|News of December 2002|
Dates are those of the events (in UT) when available.
| Government Launchers | Small
THIS PAGE IS IN WORKS !!!
UNCOMPLETE DRAFT NEWS COVERAGE
|Ariane 5ECA Failure Investigation Board||
ESA and CNES
have appointed a five-member independent investigation board to identify
the cause of the maiden launch failure of Ariane 5ECA on
December 11, and
provide recommendations for corrective actions. The board, headed by
DLR‘s Wolfgang Koschel,
will issue its final report on January 6. Among its main missions,
the investigation board will have to find out whether the cause of the
failure can affect the launch operations of standard Ariane 5Gs.
|US$1 Billion Subsidies Planned for EELVs||
Atlas 5 (LMA)
|Boeing and Lockheed Martin, respectively prime contractors for the Delta 4 and Atlas 5 series of launchers, should receive US$1 billion of U.S. government subsidies through 2009 to support the two vehicle lines while the commercial market cannot sustand profitable operations, according to top U.S. Air Force officials. The U.S. Air Force is reportedly asking for a US$200-million budget to initiate this support in FY2004.||
Delta 4 (Boeing)
US$60-70 million would be repaid annually to the two companies to
reimburse the lease of government-owned lands, while the remainder would
pay for the engineering, quality assurance and design reviews conducted
before and after every launch.
Editor’s note: The EELV program was initially intended to provide launch capabilities for the U.S. government that would gain financial support from the internatiobal commercial launch market.
|Standard Ariane 5 to Return to Flight Shortly||
|The standard version of Ariane 5, the Ariane 5G, should be cleared for flight resumption shortly as the cause of the maiden flight failure of the new Ariane 5ECA seems to be specific to the new design, according to comments by Arianespace top officials in various French medias. The first task of the failure investigation board will be to confirm that the Ariane 5G version could not be affected by a similar anomaly. Despite the December 11 failure, the launch campaign for the next Ariane 5 flight (V158) is proceeding on schedule at the Guiana Space Center in Kourou. The 15th vehicle in the Ariane 5 series is due to launch ESA‘s Rosetta cometary probe between January 13 and 31 for 12-year mission toward asteroids Ottawara and Siva and the comet P47/Wirtanen.||
|Ariane Failure Triggers Minimal Insurance Claims||
flight failure of Europe’s new Ariane 5ECA launch vehicle caused
the loss of two satellites valued at a total of about €640 million
but the resulting claims will be limited to only €13.4 million
on the space insurance market, according to insurance sources. As a
highly experimental payload, the €388-million Stentor
satellite was not insured by CNES.
Bird 7 was reportedly covered by three insurance policies.
A €250-million coverage was contracted for post-launch failure.
In addition, a joint launch policy was contracted for both Hot
Bird 6 and Hot Bird 7 and would have resulted in a claim only if
both satellites had been destroyed. A complementary launch coverage,
worth €13.4 million was actually contracted shortly before
launch and should be the only one to be repaid by the space insurance
sector. In parallel, Arianespace
had reportedly insured its launch for €133 million outside
the traditional space insurance market in order to support its re-launch
|Ariane 5ECA Fails on Maiden Flight||
|Europe’s Ariane 5ECA failed on its maiden flight, destroying its 2-satellite payload before it could reach orbit. According to the early analysis of the vehicle’s telemetry, the liftoff was nominal but a first anomaly occurred at 96 sec. (24 sec. after maximum dynamic pressure), with a loss of pressure in the cooling system of the Snecma Vulcain 2 engine powering the EPC core stage. Then, at 178 sec., 41 seconds after the EAP solid rocket boosters were jettisoned, the Vulcain 2 engine experienced "serious perturbations," resulting in a disturbance in the overall launcher’s flight control. At 187 sec., the payload fairing was jettisoned, at an altitude of 150 km, while the launcher was not fully stabilized. This resulted in a total loss of control of the vehicle, which veered off course. Self destruction was commanded by the range safety officer at 455 sec., while at an altitude of 69 km. The debris fell into the Atlantic Ocean, some 800-1,000 km downrange.||
independent failure investigation board will be appointed on December 13
with two main missions: to clear the standard version of Ariane 5,
the Ariane 5G, for the launch of ESA‘s
cometary probe, due on between January 13
and 31, and to enable the Ariane 5ECA’s safe return to flight
soon as possible.
