Miscellaneous Launches and Payloads (updates)


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Draggendrop

Europe’s Sentinel-3A Earth observation satellite successfully launched

 

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DARMSTADT, Germany—Europe’s Sentinel-3A Earth observation satellite on Feb. 16 was successfully placed into low Earth orbit aboard a German-Russian Rockot launch vehicle operating from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

 

Officials at the European Space Agency’s space operations center, ESOC, here confirmed that the satellite was in the correct location and sending signals via a ground station in Kiruna, Sweden and that its solar panels had correctly deployed.

 

The launch is the latest milestone in Europe’s multibillion-euro Copernicus environment-monitoring network, which features a half-dozen satellite families, several of which have been ordered in batches to assure an uninterrupted data flow for a decade or more.

 

That is the case with Sentinel-3A, whose multi-instrument payload will monitor ocean wave height, sea and land temperature, sea-ice area and thickness and contribute to weather forecasting.

 

Europe’s 30-nation Eumetsat organization, based here, will operate Sentinel-3A after a five-month commissioning phase managed by the 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA).

 

The European Commission – the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union — owns the Copernicus network and has set aside 4.3 billion euros for it in its current seven-year budget running to 2020.

http://spacenews.com/57589-2/

 

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/sentinel3a.html

 

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/02/russian-rokot-sentinel-3a-launch/

 

:)

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Feb. 17H-2A • Astro-H
Launch window: 0845-0930 GMT (3:45-4:30 a.m. EST)
Launch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan
A Japanese H-2A rocket will launch the Astro-H X-ray observatory for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Astro-H will observe the X-ray universe, studying objects such as supernova explosions, supermassive black holes, and galaxy clusters. Delayed from late 2015 and Feb. 12. [Feb. 14]

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

 

Live stream...

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/02/16/h2a-f30-mission-status-center/

 

JAXA Press release

 

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Launch Date and Time of X-ray Astronomy Satellite (ASTRO-H)
by H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30

February 14, 2016 (JST)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
National Research and Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) decided to conduct the launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.30 with the X-ray Astronomy Satellite (ASTRO-H) onboard from the Tanegashima Space Center as follows.

Scheduled date of launch:    February 17 (Wed.), 2016 (Japan Standard Time, JST)
Launch time:    5:45 p.m. (JST)
Launch window:    5:45 thru 6:30 p.m. (JST)


The launch, originally scheduled for February 12, 2016 (JST), had been postponed due to adversary weather conditions. 

Please note that the launch date may be delayed further due to weather conditions.

http://global.jaxa.jp/press/2016/02/20160214_h2af30.html

 

JAXA

http://global.jaxa.jp/news/2016/#news6926

 

 

 

Advanced X-Ray Observatory ready for liftoff atop Japanese H-IIA Rocket

 

photo_04-1.jpg

Phoito: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

 

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Japan’s Astro-H X-Ray Observatory is set for liftoff atop an H-IIA rocket on Wednesday after several days of weather-related delays. Launch from the Tanegashima Space Center is set for a 45-minute window opening at 8:45 UTC to mark the start of a 37-minute ascent mission to reach an orbit over 500 Kilometers in altitude from where the Astro-H spacecraft will deliver the sharpest energy measurements for high-energy X- and gamma-rays.

 

Astro-H, weighing in at 2,700 Kilograms, hosts four telescopes combining imaging detectors with spectrometers sensitive in the soft and hard X-ray spectrum to deliver imagery of x-ray sources and extract high-resolution energy spectra for the same targets. Additionally, the spacecraft is outfitted with a Soft Gamma-Ray Detector to cover the high energy regime with high sensitivity and resolution.

 

Employing pairs of telescopes for soft and hard X-rays enables the observatory to deliver high-resolution spectral data of targets while simultaneously delivering X-ray imagery of the same sources. The detectors are expected to deliver the highest energy resolution ever achieved in measurements at energies of 3 to 100 Kilo-Electronvolt. This is possible through the use of microcalorimeter detectors that, compared to the CCD detectors used in previous missions, have a far better energy resolution. Astro-H would become the first craft to successfully employ such a detection system in an orbital mission after several sub-orbital flights and failed orbital missions.

