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Fwd = Recent Taurus Launch Failure

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl (Frits Westra) Originally from: Mulcahy, Christopher Original Subject: Recent Taurus Launch Failure
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2001
      Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
      Originally from: "Mulcahy, Christopher" <cmulcahy@...>
      Original Subject: Recent Taurus Launch Failure
      Original Date: Mon, 1 Oct 2001 12:57:38 -0400

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      An Orbital Sciences Taurus 2110 failed to remain in orbit after launch
      from Vandenberg's pad 576E on Sep 21. A problem a few seconds after
      first stage separation caused the T6 rocket to go off course; the rocket
      recovered and the remainder of the stages fired, but velocity appears to
      have been just too low to reach a sustainable orbit.

      Launch was at 1849 UTC on Sep 21; the Castor 120 first stage (or Stage
      0 in Orbital's nomenclature) burn lasted about 83 seconds, and after its
      separation the Orion 50S motor ignited - it was at this point that
      things went awry. The Orion 50S separated at 1851 UTC and was followed
      by the Orion 50 motor burn. The three Orion motors used in Taurus' upper
      stages are the same motors used in the Pegasus rocket. At 1857 UTC the
      Orion 38 final stage separated from the lower stages; at this stage it
      was intended to burn from a -3000 x 465 km x 97 deg orbit to a circular
      476 x 482 km x 97 deg orbit. A 150m/s velocity shortfall would be enough
      to leave the payloads with a negative perigee.

      At 1900 UTC the Orbview-4 satellite separated from the top of the Aft
      Payload Capsule (APC). At 1902 UTC the APC top half separated; it had
      been covering the QuikTOMS and SBD. At 1903 UTC the QuikTOMS separated
      from the SBD satellite, which remained attached to the final stage.

      At about 1902 UTC all these objects crossed the equator at an altitude
      of around 427 km, heading south. Impact would have been between
      1930 and 1945 UTC, in a region from the S Indian Ocean stretching up to
      the sea east of Kenya, depending on the perigee, from 45-60E and between
      60S and 10S.

      The primary payload on T6 was the OrbView-4 imaging satellite.
      OrbView-4, built by Orbital, was a 368 kg box-shaped satellite
      carrying a 1-m resolution panchromatic camera and an 8-m
      resolution 200-channel hyperspectral imager with a 0.45-meter aperture.
      It was to be used by the US Air Force.

      The second payload was the QuikTOMS satellite (and would it really have
      been so hard to spell Quick correctly?), a NASA-GSFC project carrying
      the TOMS-5 ozone mapper. QuikTOMS was a 168 kg double Microstar and
      replaced TOMS instruments on a delayed Russian weather satellite and the
      failed ADEOS. The loss of QuikTOMS may put a hole in NASA's attempts to
      monitor the ozone layer.

      The third payload was SBD, the Orbital Special Bus Design. The 73 kg
      satellite was a test version of an enlarged Microstar bus. It
      would have remained attached to the third stage, together with
      two Celestis burial canisters containing cremated human remains,
      and an experimental third stage avionics box.

      All previous Taurus launches were successful; all launches have been
      from pad 576E at Vandenberg. There are two main variants of Taurus flown
      to date, one with the first stage of the Peacekeeper missile, and one
      with its Castor 120 commercial equivalent.

      Taurus Date Variant Stage 0 type Payload
      T1 1994 Mar 13 1110 MX USAF STEP M0
      T2 1998 Feb 20 2210 Castor 120 GFO/Orbcomm
      T3 1998 Oct 3 1110 MX NRO STEX
      T4 1999 Dec 21 2110 Castor 120 KOMPSAT/ACRIMSAT
      T5 2000 Mar 12 1110 MX USAF/DoE MTI
      T6 2001 Sep 21 2110 Castor 120 OV-4/QuikTOMS/SBD

      The Lockheed Martin Athena-1, scheduled for launch from Kodiak Island,
      also uses the Castor 120 first stage.

      Christopher Mulcahy
      Aerospace Engineer
      Analytical Graphics, Inc.
      Phone Direct: +1-610-578-1111
      Phone Toll Free: +1-888-785-9973
      Fax: +1-610-578-1001
      E-mail: cmulcahy@...
      Web: www.stk.com

      ========================== Forwarded message ends ========================
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