News of July 2002

Dates are those of the events (in UT) when available.

 

Commercial Launchers | Government Launchers | Small Launchers
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  Commercial Launchers

Astra 1K Launch Slips
July 30

The launch of the Astra 1K satellite, on a Proton K vehicle, was postponed from August to November at the earliest after SES-Astra has asked Alcatel Space to perform additional tests on the spacecraft.

Sea Launch Plans Two More Flights in 2002 - Corrected
July 30

Boeing Launch Services plans only two more Zenit 3SL launches in 2002, according to Space News. No payload has been firmly announced yet for the two missions, reportedly due in November and December. Six launches are planned in 2003.
Editor's note: In May, at Euroconsult's World Summit on Space Transportation Business, Sea Launch unveiled a launch manifest with four missions in 2002. PanAmSat's Galaxy 3C was launched on June 15. The other three manifested missions included the launches of the joint PanAmSat/JSat Galaxy 13/Horizons 1, of Echostar's Echostar 9 and of an unidentified Boeing Satellite Systems payload, likely to be PanAmSat's Galaxy 8IR
. Russian sources also indicate Loral's Telstar 8 as a possible payload.

Spanish Satellites on Ariane 5
July 29

Arianespace is reportedly in final negotiations with Hispasat SA for the launch of two satellites in 2004. Amazonas, Hispasat's satellite for Brazil and Latin America, and Spainsat, a military communication satellite to be operated by Hisdesat, a joint-venture of Hispasat and Spanish space industry, would both fly atop Ariane 5 vehicles. According to Space News, each launch contract would amount to a mere US$60 million. Built by Astrium, Amazonas will weigh 4,600 kg at launch and the Space Systems/Loral-built Spainsat will weigh 3,700 kg. Arianespace's competitors on these launch contracts were Boeing Launch Services and International Launch Services.

New Delay for Atlas 5
July 26

Lockheed Martin has delayed again the maiden flight of its Atlas 5 launch vehicle by at least one week, from August 12 to the end of the month. Officially, the postponement was dictated by delays in pre-launch processing of the Hot Bird 6 satellite due to fly atop the vehicle.
Editor's note: The Atlas 5 completed its final launch rehearsal on July 16. Hot Bird 6 was delivered by Alcatel Space in Cape Canaveral on June 12.

Ariane 5 to Launch Helios 2A
July 25
Arianespace was awarded a launch contract by CNES, the French space agency, to loft the Helios 2A military observation satellite. CNES procured the launch on behalf of the Délégation Générale à l'Armement (DGA), the French ministry of Defense's procurement agency. The 4,200-kg Helios 2A, built by Astrium, will be launched onto Sun-synchronous orbit by an Ariane 5 vehicle in the second half of 2004.
Editor's note: Helios 2A is planned to share its launch with the four Essaim small signal intelligence satellites. An Helios 2B is scheduled for launch in 2008.
Atlas 5 Completes Final Rehearsal
July 17

Atlas 5/401
(LMA)
Lockheed Martin's new Atlas 5/401 launch vehicle has successfully completed its third and last countdown rehearsal in Cape Canaveral's SLC-41 and is now cleared for its actual maiden launch campaign with a targeted liftoff on August 12. For this final "Wet Dress Rehearsal", the launch vehicle, with a dummy payload, was rolled out to the launch pad on July 14. On July 15, a complete countdown with stage fuelling was conducted, mimicking actual launch operations in real time for the first time. On July 16, the vehicle was safed and rolled back to the Vertical Integration Facility to be prepared for the actual launch campaign. The payload for this maiden flight, Eutelsat's Hot Bird 6 direct broadcasting satellite, is currently undergoing pre-launch processing at Astrotech Space Operations facilities in Titusville. It will be mounted atop the launcher on August 1.
Delta 4 Prepared for Launch Rehearsals
July 17
The first fully integrated Boeing Delta 4 vehicle was revealed after Mobile Service Tower rollback for communication tests in Cape Canaveral's SLC-37. The 62.5-m-tall vehicle, currently due for launch on October 9, will undergo a series of propellant loading tests, followed by two "Wet Dress Rehearsals", with propellant loading of both stages and simulated countdowns through late August, when the final reahearsal will end with a 1-sec. static firing of the first stage's Boeing Rocketdyne RS-68 engine. At first, liquid oxygen will be loaded into the stages on July 24. Liquid hydrogen will be loaded in the following days and a dual propellant loading will be conducted later. The first full-scale WDR is planned on August 12/13, with both propellant loading and simulated countdown. The second one is scheduled on August 27/28.
Delta 4M+ (4,2)
(Boeing)

Editor's note: According to Boeing, the Delta 4 could be ready for launch on September 25 but the range is closed from September 9 through October 4 for upgrades

Atlas 5 Delayed by Umbilicals
July 8

Lockheed Martin Astronautics has postponed the maiden flight of its new Atlas 5 launch vehicle by another week, from August 6 to August 12, in order to deal with new problems regarding the umbilicals retraction system on the launch pad. A third countdown rehearsal is still set on July 15.