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Photo: JAXA

 

 

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Photo: JAXA

 

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Simultaneous measurements across a broad energy range from soft X-rays to gamma-rays at exceptional resolution will open up an enormous space of discovery for a variety of objects, enabling scientists to probe the most extreme environments found in the universe. The Astro-H mission is expected to deliver breakthrough results in a diverse area of science, ranging from the large-scale structure of the universe and its evolution to the behavior of matter in strong gravitational fields, the physical conditions at sites of cosmic-ray acceleration, and the study of dark matter in galaxy clusters.

 

Sitting atop the H-IIA Rocket, Astro-H is accompanied by three smaller satellites – ChubuSat-2 & 3, and Horyu 4. A commercial CubeSat payload from the United States had to be cut from the payload manifest due to scheduling issues and installed in its place is a mass simulator.

http://spaceflight101.com/advanced-x-ray-observatory-ready-for-liftoff-atop-japanese-h-iia-rocket/

 

:)

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Draggendrop

Japan launches satellite to study black holes

 

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Japan successfully launched a jointly developed space observation satellite on Wednesday tasked with studying mysterious black holes, the country's space agency said.

 

The ASTRO-H satellite, developed in collaboration between the agency, NASA and other groups, is set to orbit at an altitude of about 580 kilometres (360 miles) and observe X-rays emanating mainly from black holes and galaxy clusters.

 

The satellite was carried out by the country's mainstay H-IIA rocket, which soared towards the heavens from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan under mostly clear late afternoon skies.

 

The broadcast was nationally televised and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the satellite separated from the rocket with no difficulty.

 

Black holes have never been directly observed, but the announcement on the first detection of gravitational waves earlier this month indirectly added to the evidence that black holes do actually exist.

 

The Japanese rocket, which was initially scheduled for liftoff last Friday but was postponed due to bad weather, was launched at 5:45 pm (0845 GMT).

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Japan_launches_satellite_to_study_black_holes_999.html

 

1455699845409857.thumb.png.bfdd36ec5a2fc

Here is another view of the 174-foot-tall (53-meter) H-2A rocket soaring away from Tanegashima just before sunset.

 

Launch of Japanese H-IIA Rocket with ASTRO-H Onboard

video is 15:39 min.

 

 

 

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/02/japanese-h-11a-astro-h-mission/

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/02/16/h2a-f30-mission-status-center/

 

:)

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Draggendrop

What"s next...

 

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Feb. 24Falcon 9 • SES 9
Launch time: 2346-0123 GMT (6:46-8:23 p.m. EST)
Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES 9 communications satellite. Owned by SES of Luxembourg, the spacecraft will provide direct-to-home and other communications services over Northeast Asia, South Asia and Indonesia, as well as maritime communications for vessels in the Indian Ocean. The rocket will fly on a full-thrust version of the Falcon 9 rocket. Delayed from July 15, August, November, December and Feb. 6. [Feb. 14]

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

 

Then seven launches in March......:woot:

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Draggendrop

Virgin Galactic unveils second SpaceShipTwo

 

ss2-rollout1-879x485.jpg

Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson stands in the sunroof of an SUV that towed the new SpaceShipTwo into view during a Feb. 19 ceremony in Mojave, California. Credit: SpaceNews photo by Jeff Foust

 

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MOJAVE, Calif. — Virgin Galactic rolled out its second SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane Feb. 19 as the company seeks to rebound from a fatal test flight accident more than a year ago.

 

In a ceremony at Virgin Galactic’s Final Assembly, Integration and Test Hangar here attended by a mix of dignitaries, celebrities and some of its several hundred customers, the company showed off a vehicle that the company billed as a symbol as its determination to recover from the October 2014 loss of the first SpaceShipOne during a test flight.

 

“One of reasons that we’re so proud of the spaceship we will shortly present to you is that it is the product not just of skill and determination, but of a willingness to learn and a commitment to continually improve,” George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic chief executive, said at the event.

 

The event had much of the pomp and circumstance of many Virgin events. The company towed the new SpaceShipTwo into the center of the hangar using an SUV, with company founder Sir Richard Branson standing in the vehicle’s sunroof. Later, he called upon his one-year-old granddaughter to christen the spacecraft using bottle of milk.

 

The vehicle is very similar to the first SpaceShipTwo with only a few noticeable differences, such as larger horizontal stabilizers on the vehicle’s twin tail booms and changes to its paint scheme. Company officials, though, said the vehicle incorporates other changes from both the earlier testing and development of SpaceShipTwo and the accident.

