December 28, 1997
THE ORBITAL REPORT ON-LINE
Space Executive's News Digest
This issue of Takyon International's latest on-line newsletter
was published in cooperation with Launchspace. (www.launchspace.com)
OReOL covers space industry news, market trends, and provides the
necessary background information for immediate analysis. Please feel
free to contact us for any comment.
=== HEADLINES ===
* The Hughes-built ASIASAT 3 communications satellite (28C, 16Ku) was
lost in space on December 25 due to the failure of the BLOCK DM3 upper
stage of its PROTON K vehicle. The launch, conducted on behalf of
INTERNATIONAL LAUNCH SERVICES (ILS), of San Diego, California,
occurred at 23:19 UT on December 24 and all three stages of the GKNPTs
Khrunichev-built Proton K vehicle performed flawlessly. About 6 hours
and 20 minutes after liftoff, the BLOCK DM3 upper stage, built by RKK
ENERGIYA, of Korolev, Russia, failed one second into its 110-sec.
second burn. The 3,480-kg spacecraft thus separated in a highly
inclined transfer orbit with a low perigee and is expected to reenter
shortly. Total cost of the mission is estimated at US$270 million.
ASIA SATELLITE TELECOMMUNICATIONS CO. LTD. (ASIASAT), of Hong Kong,
China, had ordered the HS-601HP satellite from HUGHES SPACE &
COMMUNICATIONS, of El Segundo, California, in February 1996. ASIASAT
was already negotiating with HUGHES for the procurement of a fourth
satellite. The insurance claim for ASIASAT 3 will probably help fund
this replacement spacecraft.
Next Proton launches were due to loft a triplet of URAGAN satellites
for the Russian GLONASS global positioning system and a GORIZONT
geostationary communication satellite for PO KOSMICHESKAYA SVIAZ (PO-
KS) of Korolev, Russia. Next commercial launch was due on January 30
with a Block DM3 stage to loft another Hughes HS-601HP, the ASTRA 2A
direct broadcasting satellite for SOCIETE EUROPEENNE DES SATELLITES
(SES), of Betzdorf, Luxembourg. Eight more commercial flights were
planned to follow in 1998 on behalf of ILS.
RKK Energiya's BLOCK DM3 stage is a commercial version of the BLOCK
DM-2 used for Russian spacecraft and adapted to Hughes satellites.
This stage is very similar to the BLOCK DM intended to serve as third
stage of SEA LAUNCH's ZENIT 3SL vehicle and the failure investigation
may induce further delays in the introduction of this launcher.
Standard two-stage ZENIT 2 vehicles have not resumed flights yet
following a launch failure on May 20, 1997.
* TRW INC., of Redondo Beach, California, officially announced on
December 17 the cancellation of its proposed 12-satellite ODYSSEY
mobile telephony system. TRW, teaming with TELEGLOBE, of Montreal,
Canada, was not able to raise sufficient funding to start the
US$3.2-billion project and was about to loose its operating license
from the US FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (FCC).
Under TRW's new plans, the company will acquire 7% of ICO GLOBAL
COMMUNICATIONS, of London, Great-Britain, which plans to deploy a
similar US$4.2-million system, based on 12 satellites provided by
HUGHES SPACE & COMMUNICATIONS, of El Segundo, California, in 1998 and
1999. An agreement between TRW and ICO has been signed to exchange
technical patents and stop current lawsuits regarding these patents.
TRW will also receive some ICO distribution rights in the US. For
legal and tax purposes TRW will invest US$50 million in ICO and ICO
will re-pay TRW US$25 million at closing and another US$25 million by
=== RECENT LAUNCHES ===
* A START 1 vehicle was successfully launched from Svobodniy, Amur
oblast, Eastern Siberia, on December 24. The converted RS-12M 'Topol'
(SS-25 'Sickle') solid-fuelled ICBM, operated by NTTs KOMPLEKS, of
Moscow, Russia, lofted the EARLYBIRD 1 commercial remote sensing
satellite on behalf of EARTHWATCH INC., of Longmont, Colorado. The
317-kg satellite, built by CTA SPACE SYSTEMSn (now merged into ORBITAL
SCIENCES CORP.), of McLean, Virginia, will provide 3-m resolution
panchromatic and 15-m multispectral imagery.
