709 posts in this topic

I thought that it might be an idea to cover the miscellaneous launches and/or payloads that either do not occur to often or are generally not covered much. DocM has threads for our usual cast of characters, and this one can be a "cookie jar" for interesting launch occurrences.....Cheers...:)

Indian space program buoyed by back-to-back GSLV successes

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The GSLV lifted off at 1122 GMT (7:22 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India’s east coast about 50 miles north of Chennai. Credit: ISRO/Spaceflight Now

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle soared into orbit Thursday and deployed a 2.3-ton communications payload into an on-target orbit, tallying its second consecutive success with an Indian cryogenic upper stage as officials prepare to declare the once-troubled launcher operational.

The 161-foot-tall rocket launched at 1122 GMT (7:22 a.m. EDT) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India’s east coastline, turning east over the Bay of Bengal powered by 1.7 million pounds of thrust from a core solid-fueled motor and four auxiliary boosters burning liquid hydrazine.

With its nose cone emblazoned with the Indian flag, the GSLV flew with an Indian-built third stage fueled by super-cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

Thursday’s launch marked the third time a GSLV flew with a domestic third stage engine, a configuration called the GSLV Mk.2 by Indian space officials.

The cryogenic engine apparently performed flawlessly, placing the 4,667-pound GSAT 6 spacecraft into the correct orbit about 17 minutes after liftoff.

“This is the mission director,” radioed R. Umamaheswaran, director of Thursday’s launch, which was codenamed GSLV-D6. “Spacecraft separatio confirmed, and the GSLV-D6/GSAT 6 mission is accomplished.”

Engineers and dignitaries gathered in the GSLV control center at the Satish Dhawan Space Center erupted in applause, celebrating India’s third successful launch of the year.

Officials reported GSAT 6’s power-generating solar panels extended after the launch, and the satellite was generating electricity.

The mission was the first by a GSLV since January 2014, when the Indian cryogenic upper stage completed its first successful test flight. An initial test of the new engine in 2010 ended in failure, and several other GSLV missions using a Russian-made upper stage did not succeed.

In remarks after Thursday’s launch, officials from the Indian Space Research Organization hailed the test flight and said the GSLV was ready to become operational.

A.S. Kiran Kumar, ISRO’s chairman, said Thursday’s success confirms the January 2014 launch “was no fluke. It was the result of a tremendous amount of hard work put in by the entire team to build an indigenous cryogenic engine, and today’s performance of the launch vehicle clearly demonstrates that all the systems have performed very normally, and the various intricacies of the cryogenic engine performance have been understood.”

The GSAT 6 satellite entered an orbit with a high point of 22,335 miles (35,945 kilometers), a low point of 105 miles (170 kilometers) and an inclination of 19.96 degrees, according to ISRO officials. That is close to prelaunch targets.

 

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The GSAT 6 satellite is pictured during a solar array deployment test. Credit: ISRO

GSAT 6 will use its own engine to reach a circular orbit 22,300 miles above the equator, and it will unfurl a nearly 20-foot (6-meter) S-band antenna, the largest reflector of its kind ever flown on an Indian communications satellite.

The spacecraft carries S-band and C-band communications payloads with five spot beams and one nationwide beam. The main user of the GSAT 6 satellite will be the Indian military.

With Thursday’s success, the GSLV’s record stands at 5-for-9, including earlier variants with Russian hardware.

That compares unfavorably with India’s smaller Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, which has logged 29 straight successful launches.

But the back-to-back performances by the GSLV give Indian officials hope the bigger rocket, which first flew in 2001, is finally over its early growing pains.

Once nicknamed the “naughty boy” of ISRO, the GSLV’s next flight is scheduled for June or July 2016, according to Umamaheswaran.

“Today, I’m really proud to say that this ‘naughty boy’ has been transformed to the most adored boy of ISRO,” Umamaheswaran said.

The GSLV Mk.2 can carry up to 5,500 pounds — 2.5 metric tons — to geostationary transfer orbit, the drop-off point for most communications satellites. That is nearly twice as much as the PSLV’s lift capability.

A smooth introduction of the GSLV into India’s launcher fleet is required to achieve ISRO’s goal of ramping up its launch rate. In the future, Indian space officials foresee up to six PSLV flights per year, plus an average of two GSLV missions annually.

That would double India’s current launch cadence.

“The indigenous GSLV with the indigenous cryogenic stage passed the ultimate (test) with flying colors and entered majestically into the operational phase,” said K. Sivan, director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center, which leads India’s launch vehicle programs. “GSLV-D6 is very important for the GSLV program. This particular (flight) essentially demonstrates the robustness of the vehicle to get to operational service flights. That we got.”

India’s satellite production division also aims to build more satellites to keep up with ISRO’s busy launch rate by more than doubling the number of spacecraft delivered per year, said M. Annadurai, director of the ISRO Satellite Center in Bangalore.

With GSLV operational, India can launch almost all its satellites on its own rockets. A few exceptions — satellites too big for the GSLV — are booked on international rockets such as Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher.

India’s next launch is scheduled for Sept. 28 when a PSLV will blast off with Astrosat, the country’s first dedicated space telescope.

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/08/27/indian-space-program-buoyed-by-back-to-back-gslv-successes/

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Successful Indian GSLV Launch Features Domestic Upper Stage

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GSLV-D6 rocket on the launch pad at Sriharikota Space Centre, India. Credit: ISRO

PARIS—India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket on Aug. 27 placed India’s GSAT-6 telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit in the second consecutive success for the vehicle’s domestically built cryogenic upper stage, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

The launch follows the rocket’s January 2014 inaugural success, which came after a 2010 failure and an aborted launch.

“We have demonstrated that what happened on Jan. 5, 2014, was no fluke. All the systems performed normally and the various intricacies of the cryogenic engine have been understood,” ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said after the launch.

 

R. Umamaheswaran, ISRO’s mission director for the flight, said the next GSLV would be made ready for a launch in June or July 2016. He said the cryogenic stage, which has been upgraded since the January 2014 inaugural success, brings the GSLV rocket’s performance to up to 2,500 kilograms into geostationary transfer orbit.

ISRO officials have said that perhaps one GSLV rocket per year could be made available for commercial launches as GSLV enters the global market alongside India’s PSLV vehicle, designed mainly for Earth observation satellites heading to polar low Earth orbit.

With the advent of electric propulsion aboard commercial telecommunications satellites for both in-orbit station-keeping and orbit-raising to final geostationary position, the future market for a 2,000-kilogram-class vehicle has greatly improved.

What remains unclear is when ISRO and its commercial arm, Antrix Corp., will be able to establish a production and launch rhythm sufficient to bring launch costs down to a commercially competitive level, as they have done with the PSLV. Also unclear is the current U.S. policy on permitting U.S.-built satellites or satellite components to be exported to India for commercial missions.

The U.S. government in the past couple of years has granted export licenses for ostensibly commercial Earth observation missions, but only in the form of waivers to the current regulations. As China has found out, a ban on U.S. satellite exports is a de facto exclusion from the global commercial launch market.

The U.S. issue is not related to India’s missile-launch policy but rather to the Indian government’s refusal to commit to an agreement on commercial-launch pricing.

What did seem clear after the Aug. 27 flight is that the domestically built cryogenic engine is no longer a monkey on ISRO’s back, as it has been for years. Previous versions of the GSLV have employed a Russian-built cryogenic upper stage.

“The naughty boy has now been transformed into the most adored boy of ISRO,” Umamaheswaran said.

Operating from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, the GSLV carried the 2,117-kilogram GSAT-6 satellite into a transfer orbit that ISRO said was close to the intended drop-off point – a perigee of 170 kilometers, an apogee 35,975 kilometers and an inclination of 19.95 degrees relative to the equator.

The focus of attention was the cryogenic stage, but GSAT-6 includes several features of its own that represent firsts for ISRO, which built the satellite.

Notable among them is a 6-meter-diameter, unfurlable S-band antenna with five spot beams covering the Indian subcontinent. It is the largest satellite antenna ever built by ISRO.

The antenna was scheduled to be deployed after the satellite completed its orbit-raising maneuvers on its way to its operating position at 83 degrees east longitude in geostationary orbit. The satellite also carries a C-band payload.

 

http://spacenews.com/successful-indian-gslv-launch-features-homemade-upper-stage/

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Chinese spy payload fired into orbit

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The Long March 4C rocket and Yaogan 27 satellite lifted off at 0231 GMT Thursday (10:31 p.m. EDT Wednesday). Credit: Xinhua

 

 

China sent the next in a series of military-operated spy satellites into orbit Thursday aboard a Long March 4C rocket in an unannounced launch from the country’s northeastern space center.

Fueled by a mixture of liquid hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide, the three-stage Long March 4C rocket lifted off at 0231 GMT Thursday (10:31 p.m. EDT) from the Taiyuan launch base in northeastern China’s Shanxi province, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The blastoff occurred at 10:31 a.m. Beijing time and was not announced in advance by Chinese authorities, keeping with standard practice for Chinese military launches.

Xinhua reported the satellite will be used “for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster prevention.”

But analysts believe the spacecraft is intended to operate as a military spy satellite.

Tracking data from the U.S. military’s Space Surveillance Network shows the Long March rocket placed its payload, named Yaogan 27, into an orbit about 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) above Earth at an inclination of approximately 100 degrees.

Details of Thursday’s launch match several previous flights with the same launch site, the same configuration of China’s Long March rocket family and nearly identical orbits. The commonalities likely mean Yaogan 27 is the next in a sequence of optical reconnaissance satellites designed to supply high-resolution imagery to the Chinese military and intelligence agencies.

The launch of Yaogan 27 comes after similar flights to the same type of orbit in December 2009, May 2012, November 2013 and October 2014.

Other satellites under the Yaogan name may carry radar payloads for all-weather reconnaissance and maritime surveillance sensors to track ships around the world.

Thursday’s launch was China’s fourth space launch of the year, and the 17th flight of a Long March 4C rocket.

 

 http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/08/27/chinese-spy-payload-fired-into-orbit/

Cheers.......:)

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Ariane rocket’s 225th flight in pictures

The 81st flight of Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket delivered two satellites to geostationary orbit Thursday for Eutelsat and Intelsat, and these photos show the launcher taking off with nearly 3 million pounds of thrust.

The launch marked the Ariane 5’s fourth flight of the year, and the 225th mission for Europe’s Ariane rocket family since it debuted in 1979.

 

 http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/08/23/ariane-rockets-225th-flight-in-pictures/

Video is 54 seconds...

 

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Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Optique Video du CSG

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Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron

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Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Optique Video du CSG – P. Baudon

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Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Optique Video du CSG – P. Baudon

Cheers....:)

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Galileo satellites are "topped off" for Arianespace's upcoming Soyuz launch

galileo-satellites-dispenser-atop-fregat
File image.

The two European Galileo navigation satellites for Arianespace's next mission from French Guiana have been fueled at the Spaceport, readying them for integration with their Soyuz launcher.

These spacecraft were "topped off" during activity this week at the Spaceport's S3B payload preparation facility, further advancing preparations for the September 10 mission - which is designated Flight VS12 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system, signifying the 12th liftoff of the medium-lift Soyuz vehicle from French Guiana.

Flight VS12's satellites are the fifth and sixth in Galileo's full operational capability (FOC) phase. They were produced by OHB System, with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. supplying their navigation payloads that will generate precise positioning measurements and services around the world.

The September 10 mission will be the fifth Soyuz flight with Galileo satellites performed by Arianespace from French Guiana - a series that began with the Russian-built launcher's inaugural liftoff at the Spaceport in October 2011.

At full deployment, the Galileo program will consist of 30 satellites - comprising operational spacecraft and reserves - situated on three circular medium Earth orbits at some 23,200 km. altitude inclined 56 deg. to the equator. This constellation - and associated ground infrastructure - will provide high-quality positioning, navigation and timing services under civilian control, and be interoperable with the U.S. GPS and Russian Glonass global positioning systems.