Ariane 5 Launches Record-Breaking Payload
July 6

The 12th Ariane 5 vehicle lofted a commercial payload totalling 5,690 kg to geostationary transfer orbit on its V153 mission. The vehicle, in a standard Ariane 5G configuration actually launched a total mass of 6,660 kg including payload adapters and the Sylda 5 dual launch structure. The previous record was on November 16, 2000, with the V135 mission carrying 5,629.7 kg of payload (6,316.5 kg with adapters).
Editor's note: The upgraded Ariane 5ECA version, to be introduced in September, will have a payload capacity of 10 metric tons to GTO. On its first flight it will carry two satellites and a 3-ton ballast for a total payload of about 8,500 kg. The satellites on V153 were Alcatel Space's Stellat 5 (4,100 kg) and NTT DoCoMo's NSTAR c (1,620 kg). On V135, the payload consisted in PanAmSat's PAS-1R (4,792.7 kg), the AmSat Phase 3D amateur radio satellite (629 kg) and two Space Technology Research Vehicles for Great-Britain's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (105 and 103 kg).

Arianespace to test Japanese Propellant
July 5
Arianespace is reportedly in contact with Japan Hydrazine to qualify a second source for monomethyl-hydrazine (MMH) propellant for the EPS upper stage of its Ariane 5G launch vehicle. European production of MMH was put on hold on September 21, 2001, with the closure of Groupe SNPE's chemical facilities in Toulouse, Southern France, following the explosion of the nearby AZF (Atofina) fertilizer production plant. Production may resume by year end. Unfortunately MMH stockpile was available for only four Ariane 5 launches. According to French newspaper Le Monde, the situation is less critical for the production of ammonium perchlorate for Ariane 5 boosters as the available stockpile is sufficient for up to 10  flights.
EPS
(Arianespace)

Editor's note: Two Ariane 5 launches have already been conducted since the AZF explosion and three more are planned through the end of the year. One of these will be flown in the Ariane 5ECA configuration with an ESC-A cryogenic upper stage which does not use MMH as propellant

Atlantic Bird to Fly on Ariane 5
July 5

Alenia Spazio has signed a contract with Arianespace for the launch of its Atlantic Bird 1 satellite. This 2,700-kg spacecraft will be launched on the next Ariane 5 flight, on August 27. Once in orbit, it will be located in geostationary orbit at 12.5°West and taken over by Eutelsat to reinforce its "Atlantic Gate" service. With a payload consisting of 24 Ku-band transponders, it will provide communication links between Europe and the East Coast of the Americas. The satellite has been actually been delivered in Kourou already.
Editor's note: Atlantic Bird 1 was initially due for launch in mid-2001 atop a China Great Wall Industry Corp. CZ-3A vehicle. Unfortunately, Alenia could not secure the U.S. State Department export license for the U.S.-built components onboard the spacecraft and had to rescind the launch contract.

Arianespace Out of the Red in 2002
July 1st
Arianespace expects to get back in the black in 2002 after posting losses for two consecutive years, according to its new CEO, Jean-Yves Le Gall. With 13 launches planned this year, including five Ariane 5s, and the introduction of the more competitive Ariane 5ECA version, Arianespace expects to break even in 2002 and to return to profits in 2003, with the phasing out of Ariane 4 and most of its launches involving vehicles from the second Ariane 5 production batch which will feature significant cost reductions. The European launch provider also plans to increase its capital in the coming two years.
Editor's note: Arianespace's losses amounted to €193 million in 2001, mostly due to the cost for Ariane 5's return to flight after its launch mishap in July 2002 and to provisions for additional operating costs in 2002-2004. The increase of capital could amount to US$150-500 million according to sources.

Ariane 5ECA
(Arianespace)

From 2004 on , the Ariane 5ECA will become Arianespace's baseline launch system as the current Ariane 5G will be phased out. Status of the Ariane 5ESV "Versatile" version, with a restartable EPS/V upper stage, is unclear.