* An Orbital Sciences PEGASUS XL vehicle with an HAPS upper stage was
released from the belly of the 'Stargazer' carrier aircraft over the
Atlantic Ocean off Wallops Island, Virginia, on December 23. The
vehicle's payload was a cluster of 8 ORBCOMM messaging satellites for
ORBITAL COMMUNICATIONS CORP., of Dulles, Virginia. The launch has been
delayed several times since mid November and a first attempt, on
December 11, had to be scrubbed following cancellation of a launch
license previously awarded to ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP. (OSC), of Dulles,
Virginia, by the US Federal Aviation Administration's OFFICE OF
COMMERCIAL SPACE TRANSPORTATION because of safety issues regarding the
HAPS stage. The last HAPS was launched on May 19, 1994, and later
exploded in orbit, creating about 800 tracked debris. The 43-kg
ORBCOMM satellites are due to enter operational service by late March.
Eighteen more satellites are planned for launch in 1998, two on a
Taurus vehicle and two 8-satellite clusters on Pegasus XL vehicles.
* ARIANESPACE successfully conducted its 11th launch of the year on
December 22, from Kourou, French Guiana. An ARIANE 42L-3 (V104)
released the Lockheed Martin-built INTELSAT 804 communications
satellite (38C, 6Ku) on a geostationary transfer orbit. The 3,455-kg
LM-7000-type satellite will later be located at 64°E to provide
coverage over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). With the launch of the
second ARIANE 5 prototype on behalf of ESA and CNES, this was the 12th
successful Ariane launch this year.
* A Boeing DELTA 2-7920 vehicle lofted a cluster of 5 IRIDIUM
satellites for mobile telephony from Vandenberg AFB, California, on
December 20. After this launch, 46 satellites of the IRIDIUM
constellation are in orbit. At least two of them have already failed.
IRIDIUM LLC, of Washington, DC, plans to initiate service in late
September 1998, with 66 operational satellites.
* A TsSKB-Progress SOYUZ U vehicle was launched from Baykonur,
Kazakhstan, on December 20, to loft the PROGRESS M37 cargo spacecraft
to the MIR space station. The 7,195-kg spacecraft, carrying 2,500 kg
of supplies, docked with the station on December 22.
* The 72-kg INSPEKTOR sub-satellite failed shortly after deployment
from the PROGRESS M36 cargo spacecraft leaving the MIR space station
on December 17. The US$15-million spacecraft, built by DAIMLER-BENZ
AEROSPACE (DASA), of Bremen, Germany, was intended to maneuver around
the station for a 30-hour external inspection mission. Unfortunately,
due to a faulty attitude sensor, the INSPEKTOR pointed its camera in
the wrong direction and could not image the station.
* A TsSKB-Progress SOYUZ-U vehicle was launched from Plesetsk,
Northern Russia, on December 15, lofting KOSMOS 2348, apparently a
6,700-kg military observation satellite of the KOBALT series, also
built by TsSKB-PROGRESS, of Samara, Russia.
* A NPO Yuzhnoe TSYKLON-M vehicle was launched from Baykonur,
Kazakhstan, on December 9, lofting KOSMOS 2347, a 3,150-kg ELECTRONIC
INTELLIGENCE OCEAN RECONNAISSANCE SATELLITE (EORSAT) built by TsNPO
KOMETA, of Moscow, Russia, and KB ARSENAL, of Sankt Petersburg, Russia.
* A Lockheed Martin ATLAS 2AS vehicle (AC-149) was successfully
launched on December 8 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying the
3,548-kg Hughes-built GALAXY 8I communications satellite (32Ku) for
PANAMSAT CORP., of Greenwich, Connecticut. The HS-601HP-type
spacecraft entered a supersynchronous transfer orbit with a 50,600-km
apogee. After circularization, it will replace GALAXY 3R at 95°W to
provide direct broadcasting services over Latin America. Total cost of
the mission is valued at about US$250 million.
* The second CZ-2-3 'LONG MARCH 2-3' vehicle was launched from
Taiyuan, Shaanxi province, China, on December 8. It lofted a pair of
IRIDIUM mobile telephony satellites into a low Earth parking orbit
using a SMART DISPENSER (SD) upper stage.