Galileo's FOC phase is managed and funded by the European Commission, with the European Space Agency delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission's behalf.

Arianespace Flight VS12 will be the company's eighth mission this year, following the successful launches in 2015 of four heavy-lift Ariane 5s, two lightweight Vega vehicles, and one Soyuz.

 

 http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Galileo_satellites_are_topped_off_for_Arianespaces_upcoming_Soyuz_launch_999.html

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Launch Schedule

Aug. 28Proton • Inmarsat 5 F3
Launch time: 1144 GMT (7:44 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
An International Launch Services Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage will deploy the Inmarsat 5 F3 communications satellite for Inmarsat of London. Delayed from May 31. [Aug. 17]
Aug. 31Atlas 5 • MUOS 4
Launch period: 1007-1051 GMT (6:07-6:51 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-056, will launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for the U.S. Navy. Built by Lockheed Martin, this U.S. military spacecraft will provide narrowband tactical communications designed to significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move. The rocket will fly in the 551 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Aug. 13, Aug. 20 and Aug. 27. [Aug. 21]
Sept. 2Soyuz • ISS 44S
Launch time: 0434 GMT (12:34 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the manned Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the next Expedition crew. The capsule will remain at the station for about six months, providing an escape pod for the crew. [July 18]
SeptemberLong March 6 • Multi-payload
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Taiyuan, China
A Chinese Long March 6 rocket will launch with a cluster of small Chinese amateur and university research satellites. The flight will mark the first launch of the Long March 6, a new rocket fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen to replace China’s previous generation of launch vehicles. Delayed from July 20. [July 6]
Sept. 10/11Soyuz • Galileo 9 & 10
Launch window: 0208:12 GMT on 11th (10:08:12 p.m. EDT on 10th)
Launch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana
An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS12, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry two Galileo full operational capability satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation constellation. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat-MT upper stage. [July 25]
Sept. 14Proton • Express AM8
Launch time: 1900 GMT (3:00 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Proton rocket with a Block DM upper stage will deploy the Express AM8 satellite for the Russian Satellite Communications Co. Express AM8 will provide television broadcasting and other communications services across Russia and neighboring countries. Delayed from April 6, May, June 18 and August. [Aug. 17]

 

 http://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

Proton to return to flight with Inmarsat-5 F3

Following a launch accident on May 16, Russia's commercial workhorse is scheduled to go back in business on August 28, 2015. The Proton-M/Briz-M vehicle will be carrying the Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite, the third spacecraft in a series developed by Boeing company for the London-based Inmarsat company.

 

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After a trip to a Briz-M fueling site, the Proton rocket with Inmarsat-5 F3 was delivered to the launch pad at Site 200 on the morning of Aug. 28, 2015.

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Proton with Inmarsat-5 F3 shortly after installation on the launch pad on Aug. 25, 2015. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos

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The Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite is being integrated with its space tug transfer compartment, PKhO, on August 15, 2015, in preparation for launch at Building 92A-50 in Baikonur.

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An artist rendering of the Inmarsat-5F satellite. In reality, the spacecraft would deploy its solar panels and antennas much farther from Earth than depicted here.

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Placement

Launch profile

The Proton-M/Briz-M launch vehicle is scheduled to lift off on Aug 28, 2015, at 14:44:00 Moscow Time (7:44 a.m. Eastern Time) from Pad 39 at Site 200 in Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The flight profile was designed to be virtually identical to the previous Proton mission with the Inmarsat-5 satellite. The 15-hour 31-minute orbital insertion process includes the delivery of the satellite into the so-called Supersynchronous Transfer Orbit with an altitude of 65,000 by 4,341 kilometers, which is almost twice as high as the satellite's ultimate destination in the geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometers above the Equator. The satellite will use its own propulsion system to enter an operational orbit with an orbital position 55 degrees West longitude over the Equator.

According to the GKNPTs Khrunichev, the developer of the Proton rocket, the launch sequence for the Inmarsat-5 F3 mission will start with a traditional "Klyuch na Start" (Key to liftoff) command issued 300 seconds before a scheduled liftoff. It will be followed by the KP-120s command, signaling 120 seconds to the liftoff. The readiness of the upper stage for launch will be declared at T-113 seconds. Five seconds before launch, the OTP command (The completion of accurate control) will be issued, followed by the Zemlya-Bort ("Ground to board") command, marking the readiness of the launch vehicle for the autonomous flight just two seconds before liftoff. At the same time, the thrust control for the rocket's first stage engines is activated and a second later, a membrane holding the supply of oxidizer into the engine will be cut triggering an instantaneous ignition. The propulsion system will reach an operational thrust in a second, lifting the rocket off the pad.

Following the liftoff, Proton passes the maximum dynamic pressure of the atmosphere 62.4 seconds in flight and its propulsion system enters a full-thrust mode, known as F1, at T+108 seconds. The Proton's first stage separates almost two minutes after the liftoff, as the second stage begins to fire its four engines through a lattice structure connecting the two boosters at an altitude of more than 42 kilometers and a speed of 1.7 kilometers per second. The first stage then impacts a drop zone 310 kilometers downrange from Baikonur.

The second stage continues firing until five and a half minutes since launch and then separates with the help of small solid motors at an altitude of 130 kilometers and a speed of 4.5 kilometers per second. The second stage then reenters the atmosphere and its remnants crash in the Altai Republic in Southern Russia, almost two thousand kilometers from the launch site.

Just 20 seconds after the third stage begins operation, the payload fairing splits in two halves and drops away. The operation is timed to ensure the fall of the fairing's fragments in the same impact site with the second stage. The third stage should complete its work and separate from the payload section nine minutes and 42 seconds into the flight.

Three booster stages of the Proton rocket were programmed to deliver the payload section, including the Inmarsat-5 F3 and theBriz-M upper stage, into a suborbital trajectory matching an orbital inclination of 51.5 degrees toward the Equator. Briz-M will then perform its first engine firing lasting almost four and a half minutes to reach an initial parking orbit at an altitude of around 173 kilometers. After making an almost full revolution, around an hour and a half later, Briz-M will fire again for less than 20 minutes to boost an apogee (highest point) of its orbit to 6,000 kilometers. After a more than two hours of unpowered flight, Briz-M should perform two more engine runs, this time to raise an apogee to more than 65 thousand kilometers from Earth. Since the external tank of the Briz-M stage runs out of propellant in the middle of an almost 18-minute maneuver, the firing was split into two burns separated by the jettisoning of the empty tank. The stack will then climb passively for 10.5 hours to its supersynchronous altitude.

Finally, the Briz-M ignites its main engine for three and a half minutes to enter a super-synchronous transfer orbit. The same maneuver will also reduce an orbital inclination from 50.5 degrees to 26.39 degrees toward the Equator. The 6,070-kilogram Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite will then separate from Briz-M, 15 hours and 31 minutes after its liftoff from Baikonur.

Following the release of the satellite, Briz-M is programmed to conduct two maneuvers with its small thrusters to enter a 2,744 by 63,522-kilometer orbit at a safe distance from its payload. The tanks onboard the stage will be depressurized to avoid a potential explosion resulting in the contamination of the Earth's orbit with space junk.

 

 

Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite became the fifth payload launched by Proton for the London-based Inmarsat. It is also the third satellite in the Inmarsat-5 series.

Based on the BSS-702HP satellite developed by Boeing, the six-ton Inmarsat-5 (a.k.a. I-5) was conceived to form the three-satellite constellation to support Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, also known as GX.

Global Xpress was designed to offer seamless voice and data communications around the world and deliver unprecedented mobile broadband speeds of up to 50 megabytes per second for users in the government, maritime, enterprise, energy and aeronautical sectors. Inmarsat promised to invest an estimated $1.2 billion in the Global Xpress program, which included launch costs. In October 2013, Inmarsat decided to procure the fourth I-5 satellite from Boeing also based on the 702HP platform with a completion date in the middle of 2016.

The Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite was equipped with 89 Ka-band transponders and featured six steerable spot beams to open communications channels on demand. The satellite was designed to function in the geostationary orbit. The satellite will be in ideal position for providing mobile voice, data and video to airline passengers and submarine crews. Boeing also reported lending the satellite's capacity to provide secure communications across land, sea and air to unspecified US government agencies.

The satellite is equipped with a pair of five-section solar panels featuring ultra triple-junction gallium arsenide solar cells. They are projected to deliver 15 kilowatts of power at the beginning of the satellite's service, eventually degrading to no less than 13.8 kilowatts after 15 years of operation. Solar panels will charge an onboard dual lithium-ion battery.

For propulsion, the satellites based on 702HP platform come equipped with the main liquid-propellant orbit-correction engine and eight ion engines powered by xenon gas.

 

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/inmarsat-5f3.html

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Above: A satellite view of Proton launch facilities in Baikonur circa 2010. 

Cheers.....:)

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Proton Lifts Off on 15-hour Return to Flight Mission

proton-inmarsat5-F3-liftoff-2015-08-28-8
An ILS Proton M lifted off Aug. 28 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying Inmarsat's third Global Express satellite. Credit: ILS/Inmarsat video grab

WASHINGTON — A Proton M rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome Aug. 28 on its first mission since a failed launch in May.

The Proton M lifted off from Baikonur at 7:44 a.m. Eastern time.

International Launch Services, Proton’s Reston, Va.-based commercial broker, reported that the rocket successfully completed the early phases of its mission, including the separation of its first three stages and the first of five scheduled burns of its Breeze M upper stage.

 

Any declaration of mission success, however, will have to wait until the Breeze M releases its payload, the Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite, into a super-synchronous transfer orbit. Spacecraft separation is scheduled for 15 hours and 31 minutes after liftoff.

The launch is the first for the Proton since the May 16 failure of a Proton rocket carrying Mexico’s Centenario satellite. Investigators blamed that failure on the “sup-optimal design” of a connection holding a steering engine turbopump on the rocket’s third stage. That caused the engine to fail a little more than eight minutes after liftoff.

Inmarsat-5 F3, a Boeing-built satellite weighing 6,070 kilograms at launch, is the third and final satellite in Inmarsat’s Global Xpress broadband satellite system. The satellite will serve the Pacific Ocean region.

 

 

 http://spacenews.com/proton-lifts-off-on-return-to-flight-mission/

Live coverage: Proton blasts off on return-to-flight mission

1203 GMT (8:03 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 19 minutes. International Launch Services confirms the Breeze M upper stage has completed the first of five burns in this mission. The first burn was designed to accelerate the rocket and payload from a suborbital trajectory into a low-altitude parking orbit.

The Breeze M is now in a coast phase until ignition of the second upper stage burn at about 1334 GMT (9:34 a.m. EDT).

Separation of the Inmarsat 5 F2 satellite is scheduled more than 15 hours from now, after the Breeze M's fifth burn, at 0315 GMT (11:15 p.m. EDT).

1158 GMT (7:58 a.m. EDT)
ILS confirms a good start of the first Breeze M burn to put Inmarsat 5 F3 into a low-altitude parking orbit.
1155 GMT (7:55 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 11 minutes. Officials confirm successful shutdown of the Proton's third stage and separation of the Breeze M upper stage. We're awaiting news on the ignition of the Breeze M engine for the first of five burns on today's mission.

This first burn should last about four-and-a-half minutes, placing the Breeze M and Inmarsat 5 F3 in a circular parking orbit 107 miles high with an inclination of 51.5 degrees.

