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Jonathan's Space Report, No. 397

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  • Frits Westra
    Jonathan s Space Report No. 397 1999 May 6 Cambridge, MA
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 1999
      Jonathan's Space Report
      No. 397 1999 May 6 Cambridge, MA
      Sender: owner-jsr@...
      Precedence: bulk
      Reply-To: jmcdowell@...

      Human spaceflight

      Commander Viktor Afanas'ev, flight engineer Sergey Avdeev and flight
      engineer-2 Jean-Pierre Haignere remain on board the Mir complex. (For
      some reason I forgot to include Avdeev last week). The Soyuz TM-29
      transport craft and the Progress M-41 cargo ship are docked to the

      Launch of STS-96 is still due May 20. Launch of STS-93 is no
      earlier than Jul 22.

      Recent Launches

      Four failures in a row: Ikonos/Athena, ABRIXAS, Titan/Milstar,

      * Milstar

      Another Titan 4 failure occurred on Apr 30: Milstar 2 F-1 went into
      the wrong orbit. It appears the Centaur upper stage may have
      malfunctioned, carrying out its three burns at the wrong time.

      The third Milstar satellite was launched on Apr 30 from Cape
      Canaveral. Launch vehicle was a Lockheed Martin Astronautics (Denver)
      Titan 4B, serial B-32. The Alliant SRMU solid motors ignited at 1630
      UTC to begin the launch, and fell away two minutes later with the
      first stage of the Titan 4 core vehicle (serial K-36) igniting. At 9
      minutes into the flight the second stage of the core vehicle fell away
      and the first burn of the upper stage began. The upper stage on this
      mission is Centaur TC-14. Three burns of TC-14 were planned to place
      Milstar successively in a 170 x 190 km parking orbit, a geostationary
      transfer orbit, and finally geosynchronous orbit. Instead, at 1900
      UTC, several hours before the scheduled third burn, Milstar separated
      from TC-14 in a 740 x 5000 km orbit, probably inclined at about 28
      degrees. It seems that TC-14 made three burns, but all during the
      first orbit instead of over a 6 hour period, possibly due to software
      problems of some kind. The two Pratt and Whitney RL-10A-3-3A LOX/LH2
      engines have a thrust of about 73 kN. The RL-10 was developed for the
      Saturn I and Atlas Centaur in the 1960s, and was used on the DC-X test
      vehicle. The Delta III uses an RL10B-2 version.

      Milstar-2 F1 is the first upgraded Milstar (Military Strategic and
      Tactical Relay System) comsat. The two Milstar-1 satellites already
      launched carried the LDR (Low Data Rate) payload which is inadequate
      for modern needs; Milstar-2 carries an extra MDR (Medium Data Rate)
      payload with a higher throughput. The payload includes EHF (44 GHz),
      SHF (20 GHz) and UHF communications transponders and
      satellite-to-satellite crosslinks, with narrow beams to avoid jamming.
      Milstar is built by Lockheed Martin/Sunnyvale and managed by the
      Milstar JPO at USAF Los Angeles AFB.

      Centaur (Titan 4 model) flight history:
      TC-12 1994 Feb 7 Milstar-1 F1 Success
      TC-10 1994 May 3 NRO Success
      TC-11 1994 Aug 27 NRO Success
      TC-17 1995 May 14 NRO Success
      TC-8 1995 Jul 10 NRO Success
      TC-13 1995 Nov 6 Milstar-1 F2 Success
      TC-15 1996 Apr 24 NRO Success
      TC-21 1997 Oct 15 Cassini/Huygens Success
      TC-16 1997 Nov 8 NRO Success
      TC-18 1998 May 9 NRO Success
      TC-9 1998 Aug 12 NRO No Test
      TC-14 1999 Apr 30 Milstar-2 F1 (*) Failure

      Note: TC-1 to TC-7 were a different Centaur model, the Centaur D-1T.
      The Titan 4/Centaur doesn't seem to have a model designation, but is
      derived from the Centaur G-Prime design. TC-9 was destroyed during
      launch, prior to separation from the core vehicle. It's not clear if
      any of these Centaurs are the ones refurbished from the
      Shuttle/Centaur program. A Centaur G' was prepared for flight in early
      1986 on the Shuttle, but launch was cancelled after the loss of OV-099

      * Orion 3/Delta 3

      Continuing the rash of upper stage failures, the second launch of
      Delta 3 also ran into trouble on May 5. The Delta second stage failed
      to operate properly on its second burn. The engine ignited briefly, a
      spike in pump pressure was recorded and the burn cutoff after only 1
      second. The Orion 3 payload ended up in the parking orbit of 162 x
      1378 km x 29.5 deg, very close to the planned post SECO-1 (first burn)
      orbit. A piece of debris is being tracked in a 171 x 1038 km x 29.4
      deg orbit. The Delta 3 uses an Pratt and Whitney RL-10B-2 LH2/LOX
      engine in a stage of a new design. The first Delta 3 launch failed
      shortly after takeoff last year; at least this flight verified the
      basic operation of the rocket.

      Orion 3 is a Hughes HS-601HP satellite designed to serve the
      Asia-Pacific region for Loral Orion. The satellite is owned by Hughes
      Space and Comms International pending on-orbit delivery. It has 33
      Ku-band and 10 C-band transponders.

      * ABRIXAS

      Sadly, the ABRIXAS satellite's battery has failed and contact with it
      was lost on May 1. There is some hope that a period of solar
      illumination next month will allow contact to be regained.