* A GKNPTs Khrunichev PROTON K/DM3 vehicle was launched from Baykonur,
Kazakhstan, on December 2, lofting the 3,385-kg Hughes-built ASTRA 1G
direct broadcasting satellite (32Ku through 2002, 28Ku thereafter) to
a geostationary transfer orbit with a 10,211-km perigee on behalf of
SOCIETE EUROPEENNE DES SATELLITES (SES), of Betzdorf, Luxembourg.
* ARIANESPACE, of Evry, France, launched an ARIANE 44P-3 vehicle
(V103) from Kourou on December 2. Its payload was composed of the
2,982-kg Hughes-built JC-SAT 5 communications satellite (32Ku), for
JAPAN SATELLITE SYSTEMS INC. CORP. (JSS), of Tokyo, Japan, and the
230-kg EQUATOR-S solar sciences satellite built by MAX PLANCK INSTITUT
FUR EXTRATERRISTRIK (MPE-GARCHING), in Garching, Germany.
=== CONTRACTS ===
* The US AIR FORCE's ICBM SYSTEM PROGRAM OFFICE, of Hill AFB, Utah,
has selected a team led by TRW STRATEGIC SYSTEMS DIVISION, of San
Bernardino, California, to sustain the US Intercontinental Ballistic
Missiles forces. The initial ICBM PRIME INTEGRATION CONTRACT is worth
US$84.94 million and runs from February 2 to September 30, 1998. It
includes 14 one-year options through 2012 and is potentially worth
about US$3.4 billion. TRW's industrial partners are THIOKOL CORP., of
Ogden, Utah; UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP.'s CHEMICAL SYSTEMS DIVISION
(UTC-CSD), of San Jose, California; BOEING GUIDANCE, NAVIGATION &
SENSORS, of Anaheim, California; LOCKHEED MARTIN FEDERAL SYSTEMS, of
Colorado Springs, Colorado; BDM INTERNATIONAL, of Fairfax, Virginia;
and MRJ TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS, of McLean, Virginia. The loosing bidder
was a team led by ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMS, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and
including BOEING, LOGICON, TEXTRON SYSTEMS and DRAPER LABORATORY.
* The INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE ORGANIZATION
(INTELSAT), in Washington, DC, has exercized two options on an
existing contract with SPACE SYSTEMS/LORAL (SS/L), of Palo Alto,
California, for the procurement of two additional INTELSAT 9
satellites based on SS/L's FS-1300HL bus. ALCATEL ESPACE, of Nanterre,
France, will provide the payloads (44C, 12Ku).
Moreover, INTELSAT has contracted with ARIANESPACE, of Evry, France,
for three launches on ARIANE 5 vehicles to loft the INTELSAT 902, 903
and 904 satellites (4,300 to 4,800 kg each). The launches are expected
in late 2000, mid 2001 and late 2001.
* AMERICAN MOBILE SATELLITE CORP. (AMSC), of Reston, Virginia, has
leased its AMSC-1 geostationary mobile communications satellite to
AFRICAN CONTINENTAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS LTD. (ACTEL), of Gibraltar, for
US$182 million through 2003. ACTEL plans to move the satellite over
Africa next summer.
* The US OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH, in Arlington, Virginia, has awarded
a contract worth up to US$128.9 million to SPACE TECHNOLOGY
DEVELOPMENT CORP., of Arlington, Virginia, for the development of a
dual use HYPERSPECTRAL SATELLITE to be launched in 2000.
* The EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) and the ITALIAN SPACE AGENCY (ASI)
have signed on December 12 the agreement regarding the manufacturing
of the NODE 2 and NODE 3 modules of the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION
(ISS) under the responsibility of ALENIA SPAZIO, of Rome, Italy. Total
value of the work is ECU115 million (US$128 million). NODE 2 is
currently due for launch in April 2001.
* NASA has exercized two options worth an estimated US$113-million on
the Medium Expendable Launch Vehicle Services (MELVS) contract it had
signed with McDONNELL DOUGLAS AEROSPACE CORP. (MDAC, now BOEING
EXPENDABLE LAUNCH SYSTEMS), of Huntington Beach, California, in
November 1989. BOEING will provide launch services aboard DELTA 2
vehicles for NASA's GRAVITY PROBE-B (GP-B) in Early 2000 and for a
composite payload consisting of the NASA/CNES JASON 1 altimetry
satellite and NASA's own THERMOSPHERE-IONOSPHERE-MESOSPHERE ENERGETICS
& DYNAMICS (TIMED) spacecraft in May 2000. The MELVS contract still
includes two more options.