1152 GMT (7:52 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 8 minutes. Proton's second stage has been confirmed to have separated, and the third stage RD-0213 engine has begun its burn, producing 131,000 pounds of thrust. The rocket's payload fairing has also been released now that the launcher is in the upper atmosphere.
1147 GMT (7:47 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. The second stage's RD-0211 main engine and RD-0210 vernier engines continue firing at full power of 540,000 pounds of thrust.
1146 GMT (7:46 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 25 seconds. ILS has confirmed the Proton's first stage has shut down and jettisoned, and the second stage engines are firing with a half-million pounds of thrust.

 

 http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/08/27/inmarsat-5-f3-mission-status-center/

Video is 3:16 min....

 

Cheers....:)

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The first Briz-M upper stage burn was 1% short, the second 2% long. Waiting to hear on 3 & 4.

 

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For those who don't know, the Proton first stage is hypergolic - meaning it burns unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4), both highly toxic. A few hundred kilograms on a spacecraft for thrusters is one thing, but thousands of tonnes is another.

This and low reliability are why Russia is upgrading to Angara 5, which uses a form of kerosene and liquid oxygen..

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Found another video for the proton launch...

 

Proton lifts off with Inmarsat-5 F3

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Event
Moscow time
Scheduled elapsed time
Actual elapsed time
Deviation
-
Liftoff
14:44:00
0
0
0
1
Stage I separation
14:45:59.63
00:02:00
119 seconds
0.14 seconds
2
Stage II separation
14:49:27.18
00:05:27
327 seconds
0.60 seconds
3
Payload fairing separation
14:49:46.88
00:05:47
345 seconds
0.56 seconds
4
Stage III separation
14:53:42.22
00:09:42
582 seconds
0.03 seconds
5
Briz-M firing 1 starts (for 04 min. 27 s.)
14:55:16.22
00:11:16
676 seconds
0.37 seconds
6
Briz-M firing 1 ends
14:59:42.56
00:15:43
939 seconds
3.30 seconds
7
Briz-M firing 2 starts (for 19 min. 34 s.)
16:34:30.00
01:50:30
6,630 seconds
0.15 seconds
8
Briz-M firing 2 ends
16:54:04.14
02:10:04
7,792 seconds
22.46 seconds
9
Briz-M firing 3 starts (for 9 min. 24 s.)
-
04:23:49
15,829 seconds
-
10
Briz-M firing 3 ends
-
04:33:13
16,389 seconds
-
11
Briz-M jettisons its external tank
-
04:34:03
16,439 seconds
-
12
Briz-M firing 4 starts (for 8 min. 27 s.)
-
04:35:30
16,530 seconds
-
13
Briz-M firing 4 ends
-
04:43:57
17,030 seconds
-
14
Briz-M firing 5 starts (for 3 min. 29 s.)
-
15:15:05
54,905 seconds
-
15
Briz-M firing 5 ends
-
15:18:34
55,112 seconds
-
16
Spacecraft separation
-
15:31:00
55,841 seconds
-

Ground track, flight profile and the latest data on the Proton mission to deliver the Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite on Aug. 28, 2015. Credit: ILS

 

 

 http://www.russianspaceweb.com/inmarsat-5f3.html

Cheers....:)

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Bit of info on the Proton first stage....

assembly_tail_1.thumb.jpg.ccb398904fdd76
Above: The core tank of Proton's first stage (left) before the installation of strapon tanks (right). Credit: GKNPTs Khrunichev

The design of the first stage had forever defined Proton's unique architecture. No other launch vehicle before or after it had the same design and when this architecture started emerging from behind the Iron Curtain, it became a great source of mystery and confusion.

 

Designated 8S810KM, the first stage of the Proton rocket is comprised of a central (core) oxidizer tank, surrounded by six strap-on fuel tanks. Each of stage's six engines are attached to the one of the strap-on tanks, however the entire cluster of tanks remains connected during the flight. Sectioning of the first stage was dictated by the transportation restrictions, not by flight dynamics. The core tank of the stage has a diameter of 4.1 meters, which is an absolute maximum still allowing its delivery by rail.

The first stage is connected to the second stage with a lattice structure manufactured from the aluminum alloy V95. It is designed to let exhaust gas from the engines on the second stage to escape as they fire shortly before the separation of two stages around two minutes after liftoff.

With the introduction of the Proton-M version of the rocket in 2001, the first stage was slightly lightened thanks to improved manufacturing techniques and the reduction in the mass of onboard avionics. In addition, RD-253 engines used on the first stage had been upgraded and, from 1993, they were designated RD-275. Yet another upgrade of the engine became known as RD-276.

Another upgrade on the first stage involved its propellant feed system. It was simplified and redesigned in order to reduce by as much as 50 percent the amount of propellant remaining inside the stage by the time it finishes firing close to two minutes into the flight. A special propellant purge system was added to dump all residuals from the spent first and second stages before they fall back to earth. Although the main purpose of this change was to reduce controversial spills of toxic propellants at the impact sites downrange from Baikonur, the rocket's performance was also improved as a result.

 

Technical specifications of the first stage of the original Proton-K rocket:

Dry mass
34,000 kilograms
Fueled mass
685,280 kilograms
Liftoff mass
683,680 kilograms
Oxidizer mass
300,870 kilograms
Fuel mass
113,710 kilograms
The end mass
280,110 kilograms
Liftoff to end mass ratio
2.44
Propulsion system thrust to liftoff mass ratio
1.33
Burn time
126.6 seconds

 

 

Technical specifications of the first stage of the Proton-K and Proton-M rocket:

-
Proton-K
Proton-M
Maximum diameter (a cluster of core and strap-on tanks)
7.4 meters
7.4 meters
Diameter of core (oxidizer) tank
4.1 meters
4.1 meters
Diameter of strap-on fuel tanks (each of six)
1.6 meters
1.6 meters
A total length of the first stage
20.2 meters
21.18 meters
Propulsion system
Six RD-253, later RD-275 engines
Six RD-275/276 engines
A total thrust of the first stage at sea level (all six engines combined)
9.5 meganewtons
10.0 meganewtons
A total dry mass of the first stage
approximately 31,000 kilograms
approximately 30,600 kilograms
A total mass of propellant in the first stage
approximately 419,410 kilograms
?
Separation time
T+126.7 seconds*
T+119.7 - 123.3 seconds*
Separation speed
1,649 meters per second*
1,680.4 - 1,796 meters per second
Separation altitude
43.5 kilometers*
42.4 - 42.48 kilometers*
Latitude of impact location
-
47 degrees 18 minutes 23 seconds North
Longitude of impact location
-
66 degrees 33 minutes 27 seconds East
Distance of impact location from the launch site
-
306 kilometers

*Varies depending on a particular mission

 

 http://www.russianspaceweb.com/proton_stage1.html

RD-253/RD-275/RD-276 engines -- heart of the Proton rocket

The original first stage of the Proton rocket was propelled by six RD-253 engines developed at OKB-456 design bureau (now NPO Energomash) in Moscow and led by Valentin Glushko. Each engine had a thrust on the ground of 150 tons. Like engines on two upper stages of the Proton rocket, RD-253 burned highly toxic unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine as a fuel mixed with nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer.

On the first stage of the Proton rocket, RD-253 was installed in a movable suspension system that allowed to swivel each individual engine around a single axis. Combined movement of all six engines enabled the flight control system of the rocket to steer the vehicle along its prescribed trajectory.

In 1986, specifically for the launch of core module of the Mir space station, the thrust of RD-253 engine was increased by seven percent. it was achived thanks to a minor modification to the propellant flow control valves. Since then, engines incorporating this change have undergone extensive additional qualification firings, in order to approve them for use in standard production vehicles.

From 1987 to 1993, NPO Energomash developed a more powerful version of the engine, designated RD-275, which has been used on the first stage of the Proton rocket until 2007, when the improved RD-276 model was introduced. The engines are mass produced at PPO Motorostroitel (also known as Permskie Motory) in the city of Perm.

 

demo_1.thumb.jpg.698b19a7c30614e3a4b2cc3
A full-scale demo version of the RD-253 engine.

stage1_back_1.thumb.jpg.03099683448fc76f
A business end of the Proton rocket with six RD-275 engines arranged in circle on the first stage. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2000 Anatoly Zak

RD-253/RD-275/RD-276 engines -- heart of the Proton rocket

The original first stage of the Proton rocket was propelled by six RD-253 engines developed at OKB-456 design bureau (now NPO Energomash) in Moscow and led by Valentin Glushko. Each engine had a thrust on the ground of 150 tons. Like engines on two upper stages of the Proton rocket, RD-253 burned highly toxic unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine as a fuel mixed with nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer.

On the first stage of the Proton rocket, RD-253 was installed in a movable suspension system that allowed to swivel each individual engine around a single axis. Combined movement of all six engines enabled the flight control system of the rocket to steer the vehicle along its prescribed trajectory.

In 1986, specifically for the launch of core module of the Mir space station, the thrust of RD-253 engine was increased by seven percent. it was achived thanks to a minor modification to the propellant flow control valves. Since then, engines incorporating this change have undergone extensive additional qualification firings, in order to approve them for use in standard production vehicles.

From 1987 to 1993, NPO Energomash developed a more powerful version of the engine, designated RD-275, which has been used on the first stage of the Proton rocket until 2007, when the improved RD-276 model was introduced. The engines are mass produced at PPO Motorostroitel (also known as Permskie Motory) in the city of Perm.

 

Specifications of RD-253 engine:

-
RD-253
RD-275
Thrust at sea level
150 tons
162 tons
Thrust in vacuum
166 tons
178 tons
Specific impulse on the ground
285 seconds
287 seconds
Specific impulse in vacuum
316 seconds
316 seconds
Dry mass of the engine
1,080 kilograms
1,080 kilograms
Fueled mass of the engine
1,260 kilograms
1,070 kilograms
Length of the engine
3,000 millimeters
3,050 millimeters
Diameter of the engine
1,500 millimeters
1,500 millimeters
 

 

 http://www.russianspaceweb.com/rd253.html

Here is an ILS Proton Breeze M sales brochure...has some data ...pdf...

http://www.ilslaunch.com/sites/default/files/pdf/ILS Proton Brochure.pdf

During the years there have been many versions of this engine:

  • RD-220: Initial proposal for the N-1 first stage.[9]
  • RD-221: Initial proposal for the N-1 second stage.[9]
  • RD-222 (GRAU Index 11D41): Development program for the N-1 first stage.[9]
  • RD-223 (GRAU Index 11D42): Development program for the N-1 second stage.[9]
  • RD-253 (GRAU Index 11D43): Serial production version for the Proton (8K62) first stage. Was proposed for the N-1first stage.
  • RD-253F (GRAU Index 11D43F): Project for R-36M (15А14) first stage.[9]
  • RD-254 (GRAU Index 11D44): Project for UR-700 third stage and for Proton and N-1 second stages, it was a RD-253 high-altitude version.
  • RD-275 (GRAU Index 14D14): Serial production for Proton-M first stage. RD-253 with increased thrust by 8%.[9]
  • RD-275М AKA RD-276 (GRAU Index 14D14М): Serial production for Proton-M first stage. Improved RD-275.[9]
RD-253 Family of Engines
EngineRD-220RD-221RD-222RD-223RD-253RD-253FRD-254RD-275RD-275M
AKA  11D4111D4211D41311D413F11D4414D14RD-276, 14D14M[4]
Development196019601960-19611960-19611962-19661966-19671961-19631987-19932001-2005
Engine TypeLiquid propellant rocket engine using the oxidizer rich staged combustion cycle and burning N2O4/UDMH as propellant with an O/F ratio of 2.67
Combustion Chamber Pressure14.7 MPa (2,130 psi)14.7 MPa (2,130 psi)14.7 MPa (2,130 psi)14.7 MPa (2,130 psi)14.7 MPa (2,130 psi)16.9 MPa (2,450 psi)14.7 MPa (2,130 psi)15.7 MPa (2,280 psi)16.5 MPa (2,390 psi)
Thrust (Vacuum)1,074 kN (241,000 lbf)1,120 kN (250,000 lbf)1,634 kN (367,000 lbf)1,700 kN (380,000 lbf)1,635 kN (368,000 lbf)1,870 kN (420,000 lbf)1,720 kN (390,000 lbf)1,750 kN (390,000 lbf)1,832 kN (412,000 lbf)
Thrust (Sea Level)947 kN (213,000 lbf)N/A1,471 kN (331,000 lbf)N/A1,474 kN (331,000 lbf)1,720 kN (390,000 lbf)N/A1,590 kN (360,000 lbf)1,671 kN (376,000 lbf)
Specific Impulse (Vacuum)306 s (3.00 km/s)318 s (3.12 km/s)302 s (2.96 km/s)314 s (3.08 km/s)316 s (3.10 km/s)317 s (3.11 km/s)328 s (3.22 km/s)316 s (3.10 km/s)315.8 s (3.097 km/s)
Specific Impulse (Sea Level)270 s (2.6 km/s)N/A272 s (2.67 km/s)N/A285 s (2.79 km/s)290 s (2.8 km/s)N/A287 s (2.81 km/s)288 s (2.82 km/s)
Height2,600 mm (100 in)4,200 mm (170 in)3,470 mm (137 in)5,050 mm (199 in)3,000 mm (120 in)2,700 mm (110 in)4,000 mm (160 in)3,050 mm (120 in)3,050 mm (120 in)
Diameter1,300 mm (51 in)2,400 mm (94 in)1,460 mm (57 in)2,530 mm (100 in)1,500 mm (59 in)1,490 mm (59 in)2,600 mm (100 in)1,500 mm (59 in)1,500 mm (59 in)
Intended UseN-1 first stageN-1 second stageN-1 first stageN-1 second stageProton(8K62) first stageR-36M(15А14) first stageUR-700 third stage,Proton and N-1 second stagesProton-Mfirst stageProton-Mfirst stage
StatusProject (Abandoned)Project (Abandoned)Project (Abandoned)Project (Abandoned)RetiredProject (Abandoned)Project (Abandoned)RetiredIn Production
ReferencesUnless otherwise noted: [9]

 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-253

Cheers.......:)

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Latest that I could find on the Proton launch...have a few hours yet for final sat placement.....

 
Event
Moscow time
Scheduled elapsed time
Actual elapsed time
Deviation
-
Liftoff
14:44:00
0
0
0
1
Stage I separation
14:45:59.63
00:02:00
119 seconds
0.14 seconds
2
Stage II separation
14:49:27.18
00:05:27
327 seconds
0.60 seconds
3
Payload fairing separation
14:49:46.88
00:05:47
345 seconds
0.56 seconds
4
Stage III separation
14:53:42.22
00:09:42
582 seconds
0.03 seconds
5
Briz-M firing 1 starts (for 04 min. 27 s.)
14:55:16.22
00:11:16
676 seconds
0.37 seconds
6
Briz-M firing 1 ends
14:59:42.56
00:15:43
939 seconds
3.30 seconds
7
Briz-M firing 2 starts (for 19 min. 34 s.)
16:34:30.00
01:50:30
6,630 seconds
0.15 seconds
8
Briz-M firing 2 ends
16:54:04.14
02:10:04
7,826 seconds
22.46 seconds
9
Briz-M firing 3 starts (for 9 min. 24 s.)
19:07:49.00
04:23:49
15,829 seconds
0.07 seconds
10
Briz-M firing 3 ends
19:17:12.73
04:33:13
16,391 seconds
1.32 seconds
11
Briz-M jettisons its external tank
19:18:02.73
04:34:03
16,442 seconds
1.16 seconds
12
Briz-M firing 4 starts (for 8 min. 27 s.)
19:19:29.73
04:35:30
16,530 seconds
0.35 seconds
13
Briz-M firing 4 ends
19:27:56.59
04:43:57
17,031 seconds
5.00 seconds
14
Briz-M firing 5 starts (for 3 min. 29 s.)
-
15:15:05
54,905 seconds
-
15
Briz-M firing 5 ends
-
15:18:34
55,112 seconds
-
16
Spacecraft separation
-
15:31:00
55,841 seconds
-

Ground track, flight profile and the latest data on the Proton mission to deliver the Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite on Aug. 28, 2015. Credit: ILS

 

 

 http://www.russianspaceweb.com/inmarsat-5f3.html

Cheers...

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latest update...looks like it made it...will have to wait for confirmation and satellite health report...

Event
Moscow time
Scheduled elapsed time
Actual elapsed time
Deviation
-
Liftoff
14:44:00
0
0
0
1
Stage I separation
14:45:59.63
00:02:00
119 seconds
0.14 seconds
2
Stage II separation
14:49:27.18
00:05:27
327 seconds
0.60 seconds
3
Payload fairing separation
14:49:46.88
00:05:47
345 seconds
0.56 seconds
4
Stage III separation
14:53:42.22
00:09:42
582 seconds
0.03 seconds
5
Briz-M firing 1 starts (for 04 min. 27 s.)
14:55:16.22
00:11:16
676 seconds
0.37 seconds
6
Briz-M firing 1 ends
14:59:42.56
00:15:43
939 seconds
3.30 seconds
7
Briz-M firing 2 starts (for 19 min. 34 s.)
16:34:30.00
01:50:30
6,630 seconds
0.15 seconds
8
Briz-M firing 2 ends
16:54:04.14
02:10:04
7,826 seconds
22.46 seconds
9
Briz-M firing 3 starts (for 9 min. 24 s.)
19:07:49.00
04:23:49
15,829 seconds
0.07 seconds
10
Briz-M firing 3 ends
19:17:12.73
04:33:13
16,391 seconds
1.32 seconds
11
Briz-M jettisons its external tank
19:18:02.73
04:34:03
16,442 seconds
1.16 seconds
12
Briz-M firing 4 starts (for 8 min. 27 s.)
19:19:29.73
04:35:30
16,530 seconds
0.35 seconds
13
Briz-M firing 4 ends
19:27:56.59
04:43:57
17,031 seconds
5.00 seconds
14
Briz-M firing 5 starts (for 3 min. 29 s.)
05:59:05.00
15:15:05
54,905 seconds
0.31 seconds
15
Briz-M firing 5 ends
06:02:34.34
15:18:34
55,113 seconds
1.32 seconds
16
Spacecraft separation
06:15:00.00
15:31:00
55,841 seconds
18.94 seconds

Ground track, flight profile and the latest data on the Proton mission to deliver the Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite on Aug. 28, 2015. Credit: ILS

  

 

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/inmarsat-5f3.html

Cheers.....:)

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Boeing reports they have comms with the satellite. Looking good so far.

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China rocket parts hit villager's home: police, media

Debris from a rocket carrying a Chinese satellite into orbit crashed into a villager's home minutes after the launch, local police and media reports said.

The parts plummeted to earth with a huge roar Thursday morning in Xunyang county in the northern province of Shaanxi, news portal Sina said on a social media account, citing local sources. No casualties were reported, it added.

Pictures showed a man standing beside what appeared to be a rocket nozzle as tall as him, in front of a cracked wall and with pieces of broken bricks on the ground.

Another image showed a large hole in a red-tiled roof.

In a post on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, Xunyang police said the machinery was part of a rocket's propulsion system and called on local residents "not to panic".

A Long March-4 rocket carrying a remote sensing satellite -- which is to be used for experiments, land surveys, crop yield estimates and disaster prevention -- was launched into space from neighbouring Shanxi province nine minutes before the impact, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Beijing views its ambitious, military-run, multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of the country's progress, but it is not unknown for pieces of it to plunge through villagers' roofs.

In 2013, debris from a rocket carrying China's first moon rover plummeted to earth more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the launch site, crashing into two homes.

 

 http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/China_rocket_parts_hit_villagers_home_police_media_999.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proton data...

Actual launch

The Proton-M/Briz-M launch vehicle lifted off as scheduled on Aug 28, 2015, at 14:44:00 Moscow Time (7:44 a.m. Eastern Time) from Pad 39 at Site 200 in Baikonur Cosmodrome, successfully delivering its payload section into a 179.9 by 180.25-kilometer initial orbit around 16 minutes later. The actual orbital parameters were practically on target for the planned 180-kilometer parking orbit.

After the second Briz-M firing, based on the telemetry received from the stage, the stack was estimated to be in a 301.72 by 6,008.39-kilometer orbit, just 1.4 kilometers off the planned apogee.

After the third and fourth maneuver, Briz-M and its payload entered a 481.12 by 65,062-kilometer orbit with an apogee just 11.25 kilometers off its planned altitude. An inclination of 50.3 degrees toward the Equator was within just 13 seconds off the planned parameters.

The fifth and final maneuver of the Briz-M took place practically on time and the Inmarsat-5 F3 was successfully released less than 19 seconds ahead of schedule. The satellite was found in a 4,331.08 by 65,020-kilometer orbit, which was within 13-14 kilometers from a targeted altitude. An orbital inclination of 26 degrees 51 minutes was just six minutes off target.

 

 http://www.russianspaceweb.com/inmarsat-5f3.html

Cheers...:)

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Like Proton, the Chinese Long March 4 uses unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) and dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) as propellants, both highly toxic, and they regularly drop spent but still partially fueled stages on occupied areas. Their official line of "don't panic" is absoeffinglutely insane. 

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China rocket parts hit villager's home: police, media

 

 http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/China_rocket_parts_hit_villagers_home_police_media_999.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proton data...

 

 http://www.russianspaceweb.com/inmarsat-5f3.html

Cheers...:)

 

 

Thought you might like this (didn't see pictures in your linked story)...

 

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Inmarsat confirms successful launch of the third Global Xpress (GX) satellite

Press Release From: INMARSAT 
Posted: Saturday, August 29, 2015

 

Inmarsat (LSE:ISAT.L), the leading provider of global mobile satellite communications services, has confirmed the successful launch of its third satellite in the transformational Global Xpress (GX) constellation. Inmarsat-5 F3 (I-5 F3), which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12.44pm (BST), entered orbit this morning at 04.15 am (BST) following a 15 hour and 31 minute mission.

Over the coming weeks, the Inmarsat Operations Team will raise I-5 F3 to its final orbit, deploy its solar arrays and reflectors, and undertake payload testing. At the end of these procedures, I-5 F3 will be ready to join the first two GX satellites, which are already in orbit and operating successfully, to create the first, globally available, high-speed mobile broadband network delivered by a single operator.

Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, said: “We have been working towards this day ever since we announced plans to create the Global Xpress constellation in 2010. I am delighted that we now have three Global Xpress satellites in orbit, enabling us to provide global GX services by the end of the year.

“This is a significant milestone for Inmarsat; one that will offer major growth opportunities and promises to change the face of our industry.

“Global Xpress will deliver broadband speeds that are an order of magnitude faster than our fourth generation (I-4) constellation, to customers on the move on land, at sea and in the air, globally. As such, the GX fleet will offer a host of new opportunities for both our existing and new customers to significantly enhance their connectivity capabilities and to deploy bandwidth-hungry applications and solutions efficiently and effectively, even in the remotest and most inaccessible parts of the world. Global Xpress is, therefore, an important enabler for continued growth in global mobile broadband – it is the ‘Internet of Everywhere’.

“I would like to thank our dedicated team of engineers for their outstanding work in making Global Xpress a reality in just five years. It is an amazing achievement to design, manufacture and successfully launch three advanced communication satellites in such a short time. I would also like to extend my thanks to our satellite manufacturing partner Boeing and our launch partners ILS and Khrunichev for delivering a successful outcome today.”