The Ariane 5ECA is designed to loft up to 10 metric tons of payload to geostationary transfer orbit and will become Arianespace‘s workhorse for dual launches in the coming years. Arianespace had planned three Ariane 5ECA flights in 2003 out of six Ariane 5 missions. However, the European launch provider still has six Ariane 5Gs in production to ensure the overlap while the new version is being introduced.
the parachute recovery of the EAP boosters was successful and the two
stages will be shipped back to French Guiana for expertise. This failure
will not affect the schedule for the next Ariane 4 flight announced
|Ariane 5ECA Launch Rescheduled||
|The maiden launch of Europe’s Ariane 5ECA (V157), the uprated version of Arianespace‘s Ariane 5, is now set for December 11, from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou. A previous launch attempt, on November 28, was scrubbed 3 seconds before main engine ignition because of a ground sensor glitch. The ground-based software did not get confirmation of the correct firing of two chilldown igniters (AMEFs) and refused to hand over operations to the launcher’s onboard computer. An investigation pinpointed a sensor glitch in the igniters. Since the anomaly occured after the launcher’s cryogenic arms were disconnected, the new ESC-A upper stage had to be emptied using purge lines before the mobile launch table could be rolled back to the Final Assembly Building.|
|Sea Launch to Keep DM-SL Upper Stage||
Launch has denied rumors and speculations regarding the possible
change of upper stage on its Zenit 3SL
vehicle in the wake of a similar stage failure on a Proton vehicle
on November 26.
Sea Launch will keep its current DM-SL upper stage, provided
by RKK Energiya,
which is a derivative of the DM-2M stage used on GKNPTs
Khrunichev‘s Proton K. Khrunichev is currently phasing
out this version of the Proton vehicle in favor of a modernized Proton M
with a Khrunichev-built Breeze M upper stage.
|The next Zenit 3SL flight has been postponed since August and is currently planned by mid-January.|
|NASA Contracts for 12 Delta 2 Launches||
Kennedy Space Center
has selected Boeing
Launch Services to provide 12 firm Delta 2 launches
to loft NASA and NASA-sponsored payloads with options for 7 more. The
order, worth up to US$1.2 billion if all options are exercized,
is part of the NASA Launch Service (NLS) procurement. Twelve
launches would be conducted from Cape
Canaveral AFS, Florida, and seven from Vandenberg
AFB, California. Seven launches are currently planned in 2006, 6
in 2007, 2 in 2008 and 4 in 2009.
Five options have already been exercised for medium-class launches to loft NASA’s Aura, Deep Impact, Mars Exploration Rover 2, Messenger and Swift spacecraft atop Boeing’s Delta 2 and Delta 2H vehicles. One intermediary-class launch was awarded to Lockheed Martin to launch the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter atop an Atlas 3B.
|Vega Development Contracts to be Signed||
European Space Agency
will sign two development contracts for the Vega launcher. In
early 2003, a contract will be signed with ELV, the joint-venture of
FiatAvio and the
Italian Space Agency,
for the overall launch system development. In December, another contract
will be signed with FiatAvio to develop the P80FW solid rocket
motor to be used as Vega’s first stage.