* NASA has awarded a US$92-million contract to the JOHNS HOPKINS
UNIVERSITY APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY (JHU-APL) for the design and
development of the THERMOSPHERE-IONOSPHERE-MESOSPHERE ENERGETICS &
DYNAMICS (TIMED) spacecraft due for launch atop a Delta 2 vehicle in
* AEROSPATIALE ESPACE & DEFENSE, of Paris, France, was officially
awarded a contract estimated worth about FF500 million (US$85 million)
for the manufacturing of the HISPASAT 1C communications satellite
(24Ku) for HISPASAT SA, of Madrid, Spain. To launch this Spacebus 3000
spacecraft in late 1999, HISPASAT has selected INTERNATIONAL LAUNCH
SERVICE (ILS), of San Diego, California. The vehicle will be a GKNPTs
Khrunichev PROTON K.
* ARIANESPACE was awarded a new firm launch contract by an UNDISCLOSED
US OPERATOR for a 2-t class communications satellite apparently built
in Europe. Launch is planned in 1998.
* NASA has awarded a US$42.86-million to SPACEHAB INC., of Vienna,
Virginia, to provide SPACEHAB modules for three shuttle missions with
a US$15.8-million option for a fourth one. The EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
(ESA), Japan's NATIONAL SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (NASDA) and the
CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY (CSA) will provide US$18.86-million of
additional funding to the contract. The modules will fly on STS-95 in
October 1998 (single module), STS-96 in December 1998 (double module
for logistic supply to the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION), and STS-107
in May 2000 (double module). SPACEHAB INC. estimates it can sell
available room inside the modules to commercial customers for an
additional US$22 million.
* CANADA's MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY has awarded a series of contracts,
worth a total of more than C$65 million (US$45 million), to five
Canadian aerospace companies to develop innovative satellite
communications technologies. CAL CORP., of Ottawa, Ontario, will
receive C$2 million (US$1.4 million) to develop intersatellite
communications. COM DEV INTERNATIONAL, of Cambridge, Ontario, will
study payload subsystems for multimedia applications for C$9.2 million
(US$6.4 million). NORTHERN TELECOM (NORTEL), of Ottawa, Ontario, was
awarded a C$12.3-million (US$8.6-million) contract to develop low-cost
terminals for broadband satellite communications. SPAR AEROSPACE LTD.,
of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, will develop advanced satellite
payload technologies under a C$16.2-million (US$11.3-million)
contract. A C$7.8-million (US$5.4-million) contract was awarded to
TELESAT CANADA, of Gloucester, Ontario, to support advanced satellite
* The INDIAN DEPARTMENT OF SPACE (DOS) has bought the almost 6-year
old ARABSAT 1C communications satellite (25C, 2S) for US$40 million
from the 21-nation ARAB SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS ORGANISATION (ASCO),
of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to replace its failed INSAT 2D. ARABSAT 1C is
a SPACEBUS 1000 spacecraft (1,310 kg at launch) built by AEROSPATIALE
ESPACE & DEFENSE in its Cannes facility, on the French Riviera. It was
launched by an ARIANE 4 vehicle in February 1992 and is expected to
remain operational through 1999.
* ESA has awarded a FF210-million (US$35-million) contract to MATRA
MARCONI SPACE, of Velizy, France, for the development of the BIOLAB
laboratory which will be fitted into the COLUMBUS ORBITAL FACILITY
(COF), the European module of the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS).
* DLR, the German space agency, has awarded a contract worth more than
DM30-million (US$17-million) to DORNIER SATELLITENSYSTEME (DSS), of
Friedrichshafen, Germany, to develop and manufacture hardware for the
SHUTTLE RADAR TOPOGRAPHY MISSION (SRTM) now planned in September 1999
* NASA's JET PROPULSION LABORATORY, of Pasadena, California, has
awarded a US$8.3-million contract to ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP. (OSC), of
Dulles, Virginia, to build and test the ACTIVE CAVITY RADIOMETER
IRRADIANCE MONITOR SATELLITE (ACRIMSAT) for solar observation. The
satellite, to be based on OSC's MINISTAR bus, is planned for launch in
1999, possibly on a PEGASUS XL vehicle.
* ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP. (OSC), of Dulles, Virginia, has awarded a
contract to MARSHALL AEROSPACE, of Cambridge, Great-Britain, to modify
the 'STARGAZER' carrier aircraft, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar used for
PEGASUS launches, for the launches of NASA's X-34 hypersonic
* NASA's GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER (GSFC), in Greenbelt, Maryland,
plans to acquire elements for 20 BLACK BRANT suborbital vehicles from
BRISTOL AEROSPACE LTD. (BAL), of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
=== MERGERS ===
* The governments of FRANCE, GREAT-BRITAIN and GERMANY, have asked
AEROSPATIALE, of Paris, France, BRITISH AEROSPACE (BAe), of
Farnborough, Great-Britain, and DAIMLER-BENZ AEROSPACE (DASA), of
Munich, Germany, to define a roadmap for the consolidation of their
aerospace activities into a single entity, tentatively designated
'AIRBUS PLUS'. Space activities from BAe have been sold to MATRA
MARCONI SPACE (MMS), of Velizy, France, in 1994. DASA is currently
planning the merger of its space business with MMS whilst
AEROSPATIALE's Satellites Division will be merged with ALCATEL ESPACE
by mid 1998. Thus, only AEROSPATIALE's space transportation business
(ARIANE launchers and ATV unmanned cargo spacecraft) might be included
in the AIRBUS PLUS project.
* UNITED VIDEO SATELLITE GROUP, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a 40% subsidiary
of TELECOMMUNICATIONS INC. (TCI), of Englewood, Colorado, is about to
take a 42% stake in KaSTAR SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS, of Colorado, one
of the 15 US companies licensed by the US FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS
COMMISSION (FCC) to build and operate a Ka-band broadband
communications system. KaSTAR is negotiating with LOCKHEED MARTIN
TELECOMMUNICATIONS, of Sunnyvale, California, for the procurement of
two LADYBUG satellites with a first launch in 2001 on an Ariane
* SPACEDEV, of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, has acquired INTEGRATED
SPACE SYSTEMS (ISS), of San Diego, California.
=== MARKETS ===
* The governments of FRANCE, GERMANY and GREAT-BRITAIN have signed a
MoU for the joint development of the TRIMILSAT military communications
* MATRA MARCONI SPACE, of Velizy, France, and DIGIMED, a wholly-owned
subsidiary of CYPRUS TELECOMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY (CYTA), have
incorporated a joint-venture, EURO AFRICAN SATELLITE TELECOMMUNICATION
(EAST) in Great-Britain, on December 5. EAST is intended to set up a
US$800-million geostationary satellite system to provide mobile
(L-band) and fixed (Ku-band) communication services (telephony and
data transfer) over Europe, Africa and the Middle East. ABB NERA, of
Norway, is also participating in the program. Launch of the 4,500-kg
EAST satellite is planned in 2001.
* INTELSAT, of Washington, DC, and COLUMBIA COMMUNICATIONS CORP., of
Honolulu, Hawaii, have settled a dispute over the use of close
geostationary orbital slots. COLUMBIA will drop use of transponders
onboard NASA's TDRS-4 at 41°W on May 15, 1998, and transfer traffic to
INTELSAT 515 (to be renamed as COLUMBIA 515) at 37.5°W to free
frequencies for the' INTELSAT 806 satellite to be located at 40.5°W.
* SEP of Suresnes, France (a division of SNECMA, of Paris, France), is
discussing a possible alliance with DAIMLER-BENZ AEROSPACE (DASA), of
Bremen, Germany, for the joint development of a 'smart' storable
propellant to upgrade the ARIANE 5E design. Cost of this proposed
development is estimated at about FF2 billion (US$350 million), to be
equally shared between ESA, Arianespace and industry. SEP is currently
developing the 100-kN class MS-100 engine for such applications.
DASA's AESTUS-2, under development with Boeing's ROCKETDYNE DIVISION,
of Canoga Park, California, is considered not powerful enough for this
* MOTOROLA INC., of Chandler, Arizona, is studying the possible
acquisition of 20 ROKOT launchers to maintain the IRIDIUM
constellation. ROKOT vehicles are marketed by EUROCKOT LAUNCH SERVICES
GmbH, of Bremen, Germany, a joint-venture of DAIMLER-BENZ AEROSPACE,
of Bremen, Germany, and GKNPTs KHRUNICHEV, of Moscow, Russia, which
builds the vehicles. The ROKOT vehicle could carry pairs of 689-kg
IRIDIUM satellites to their low initial parking orbit.