The first Global Xpress satellite – Inmarsat-5 F1 – was launched in December 2013 and entered commercial service in July 2014, covering Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. This was followed by the launch of Inmarsat-5 F2 on 1st February 2015, which covers the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean and entered commercial service this month (August).

 

// end //

 

 http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=46733

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Upcoming Launches......

Sept. 2Soyuz • ISS 44S
Launch time: 0437 GMT (12:37 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the manned Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station with members of the next Expedition crew. The capsule will remain at the station for about six months, providing an escape pod for the crew. [Aug. 27]
Sept. 2Atlas 5 • MUOS 4
Launch period: 959-1043 GMT (5:59-6:43 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-056, will launch the fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite for the U.S. Navy. Built by Lockheed Martin, this U.S. military spacecraft will provide narrowband tactical communications designed to significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move. The rocket will fly in the 551 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from Aug. 13, Aug. 20, Aug. 27 and Aug. 31 [Aug. 29]
SeptemberLong March 6 • Multi-payload
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Taiyuan, China
A Chinese Long March 6 rocket will launch with a cluster of small Chinese amateur and university research satellites. The flight will mark the first launch of the Long March 6, a new rocket fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen to replace China’s previous generation of launch vehicles. Delayed from July 20. [July 6]
Sept. 10/11Soyuz • Galileo 9 & 10
Launch window: 0208:12 GMT on 11th (10:08:12 p.m. EDT on 10th)
Launch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana
An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS12, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry two Galileo full operational capability satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation constellation. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat-MT upper stage. [July 25]
Sept. 14Proton • Express AM8
Launch time: 1900 GMT (3:00 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Proton rocket with a Block DM upper stage will deploy the Express AM8 satellite for the Russian Satellite Communications Co. Express AM8 will provide television broadcasting and other communications services across Russia and neighboring countries. Delayed from April 6, May, June 18 and August. [Aug. 17]
Sept. 28PSLV • Astrosat
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), flying on the PSLV-C30 mission in the PSLV-XL configuration, will launch the Astrosat observatory. Astrosat is India’s first dedicated astronomical satellite mission, and it carries instruments to observe the universe in visible, ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths, studying black holes, neutron stars, pulsars, quasars, white dwarfs, and active galactic nuclei. [Aug. 27]
Sept. 30Ariane 5 • NBN Co 1A & Arsat 2
Launch window: 2019-2146 GMT (4:19-5:46 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA226, to launch the NBN Co 1A and Arsat 2 satellites. The NBN Co 1A satellite will provide high-speed Internet services for Australia’s National Broadband Network. Arsat 2 will provide data transmission, Internet and television services over the Americas for the Arsat operator based in Argentina. [Aug. 20]
Oct. 1Soyuz • Progress 61P
Launch window: 1649 GMT (12:49 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 61st Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Moved forward from Oct. 22. Delayed from Sept. 21. [Aug. 17]

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Preparations with both passengers ongoing at Kourou 

Dual payload preparations are underway for the next Ariane 5 launch, with the arrival of nbn's Sky Muster at the Spaceport and processing of the ARSAT-2 spacecraft for operator ARSAT in French Guiana.

The two telecommunications satellites are passengers for Arianespace's upcoming September heavy-lift mission, which will be the company's fifth Ariane 5 flight this year - and ninth total launch in 2015 with its complete launcher family of Vega, Soyuz and Ariane 5.

Sky Muster - a high-performance broadband satellite for Australian operator nbn - was airlifted this week to Felix Eboue Airport near Cayenne, French Guiana aboard a cargo jetliner. After its unloading process, the spacecraft was transferred by road to the Spaceport for pre-launch processing.

Weighing nearly 6,400 kg., the SSL-built (Space Systems Loral) Sky Muster is the first of two satellites for nbn that will help deliver high-speed broadband service to more than 200,000 homes and businesses around Australia - including many in rural and remote areas that do not have access to quality broadband connections.

Sky Muster's name was chosen by the winner of an Australia-wide picture drawing competition for young school children to illustrate how the new broadband network will make Australia a better country. The winning six-year-old student and her classmates selected the Sky Muster name to refer to the gathering of cattle and how the satellite will help "round-up" and connect Australians together.

In parallel activity this week, initial checkout with ARSAT-2 - including a routine "fit check" with the adapter that will serve as its interface with Ariane 5 - has begun inside the S5 payload preparation facility at the Spaceport, following the satellite's arrival in French Guiana earlier this month.

To be operated under the responsibility of ARSAT, ARSAT-2 is the second of three geostationary satellites that will increase Argentina's telecommunications capacity and guarantee the same level of connectivity quality to all of the country's regions. Arianespace successfully orbited the first of these relay platforms, ARSAT-1, on Ariane 5 Flight VA220 in October 2014.

The ARSAT series of spacecraft is produced by Argentina's INVAP, with Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space serving as leading equipment suppliers.

The arrival and processing of Sky Muster and ARSAT-2 at the Spaceport are part of Arianespace's busy operational pace in 2015, which includes successful launches of four Ariane 5s, two Vegas and one Soyuz vehicle to date this year, as well as ongoing payload and launcher preparation activity for three upcoming missions: Soyuz Flight VS12, Ariane 5 Flight VA226 and Vega Flight VV06.

 

 http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Preparations_with_both_passengers_are_ongoing_in_French_Guiana_for_Arianespaces_9th_mission_this_year_999.html

Later.....:)

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Atlas 5 rocket travels to launch pad for Wednesday flight

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CAPE CANAVERAL — Delivering two-and-a-half million pounds of ground-shaking thrust at takeoff, more than any rocket flying from Cape Canaveral these days, the mighty vehicle was rolled from its assembly building to the launch pad Monday for Wednesday’s early morning blastoff.

The United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, equipped with five strap-on solid-propellant boosters for added performance, will launch the Navy’s MUOS 4 mobile communications satellite at 5:59 a.m. EDT (0959 GMT). The available launch window extends to 6:43 a.m. EDT.

The booster was wheeled out aboard a mobile launcher platform, emerging from the hangar where the rocket’s two stages and the payload were integrated over the past few weeks.

The slow drive from the 30-story Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad used a pair of specially-made “trackmobiles” to carry the rocket’s 1.4-million pound launching platform along rail tracks for the 1,800-foot trip.

The 206-foot-tall rocket will launch the MUOS satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Deployment of the payload occurs three hours into flight.

The rocket is flying the 551 vehicle configuration. The version features two stages, five solids and an 18-foot-diameter nose cone. It is powered off the launch pad by an RD AMROSS RD-180 main engine and Aerojet Rocketdyne solids. The Centaur upper stage has an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 cryogenic engine.

Countdown clocks begin ticking Tuesday night, seven hours before launch, leading to activation of the rocket, final testing and system preps. Fueling will be underway by 4 a.m. EDT.

There is a 70 percent chance of acceptable weather for Wednesday’s launch opportunity. Cumulus clouds will be the main concern.

“A tropical wave (formerly Tropical Storm Erika) is in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico with the trough extending into Central Florida with cloudy conditions. The tropical wave is expected to lift north over the next 24 hours with showers and isolated thunderstorms developing over Central Florida this afternoon,” Air Force weather forecasters say.

“On launch day, the wave looks to be in the Northern Gulf of Mexico extending into North Florida with the greater shower threat to the north. Over Central Florida, there is a coastal shower threat during the count with thunderstorms developing after the count near the noon hour. The primary concern for launch is cumulus clouds.”

The launch time outlook calls for scattered low- and high-level clouds, coastal showers, good visibility, southerly winds of 10-14 knots and a temperature of 80 degrees F.

 

 http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/08/31/atlas-5-rocket-travels-to-launch-pad-for-wednesday-flight/

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Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

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Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

22-683x1024.thumb.jpg.b381aca9d45578c516
Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

52-1024x683.thumb.jpg.16e21eb09e9da80470Photo credit: United Launch Alliance

Video is 3:43....

 

2DrEvil.thumb.jpg.548ea99bf5ccbfee89205f

 

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GSAT-6A's big antenna deployed by ISRO

gsat-8-satellite-lg.thumb.jpg.fb20809c2a
File image.

 

The Indian space agency on Sunday said it had successfully deployed the large antenna of military communication satellite GSAT-6 and also raised its orbit.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the S-Band Unfurlable Antenna of six metre diameter was deployed successfully. The satellite was launched by India's heavy rocket geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle-Mark II (GSLV) and put into geo transfer orbit (GTO) on Thursday.

One of the advanced features of GSAT-6 satellite is this antenna - the largest satellite antenna realized by ISRO and utilized for five spot beams over the Indian mainland, which exploit the frequency reuse scheme to increase frequency spectrum utilization efficiency.

The satellite provides communication through five spot beams in S-band and a national beam in C-band for strategic users.

The satellite's life expectancy is nine years. The ISRO also said the third orbit raising operation of GSAT-6 was successfully completed by firing the satellite's onboard motors for nine minutes.

 

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/GSAT_6As_big_antenna_deployed_by_ISRO_999.html

Well done....These guys are on a roll with their space program.....:D

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 Galileo satellites fuelled and ready for launcher attachment

soyuz-rocket-fairing-pair-galileo-satell
Cutaway view of the Soyuz rocket fairing carrying a pair of Galileo satellites. Image courtesy ESA-J. Huart, 2014.

Europe's latest Galileo satellites are fully fuelled, leaving them ready to be attached to their launcher upper stage in preparation for their 11 September launch. Galileo 9 and 10 are due to launch atop a Soyuz launcher at 02:08 GMT on 11 September (04:08 CEST; 23:08 local time, 10 September) from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.

Technicians donned spacesuit-like SCAPE (Self Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble) suits to fill each satellite with sufficient hydrazine fuel for their planned 12 years of operations in space. This fuel is needed for fine-tuning of their orbital paths following their launch, followed by routine orbital and attitude control over the course of their working lives.

Each Galileo satellite needs to keep its navigation antenna trained on Earth's disc at all times, employing dedicated infrared Earth and Sun sensors for this purpose.

This marked the first time Galileo had been fuelled within the Guiana Space Centre's 3SB preparation building. Previously the S5 fuelling building was dedicated to this purpose, but upgrades by Arianespace mean fuelling can now take place at the same location where they will subsequently be attached to their Fregat upper stage, streamlining the satellite preparation process.

Completion of fuelling means the two satellites are essentially ready for launch - what needs to be accomplished now is to first attach the Galileos to their launch dispenser, then to fix this in turn to their Fregat.

The satellites plus Fregat will then be encapsulated within the launcher fairing, after which this 'upper composite' can then be attached to the other three stages of the Soyuz ST-B launcher. The latest Galileo launch campaign commenced at the end of July, with the arrival of the satellites in French Guiana on 24 July.

 

 http://www.gpsdaily.com/reports/Galileo_satellites_fuelled_and_ready_for_launcher_attachment_999.html

Galileos_ESA.thumb.jpg.29e5f69fcfac154e0
Europe’s ninth and 10th Galileo satellites are brought together on their launch dispenser in preparation for a planned Sept. 11 launch. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace-Service Optique CSG

spaceport-overview.thumb.jpg.9ed5836f070
File photo

The Spaceport – also known as the Guiana Space Center – is a strategically-located facility that provides optimum operating conditions for Arianespace's commercial launches.

Situated in French Guiana, the Spaceport's location close to the equator at 5.3 deg. North latitude makes it ideally-situated for missions into geostationary orbit.

Launching near the equator reduces the energy required for orbit plane change maneuvers. This saves fuel, enabling an increased operational lifetime for Ariane satellite payloads – and, in turn, an improved return on investment for the spacecraft operators.

In addition, French Guiana has a low population density and is protected from hurricanes and earthquakes, providing it with unique advantages as a highly operational launch site.