      * DSP-19/IUS-21

      The USAF reports that the two stages of IUS-21 failed to separate
      correctly: at least one connector remained attached after the
      attempted separation. The SRM-2 nozzle did not extend properly,
      possibly because SRM-1 hit the nozzle during the incomplete
      separation. SRM-2 did fire, but the vehicle tumbled during the burn.
      USAF have still not announced the final orbit achieved.

      * S5M

      25 new objects, 1989-100AR to 1989-100BR, have been cataloged as
      associated with the disintegration of the S5M upper stage of the
      Tsiklon-3 launch vehicle used to put Kosmos-2053 in orbit.
      Kosmos-2053 was launched by a Tsiklon-3 from Plesetsk in 1989 and is
      believed to be a modernized version of the Romb satellite, built by
      NPO Yuzhnoe. The satellites carry an array of small ESO (Calibration
      Spherical Object) subsatellites which are released over a period of
      time to test Russian radars. 36 such objects (the full normal
      complement) were released between 1989 Dec 27 and 1991 Nov 1, getting
      designations 1989-100C to 1989-100AQ (note that 1989-100W was the same
      object as 1989-100Y). Kosmos-2053 reentered in 1997; the S5M is in a
      471 x 485 km x 73.5 deg orbit.

      * Jinx at Space Launch Complex 6

      It has been pointed out to me that Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 6,
      which was built on an old Native American burial ground, has never had
      a success after many billions of dollars spent on the launch complex.
      1960s: Built for USAF/NRO Manned Orbiting Laboratory, program cancelled
      before first launch.
      1980s: Refurbished for West Coast Shuttle launches, abandoned before
      first launch.
      1995: First Athena launch, failed
      1997: Athena launched Lewis satellite; satellite failed after
      orbit insertion
      1999: Third Athena launch from SLC-6, failed again.

      Joe Fanning tells me local legend has it that the tribe held a special
      ceremony to curse the pad when it was first built. Coincidence? :-)

      Meanwhile, the status of US expendable launch vehicles is:
      - Titan 4: three failures in three missions for different reasons:
      A-20/TC-9 - bad wiring in Lockheed Martin/Denver K-17 core stage
      B-27/IUS-21 - Boeing/Seattle IUS-21 bad separation of SRM-1 from SRM-2
      B-32/TC-14 - possible software problem in LM/Denver Centaur TC-14 stage
      - Athena:
      LM-005: - Dumped payload in ocean when fairing didn't separate
      - Pegasus:
      M-22: - Minor (?) yaw anomaly on recent flight delayed next attempt
      - Delta III:
      D-268: - Boeing/Pueblo second stage,
      problem on Pratt and Whitney RL-10B-2 engine
      - Delta II: Delta II in good shape?
      - Atlas II: In good shape except that upper stage uses RL-10 engine.

      The Atlas II and the Delta II are the mainstay of commercial satellite
      launches and the direct rivals to Ariane, so things are not quite as
      bad as they might seem. However, if US companies can't launch the
      existing vehicles safely, they will have to do some convincing to sell
      flights on the upcoming replacements, Atlas V and Delta IV.

      Table of Recent Launches
      Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.

      Mar 5 0256 WIRE Pegasus XL Vandenberg Astronomy 11A
      Mar 15 0306 Globalstar M022 ) Soyuz-U/Ikar Baykonur LC1 Comsat 12A
      Globalstar M041 ) Comsat 12B
      Globalstar M046 ) Comsat 12C
      Globalstar M037 ) Comsat 12D
      Mar 21 0009 Asiasat 3S Proton-K/DM3 Baykonur LC81L Comsat 13A
      Mar 28 0130 DemoSat Zenit-3SL Odyssey, POR Test 14A
      Apr 2 1128 Progress M-41 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1 Cargo 15A
      Apr 2 2203 Insat 2E Ariane 42P Kourou ELA2 Comsat 16A
      Apr 9 1701 DSP F19 Titan 4/IUS Canaveral LC41 Early Warn 17A
      Apr 12 2250 Eutelsat W3 Atlas 2AS Canaveral LC36A Comsat 18A
      Apr 15 0046 Globalstar M019 ) Soyuz-U/Ikar Baykonur LC1 Comsat 19A
      Globalstar M042 ) 19B
      Globalstar M044 ) 19C
      Globalstar M045 ) 19D
      Apr 15 1832 Landsat 7 Delta 7920-10 Vandenberg SLC2W Imaging 20A
      Apr 16 1030? Sputnik-99 - Mir, LEO Comsat 15C
      Apr 21 0459 UoSAT-12 Dnepr Baykonur LC109 Test 21B
      Apr 27 1822 Ikonos 1 Athena 2 Vandenberg SLC6 Imaging F01
      Apr 28 2030 ABRIXAS ) Kosmos-3M Kap. Yar LC107? Astronomy 22A
      Megsat-0 ) Technol. 22B
      Apr 30 1630 Milstar-2 F1 Titan 4/Cen Canaveral LC40 Comsat 23A
      May 5 0100 Orion 3 Delta 8930 Canaveral LC17B Comsat 24A

      Current Shuttle Processing Status

      Orbiters Location Mission Launch Due

      OV-102 Columbia OPF Bay 1 STS-93 Unknown
      OV-103 Discovery LC39B STS-96 May 20
      OV-104 Atlantis OPF Bay 3 STS-101 Oct 14?
      OV-105 Endeavour OPF Bay 2 STS-99 Sep 18

      MLP1/RSRM-69/ET-99 VAB Bay 1 STS-93
      MLP2/RSRM-70/ET-100/OV-103 LC39B STS-96
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