 

“It’s an evolutionary change,” said Mike Moses, senior vice president for operations at Virgin Galactic, in a briefing prior to the rollout. That includes changes learned from the development and early flight tests of the first SpaceShipTwo, such as changes to the structure and routing of wiring within the vehicle. “There’s nothing really sexy or exciting about those changes. That’s just the evolution of the design.”

more at the link....

http://spacenews.com/virgin-galactic-unveils-second-spaceshiptwo/

 

:)

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Draggendrop

Former NASA astronaut joins World View as chief pilot

 

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Former NASA astronaut Ron Garan, seen here looking out the window at the International Space Station in 2011, will provide World View customers with their own views of the Earth piloting the company's high-altitude balloons. Credit: NASA

 

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WASHINGTON — Former NASA astronaut Ron Garan has joined high-altitude balloon company World View as its chief pilot, the company announced Feb. 23, making him the latest astronaut to seek a post-agency career in the commercial spaceflight field.

 

Garan, a former U.S. Air Force test pilot who spent nearly six months in space on two missions, will oversee flight operations for World View. The Tucson, Arizona-based company is developing balloons to take payloads, and eventually people, to altitudes of 30 kilometers or more, giving them at least some of the experience of a full-fledged space flight.

 

In an interview, Garan said he joined World View in large part because both he and the company have a goal of sharing the view from space with the public. “They are really aligned with the reason I left NASA in the first place, sharing this perspective of our planet,” he said.

 

Garan, who left NASA in 2013, later wrote a book on what he calls the “orbital perspective,” which he describes as a change in perceptions about the Earth created by seeing in from space, including a willingness to embrace global collaboration to deal with various problems. Garan is also working on a movie about the orbital perspective.

 

“I did all of that to kind of figuratively take people to the edge of space,” Garan said of his book and film projects. “Now, because of World View, I can literally take people there.”

 

In January, officials in Pima County, Arizona, which includes the city of Tucson, approved plans to construct a $15 million headquarters building for World View near the city’s airport. That facility, which will be completed late this year, will also including a pad that World View will use for launching its balloons.

 

World View currently flies smaller balloons to carry experiments into the stratosphere, but is working on a vehicle that can carry six passengers and two crew members to an altitude of about 30 kilometers for flights lasting a few hours. Those flights could begin as soon as the end of 2017, company officials recently said.

 

Garan said those flights, while lacking the altitude and duration of an orbital mission, should still give people an opportunity to experience the orbital perspective he felt during half a year in space. “They will see the sky turn from blue to black, and they’ll see the curvature of the Earth,” he said. “They’re going to have time to process the experience.”

 

Garan said his “all-encompassing” job includes developing plans and procedures for both uncrewed and crew flights of World View’s balloons, including flight manuals, checklists and other systems needed for safe operations. He will also pilot World View missions once the company starts taking people on stratospheric flights, although he said ultimately the company will have a “regular cadre of pilots” to handle them.

 

While Garan has experience with spacecraft and with F-16 fighter jets he flew prior to becoming an astronaut, he acknowledged ballooning is something new for him. He said he’s currently in a parachute training program to gain experience with parafoils, which World View’s capsule will use to descend back to Earth at the end of its balloon flight.

 

Garan is the latest former astronaut to join one of several companies working on commercial suborbital and orbital vehicles. While aerospace companies frequently hired astronauts after their NASA careers in the past, Garan and others are taking jobs that give them a chance of flying once again in space, or at least to the edge of space.

 

“The entire commercial spaceflight industry is poised to take off,” Garan said. “They’re all exciting, but this seemed like the best fit for me because of the philosophy of the company.”

http://spacenews.com/former-nasa-astronaut-joins-world-view-as-chief-pilot/

 

:)

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Draggendrop

Launch Schedule

 