* The US DEPARTMENT OF STATE has cleared THIOKOL CORPORATION's
PROPULSION GROUP, of Brigham City, Utah, for the export of two
CASTOR 4B solid motors to Spain. The motors will be used as first
stage for the 3-stage CAPRICORNIO launch vehicle under development by
SPAIN's NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIES (INTA), of
Torrejon de Ardoz, near Madrid. Two prototype vehicles are planned for
launch in 2000 and 2001 from Canary Islands. Later CAPRICORNIO
vehicles could be marketed in the US on behalf of ALLIEDSIGNAL
AEROSPACE, of Teterboro, New Jersey.
* AUSTRALIA's federal government has approved a legislation to set up
a framework for commercial launch activities in the country. Four
commercial spaceports are currently under study in WOOMERA, South
Australia; GUN POINT, Northern Territories; CAPE YORK, Queensland; and
=== TECHNOLOGIES ===
* NASA's GALILEO spacecraft completed its primary mission in orbit
around JUPITER on December 7. A US$30-million extension has been
decided to allow 8 more flybys of Jupiter's icy moon EUROPA through
late 1999. A first pass, at a distance of only 200 km was performed on
December 16. More flybys of Callisto and Io are also planned.
* TRW SPACE & ELECTRONICS GROUP, of Redondo Beach, California, has
announced it will not be able to deliver NASA's ADVANCED X-RAY ASTRO-
PHYSICS FACILITY (AXAF) spacecraft on June 1 as planned due to
difficulty with an integrated test system. Impact of the delay has not
been assessed yet. The 5,200-kg US$1.4-million X-ray observatory was
scheduled for launch in August by Space Shuttle COLUMBIA using a two-
stage IUS-2 to reach its final 10,000 x 140,000 km orbit.
* NASA's OFFICE OF SPACE SCIENCE (OSS), has released a research
announcement for the selection of science instruments to be carried on
the MARS SURVEYOR 2003 and 2005 landers.
* THE JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY's APPLIED PHYSICS LABORATORY (APL), of
Laurel, Maryland, has been selected to conduct the US$3-million study
of a SOLAR TERRESTRIAL RELATIONS OBSERVATORY (STEREO) multi-instrument
platform intended to provide 3D images of solar coronal mass
ejections. The design and development phase is planned to begin by mid
1998. Two spacecraft will be launched in 2003 under a US$120-million
mission, the third of NASA's SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL PROBES.
* The US$3-million AERCAM/SPRINT free floating camera was eventually
tested in Space Shuttle COLUMBIA's cargo bay on December 3. The 16-kg
camera, to be later used for inspection of the INTERNATIONAL SPACE
STATION (ISS), performed flawlessly.
* NASA's MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER (MSFC), in Huntsville, Alabama,
has been selected to provide water and oxygen recycling systems for
the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION. An experimental system will be tested
during a shuttle mission in 2000, prior to the delivery of the
operational system in 2002.
* A Mitsubishi Heavy Industries LE-5B prototype cryogenic engine
caught fire during a ground test on December 1. The LE-5B is due to
power the upper stage of Japan's H-2A vehicle.
* The FASTRAC engine, developed by NASA's MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
(MSFC), in Huntsville, Alabama, for the X-34 hypersonic demonstrator
and the BANTAM low-cost small launch vehicle, has successfully
completed engine component tests at MSFC. Complete engine assembly
will be test-fired in early 1998 at NASA's STENNIS SPACE CENTER (SSC),
in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
* NASA's MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER (MSFC), in Huntsville, Alabama,
prepares to issue a Request for Offer (RFO) for a study to assess
manufacturing of low-cost LARGE CORE VEHICLES structures using ship-
* NASA has selected 101 projects for negotiation of contracts under
the SMALL BUSINESS INNOVATION RESEARCH (SBIR) Program. Total value of
the contracts could amount to US$59 million.
=== PREVIEW ===
* January 6 Lockheed Martin's ATHENA 2 vehicle (formerly LMLV-2)
is expected to perform its maiden flight, boosting
NASA's LUNAR PROSPECTOR probe to the Moon from
SPACEPORT FLORIDA's LC-46 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
* January 6 RUSSIAN COSMONAUTS Anatoly Solovyev and Pavel
Vinogradov will perform an extravehicular activity
(EVA) on the space station MIR to repair the hatch of
the KVANT 2 module.
