisse First Boston and Crédit Lyonnais. The capital of the company, currently 97.3% state-owned, is expected to go partly public within one year.
June 7 - EADS/Onera Cooperation Agreement
EADS Launch Vehicles and Onera, the French National Aerospace Research Center , have signed an agreement to cooperate on the study of future space systems with an emphasis on aerodynamics, thermodynamics, propulsion and materials. This agreement complements a previous accord signed in 2000.
June 7 - IMI Posts Losses
Israel Military Industries (IMI), which builts the main stages of Israel's Shavit and LeoLink's LK-A boosters, lost about US$49 million in 2000, bringing its accumulated losses in the last two years to some US$107 million.
June 6 - EU Clears NEC-Toshiba Venture
The European Commission has approved the incorporation joint venture between NEC and Toshiba to develop and sell satellites and components. According to the Commission, the new venture will only have minor activities in Europe.

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 Launch Market

June 28 - JHU-APL to Develop Solar Probes
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has waraded a contract to John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory to develop and operate a series of missions to study the Sun under its Living With a Star (LWS) and Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) research programs. The 12-year contract has a maximum estimated value of US$600 million. The first spacecraft to be developed under this effort will be the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to be launched by a medium-lift vehicle in inclined geosynchronous orbit in 2007.
Editor's note: Also planned under the LWS are the Radiation Belt Mappers constellation (up to 7 small satellites on highly elliptical orbits with a 'petal' configuration) in 2008, the Ionospheric Mappers constellation (8 satellites, 6 in polar, 2 in low inclination low Earth orbits) in 2009, and six Sentinels (4 Inner Heliocentric Sentinels between Mercury and Earth, a Far Side Sentinel nearly out of phase with Earth on the far side of the Sun, and a L1 Sentinel in a halo orbit around the L1 stability point between Earth and the Sun).
June 26 - Ukraine to Build Egyptian Satellite
NPO Yuzhnoye was reportedly selected to build and launch a remote sensing satellite for Egypt. The 100-kg spacecraft will be lofted to a 668-km-high Sun-synchronous orbit by a Dnepr 1 vehicle. No launch date was reported.
Editor's note: This new satellite is apparently different from the previously reported Desertsat science microsatellite to be manufactured by Italy's Carlo Gavazzi Space - on the basis of the Mita platform - in order to conduct hydrologic and environmental observations on behalf of the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing & Space Science.
June 25 - China Plans Constellation
The China National Space Administration is looking for international cooperation on an Environmental & Disaster Monitoring Satellite Constellation according to Go Taikonauts. CNSA is reportedly offering opportunities to international partners to provide one or more satellites or passenger payloads. The proposed constellation would consist of eight satellites: four for radar observation and four for optical observation. No launch date is given.
Editor's note: China is already expected to participate in Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.'s Disaster Monitoring Constellation project project through Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Download CNSA's partnership investigation form (PDF, 169 kb)
June 22 - NPO Mash to Build Intersputnik Smallsats
NPO Mashinostreniya was awarded a contract by Intersputnik to develop, build and launch two small geostationary communication satellites. These 637-kg Ruslan-MM satellites will be launched by NPO Mash's Strela vehicle in late 2003 and early 2004. They will then use an OKB Fakel SPT-140 plasma thruster to reach the geostationary orbit in about 150 days.
Editor's note: A similar contract is underway with GKNPTs Khrunichev for the launch of two Dialog E type satellites on Eurockot Rokot KM vehicles. The first launch is due in May 2002.
June 22 - Alcatel/Astrium Cooperation on Large Satellite Buses
Alcatel Space and its European rival Astrium have asked the European Space Agency for the launch of a new program to foster the development of a new large bus for future high-power, high-capacity satellites. This ¤500-million initiative, dubbed @bus/Alphabus, would allow the two prime contractors to design satellites of 5.5 to 7.5 or even 9.5 tons at launch, with an onboard power between 18 and 25 kW, possibly extended to 40 kW, and the capacity to incorporate 120 to 250 transponders. The new bus could fly on a demonstrator satellite in 2006 and be available commercially as soon as 2004.
June 22 - Alcatel Signs Largest ESA Science Contract Ever
Alcatel Space has signed the largest contract ever awarded by the European Space Agency for a science program. The ¤369-million contract covers the development, manufacturing and test of the 3,300-kg Herschel Space Observatory (former Far InfraRed & Submillimetre Telescope/FIRST) and the 1,500-kg Planck Surveyor (former Cobras/Samba) spacecraft. Alenia Spazio will provide a standard bus for the two spacecraft while Astrium will be in charge of Herschel's payload and integration. The two observatories will be launched atop an Ariane 5ESV vehicle in 2007 and be deployed at the L2 stability point of the Sun-Earth system.
Editor's note: Earlier plans to launch the two spacecraft as a single composite have been scrapped. Herschel will eventually sit atop a Sylda 5 dual launch adapter protecting Planck.
June 17 - France Aims at Mars
CNES, the French space agency, plans to invest ¤500 million into a Mars Sample Return Mission hardware demonstration flight. In 2007, CNES would launch a Mars probe atop a dedicated Ariane 5ECB vehicle to release a cluster of Netlander surface stations, demonstrate aerocapture around Mars and test rendezvous with sample capsules. On its own, NASA will launch a precision lander on the surface. A NASA/CNES MoU on this Mars 2007 mission is expected in late 2001. The actual sample return mission could be conducted in 2011.
June 13 - NASA Picks Mars Scout Concepts
NASA's Office of Space Science has selected 10 concepts of tiny Mars Scout probes for feasibility study contracts. Some of these probes could be lofted piggyback on commercial launchers in 2007 and use onboard propulsion systems to reach the Red Planet. The 10 selected teams will be awarded six-month study contracts worth up to US$150,000 each to refine their concepts. An open selection for actual development is planned in 2002. The overall actual mission will have to be conducted for no more than US$300 million.
 