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  Government Launchers

First Operational H-2A Launch Set
July 17

H-2A/2024
(NASDA)
Japan's National Space Development Agency has set a new date for the third flight of its H-2A vehicle, the first operational mission after two successful qualification flights in August 2001 and February 2002. The third H-2A, in a 2024 configuration with four Thiokol Castor 4 strap-on boosters, is due for launch on September 10. It will loft the Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System (USERS) microgravity research platform to low Earth orbit and then boost the Data Relay & Tracking Satellite to geostationary transfer orbit.
Editor's note: This mission, actually the fourth in the manifest, was previously expected in early August. The third mission, with the Adeos 2 Advanced Earth Observation Satellite, was due in February and was postponed to November in late 2001 due to delays with the second qualification flight. The H-2A, like its predecessor the H-2, is the sole operational vehicle planned to routinely carry on dual launches to different kinds of orbits.
USERS will conduct crystal growth experiments for the Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF), on behalf of Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry (METI) and the New Energy & Industrial technologies Development Organization (NEDO). Crystal samples will be returned in a recoverable capsule by mid-2003.
Titan 4 Contract Option Exercised
July 1st

U.S. Air Force's Space & Missile Systems Center has exercised a US$14-million performance option on its contract signed in 1995 with Lockheed Martin Astronautics for Titan 4 launch services. This contract modification will extend the availability of the Titan 4 in Vandenberg AFB, California, beyond June 30 as the Titan 4 B-36 mission has been rescheduled to December.
Editor's note: The Titan 4 B-36 mission is expected to loft the third E-300 Enhanced imaging System (EIS) spy satellite to orbit. Future generation spy satellites will be flown atop Boeing's new Delta 4H heavy-lift launch vehicle.

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  Small Launchers

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  Missile Systems

Lockheed Martin Reactivates Alabama Plant
July 18

Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space is reactivating its facility in Courtland, Alabama, to support activities on missile defense interceptors boost vehicles. Lockheed Martin will use the facility to integrate, assemble and test the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) boost vehicle initially designed by Boeing from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) stages, beginning this October. Actually, the version to be developed by Lockheed Martin will incorporate several modifications and be know as Boost Vehicle Plus (BV-Plus). The first BVP test flight is tentatively due in the 2nd quarter of 2003, with the first interception test planned in the 4th quarter. Lockheed Martin also is studying a second design, the High Performance Boost Vehicle (HPBV), with Boeing. If approved, the HPBV would be able to support more operationally realistic testing for the missile defense system beyond 2004.
Editor's note: Courtland is located 30 km from Decatur where Boeing, the prime contractor for the GMD program, has built a 140,000-sq.m facility for its Delta 4 program. Lockheed Martin's facility there was used in 1993-1999 to integrate prototypes for its Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system. Lockheed Martin is assuming responsibility for Boeing's COTS boost vehicle under a program restructuring decided in March. Its BVP will compete with Orbital Science's Alternate Boost Vehicle (ABV). Lockheed Martin's unsuccessful bid for the ABV was based on refurbished stages from decommisioned Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles. Its plans included development of upgraded versions which could have been similar in performance to the HPBV. Lockheed Martin currently provides Payload Launch Vehicles (PLV) developed from the upper stages of the Minuteman 2 missile to boost GMD Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicles for interception test.

U.S. Report Details China's Military Buildup
July 12
China is engaged in a large-scale military buildup that includes extending the range of its ballistic missiles and developing forces to threaten Taiwan according to U.S. Department of Defense's yearly report on Chinese Military Power. Unlike previous reports, this year's edition of the "Annual Report on the Military Power of the People's Republic of China" no longer plays down China's military buildup as non-threatening and clearly identifies the invasion of Taiwan as China's primary military objective. Major issues of the report related to space transportation and missile systems follow:

DF-5 (CALT)
China is replacing all of its approximately 20 vintage 13,000-km-range DF-5 (CSS-4 Mod.1) intercontinental ballistic missiles with the 15,000-km-range DF-5A (CSS-4 Mod.2) version. The transition will be completed by 2005. China will also retain a dozen of 4,750-km-range DF-4 (CSS-3) through the end of the decade.
• Development of the 8,000-km-range DF-31 ICBM (CSS-X-9) is proceeding toward an initial deployment by 2005. Two upgraded extended-range versions are also under development: a mobile, ground-based version, with the capability to reach most of the United States, and a sea-launched ballistic missile.