|Brazil Launches Sounding Rockets||
|Brazil’s Aerospace Technical Center (CTA) launched two sounding rockets from the Alcântara Launch Center (CLA) within one week. Under "Operation Pirapema", a VS-30/Orion was first launched on November 23, carrying experiments developed by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Resarch (INPE) and Germany’s DLR and Institute for Physical Space Reseach to study the equatorial ionosphere. The VS-30/Orion V-02 rocket reached an altitude of 434.5 km. A single-stage VS-30 rocket was then launched on December 1st under "Operation Cumã" to conduct microgravity experiments. The VS-30 V-06 rocket carried 8 experiments from Brazilian and German universities on behalf of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB). The rocket reached an altitude of 120 km and fell into the South Atlantic Ocean some 80 km down range. No recovery was planned.||
|PLV Fails on Missile Defense Interception Test||
|The 8th interception test conducted by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for the development of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) segment of the U.S. missile defense system ended in failure after the prototype Raytheon Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle failed to separate from its Payload Launch Vehicle (PLV) booster. Under the US$80-million Integrated Flight Target 10 (IFT-10) mission, a dummy warhead and a series of decoys had been launched atop an Orbital Sciences Corp. Target Launch Vehicle (TLV) from Vandenberg AFB, California, toward the Kwajalein Missile Range in the Marshall Islands, some 7,775 km downrange. The Lockheed Martin PLV itself was launched from Kwajalein some 20 minutes later to intercept the incoming warhead. The failure occurs after a string of four successful interceptions.||
was the last flight of the PLV, which will be replaced on future interception
tests by the actual booster vehicles, currently under development by
OSC and Lockheed Martin.
|North Korean Scud Shipment Intercepted||
cargo ship carrying 15 North Korean-built Scud B ballistic
missiles with their conventional warheads, propellant tanks and associated
hardware was intercepted by Spanish Navy in the Arabian Sea, near Socotra
Island. The missiles were hidden under cement bags although they are
claimed to have been "regularly" acquired by Yemen for ‘purely
defensive’ purpose. The ‘So San‘ cargo ship was cruising
without any flag and was intercepted by Spanish navy ships ‘Navarra‘
and ‘Patino‘, patrolling the area in support to the U.S.-led
Operation Enduring Freedom. Although the U.S.
Department of Defense strongly criticized North Korea’s proliferation
policy, the U.S. military authorities apparently cleared the ship to
deliver the missiles in Yemen although legal issues regrading the attempt
to conceal the shipment will have to be settled.
|North Korea Denies Alleged Support to Pakistan||
denies again that it might have provided technical support for the development
of Pakistan’s ballistic missile systems and nuclear weapon program.
On November 26, India asked for an international probe on the suspected
technology transfers, suggesting that North Korea and Pakistan are not
truly committed to non-proliferation. Pakistani carrier aircraft being
loaded with missile components have been spotted in Pyongyang according
to the New York Times.
|RLVs, Reentry and Manned Systems|
|Cracks Found on Discovery Bearing||
crack was found in a liquid oxygen feed line bearing onboard Space
Shuttle Discovery during a routine inspection as part of its Orbitar
Maintenance Down Period. NASA
engineers are currently reviewing whether this crack is a generic problem
and could represent a safety issue for the whole fleet of space shuttle
orbiters. The crack was detected on a 5.7-cm bearing part of a damping
system that allows the 43-cm-diameter line to flex.
Editor’s note: NASA currently plans to fly its next shuttle mission on January 16, with 21-year-old orbiter Columbia for a science mission not linked to the International Space Station. This STS-107 mission was initially planned in July 2002 but had to be postponed after cracks were detected in liquid hydrogen lines onboard all four NASA orbiter vehicles as well as on a ground test article.
|Additional Crew Return Capability Planned for ISS||
of NASA, the European
Space Agency, the Canadian
Space Agency, the National
Space Development Agency of Japan and Rosaviakosmos
have agreed to improve the crew return capability of the International
Space Station in order to maximize the orbital outpost use for science
purpose by 2006/2007. The station’s permanent crew will be increased
to 6 astronauts with the support of additional Russian Soyuz
crew return vehicles, to be eventually complemented by U.S. Orbital
Space Planes. The participants also agreed upon a process for selecting
an ISS configuration beyond the accommodation of the remaining elements,
currently due to be completed by February 2004. This new plan will require
further technical and programmatic assessments and cost estimations,
as well as internal budgetary reviews by each of the partners. A configuration
option recommendation is due for approval by March 2003 in order to
select a revised configuration by June/July 2003 and to issue a final
agreement by December 2003.