 Mars Scout Selected Concepts
 Designation Bidder Description
 Artemis Multi-Scout Mission University of California Four microlanders to look for water and organic materials.
 CryoScout Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars polar cap active penetrator.
 Kittyhawk University of Nevada Three gliders to study Valles Marineris structures.
 MACO (Mars Atmospheric
 Constellation Observatory)
University of Arizona Three microsatellites to study Martian climatology.
 Mars Environmental Observer Jet Propulsion Laboratory Science orbiter.
 Mars Scout Radar National Air&Space Museum Synthetic aperture radar imaging orbiter.
 The Naiades Blackhawk GeoServices Four landers to sound for subsurface water.
 Pascal Ames Research Center Network of 24 weather stations.
 SCIM (Sample Collection
 for Investigation of Mars)
Arizona State University Atmospheric sample return.
 Urey U.S. Geological Survey Rover to provide absolute geological datation.

June 12 - Japan Postpones Spysats
The Japan Defense Agency has decided to delay the launch of its initial set of military observation satellites. The Mitsubishi Electric-built optical Information Gathering Satellites (IGS), initially due for launch in 2002, are now scheduled in February and July 2003 on H-2A launchers. Two optical and two radar satellites are planned, with a second generation expected to follow in 2008.
Editor's note: It is still unclear wether JDA plans to launch its 850-kg IGS spacecraft by pairs on dedicated H-2A flights of if they will fly piggyback with science payloads for the National Space Development Agency of Japan, such as the 3,850-kg Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS-1) currently slated for launch in 2003 too. The ground resolution of the radar satellites has been increased from 1 m to 50 cm, increasing their development cost by ¥15 billion (US$124 million).
June 11 - Russian Docking Module Christened
The Russian Docking Compartment Module, due for launch in late August or early September, has been christened "Pirs" ("Pier"). The module is under final preparation by RKK Energiya. It has been mated to a modified Progress M service module which will deliver it to the International Space Station.
June 7 - NASA to Launch Mercury Orbiter
NASA's Office of Space Science has given the go-ahead for full development of the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (Messenger) spacecraft, which will be launched in March 2004 by a Boeing Delta 2/7925H vehicle in order to enter orbit around Mercury in April 2009. The probe will be built by John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory. The US$256-million mission (excluding launch cost) is conducted on behalf of NASA's Discovery program for low-cost planetary exploration.
June 7 - SES to Get Hispasat Share
Spain's Retevision is reportedly negotiating with Société Européenne des Satellites (SES) for the sale of the 30.32% share it owns in Hispasat SA through the Auna venture. The €300-million deal would allow SES to reinforce its dominant position in Spain and to coordinate Hispasat's efforts in Latin America with the new Amazonas 1 satellite with its own interests through Star One, the former Embratel Satellite Division.
June 6 - NASA Selects Two Pluto Mission Proposals
NASA's Office of Space Science has selected two concepts of Pluto flyby missions for further study. One of them could eventually be selected for actual development of funding becomes available. University of Colorado's Pluto and Outer Solar System Explorer (POSSE) spacecraft, developed with Lockheed Martin Astronautics and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, would be launched in 2004 and fly by Pluto in 2015 to scan the planet and its moon, Charon, as well as probe for rings and additional moons. Southwest Research Institute's New Horizons, developed with John Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory and both NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and JPL, would be launched in 2004 too in order to conduct a similar flyby mission some 10 years later. Both teams will be awarded US$450,000 to conduct a 3-month feasibility study.
June 4 - Spain Considers Joining France's Helios 2
Spain may join France's Helios 2 military observation satellite program with a 3% investment share worth about Ptas 12 billion (US$60 million). The spanish government is reportedly weighing a renewed French proposal to participate in the two-satellite program while an alternate option would be to build a national system based on the Minisat 1 bus under development by INTA, the Spanish National Aerospace Techniques Institute. The price tag for this national system would be Ptas 25-30 billion (US$130-150 million). France has also proposed to Spain to participate in the development of its next-generation civilian remote sensing system, Pleiades, a two-satellite constellation due to replace the current Spot system circa 2005.
Editor's note: Although Spain and Italy participated in the Helios 1 program, with two satellites launched in 1995 and 1999 and both still operating, only Belgium has shown interest in the follow-on program. Helios 2A is currently due for launch in 2004 on an Arianespace Ariane 5 or a Starsem Soyuz/ST booster.

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 Miscellaneous

June 13 - Rosaviakosmos Underfunded
Rosaviakomos has received only 41% of its budget for the first five months of 2001 said its head, Yuri Koptev, during a parliamentary hearing. The lack of funds prevents Russia from replacing its aging satellites and more than 85% of the country's 90-satellite have exceeded their design lifetime.
June 5 - Australian Space Advisory Group Meets
The Australian Ministry of Industry, Science and Resources has appointed an advisory group to identify opportunities for Australian involvement in international space activities such as the International Space Station or European Space Agency's programs. Among the projects under consideration is the use of Australian landing sites for the NASA/ESA X-38 crew rescue vehicle demonstrator and its operational follow-on. A preliminary report by the advisory group is due on June 22.
June 1st - Russian Space Forces Revived
The Russian Military Space Forces are reinstated and take over the launch of both military and commercial satellites from the Russian Strategic Missiles Forces (RVSN).
 


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