DF-31

• These DF-5A and DF-31 missiles are capable of "targeting the United States" and their number will be increased to 30 by 2005 and possibly to 60 by 2010. They will be fitted with multiple warheads and advanced decoys to defeat the U.S. Missile Defense System.
• All of China's known 350 short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) are deployed in the Nanjing Military Region and aimed at Taiwan. Some 50 new units are added each year. Longer range missiles could reach Okinawa and the Philippines where U.S. troops are deployed.
• China prepares the deployment of new Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (IRS) satellite systems, presumably based on a standard bus design able to accommodate electro-optical or synthetic aperture radar payloads.
• China may have acquired high-energy laser equipment that could be used in the development of ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.
• In July 2001, China signed a five-year space cooperation agreement with Russia including studies on a joint regional missile defense system.
Editor's note: The DF-5 and DF-4 missile are the basis of the Chang Zheng 2 and Chang Zheng 1 (CZ-2 and CZ-1 "Long March") series of vehicles. The DF-31 missile is assumed to be the basis of the Kaituozhe 1 (KT-1 "Explorer") launch vehicle. China's official military doctrine states that it would not be the first country to use nuclear weapons in a conflict. Nevertheless, Senior Chinese military officials have threatened to use nuclear missiles against Los Angeles if the United States were to defend Taiwan from a mainland attack.
Download the report (pdf, 840 kb).

OSC Gets LPB Integration Contract
July 11

Orbital Sciences Corp. reports that it was awarded a US$7.4-million contract by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to integrate a new liquid propellant booster to be used as a target vehicle for missile defense tests. Under the contract, OSC will integrate the new booster using a MDA-supplied liquid-fueled rocket engine with avionics and guidance systems, and a reentry vehicle. This new target vehice will be designed to mimick the infrared signature of "hostile" missiles such as Russian-built "Scuds" and their derivatives
Editor's note: Although the contract is reported as "new" by OSC, it might be related to another contract, worth US$22 million and already awarded in October 2001 by U.S. Army's Space & Missile Defense Command (SMDC) for the development of a liquid-fueled booster stage that could be used as a representative target for theater and national missile defense systems. OSC's propulsion partner on this effort is GenCorp Aerojet. This contract is due to be completed by April 2003 with a full-scale static firing of the booster engine. TRW was then awarded a similar contract. A final development phase is expected to include detailed liquid booster system design, development and a flight test in early 2004.

Boeing Restructures Missile Defense Booster Testing
July 10

GMD's ABV
(OSC)
As prime contractor for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) segment, Boeing Missile Systems & Tactical Weapons has defined a restructured development and testing plan for the two proposed Ground-Based Interceptor boosters in order to ensure an initial operational capacity in 2004 as the initial GMD testbed in Ft. Greely, Alaska, becomes available. The GBI program was restructured in March with the selection of Orbital Sciences Corp. to develop an Alternate Booster Vehicle (ABV) based on elements from its Pegasus, Taurus and Minotaur launch vehicles.
GMD's COTS Booster
(Boeing)
The original Boeing commercial-off-shelf (COTS) booster was then transfered to Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space.

Initial test flights of the two boosters are due in 2003, with OSC's ABV scheduled to fly first and followed closely by the Lockheed Martin booster. The test flight enveloppe will be expanded to get more realistic test data in a variety of environments and scenarios matching progresses of the GMDS interception test program.
Editor's note: The COTS booster is based on a Alliant Techsystems GEM-40 graphite epoxy motor with two Pratt&Whitney Orbus 1A motors as second and third stages. This configuration has already flown twice, in August and December 2001, the second flight being a launch failure. OSC's ABV is apparently a wingless version of its Pegasus booster. The initial testbed in Ft. Greely is planned only to consist of five initial interceptors but the development and delivery of GBI boosters represents a market worth US$1 billion through completion of the full GMD deployment. Lockheed Martin had competed with OSC for the ABV with a design based on refurbished stages from Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Russia/China Propose Ban on Space Weapons
July 3

Russia and China have presented a joint proposal to ban the deployment of weapons in space and the use of force against spacecraft during the United Nations disarmament conference in Geneva. This document, detailing "The Possible Elements of the Future International Legal Agreement on Preventing the Emplacement of Weapons in Space and the Use of Force of the Threat of Force with Regard to Space Objects" was drafted with the delegations of Belarus, Indonesia, Syria, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. The United States oppose the proposal which would prevent the development of space-based lasers, anti-satellite systems and orbital kinetic kill vehicles.

MDA Plans Aggressive Test Schedule
July 2
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency plans to conduct 4 to 5 interception tests of its Ground-based Midcourse Defense System (GMDS) within one year. However, this ambitious schedule cannot be achieved if the U.S. Congress does not restore a proposed US$814-million cut in the US$7.8-billion budget for Missile Defense as planned in the U.S. Department of Defense appropriation bill for FY2003.
Editor's note: The next GMDS test flight (IFT-9) is currently planned for mid-August.