 

 http://www.arianespace.com/spaceport-intro/overview.asp

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Airbus Defence and Space Finishes Final Preparations for Launch of LISA Pathfinder

Press Release From: Airbus Defence and Space 
Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2015

 

LISA Pathfinder, ESA’s gravitational-wave detection technology demonstrator, is ready to be shipped to Kourou in French Guiana in preparation for its launch in November. Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second largest space company, has completed a series of intensive tests on LISA Pathfinder’s propulsion and science modules at IABG, near Munich, to prove its space worthiness. The 1.9-tonne spacecraft, primed by Airbus Defence and Space will be launched on a European Vega rocket.

“LISA Pathfinder is a remarkable project to test the ultra-high precision technologies that will be needed to detect gravitational waves in space. Albert Einstein predicted that the waves exist – but so far none have been found. LISA Pathfinder will take us one huge leap nearer to finding them,” said Michael Menking, Head of Earth Observation, Navigation & Science programmes at Airbus Defence and Space.

LISA Pathfinder carries the LISA Technology Package (LTP), which weighs around 150 kilograms. It consists of a laser interferometer measuring changes in the distance between two precision-engineered gold/platinum test masses, each weighing 1.96 kilograms. Once in orbit around the first Earth Sun Lagrange point, 1.5 million km from Earth, the two test masses will be released from a locking mechanism and held in position with a weak electrostatic field that can be very precisely controlled. Once in science mode, the electrostatic actuation of the primary test mass is switched off. The spacecraft is then controlled, via the drag-free and attitude control system, to follow the test mass. The laser interferometer and electrostatic sensors will track the motion of the test masses inside the spacecraft, ensuring they remain undisturbed. The interferometer can measure the relative position and orientation of the masses – which are around 40 centimetres from each other – to an accuracy of less than one millionth of the width of a human hair, which is less than 0.01 nanometre.

The LISA technologies also include two types of tiny thrusters so small that a thousand would be needed to lift a sheet of paper on Earth. The mission will carry out in-orbit testing of these micro‑propulsion systems, as well as an additional drag-free control system from NASA and several innovative technologies associated with the payload.

ESA has selected the gravitational universe science theme for its third Large Class L3 mission, for which a LISA-like mission is a leading candidate. Gravitational radiation will allow astronomers to study our universe in a new way and future telescope systems will be able to observe exotic sources, such as colliding super-massive black holes, as never before.
LISA Pathfinder is paving the way for a future large space observatory that ultimately will directly observe and precisely measure gravitational waves. These minute distortions in space-time require very sensitive and highly precise measuring technology, the performance of which can only be tested in a space environment.

 

 http://spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=46739

Tough assignment......

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Professor Utonium

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For the upcoming Galileo 9/10 launch on September 10th....

FCube facility enters operations with fueling of Soyuz Fregat upper stage

upper-composite-galileo-satellites-attac
File photo

Processing has been completed for the initial Soyuz Fregat upper stage to be handled in the Spaceport's Fregat Fueling Facility (FCube) - the newest site in French Guiana to support Arianespace's sustained operational cadence. This milestone Fregat will be used for the upcoming Arianespace medium-lift Soyuz mission, which is set for September 10 with two European Galileo navigation satellites.

The FCube was developed to reduce the time required to "top off" Fregat upper stages, which takes several weeks as part of Soyuz launch campaigns. It also frees up another Spaceport facility previously used for Fregat upper stage fueling operations - the Spaceport's S3 building, making the S3 facility more available for the processing of customer spacecraft to be lofted by the various members of Arianespace's launch vehicle family.

Qualified to Class 300,000 clean room conditions, the FCube is tailored for Fregat upper stage fueling in a process that involves the loading of UDMH and N2O4 storable propellants, along with N2H4 for attitude control, and helium for propellant tank pressurization. With Arianespace's overall mission flexibility in mind, the FCube also could be used in the future for fueling small-sized satellite payloads.

 

The FCube consists of two structures: one building that serves as the remote control center and includes a zone where fueling operators are suited up in their protective clothing; and the other with the Fregat fueling hall, along with the storage for propellant and gases, and areas to hold support and spare equipment.

Fregat is an autonomous and flexible upper stage that extends the Russian-built Soyuz' capability to perform a full range of missions (to medium-Earth orbit, Sun-synchronous orbit, geostationary transfer orbit and Earth escape trajectories), and can be restarted up to 20 times in flight - enabling it to carry out complex flight profiles.

The Fregat upper stage is manufactured by NPO Lavochkin, which is part of Soyuz' Russian industrial team. RKTs-Progress (the Samara Space Center) is responsible for the design, development, and manufacture of Soyuz' three lower stages and payload fairing, as well as for integrating the launch vehicle stages and handling flight operations.

With the first Fregat having now been fueled in the FCube, this upper stage was moved across the Spaceport today to the S3 facility for Flight VS12's next phase of payload integration. While in the S3 building, the two Galileo satellites and their dispenser system will be integrated on Fregat, followed by their encapsulation in Soyuz' payload fairing to create the launcher's "upper composite."

The completed upper composite will then be ready for transfer to the Spaceport's ELS launch complex, where it will be installed atop Flight VS12's Soyuz, enabling the nighttime liftoff on a September 10 mission lasting just under 3 hours, 48 minutes.

 

 

 http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/The_Spaceports_new_FCube_facility_enters_operations_with_its_first_fueling_of_a_Soyuz_launchers_Fregat_upper_stage_999.html

Soyuz FG data

http://www.spaceflight101.com/soyuz-fg-fregat.html

Arianespace Soyuz Overview

http://www.arianespace.com/launch-services-soyuz/soyuz-introduction.asp

The Soyuz FG is what is used for the manned lift to the ISS. The upper FG stage contains the nasties that Doc has told us about....this is the stuff that makes you nervous...The first and second use kerosene fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer (4 strap on boosters, stage 1, and main core, stage 2)

hypergolic propellant combination used in a rocket engine is one where the propellants spontaneously ignite when they come into contact with each other.

The two propellant components usually consist of a fuel and an oxidizer. Although commonly used hypergolic propellants are difficult to handle because of their extreme toxicity and/or corrosiveness, they can be stored as liquids at room temperature and hypergolic engines are easy to ignite reliably and repeatedly.

In contemporary usage, the terms "hypergol" or "hypergolic propellant" usually mean the most common such propellant combination, dinitrogen tetroxide plus hydrazine and/or its relatives monomethylhydrazine and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypergolic_propellant

Dinitrogen tetroxide, commonly referred to as nitrogen tetroxide, is the chemical compound N2O4. It is a useful reagent in chemical synthesis. It forms an equilibrium mixture with nitrogen dioxide.

Dinitrogen tetroxide is a powerful oxidizer that is hypergolic (spontaneously reacts) upon contact with various forms ofhydrazine, which makes the pair a popular bipropellant for rockets.

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinitrogen_tetroxide

Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) (1,1-dimethylhydrazine) is a chemical compound with the formula H2NN(CH3)2. It is a colourless liquid, with a sharp, fishy, ammoniacal smell typical for organic amines. Samples turn yellowish on exposure to air and absorb oxygen and carbon dioxide. It mixes completely with water, ethanol, andkerosene. In concentration between 2.5% and 95% in air, its vapors are flammable. It is not sensitive to shock.Symmetrical dimethylhydrazine (CH3NHNH(CH3)) is also known but is not as useful.[4]

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsymmetrical_dimethylhydrazine

Hydrazine (systematically named diazane or tetrahydridodinitrogen(NN)) is an inorganic compound with thechemical formula H2NNH2  (also written as N2H4).  It is a colourless flammable liquid with an ammonia-like odor. Hydrazine is highly toxic and dangerously unstable unless handled in solution. As of 2000, approximately 120,000 tons of hydrazine hydrate (corresponding to a 64% solution of hydrazine in water by weight) were manufactured worldwide per year.[9]Hydrazine is mainly used as a foaming agent in preparing polymer foams, but significant applications also include its uses as a precursor to polymerization catalysts and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, hydrazine is used in various rocket fuels and to prepare the gas precursors used in air bags. Hydrazine is used within both nuclear and conventional electrical power plant steam cycles as an oxygen scavenger to control concentrations of dissolved oxygen in an effort to reduce corrosion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine

:)

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US Military Launches Advanced Tactical Communications Satellite Into Orbit

 

atlas-v-rocket-launches-muos4.thumb.jpg.
An unmanned Atlas V rocket carrying the U.S. Navy's Mobile User Objective System 4 satellite (MUOS-4) launches into space from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in a pre-dawn liftoff on Sept. 2, 2015.
Credit: United Launch Alliance

The United States Navy launched an advanced new tactical communications satellite into orbit today (Sept. 2) to join a growing network designed to aid U.S. military forces stationed around the world. 

An unmanned Atlas V rocket carrying the Navy's fourth Mobile User Objective System satellite, or MUOS-4, lit up the pre-dawn sky in a dazzling display as it lifted off from a launchpad at Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 6:18 a.m. EDT (1018 GMT). It will eventually assume a geosynchronous orbit above Earth. The mission, which was overseen by the U.S. launch provider United Launch Alliance (ULA) was originally scheduled for Aug. 31, but delayed due to bad weather.

The satellite is the fourth installment in the MUOS communications system, which is "designed to significantly improve ground communications for U.S. forces on the move," according to a statement from Lockheed Martin, is building a total of five MUOS satellites for the U.S. military.

 

atlas-v-rocket-launches-muos4-earth.thum
 A camera mounted to a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket captures an amazing view of the Earth from space while launching the U.S. Navy's Mobile User Objective System 4 satellite (MUOS-4) on Sept. 2, 2015. 
Credit: United Launch Alliance

The first two MUOS satellites launched in 2012 and 2013. The third MUOS satellite launched in January and is still undergoing testing before it becomes fully operational.

"The MUOS works like a smartphone network in space, vastly improving secure satellite communications for mobile U.S. forces," Navy Commander Paul Benishek said in a ULA webcast just after liftoff.

MUOS is particularly helpful for troops in remote locations, because these soldiers can transmit and receive high-quality communications when the satellites are beyond the line of sight. All U.S. military services will be able to use the MUOS system, the statement said.

"MUOS provides satellite communications in the narrowband spectrum," the Navy statement said. "Although narrowband communication is less than 2 percent of total Department of Defense [DoD] bandwidth, it represents more than 50 percent of all DoD satellite communication users. In addition to ad-hoc situations such as disaster response, narrowband represents the majority of communications for SEAL teams."

This is the 56th launch of an Atlas V rocket by ULA since the rocket's debut in 2002. It is the sixth launch of an Atlas V rocket in the 551 configuration, which refers to the size of the payload capsule (5.4 meters or 17.7 feet wide), the number of solid rocket boosters (five) and the number of engines (one).

The next MUOS satellite, MUOS-5, is expected to launch in 2016.

 

MUOS-4-Satellite.thumb.jpg.de83adb132192
 The U.S. Navy's fourth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-4) satellite is encapsulated inside a 5-meter (16 feet) payload fairing in preparation for launch on an Atlas V rocket.
Credit: United Launch Alliance

http://www.space.com/30441-advanced-military-communications-satellite-launch-muos4.html

-------------------------------------------------------

Video: Liftoff of Atlas 5 rocket to deploy Navy’s MUOS 4 satellite

 

A replay of the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launching the Navy’s Mobile User Objective System communications satellite No. 4 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Credit: United Launch Alliance

 

Video is 7:22 min.....

 

Atlas V MUOS-4 Encapsulation...video is 0:57 min

 

 

Atlas V MUOS-4 Payload Mate...video is 1:00 min.....

