October 16, 1997
                                             Vol. 1 - No. 15
                  THE ORBITAL REPORT ON-LINE
             Space Executive's Weekly 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.
* A Lockheed Martin TITAN 401B heavy-lift vehicle was launched from
Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida, at 08:43 UT on October 15, to
boost NASA's 5,650-kg CASSINI interplanetary space probe to a complex
trajectory toward SATURN. The launch had been delayed for two days due
to high winds over the launch site. The probe, built by NASA's JET
PROPULSION LABORATORY (JPL), in Pasadena, California, will perform
several gravity assist maneuvers, first swinging by VENUS in April 1998
and June 1999, then grazing the EARTH in August 1999 and JUPITER in
December 2000. Arrival at Saturn is planned in July 2004. CASSINI is
then planned to conduct a 4-year study of the planet, its rings and its
moons. In November 2004, it will release the 318-kg HUYGENS probe,
built by AEROSPATIALE ESPACE & DEFENSE, of Paris, France, for the
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY. HUYGENS will enter the atmosphere of Saturn's
largest moon, TITAN.
* A Samara Space Center SOYUZ U vehicle was launched from Plesetsk,
Northern Russia, at 18:00 UT on October 9, lofting the FOTON 11
microgravity research satellite for a 14-day mission in low Earth orbit
on behalf of RKA, the Russian space agency. The 7,000-kg spacecraft,
also built by SAMARA SPACE CENTER, incorporates the 154-kg MIRKA
recoverable capsule built by KAYSER-THREDE, of Munich, Germany, for
DLR, the German space agency, as well as experiments sponsored by CNES,
the French space agency, and the EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY.
* The RKK Energiya-built PROGRESS M36 automated cargo spacecraft was
successfully launched toward the MIR space station at 15:09 UT on
October 5, atop a Samara Space Center SOYUZ U vehicle from Baykonur,
Kazakhstan. The 7,200-kg, spacecraft, carrying 3,000 kg of goods,
including a spare computer, 600 kg of propellant and 355 kg of water,
docked with Mir's Kvant module rear port at 17:14 UT on October 8, one
day late on schedule, due to a delayed undocking of Progress M35.
* A Lockheed Martin ATLAS 2AS vehicle (AC135) lofted the US$250-million
ECHOSTAR 3 high power direct broadcasting satellite (32Ku) into a
geostationary transfer orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Station,
Florida, on October 5. The 3,675-kg spacecraft is both the first
satellite built by LOCKHEED MARTIN TELECOMMUNICATIONS (LMT) in its new
facilities in Sunnyvale, California, and the first based on the
improved A2100AX bus. ECHOSTAR 3 will be located at 61.5°W to provide
direct-to-home television services to the US. 
* Space Shuttle ATLANTIS landed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC),
in Merritt Island, Florida, at 21:55 UT on October 6, completing the
highly successful 10.8-day STS-86 mission to the MIR space station.
Among other goods, the US shuttle brought a replacement computer for
the Russian space station. A fly-around maneuver after undocking from
the station allowed to detect the breech in MIR's SPEKTR module to be
located at the joint of a damaged solar array.
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**************************** ADVERTISEMENT ****************************
=== BUSINESS ===
* The French government has selected a ALCATEL-ALSTHOM, of Paris,
France, and DASSAULT INDUSTRIES, of Saint-Cloud, France, to take over a
25% share in state-owned THOMSON-CSF defense electronics company. This
privatization, due to be completed early next year, is considered as
the first step of France's and Europe's defense and space industry.
State-owned AEROSPATIALE, of Paris, France, will sell its satellite
business to THOMSON-CSF for a 10% stake in the company. This satellite
business will then be merged with ALCATEL's own to form a new ALCATEL-
THOMSON SATELLITE joint-venture.
* NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in Greenbelt, Maryland,
has selected eight satellite manufacturers for the development and
manufacturing of an undefined number of spacecraft on behalf of its
RAPID SPACECRAFT ACQUISITION program. Each company will be awarded
multiple Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contracts potentially
worth US$100,000 to US$755 million, allowing them to compete for
fast-pace procurements in the near future. The companies are BALL
AEROSPACE Systems Division, of Boulder, Colorado; LOCKHEED MARTIN
Missiles and Space (LMMS), of Sunnyvale, California; ORBITAL SCIENCES
Corp. (OSC, formerly Fairchild), of Germantown, Maryland; SPACE
SYSTEMS/LORAL (SS/L), of Palo Alto, California; SPECTRUM ASTRO, of
Gilbert, Arizona; SURREY SATELLITE Technology Ltd. (SSTL), of
Guildford, Great-Britain; SWALES Aerospace, of Beltsville, Maryland;
and TRW Inc., of Redondo Beach, California.
* LORAL SPACE AND COMMUNICATION LTD, of New York, has landed an
agreement to acquire ORION NETWORK SYSTEMS INC., of Rockville,
Maryland, for about US$490 million in stocks. The acquisition is
expected to be effective in early 1998. LORAL  has already acquired
AT&T's SKYNET network in March for US$478.1 million. ORION currently
has one operational satellite over the Atlantic ocean and two more on
* ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP. (OSC), of Dulles, Virginia, was awarded a
US$11-million contract by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) on
develop the low-cost liquid fueled UPPER STAGE FLIGHT EXPERIMENT and
test it atop a modified MINUTEMAN missile in late 1999.
=== MARKETS ===
* Ukraine's ZENIT launch vehicle is due to resume flights in late
November or early December, lofting the OKEAN O-N1 ocean observation
satellite and five piggyback payloads: FASAT-BRAVO (50kg) and TM-SAT
(50kg), both built by SURREY SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY LTD. (SSTL), of
Guildford, Great-Britain, for the Chilean Air Force and Thailand
Microsatellite, respectively; SAFIR-2 (55kg) and IRIS-1 (40kg, attached
payload to Okean O-N1), built by OHB-SYSTEM, of Bremen, Germany, for
its subsidiary OHB Teledata and Belgium's SAIT Systems, respectively;
and TECHSAT 2 (50kg), from the TECHNION UNIVERSITY in Haifa, Israel.
Three ZENIT 2 launchers are due to loft 36 GLOBALSTAR satellites in
* India's INSAT 2D (18C, 3Ku, 3S) communications satellite suffered a
major power failure on October 1st and was declared lost on October 5
following an unsuccessful recovery attempt. The 2,079-kg satellite,
had been launched by an Ariane vehicle on June 3.
* EUTELSAT, of Paris, France, has declared its HOT BIRD 3 (20Ku) high
power direct broadcasting satellite operational on October 3. The
2,915-kg spacecraft, built by MATRA MARCONI SPACE of Velizy, France,
had been launched by an Ariane 4 vehicle on September 2. It is located
at 13°E together with EUTELSAT 2-F1 (16Ku), HOT BIRD 1 (16Ku) and HOT
BIRD 2 (20Ku). Two more HOT BIRD satellites are due for launch early
next year.
licensing rules regarding applications for low Earth orbit messaging
systems. All five remaining applicants will have to file again, this
time providing technical information on their projects. LEO ONE USA
Corp., of Saint Louis, Missouri; FINAL ANALYSIS Communication Services
(FACS), of Lanham, Maryland; E-SAT Inc., of Englewood, Colorado;
ORBITAL COMMUNICATIONS Corp. (ORBCOMM), of Dulles, Virginia; and
Volunteers In Technical Assistance (VITA), a non-profit organization
based in Arlington, Virginia.
* NASA's Office of Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology
(OAST) has selected 13 research proposals for negotiation of Phase 2
contracts on behalf of its 1996 Small Business Technology Transfer
(STTR) Program. At the end of Phase 1, 32 proposals had been submitted.
Each selected proposal will be awarded a fixed-price contract worth up
to US$500,000 for a duration of a maximum 2 years.
* NASA has temporarily raised the periapsis of its MARS GLOBAL SURVEYOR
(MGS) probe around Mars from 121 to 170 km to delay planned aerobraking
maneuvers while examining data on an unexpected motion of one of the
spacecraft's solar arrays detected during such a maneuver on October 6.
The 1.000-kg orbiter is due to circularize its orbit around the Red
Planet using aerobraking in order to begin a 24-month mapping mission
early next year. 