|ATV Undergoes Functional Tests||
Launch Vehicles reports that European
Space Agency‘s Automated Transfer Vehicle is undergoing a
series of electrical and functional tests in its Les Mureaux plant,
near Paris. The Electrical Test Model, integrated into the Functional
Simulation Facility (ISF) is currently tested under simulated extreme
electrical conditions. This qualification campaign began in November
and will continue through 2004 with final mission rehearsals in the
months prior to the launch of the first flight model, christened "Jules
Verne", in September 2004. EADS-LV is ESA’s prime contractor for
|ATV’s Outer Shield Reviewed||
Meteorids & Debris Protection System (MDPS), developed by OHB-System
for European Space Agency‘s
Automated Transfer Vehicle was successfully reviewed by EADS
Launch Vehicles, prime contractor for the unmanned space tug development,
Space, its subcontractor for the avionics and propulsion modules’
structural parts. The MDPS consists in a metallic single bumper shield
to protects the two modules. OHB and its own subcontractor, Apco
Technologies, have already submitted their bid to produce MDPS for
seven operational ATVs. A contract worth €3 million is expected
|Atlas 5 SRB Completes Last Firing Test||
Aerojet has successfully completed the fourth and last static firing
test of a 40,825-kg solid rocket motor it developed as a strap-on booster
for the uprated versions of Lockheed
Martin‘s new Atlas 5 launch vehicle. The 20.5-m long motor,
presented as the largest monolitic solid propellant motor ever, delivered
thrust from 1,270 to 1,740 kN for 95 seconds. Qualification of the booster
will be completed in February, clearing it for operational service. A
first development firing test was successfully conducted on August 30, 2001.
The first qualification firing test, on March
15, 2002, failed due to a burnthrough in the motor’s lower end joint
at 30 seconds. A second qualification test was successfully completed
on October 30.
Editor’s note: Aerojet was awarded a US$500-million contract in February 1999 to develop and manufacture these boosters. The first flight of a thrust-augmented Atlas 5 vehicle, an Atlas 5/521 featuring two strap-on boosters, was planned in late March 2003 but has apparently slipped to April at the earliest. The payload should be Lockheed Martin‘s Rainbow 1 direct broadcasting satellite, on behalf of Cablevision. The boosters are the key to the Atlas 5’s performance which is currently limited to 4,950 kg into geostationary transfer orbit, roughly equivalent to that of an Ariane 44L. Fitted with one to five booster depending on the version, this performance will be increased up to 8,650 kg, i.e. almost twice the performance of the earlier Atlas 3B.
|ABV Motor Test Fired||
|The first stage of the Alternate Boost Vehicle (ABV) developed by Orbital Sciences Corp. for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency‘s Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) was successfully test fired. The Orion 50SXLG solid rocket motor, developed by Alliant Techsystems‘ Thiokol Propulsion, provided thrust for 70 seconds. It is a stretched version of the Orion 50SXL used as first stage of the Pegasus XL and second stage of the Taurus launchers. A new hydraulic thrust-vector control system, developed by Honeywell Engine Systems Division, was also tested. This was the only ground test firing planned in the program. The first flight of the ABV is currently planned in early 2003.||
new vehicle, developed under a contract by Boeing
as prime contractor for the overall GMD system, will compete with Boeing’s
own Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) booster vehicle to loft GMD’s
Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicles. The ABV development contract could exceed
US$900 million if all options are exercised.