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  RLVs, Reentry and Manned Systems

EADS-LV Delivers Beagle 2's Shield
July 29

EADS Launch Vehicles has delivered two models of the thermal shield and rear thermal protections it developed for Great-Britain's Beagle 2 Mars landing probe. The qualification model and the flight model were both delivered to Astrium's facilities in Stevenage, near London, where the 63-kg probe will be integrated. Beagle 2 will be launched on European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter in June 2003, atop a Starsem Soyuz-Fregat vehicle, and will be released in December 2003.

NASA Plans Welding Repairs for Shuttles
July 27

NASA considers using welding techniques to repairs the cracks found in the metal liner inside the liquid hydrogen feed lines onboard its four space shuttle orbiter vehicles. A final decision is expected on July 31 in order to enable repairs to begin on August 5.
Editor's note: NASA's shuttle fleet has been grounded since June 25. If repairs go as planned, launches could resume in late September.

No Agreement on ISS Schedule
July 23

The heads of space agencies involved in the International Space Station program met again in Washington, DC, and were presented NASA's latest plans for the orbital outpost. No formal agreement could be reached between the partners. Another meeting is tentatively planned in early 2003.

Shuttle Repairs Planned in August
July 19
NASA plans to begin repairs on its fleet of Space Shuttle Orbiters in early August in order to allow flight resumption by late September. Three options have been identified to repair the cracks found in the metal liner on the orbiter's liquid hydrogen lines which feed their Boeing Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). These options are under review and a final decision will be made on July 31. NASA officials admit that the origin of the cracks is not fully understood yet. An investigation is underway. A tentative schedule has already been set for flight resumption provided that the repairs can be conducted smoothly and successfully. First to go would be Space Shuttle Atlantis, on September 26, to deliver the S1 Truss element to the International Space Station on the STS-112 flight. Endeavour would follow on November 2 with the STS-113 mission to replace the permanent crew onboard the ISS. Columbia's science mission (STS-107) would be postponed to December.
Reentry Demonstrator Flown on Volna
July 12

IRDT Demonstrator
(Astrium/Babakin)
A 146-kg Inflatable Reentry & Descent Technology (IRDT) demonstrator, developed by NPO Lavochkin's Babakin Space Center, was successfully launched onto a suborbital trajectory by a converted Russian RSM-50 Volna sea-launched ballistic missile. The demonstrator was launched from the Ryazan nuclear submarine, in the Sea of Barents, toward a target landing site in Kamchatka. The spacecraft, designated as "Demonstrator 2" was a 80-cm diameter sphere. Once released it inflated two thermal shields, 2.3-m and 3.8-m in diameter respectively. Search for the spacecraft at the landing site is underway.
Editor's note: The IRDT concept was initially developed for the surface probes of the Mars 1996 mission, lost at launch on November 1996 in the failure of the last Proton K/D vehicle.
  Two IRDT demonstrators were flown on the maiden flight of Starsem's Soyuz-Fregat vehicle on February 9, 2000, on behalf of the European Space Agency and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (now part of Astrium). Only one of them was actually recovered after landing in a snowstorm in the Orenburg oblast. The innovative inflatable heatshield performed successfully but did not deploy to its full extent and the 110-kg spacecraft was damaged on impacting the ground.  A larger model, to recover the 1,200-kg Fregat upper stage, could not be located after reentry. A third demonstrator was reportedly flown on a suborbital trajectory on July 20, 2001 with the Planetary Society's Cosmos solar sail demonstrator and lost in the failure of the RSM-50 Volna launch vehicle. Europe's Astrium was given exclusive rights on IRDT development and marketing by a MoU signed with Rosaviakosmos in June 2001. A joint-venture, Return & Rescue Space Systems GmbH, was formed in March 2002 by Astrium and the Babakin Space Center to market IRDT systems. Various applications have been considered, including low-cost return of payloads from the International Space Station, planetary missions or recovery of upper stages.
NASA Shuttles Grounded Through September
July 12

Atlantis
(NASA)
NASA has announced that its none of its space shuttles will fly until mid-September at the earliest as the invetigation continues on the cracks found in the liner of the liquid hydrogen pipes of all four Space Shuttle Orbiters, as well as a test model used in the 1970s. Investigators are still trying to determine whether fixes are necessary or the orbiters can be launched without repairs. According to early findings, the cracks, up 8-mm long, are not related to hardware aging or cumulated flight duration. They may have been started by stress caused by welding during installation of the flow liners and could be growing slowly or not growing at all. Before clearing the fleet for flight resumption, NASA seeks to make sure that current shuttle operations will not stress the flow liners in a way that would cause cracks to grow, that the cracks will not grow if the orbiters are flown without repairs and that proposed repairs would not cause additional damage. When a firm decision is taken , seven weeks will be necessary to process a shuttle for flight.
Editor's note: No firm schedule has been decided yet regarding the flight resumption or even the order of future space shuttle missions. However, a swap is likely between Columbia's science mission (STS-107), previously due in July, and an Atlantis mission to support the International Space Station (STS-112), which was due in August.