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/02/video-liftoff-of-atlas-5-rocket-to-deploy-navys-muos-4-satellite/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Live coverage: Atlas 5 countdown and launch journal

 

1110 GMT (7:10 a.m. EDT)
A video replay of tonight's launch is posted here.
1100 GMT (7:00 a.m. EDT)
We will pause our live updates at this time. Check back around 9:15 a.m. EDT for confirmation of the third Centaur burn and deploy of the MUOS 4 satellite to complete today's mission.
1053 GMT (6:53 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 35 minutes. A typical Atlas 5 ascent to geosynchronous transfer orbit, the standard dropoff point for communications satellites, uses just two firings by the Centaur to achieve the highly elliptical, egg-shaped orbit to deploy the payloads. From there, the satellites use their own engines in the subsequent days to fly into the operational locations 22,300 miles above the equator.

But the sizable MUOS, at nearly 15,000 pounds, drove planners to create a three-burn launch profile for the hefty payload to use all of the available performance from the Atlas-Centaur that in turns saves the satellite's precious onboard fuel supply for maneuvering over its 15-year life.

The three burns provides 1,000 pounds greater lift capability than a conventional 2-burn geosynchronous transfer orbit.

1048 GMT (6:48 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 30 minutes. The second burn by Centaur inserted the rocket into another precise orbit as targeted.
1046 GMT (6:46 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 28 minutes. Centaur now begins a quiet two-and-a-half-hour coast through space, moving higher and away from the planet before the third and final burn occurs nearly 2 hours and 49 minutes into flight. Deployment of MUOS 3 from the rocket to complete the launch is expected 2 hours, 54 minutes after launch.
1044 GMT (6:44 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 26 minutes, 23 seconds. MECO 2. Main engine cutoff confirmed. Centaur has completed its second burn of the day, this one taking the next step upwards to substantially increase the altitude from the previous parking to nearly geosynchronous height.
1043 GMT (6:43 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 25 minutes, 45 seconds. Engine performance remains normal.
1042 GMT (6:42 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 24 minutes, 30 seconds. About two minutes are left in the burn to reach the next orbit. Everything continues to look nominal.
1041 GMT (6:41 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 23 minutes. Continued good engine operation is being delivered by the RL10C, no problems reported.
1040 GMT (6:40 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 22 minutes. The engine is burning well. This is a planned six-minute firing by the Centaur's single Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine.
1038 GMT (6:38 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 20 minutes, 37 seconds. Ignition! The Centaur's single RL10C engine has re-ignited to climb into a highly elliptical intermediate orbit on the way to the final perch later this morning.
1038 GMT (6:38 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 20 minutes, 26 seconds. Liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen system prestarts are underway.
1038 GMT (6:38 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 20 minutes. Centaur getting into its pressurization sequence.
1037 GMT (6:37 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 19 minutes. The flight path is taking the vehicle over the equatorial Atlantic Ocean, soon to near the western coast of Africa where the next Centaur burn will occur. It will soar away from the Indian Ocean over the course of the next couple hours before the RL10C restarts for a final time to accelerate MUOS into the geosynchronous transfer orbit and separating the payload.
1036 GMT (6:36 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 18 minutes. Centaur is half-way through this coast period. It is completing a slow roll to keep thermal heating even across the rocket's surfaces.
1033 GMT (6:33 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 15 minutes. That first burn by Centaur inserted the rocket into the precise target orbit as planned.
1030 GMT (6:30 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 12 minutes, 31 seconds. MECO 1. Centaur's main engine has shut down following its first burn today, achieving a preliminary orbit around Earth. The rocket will coast in this orbit for about 8 minutes before the RL10C engine re-ignites for the next burn.
1030 GMT (6:30 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 12 minutes, 2 seconds. Centaur is now orbital.
1029 GMT (6:29 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 11 minutes, 30 seconds. About one minute are left in this burn of Centaur.
1028 GMT (6:28 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 10 minutes. All systems reported stable as the Centaur fires to reach an initial Earth orbit.
1027 GMT (6:27 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 9 minutes. The RL10C continues to perform well, burning liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants.
1026 GMT (6:26 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 8 minutes. Vehicle traveling at 14,869 mph.
1025 GMT (6:25 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 7 minutes, 15 seconds. The rocket has performed a planned roll to improve antenna links with NASA's orbiting Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System.
1024 GMT (6:24 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 6 minutes. RL10C performing well.
1023 GMT (6:23 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 5 minutes. Centaur engine readings look good as this burn gets underway.
1022 GMT (6:22 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 46 seconds. Centaur has ignited! The RL10C engine is up and running at full thrust for its first of three firings today to reach the intended geosynchronous transfer orbit.
1022 GMT (6:22 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 35 seconds. The Atlas 5's Common Core Booster first stage has been jettisoned, and the Centaur upper stage's liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen systems are being readied for engine start.
1022 GMT (6:22 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 28 seconds. BECO. Booster Engine Cutoff is confirmed as the RD-180 powerplant on the first stage completes its burn. Standing by to fire the retro thrusters and separate the spent stage.
1021 GMT (6:21 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes, 40 seconds. The two-halves of the Atlas 5 rocket nose cone encapsulating the MUOS spacecraft have separated, exposed the satellite to space. Also jettisoned was the Forward Load Reactor, a two-piece deck that rings the Centaur stage to support the bulbous fairing during launch.
1021 GMT (6:21 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. The RD-180 main engine continues to fire normally, burning a mixture of highly refined kerosene and liquid oxygen.
1021 GMT (6:21 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes. The vehicle weighs just a quarter of what it did at liftoff.
1020 GMT (6:20 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 50 seconds. Reaction control system has been activated.
1020 GMT (6:20 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 40 seconds. Everything still looking good on the first stage as the rocket powers downrange on the thrust being produced by the main engine.
1020 GMT (6:20 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Vehicle is right on course.
1019 GMT (6:19 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 1 minute, 53 seconds. All five of the Aerojet Rocketdyne-made solid rocket motors have successfully separated from the Atlas 5, having completed their job of adding a powerful kick at liftoff.
1019 GMT (6:19 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 93 seconds. Solid rocket booster burnout has occurred. But the spent motors will remain attached to the first stage for a few seconds, until the Atlas 5 reaches a point where the airborne dynamic pressure reduces to an allowable level for a safe jettison.
1019 GMT (6:19 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 60 seconds into this complex three-hour mission to deploy the Navy's fourth Mobile User Objective System communications satellite in a geosynchronous transfer orbit.
1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 50 seconds. A period of maximum dynamic pressure is being experienced by the rocket.
1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 45 seconds. Mach 1.
1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 40 seconds. The main engine is throttling down to ease the stresses on the vehicle in the lower atmosphere.
1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 30 seconds. The vehicle is heading due eastward to reach a 28-degree inclination preliminary parking orbit 12 minutes from now.
1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)
T+plus 15 seconds. Pitch, yaw and roll maneuvers are underway as the Atlas 5 thunders away from Cape Canaveral with its RD-180 engine and five solid rocket boosters burning.
1018 GMT (6:18 a.m. EDT)
LIFTOFF! Liftoff of the Atlas 5 rocket with the Navy's fourth MUOS satellite, expanding coverage to encompass the globe with mobile military communications.
1017 GMT (6:17 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 20 seconds. "Go Atlas", "Go Centaur" and "Go MUOS" was just called by launch team during a final status check.
1017 GMT (6:17 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 40 seconds. Centaur's liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks are stable at flight pressures.
1017 GMT (6:17 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 55 seconds. Range is green.
1017 GMT (6:17 a.m. EDT)
T-minus 1 minute. Now 60 seconds away from launching the fourth Mobile User Objective System communications satellite

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/01/av-056-journal/

Later........:)

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Launch Schedule for this month......

Sept. 10/11Soyuz • Galileo 9 & 10
Launch window: 0208:10 GMT on 11th (10:08:10 p.m. EDT on 10th)
Launch site: ELS, Sinnamary, French Guiana
An Arianespace Soyuz rocket, designated VS12, will launch on a mission from the Guiana Space Center in South America. The Soyuz will carry two Galileo full operational capability satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation constellation. The Soyuz 2-1b (Soyuz ST-B) rocket will use a Fregat-MT upper stage. [July 25]
Sept. 14Proton • Express AM8
Launch time: 1900 GMT (3:00 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Proton rocket with a Block DM upper stage will deploy the Express AM8 satellite for the Russian Satellite Communications Co. Express AM8 will provide television broadcasting and other communications services across Russia and neighboring countries. Delayed from April 6, May, June 18 and August. [Aug. 17]
SeptemberLong March 6 • Multi-payload
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Taiyuan, China
A Chinese Long March 6 rocket will launch with a cluster of small Chinese amateur and university research satellites. The flight will mark the first launch of the Long March 6, a new rocket fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen to replace China’s previous generation of launch vehicles. Delayed from July 20. [July 6]
Sept. 28PSLV • Astrosat
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), flying on the PSLV-C30 mission in the PSLV-XL configuration, will launch the Astrosat observatory. Astrosat is India’s first dedicated astronomical satellite mission, and it carries instruments to observe the universe in visible, ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths, studying black holes, neutron stars, pulsars, quasars, white dwarfs, and active galactic nuclei. [Aug. 27]
Sept. 30Ariane 5 • NBN Co 1A & Arsat 2
Launch window: 2019-2146 GMT (4:19-5:46 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA226, to launch the NBN Co 1A and Arsat 2 satellites. The NBN Co 1A satellite will provide high-speed Internet services for Australia’s National Broadband Network. Arsat 2 will provide data transmission, Internet and television services over the Americas for the Arsat operator based in Argentina. [Aug. 20]
Oct. 1Soyuz • Progress 61P
Launch window: 1649 GMT (12:49 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 61st Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Moved forward from Oct. 22. Delayed from Sept. 21. [Aug. 17]

 

 http://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Japanese X-ray observatory completes decade-long mission

 

suzaku.thumb.png.92a94ccc0346f8abd08b69e
Artist’s concept of the Suzaku satellite. Credit: NASA/JAXA

An orbiting astronomical observatory launched 10 years ago to probe violent stellar explosions and black holes has been deactivated after it stopped regularly communicating with the ground, the Japanese space agency said Thursday.

The Suzaku satellite spent a decade watching some of the most energetic parts of the cosmos, focusing on supernova explosions, black holes and galactic clusters, while peering back in time to study the structure of the universe billions of years ago.

Suzaku launched on a Japanese M-5 rocket on July 10, 2005, replacing a similar craft lost in a launch failure in 2000. The spacecraft was originally called Astro-E2, but Japanese officials renamed it Suzaku after a legendary red bird from Chinese mythology.

The mission — a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency — was supposed to last about two years but exceeded a decade of operations.

JAXA announced Aug. 26 it was ending the Suzaku mission, and ground controllers sent the final commands to disconnect Suzaku’s batteries from the satellite’s electrical circuitry Wednesday, a final step to reduce the chances of an explosion that could create space debris.

JAXA reported Suzaku is orbiting about 550 kilometers, or 341 miles, above Earth. At that altitude, experts predict the satellite will fall back into Earth’s atmosphere for an uncontrolled re-entry no earlier than 2020.

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/04/japanese-x-ray-observatory-completes-decade-long-mission/

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Radar on NASA’s SMAP Earth observing satellite declared lost

1247_smap_radar_320x240.png.thumb.jpeg.b
Artist’s concept of the SMAP spacecraft and its rotating antenna. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

One-half of the instrument payload aboard NASA’s $916 million Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite has failed after collecting just two months of data, NASA announced Wednesday after weeks of troubleshooting turned up no progress in recovering the sensor.

A radiometer instrument on the SMAP satellite continues functioning as designed, returning coarser maps of how much moisture is absorbed into topsoil than possible with the more sensitive radar, officials said.

But the radar was a big part of what set the SMAP mission, led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, apart from other existing satellites with the ability to measure soil moisture on a global scale. Such data is important to scientists who study what drives Earth’s water cycle and climate, and it has tangible benefits for farmers and forecasters who worry over droughts and floods.