|Russian Technicians in Kourou||
of Russian technicians has arrived in French Guiana to finalize the
preliminary project for the building of a Soyuz launch pad within
the Guiana Space
Center in Kourou. The team, presumably including representatives
of TsSKB-Progress, which builds the Soyuz launchers, and KBTM,
which builds the launch pads, was invited by Starsem
|Financing Hurdles for Soyuz in Kourou||
|The regional council of French Guiana refuses to invest as much as €60 million to support 20% of the budget to build a launch pad for Russian Soyuz launch vehicles within the Guiana Space Center in Kourou. French Guiana was awarded a €1.14-billion budget to develop regional infrastructures in 2000-2006 while the council’s estimates it would need €3.2-billion.|
|NASA Selects Mars Scout Missions Concepts||
|NASA‘s Office of Space Science has selected four proposals for candidate Mars Scout missions one of which will be launched in 2007. Feasibility studies will be conducted on each concept through May 2003. The final selection is due on August 2, 2003. These Mars Scout missions are intended to complement the major missions of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program and of other space agencies. The selected mission will have to cost less than US$325 million. All four missions concepts focus on the understanding of the chemistry of the Martian soil and atmosphere and the search for water and organic elements.|
|• The US$318.4-million Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars (SCIM) mission, proposed by the Arizona State University, would collect dust samples in the upper atmosphere of Mars (altitude: 37 km) and use a "free-return trajectory" to bring them back to Earth. Launch is set for August 2007, on a Boeing Delta 2/7925H vehicle, with a Mars encounter in April 2009, and return to Earth in January 2011. Lockheed Martin Astronautics would build the spacecraft.|
|• The Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey (Ares), proposed by NASA’s Langley Research Center, would feature an autonomous aircraft released in the martian atmosphere to provide in situ measurements of the near-surface atmospheric chemistry and high-resolution imagery of the surface. The aircraft would be powered by an hydrazine engine.|
|• The US$284-million Phoenix mission, proposed by the University of Arizona, would involve reuse of the mothballed Mars Surveyor 2001 lander, built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, to conduct in situ investigation of volatiles (especially water), organic molecules at a high-latitude site where Mars Odyssey has discovered evidence of large ice concentrations in the soil. Launch is planned in 2007, presumably on a Delta 2 vehicle, for a landing in June 2008.|
|• The Mars Volcanic Emission and Life Scout (Marvel) mission, proposed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, would consist in a Mars orbiter, built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, carrying an infrared solar occultation spectrometer and a submillimeter spectrometer to conduct a global survey of the Martian atmosphere’s photochemistry and search for emissions that could be related to active volcanism or microbial activity. The Canadian Space Agency would provide a third instrument. Launch is tentatively scheduled in the third quarter of 2007, presumably on a Delta 2 vehicle.|
Editor’s note: Twenty-five Mars Scout mission proposals were submitted in August 2002. NASA’s Langley Research Center had already proposed to launch a tiny Mars Airplane Package to be released in the martian atmosphere in December 2003. A piggyback launch on an Ariane 5 flight in November 2002 was planned but the whole project was cancelled in November 1999. The Mars Surveyor 2001 lander was mothballed in May 2000 following the back-to-back failures of Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter. It was initially planned for launch atop a Delta 2/7425 in April 2001, to conduct a parallel mission to that of the Mars Surveyor 2001 orbiter which eventually flew as Mars Odyssey.
|NASA Awards JWST Contract||
previously announced, NASA‘s
Goddard Space Flight
Center has awarded a US$824.8-million contract to TRW
Space & Electronics to develop and build the James
Webb Space Telescope (JWST). TRW will design and build the observatory’s
primary mirror and spacecraft while some US$200-million worth of work
will be subcontracted to Ball
Aerospace & Technologies to develop the primary mirror system
for the telescope itself. Formerly known as the Next Generation Space
Telescope (NGST), the 5,400-kg JWST will be the successor of the Hubble
Space Telescope (HST). It will be launched in 2010 on a yet undefined
vehicle to the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point, some 1.5 million km
from Earth, in the opposite direction to the Sun.
|Agencies and Governments|
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