Columbia
(NASA)

Endeavour
(NASA)

Discovery
(NASA)

The permament crew onboard the ISS was planned to be changed in October with a flight of Endeavour (STS-113). Flow liner in the liquid hydrogen pipes is made of stainless steel on Columbia and of Inconel alloy on all other orbiters. If the cracks were to grow they could cause a pollution concern in the high-power turbopumps of the Boeing Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). Three cracks were reported on Columbia's engine n°2 pipe, on Atlantis engine n°1 pipe and on Discovery's engine n°1 pipe. A single crack was reported on both Endeavour's engines n°1 and 2 pipes.

Endeavour Has Cracks Too
July 10

Two cracks, 2.5 and 7.5 mm in length, have been detected in the flow liner of liquid hydrogen pipes feeding two of the three engines on NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour. Similar cracks have been detected on all three other operational orbiter vehicles. An investigation is underway to determine what risk these cracks may represent for shuttle operations.

ATV Solar Array Deployment Test
July 3
European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) successfully completed its first solar array deployment test at ESA's ESTEC technical center in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. The 16.5-t Structural, thermal and mechanical (STM) model deployed one of its four 6.7-m long solar arrays. The STM will now undergo thermal cycles in ESTEC's Large Space Simulator (LSS) in order to qualify its thermal protection and regulation systems. In parallel, manufacturing of the first ATV flight model, dubbed "Jules Vernes", is proceeding. Integration of the propulsion module will begin in Astrium Space Infrastructure's plant in Bremen, Germany, in early July. A the same time, integration of the pressurized cargo carrier will begin in Alenia Spazio's facilities in Turin, Italy. The avionics module is already being built in Astrium's facilities in Toulouse, France. Final assembly of the vehicle will be conducted in Bremen, on behalf of development prime contractor EADS Launch Vehicle. The "Jules Vernes" is due for launch atop an Ariane 5ESV vehicle in September 2004. Its maiden flight will include rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station. Following operational ATV freighters will be built under prime contractorship of Astrium.
Cracks in Columbia Too
July 2

At least one crack has been detected in the liner of a liquid hydrogen line in the aft section of Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia. Similar cracks were previously detected in Atlantis on June 21 and later on Discovery, forcing NASA to ground its fleet unless the problem is solved.
Editor's note: Endeavour was flown back to NASA's Kennedy Space Center on June 29 and will be inspected shortly.

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  Space Propulsion

HyShot Scramjet Flies
July 30

The University of Queensland's second HyShot scramjet demonstrator was successfully flown atop a Terrier Orion suborbital rocket from the Woomera Rocket Range, Southern Australia. The experimental axisymetric scramjet, designed by UQ's Centre for Hypersonics, was due to operate at a velocity of up to Mach 7.6 between 35 km and 23 km of altitude, after reentry from an apogee of 350 km and before crashing into the ground some 370 km downrange. Data were beamed down and will require one or two weeks of processing before results of the experiment can be made available.
Editor's note: If the success can be confirmed, HyShot would have been the first successful scramjet test at such speeds. The first HyShot test flight, on October 30, 2001, ended in failure due to an anomaly on the boost vehicle. The HyShot program cost amounts to A$1.5 million (about €800,000).

Vinci Test Stand Takes Shape
July 27

The vacuum chamber to be used for simulated altitude tests of Snecma's Vinci cryogenic engine has been integrated into the P4 test stand at DLR's test center in Lampoldshausen, Germany. The 200-kN Vinci engine, designed to power Ariane 5's future ESC-B cryogenic stage, will begin testing in 2003. The P4 test stand was previously used for Ariane 5G's Aestus upper stage engine.