“Although some of the planned applications of SMAP data will be impacted by the loss of the radar, the SMAP mission will continue to produce valuable science for important Earth system studies,” said Dara Entekhabi, SMAP Science Team lead at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, in a NASA press release.

 

 http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/03/radar-on-nasas-smap-earth-observing-satellite-declared-lost/

Later.....:)

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Russian rocket erected for this week’s Galileo launch

 

Transfert-lanceur-en-ZLS_066.thumb.jpg.1
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – G. Barbaste

The next pair of spacecraft to join Europe’s growing Galileo navigation system, a civilian-run analog to the U.S. military’s Global Positioning System, will be added to the tip of a Russian Soyuz booster overnight Monday after the rocket’s rollout earlier in the day in French Guiana.

The venerable Russian rocket emerged from its assembly hangar just after daybreak Monday and rode on rail tracks for the 2,300-foot trip to the purpose-built Soyuz launch pad at the Guiana Space Center on the northern shore of South America.

After routing through an opening in the launch facility’s mobile service gantry, the rocket arrived at the pad and Russian technicians activated hydraulic lifts to rotate the Soyuz upright. Four petal-like hold-down posts closed to clamp on to the rocket, then the mobile service tower rolled into position around the booster.

The Soyuz rocket is set for launch at 0208:10 GMT Friday (10:08:10 p.m. Thursday) with the ninth and 10th operational satellites for Europe’s Galileo navigation system.

It will be the 12th Soyuz launch from French Guiana since Russian launch operations commenced at the jungle space base in 2011, and Thursday’s flight will be the second Soyuz mission from there this year under the commercial auspices of Arianespace.

 

 9-1-2015-vs12-fcube-2.thumb.jpg.fcc5dedd
The Fregat-MT upper stage for this week’s launch is transferred out of the new FCube fueling facility inside a protective housing. The stage’s interface adapter is also visible on the transporter. Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron

Made by German contractor OHB, the twin Galileo satellites were fueled with in-space maneuvering propellant, attached to a  specially-designed dispense,r mated to the Soyuz rocket’s Fregat-MT upper stage, and enclosed within the launcher’s 13.5-foot-diameter nose cone in recent weeks.

The current launch campaign marked the first use of a new fueling facility at the European-run spaceport. Called FCube, short for Fregat Fueling Facility, the building was constructed to pump hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide propellants aboard the Russian-made Fregat upper stage. The fueling operation was previously done in a separate building, but the new facility is dedicated to Fregat preparations, freeing up other assets to support Arianespace’s other missions.

Arianespace says the FCube, which was jointly financed by Arianespace, the European Space Agency and the French government, shaves about a week off the Soyuz launch campaign in French Guiana. It can also support fueling of small satellites launched by other rockets in Arianespace’s fleet.

 

 

The Soyuz rocket’s upper composite will transfer from the S3 clean room to the launch pad late Monday and hoisted atop the launcher’s three-stage core.

A launch readiness review is scheduled for Wednesday, followed by the final countdown and Soyuz fueling operations Thursday.

After the late-night blastoff, the Soyuz and Fregat upper stage will take nearly four hours to deploy the two 1,577-pound (715-kilogram) satellites into a circular orbit with an altitude of 14,600 miles (23,500 kilometers) at an inclination of approximately 57.4 degrees.

Another pair of Galileo satellites is to be orbited by a Soyuz rocket in December, followed by three Galileo launches of four satellites at a time aboard the larger Ariane 5.

 

 Transfert-lanceur-en-ZLS_150.thumb.jpg.7
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – G. Barbaste

Transfert-lanceur-en-ZLS_183.thumb.jpg.b
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – G. Barbaste

Transfert-lanceur-en-ZLS_197.thumb.jpg.4
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – G. Barbaste

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/07/russian-rocket-erected-for-this-weeks-galileo-launch/

Rockets...rockets....and more rockets.........:D

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ARCA Space To Perform Flight Tests at Spaceport America

 

Haas_2B-small-720x485.thumb.png.fb8715d7
ARCA Space Corp. will start testing its Hass suborbital rocket (concept art above) at Space Port America in New Mexico in 2016. Credit: ARCA Space Corp.

PASADENA, Calif. — A company that has it roots in a Romanian venture that competed for the Ansari X Prize more than a decade ago plans to carry out tests of high-altitude drones and suborbital rockets at New Mexico’s Spaceport America, spaceport officials announced Sept. 1.

ARCA Space Corporation, based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, plans to use the spaceport for flight tests of its AirStrato UAS drone starting near the end of this year. That will be followed in 2016 by tests of its Haas suborbital rocket, which the company ultimately intends to use for suborbital space tourism flights, carrying up to five people.

“Only in New Mexico did we find the perfect combination of aerospace assets, airspace and affordability,” Dumitru Popescu, chief executive of ARCA Space, said in a statement about the company’s plans to operate from Spaceport America.

 

More data at the link....

http://spacenews.com/arca-space-to-perform-flight-tests-at-spaceport-america/

:) 

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Soyuz ready for liftoff with two Galileo satellites

soyuz-ariane-gaia-ready-to-launch-night-
File photo

The launcher for this week's Arianespace Soyuz mission is now ready for the countdown to its September 10 liftoff, having been "topped off" with the payload of two European Galileo satellites at the Spaceport.

This will be the 12th mission from French Guiana for Arianespace's medium-lift workhorse, as well as the company's eighth flight in 2015 with its complete launcher family - which also includes the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and lightweight Vega.

During a busy day of activity yesterday, the basic three-stage Soyuz was first rolled out to the launch zone in the Spaceport's northwestern sector near the city of Sinnamary, followed by its raising to the vertical position and suspension over the launch pad - held in place by four large support arms.

After the 53-meter-tall mobile gantry was moved in to protect the launcher, this mission's "upper composite" (composed of the Fregat upper stage, the two dispenser-mounted Galileo satellites and payload fairing) was hoisted and mated atop Soyuz.

The fifth Arianespace Soyuz flight for Galileo from French Guiana
Arianespace's September 10 mission will be the fifth Soyuz flight with Galileo satellites performed from French Guiana - a series that began with the Russian-built launcher's inaugural liftoff at the Spaceport in October 2011.

RKTs-Progress (the Samara Space Center) is responsible for the design, development and manufacture of Soyuz' three lower stages and payload fairing, as well as for integrating the launch vehicle stages and handling flight operations. The Fregat upper stage is manufactured by NPO Lavochkinn

The passengers for this Thursday's Flight VS12 are the fifth and sixth FOC (Full Operational Capability) spacecraft in Europe's Galileo navigation program. They were built by OHB System, with their navigation payloads supplied by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

Galileo's FOC phase - during which the network's complete operational and ground infrastructure is being deployed - is managed and funded by The European Commission. The European Space Agency has been delegated as the design and procurement agent on the Commission's behalf.

The Galileo system will provide high-quality positioning, navigation and timing services under civilian control, and is designed for interoperability with the U.S. GPS and Russian Glonass global positioning systems.

 

http://www.gpsdaily.com/reports/Soyuz_ready_for_liftoff_with_two_Galileo_satellites_999.html

:) 

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The folks at ArianeSpace put out some photos for us, the prep done for the launch tomorrow...

Photos: Two more Galileo navigation satellites primed for flight

 

The next pair of spacecraft to join Europe’s Galileo navigation system are positioned for liftoff late Thursday aboard a Soyuz rocket.

The photos below show the arrival of the satellites in French Guiana in late July from their factory at OHB System in Bremen, Germany, fueling of the craft by technicians in special hazmat suits, and attachment of the twin satellites on a dual-payload dispenser.

The package was then lowered atop a Russian-made Fregat-MT upper stage and enclosed within the Soyuz rocket’s payload fairing. Workers next added decals to the nose cone with the mission logos, then transferred the composite structure to the Soyuz launch pad late Monday for mating with the rocket.

Liftoff is set for 0208:10 GMT Friday (10:08:10 p.m. EDT Thursday) to place the 1,577-pound (715-kilogram) satellites into the Galileo constellation 14,600 miles (23,500 kilometers) above Earth.

The satellites are the ninth and 10th operational members of the Galileo fleet.

 

With the 2Mb photo limit, I can only show a few....check out the link for the others.....nice of them to share.... :)

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/09/photos-two-more-galileo-navigation-satellites-primed-for-flight/

Arrivee-CU1_Felix-Eboue_011.thumb.jpg.19
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Baudon

Integration-stack-sur-fregat_058.thumb.j
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – JM Guillon

Remplissage-CU1-S3B_018.thumb.jpg.b0f91e
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – JM Guillon

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Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – JM Guillon

55f0acdbf2e44_Hissage-et-intgration-comp
Photo credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – JM Guillon

Lots more here.....

http://spaceflightnow.com/2015/09/09/photos-two-more-galileo-navigation-satellites-primed-for-flight/

Later.......:D

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Good editorial for the Proton.....

Editorial | Welcome Back, Proton

 

I5-F3-launch-879x485.thumb.jpg.6829160c6
An ILS Proton M lifted off Aug. 28 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying Inmarsat's third Global Express satellite. Credit: ILS/Inmarsat

Successful Return to Flight Bodes Well for Industry

The commercial satellite telecommunications industry watched with bated breath as Russia’s Proton rocket, returning to flight after a May failure, lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Aug. 28 carrying Inmarsat’s third Global Xpress Ka-band communications satellite. A huge collective sigh of relief could almost be heard 15 hours and 31 minutes later, when the rocket’s upper stage released the satellite into its proper super-synchronous transfer orbit, concluding a successful mission.

The companies with the most at stake in the launch were those directly involved: Proton manufacturer Khrunichev Space Center; International Launch Services, which markets the vehicle commercially; and Inmarsat, which has invested some $1.2 billion in the three-satellite Global Xpress constellation. Khrunichev has struggled in recent years with quality control on the longtime government and commercial workhorse, which has failed six times since 2010. ILS, despite the fact all but the most recent failure occurred on Russian government missions, has been hammered by Proton’s reliability issues, which have allowed competitors Arianespace and SpaceX to gobble up nearly all of the available business in 2014 and so far in 2015. For Inmarsat, which took what many viewed as a risk in selecting Proton for all three Global Xpress launches, the success means the company can finally roll out its long-anticipated global broadband service, albeit a year later than planned.

 

But the mission also held importance for the broader commercial satellite industry, which obviously depends on reliable and available launch services. The Proton mishaps, coupled with the June failure of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on a resupply mission to the international space station, have left several satellite operators in a potentially costly holding pattern. With Arianespace and SpaceX heavily booked in 2016 and into 2017, and Sea Launch fading from the commercial-market picture, these companies have limited options, especially in the near-term. United Launch Alliance’s very reliable Atlas 5 rocket, marketed by Lockheed Martin, has been able to provide some relief, but its availability is limited and its price tag is high.

Industry has long debated the appropriate number of players in the commercial geostationary launch market: As far as satellite operators are concerned, the more the merrier, while some launch companies have questioned the sustainability of having more than two primary providers. In reality, of course, the playing field is shaped as much by geopolitical as market forces; governments provide foundational support for the leading commercial satellite launchers ­­— it’s telling that Sea Launch has no government backing or business — and, as the United States has demonstrated, can freeze certain countries or vehicles out of the market.

Regardless of what constitutes a healthy number, it’s safe to say the market has missed having Proton as a reliable and readily available launch option. Falcon 9’s grounding, possibly until November, has only reinforced the notion that timely access to space can never be taken for granted.

Given what’s happened over the last five years, it likely will take a string of successful missions to restore full confidence in the Proton. But Aug. 28 was a fine start.

 

 http://spacenews.com/editorial-welcome-back-proton/

She has been a good workhorse, Angara will still need 5 years for the A5, but A1.2 will be available in 2017 for the lighter loads.....:)

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