* The EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) and NASA have signed the launch
agreement for the COLUMBUS ORBITAL FACILITY (COF) on October 8. The
9,700-kg COF will be brought to the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)
by a US space shuttle in October 2002 in exchange for two NODE modules
and several ISS equipment.
* NASA and AEB, the Brazilian space agency, have signed an agreement on
October 14 for the development and operations of Brazilian experiments
* The ORBVIEW 2 ocean color monitoring spacecraft switched itself to
'safe mode' on October 14, apparently due to the upload of erroneous
ephemeris data. The glitch is expected to be fixed within a week. The
309-kg spacecraft is operated by ORBITAL IMAGING CORP. (ORBIMAGE), of
Dulles, Virginia, and provides data to NASA's Office of Mission To
Planet Earth (MTPE). 
* IRIDIUM LLC, of Washington, DC, claims to have successfully tested
intersatellite links between its 34 satellites in low Earth orbit.
However, two satellites, SV021 and SV027, could not reach their
operational altitude and remained in lower parking orbits. Testing of
the full 66-satellite system is scheduled in May 1998, to prepare for
commercial operations due to begin in September 1998. 
*                                                                   *
*                       jointly published by                        *
*      Launchspace Publications, Inc., Falls Church, Virginia,      *
*             and Takyon International, Paris, France,              *
*           made its first appearance on October 6, 1997,           *
* at the 48th International Astronautical Congress (IAF) in Torino. *
*                                                                   *
*  This 20 page bi-weekly report covers space industry headlines,   *
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=== PREVIEW ===
* October 17     A Lockheed Martin TITAN 403A heavy-lift launcher is
                 planned to lift off from Vandenberg AFB, California,
                 possibly carrying a LACROSSE military radar
                 observation satellite for the US NATIONAL
* October 17     Russian cosmonauts onboard MIR are planned to conduct
                 a spacewalk inside the SPEKTR damaged module.
* October 18     An Orbital Sciences PEGASUS XL vehicle is due to be
                 launched from the 'Stargazer' carrier aircraft off
                 Wallops Island, Virginia, to boost the US AIR FORCE's
                 STEP-4 experimental satellite into orbit.
* October 20     A Chinese CZ-3B "LONG MARCH" vehicle is planned to
                 lift off from Xichang Satellite Space Center (XSLC)
                 to loft the APSTAR 2R communications satellite built
                 by SPACE SYSTEMS/LORAL, of Palo Alto, California,
                 for APT SATELLITE CO., of Hongkong, China. 
* October 23     Deadline for the LASER-TEST planned by the US ARMY
                 against the MSTI-3 technological satellite. Attempts
                 on October 4 and 8 failed due to a software glitch and
                 bad weather conditions. Beyond that date, the
                 satellite will go into eclipse and its sensors will
                 not be able to collect useful data on the test.
* October 23     Recovery of FOTON 11 spacecraft and Germany's MIRKA
                 micro reentry capsule.
* October 24     A Lockheed Martin ATLAS 2A vehicle (AC-131), with an
                 IABS upper stage, will loft a US Air Force DSCS-3
                 military communication satellite directly into
                 geostationary orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
* October 28     The second ARIANE 5 vehicle (L502) is due to lift off
                 from Kourou, French Guiana, for a qualification test-
                 flight (V101) on behalf of the EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY
                 and CNES, the French space agency. The vehicle will
                 loft two dummy instrumented payloads, MAQSAT-H and
                 MAQSAT-B, as well as the TEAMSAT technological package
                 to geostationary transfer orbit.
   The Orbital Report On-Line is published 3 to 4 times per month
         by Takyon International (RCS Paris B 401 465 398)
            34, boulevard Exelmans, 75016 Paris, France
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                   E-mail: [email protected]
                     URL: www.orbireport.com
                  Chief Editor: Stefan Barensky
               Technical Contributor: Samuel Szdat
              © Takyon International - October 1997
  Takyon International and Launchspace Publications also publish
         The International Space Industry Report (ISIR),
      a biweekly newsletter on space business and technology
------------------- End of issue Vol.1, No.15 ----------------------

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