Aerojet to Develop HyFly Missile Scramjet
July 17
GenCorp Aerojet was awarded a US$43-million contract by Boeing Phantom Works to develop a dual combustion ramjet (DCR) test flight engine to boost the HyFly missile demonstrator under development for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research's (ONR). The HyFly program will test an hypersonic long-range strike missile demonstrator boosted by a solid rocket motor. The main objective is not propulsion but a capability to penetrate deeply buried targets. Aerojet's liquid hydrocarbon-fed engine will have to accelerate the demonstrator to a sustained cruise speed of Mach 6. The 48-month contract, actually initiated on May 6, includes production of 14 flight test engines (6 for ground-testing and 8 for in-flight testing). Aerojet is already engaged in Mach 6 testing of a heavy-weight version of the HyFly engine at NASA's Langley Research Center. First flight of a DCR-powered HyFly vehicle is scheduled for November 2004.
Editor's note: A DCR engine employs two air inlet systems: the first one feeds a subsonic gas generator in which a fuel-rich gas is generated before being co-axially mixed with supersonic air from the second inlet system. The DCR is a dual mode system as its diverging combustor section permits thermally-choked operation as a ramjet and allows for transition into a scramjet mode.
NASA to Study Combustion Wave Ignition System
July 12
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center eventually issued a RfP for the study and demonstration of techniques for conditioning kerosene (either JP-7 or RP-1) to sustain a robust detonation in order to enable operations in a multiple thrust chamber system with gasified liquid oxygen. A Combustion Wave Ignition system will be designed and built in order to demonstrate repeatable ignition in an actual liquid oxygen/kerosene-fueled rocket thrust chamber.
Editor's note: MSFC had initially planned to award this contract on a sole-source basis to General Applied Science Laboratories (GASL).
Cosmos 1 Sail Passes Deployment Test
July 10

The Planetary Society reports that a full length deployment test of a 15-meter solar sail blade designed for its Cosmos 1 experimental solar sail was successfully completed in a vacuum chamber by NPO Lavochkin. The test demonstrated a redesigned blade packing scheme with a folded - instead of rolled - blade and inflatable tube frame. The actual sail will feature eight such unfurlable petals. Tests will now continue on both the spacecraft mechanical model and components for the electrical model. The 40-kg Cosmos 1 sail is tentatively set for launch to a 850-km-high initial orbit atop a converted Russian RSM-50 Volna sea-launched ballistic missile in October.
Editor's note: A deployment demonstrator was launched onto a suborbital trajectory by a Volna missile on July 20, 2001. Unfortunately, the demonstrator failed to separate from the Volna's third stage after a low engine thrust resulted in the flight software not commanding the separation.
Watch the deployment test video (QT, 2.2 Mb).


Cosmos 1
(Planetary Society)
Rocketdyne to Study Hydrocarbon Propulsion Under IHPRPT
July 10

Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power was awarded a US$2.6-million contract by U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Propulsion Directorate to pursue hydrocarbon booster studies under the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) program, a joint government-industry effort initiated in 1993 to improve rocket propulsion technologies. Following completion of this one-year study, Rocketdyne may receive a follow-on contract to design and build a demonstration engine. An hydrocarbon propulsion system derived from Rocketdyne's studies under IHPRPT could power a future U.S. Air Force reusable Space Operations Vehicle (SOV)
Editor's note: Boeing Rocketdyne is already supporting IHPRPT in other propulsion technologies, such as cryogenic propulsion through the Integrated Powerhead Demonstration (IPD) program, and is developing the RS-84 reusable hydrocarbon engine under NASA's Space Launch Initiative (SLI).

Air-Breathing Engine Reaches Milestone
July 8

The Rocket Based Combined Cycle Consortium (RBC3) - Boeing Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power, Pratt&Whitney; Space Propulsion Operations and GenCorp Aerojet - has completed its first major systems requirements review on the Argo hypersonic combined cycle engine three months earlier than scheduled. The RBC3 is developing the Argo as a ground test engine on behalf of NASA's Integrated System Test of an Air-breathing Rocket (ISTAR) program. The Argo will be able to perform as a ramjet, a scramjet and a rocket-type engine fueled and cooled by hydrocarbon and high-test peroxide propellants. Under a US$16.6-million contract awarded by NASA in December 2001, RBC3 team members will have to complete conceptual system design and subsystem testing of the engine by November 2002. Ground testing of a flight-weight, fuel-cooled engine flowpath is scheduled to begin in 2006 and an actual flight demonstration is planned by the end of the decade. Total cost of the program is estimated at about US$140 million.

NASA Extends Thiokol RSRM Contract
July 1st

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has awarded a US$429-million extension to its contract with ATK Thiokol Propulsion for the production and refurbishment of Reusable Solid Rocket Motors (RSRM) for the Space Shuttle program. The contract, signed in October 1998, is the sixth in a series of contracts awraded for the design, development, production and refurbishment of Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motors. With this new extension, it will cover production and refurbishment of 35 pairs of RSRMs and three flight support motors through May 2007. Total value of the extended contract amounts to of US$2.4 billion.