* January 9 A Boeing DELTA 2-7925 vehicle is planned to boost the
SKYNET 4D military communications satellite to
geostationary transfer orbit from Cape Canaveral,
Florida, on behalf of the BRITISH MINISTRY OF
* January 13-14 NASA's MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER (MSFC), in
Huntsville, Alabama, will host conference to discuss
requirements for and the processes required to
develop a low-cost launch system (US$1.5 million
recurring cost) for small payloads (about 150 kg) on
behalf of NASA's Advanced Space Transportation
* Mid January Japan's NATIONAL SPACE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (NASDA) is
expected to launch its sixth H-2 vehicle (5F) to loft
the NEC-built COMMUNICATIONS & BROADCASTING
ENGINEERING TESTS SATELLITE (COMETS) to geostationary
transfer orbit. The launch is due during a period
which lasts through late February.
* January 23 NASA's Space Shuttle ENDEAVOUR is due to lift off
from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, for the 8th
shuttle mission to Russia's MIR space station. The
flight was initially planned on January 15, but had
to be delayed after the orbiter vehicle's payload bay
doors were damaged in an accident on December 6.
* January 23 An Orbital Sciences' PEGASUS XL air-launched rocket
is expected to be released over the Pacific Ocean and
boost a dual payload composed of the University of
Colorado's STUDENT NITRIC OXIDE EXPERIMENT (SNOE)
spacecraft, built on behalf of the STUDENT EXPERIMENT
DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (STEDI) program, and Texas
Space Grant Consortium's BATSAT small technology
* January 25 A Chinese CZ-3B 'LONG MARCH 3B' vehicle is planned to
liftoff from Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC),
in Sichuan, China, to loft the Aerospatiale-built
SINOSAT 1 communications satellite for SINO SATELLITE
COMMUNICATIONS CO., of Shanghai, China.
* January 26 Orbital Sciences' second TAURUS vehicle is scheduled
for liftoff from Vandenberg AFB, California, to carry
into orbit US NAVY's GEOSAT FOLLOW-ON (GFO)
oceanography spacecraft together with a pair of
ORBCOMM messaging satellites for OSC's ORBCOMM
subsidiary and a canister containing human remains
for CELESTIS, of Houston, Texas.
* January 26 A Lockheed Martin ATLAS 2A vehicle is scheduled for
launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying a
classified experimental payload for US NATIONAL
RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE (NRO), of Chantilly, Virginia.
* January 27 ARIANESPACE's first mission of the year (V105) will
use an ARIANE 44L-3 to loft the Lockheed Martin-built
INMARSAT 3-F5 mobile communications satellite and the
Hughes-built BRASILSAT B3-A communications satellite
on behalf of INMARSAT, of London, Great-Britain, and
EMPRESA BRASILEIRA DE TELECOMUNICACOES SA (EMBRATEL),
of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, respectively.
* January 29 A TsSKB-Progress SOYUZ U launcher is planned for
launch from Baykonur, Kazakhstan, to loft the
SOYUZ TM27 manned spacecraft to low Earth orbit. The
RKK Energiya-built ferry will dock with MIR two days
later. SOYUZ TM27 carries French 'spationaut' Leopold
Eyharts for the CASSIOPEE joint French-Russian
* January 30 ESA's council is expected to approve the final
development of the METOP series of operational polar
orbiting meteorological satellites in partnership
with EUMETSAT, of Darmstadt, Germany.
* January 31 A Boeing DELTA 2-7920 is expected to be launched from
Vandenberg AFB, California, carrying a cluster of
five IRIDIUM mobile telephony satellites.
* Late January NASA's X-38 prototype (vehicle no.131) is intended to
perform its first drop test from the wing of a NB-52
carrier aircraft over Edwards AFB, California.
The Orbital Report On-Line was published 3 to 4 times per month
by Takyon International (RCS Paris B 401 465 398)
BP 2148, F-34027 Montpellier Cedex 1, France
Phone: +33 (0) 467 664 681 - Fax: +33 (0) 467 607 155
E-mail: [email protected]
Chief Editor: Stefan Barensky
Technical Contributor: Samuel Szdat
© Takyon International - December 1997
Takyon International and Launchspace Publications also publish
The International Space Industry Report (ISIR),
a biweekly newsletter on space business and technology
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