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  Spaceports

European Union Not to Back Soyuz in Kourou
July 19
The European Commission does not plan to contribute to the funding of a launch complex for Russian Soyuz/ST vehicles in Kourou according to French aerospace weekly Air&Cosmos. However, a European Union contribution to support the development of future launchers is foreseen.
Editor's note: The required budget to complete the new launch pas has been estimated to €275 million, to be shared between Russia, European governments and European industry.
Rosaviakosmos Still Working on Christmas Island Project
July 2

Rosaviakosmos has denied earlier press reports regarding its withdrawal from the Asia Pacific Space Centre project to develop a launch site for the Aurora/Korvet launch vehicle in Christmas Island. rosaviakosmos claims to be negotiating with APSC and with the European Space Agency in parallel.
Editor's note: Rosaviakosmos has confirmed that the Aurora reuses the basic design and the booster stages from the Soyuz but is different enough from it to be unaffected by Starsem's exclusive rights on Soyuz-derived vehicles.

APSC Not Dead
July 1st

The Asia Pacific Space Centre is still planning to develop a launch site for the Aurora/Korvet launch vehicle in Christmas Island, despite rumors of Russia withdrawing from the project. APSC reacted vigorously after an announcement by European industry officials that the project was cancelled following European Space Agency's formal acceptance to develop a launch pad for Soyuz/ST vehicles in Kourou.
Editor's note: Rosaviakosmos regularly used the option to back APSC as an argument for getting access to Kourou for its Soyuz launcher. According to APSC, the Aurora reuses the basic design and the booster stages from the Soyuz but is different enough from it to be unaffected by Starsem's exclusive rights on Soyuz-derived vehicles.

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  Industry

BAe Systems to Sell Its Astrium Stake
July 29

BAe Systems has agreed to sell its 25% stake in Astrium to EADS for €165 million. The transaction, to be approved by the European Commission, will be completed after the British government finalizes its Skynet 5 procurement contract in September with Paradigm Secure Communications, a joint venture of BAe Systems and Astrium. EADS will then own 100% of Astrium and be able to restructure its space transportation business by consolidating Astrium's launch vehicle and orbital infrastructure activities with its EADS Launch Vehicles subsidiary.

Snecma's Privatization to Resume
July 12

The new Conservatory French government plans to resume the preparation for a privatization of Snecma to be completed in the first half of 2003. Snecma's privatization is considered a prerequisite for the consolidation of Europe's aerospace propulsion industry.
Editor's note: The previous Socialist government had planned to privatize part of Snecma's capital by late 2001 but the IPO was cancelled after September 11 terrorist attacks caused the commercial air transport business to collapse.

Boeing Merges Space and Defense Units
July 10

The Boeing Co. announces the merger of its Space & Communications and Military Aircraft & Missile Systems units into a new entity to be known as Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. This new unit will be headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to generate US$23 billion in revenue in 2002, possibly exceeding Boeing's commercial aircraft business.
Editor's note: In 2001, Boeing Space & Communications generated US$10.4 billion in revenues while the sales for the Defense business amounted to US$12.5 billion. However, in 2002, Boeing's space activities suffered from the slowdown in the commercial satellite and launch business. Boeing reportedly denies that the merger might be used to dilute the financial difficulties of its space sector into the results of a larger business unit.

BAe to Stay in Astrium
July 4

BAe Systems has announced its intent to stay in Astrium's capital. However, the structure of the shareholding may change.
Editor's note: BAe's decision might be linked to its failed entry in the U.S. government satellites market through an unsuccessful bid to take over TRW.

Work Resumption in SNPE Toulouse Delayed
July 1st

France's Groupe SNPE will be cleared to resume part of its chemical activities in Toulouse on July 11. However, these activities will not resume until several modications are completed to increase the safety of its facilities. Some €10 million will be invested on the site before SNPE can resume production of ammonium perchlorate and monomethyl-hydrazine for Ariane launchers, presumably by year end. SNPE's facilities were closed on September 21, 2001, following the explosion of the nearby AZF (Atofina) fertilizer production plant. Activities requiring the use of highly toxic phosgen gas will not be allowed to resume.
Editor's note: To increase its strategic reserves, which would have been depleted by late 2002, Arianespace had to purchase a first batch of ammonium perchlorate from Williams Equipment & Controls Co. (Wecco), of South West Jordan, Utah, at a price 50% higher than that of SNPE.

Northrop Grumman to Take Over TRW
July 1st

TRW Inc. has eventually agreed to be taken over by Northrop Grumman Corp. for US$7.8 billion. Northrop Grumman won the deal against competing bids by General Dynamics, Raytheon and the U.S. unit of BAE Systems. The merger will be completed during the 4th quarter.
Editor's note: Northrop Grumman's first bid to acquire TRW, in February, amounted to US$5.9 billion. In the meantime, TRW has sold its aeronautical division (the former Lucas Aerospace) to Goodrich for US$1.5 billion.

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  Launch Market

Astrium to Provide Hellas Sat Satellite
July 25