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March 4Falcon 9 • SES 9
Launch window: Approx. 2335-0105 GMT (6:35-8:05 p.m. EST)
Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the SES 9 communications satellite. Owned by SES of Luxembourg, the spacecraft will provide direct-to-home and other communications services over Northeast Asia, South Asia and Indonesia, as well as maritime communications for vessels in the Indian Ocean. The rocket will fly on a full-thrust version of the Falcon 9 rocket. Delayed from July 15, August, November, December and Feb. 6. Scrubbed on Feb. 24, Feb. 25, Feb. 28 and March 1. [March 1]
March 9Ariane 5 • Eutelsat 65 West A
Launch time: 0520-0820 GMT (12:20-3:20 a.m. EST)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA229, to launch the Eutelsat 65 West A communications satellite. Eutelsat 65 West A will provide direct-to-home video broadcasts and broadband Internet services to Eutelsat customers in Latin America and Brazil. Delayed from Feb. 25. [Feb. 22]
March 10PSLV • IRNSS 1F
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), flying on the PSLV-C32 mission in the PSLV-XL configuration, will launch the IRNSS 1F navigation satellite. The payload is the sixth spacecraft in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, which aims to improve positioning services over India and neighboring regions. Delayed from December and February. [Jan. 28]

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

 

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ESA Fly Your Thesis! 2017 Call for Proposals

 

ooDay_1.jpg

ESA parabolic flight     ESA

 

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ESA Education is inviting university student teams to submit proposals related to designing, building and flying their experiment in a parabolic flight campaign, which is tentatively scheduled to take place in autumn 2017.

 

STATUS: OPEN. ESA Education is currently accepting proposals.

 

DEADLINE: 16 May 2016 23:59pm CET.

 

Teams interested in participating in the Fly your Thesis! 2017 programme should submit an accurately completed Experiment Proposal document detailing the description of the experiments that they intend to perform. Experiments are required to be a key part of master or PhD theses, and the subject of the experiments investigations must require availability of microgravity conditions.

 

ESA will select up to 15 teams to proceed through to the next round. The selection will be solely based on eligibility criteria of the teams, the microgravity relevance, the quality of the proposal, the educational return (based i.a., on the number of students involved,on the relevance of the experiment for Master or PhD graduation theses of one or more team members, as well as on the scientific merit detailed in the Experiment Proposal).

 

The minimum number of students to be actively involved in each student team is 4, however an active involvement of more students is desirable. The proposals shall also clarify how the student teams intend to cope with a possible turn-over, in order to replace team members who might decide to leave the project.

 

The shortlisted teams will be given a few weeks to complete a first draft of their Experiment Safety Data Package (ESDP, a technical document required from all teams that participate in ESA Parabolic Flight Campaigns), and will then be invited to a selection workshop at ESA/ESTEC to present their experiment proposals to a Review Board composed of ESA Education representatives, ESA's Human and Robotic Exploration Directorate representatives, Novespace staff and members of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA). After this workshop, the Review Board will select up to four teams candidate to fly on a parabolic flight campaign tentatively scheduled in late 2017.

 

It should be noted that, at the present time, the opportunity for student teams to access the parabolic flight campaign is not yet confirmed, and this Call for Proposals is released in anticipation of the confirmation on the execution of the campaign. The aim is to complete the selection of the student experiments by the time the parabolic flight campaign is confirmed.

 

Typically, in order to execute the experiments on board parabolic flight campaigns, the students accompany their set-ups on three flights of 30 parabolas each. During each parabola, they will experience about 20 seconds of microgravity. Normally the flights are performed by a specially equipped Airbus A310 Zero-G aircraft operated by Novespace.

 

All selected teams will be supported by the ESA Education Office, ESA and Novespace microgravity experts. The teams will also be offered mentoring by a member of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) to help further develop their investigations. The ESA Education Office will provide financial support to cover part of the cost of the experiment hardware, necessary travel and accommodation.

 

Interested teams should carefully read all the information given on this website prior to registering on ESA Education Office's Projects Portal.

http://spaceref.com/nasa-hack-space/esa-fly-your-thesis-2017-call-for-proposals.html

 

:D

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Jim K
On 2/16/2016 at 3:55 PM, Draggendrop said:

Video while they were preparing it for liftoff (kind of annoying music IMO)

 

 

 

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Draggendrop

^ good coverage of the encapsulation and payload prep...Thank's for posting it.

 

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

 

USAF weather woes grow as DMSP-19 stops obeying orders

 

DMSP_10.12.15.jpg

The U.S. Air Force lost the ability to command one of its two primary weather satellites on Feb. 11 and is trying to determine if the satellite can return to service. Credit: U.S. Air Force/Lockheed Martin artist's concept.

 

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WASHINGTON — NOAA satellite operators unexpectedly lost the ability to command one of the Air Force’s primary weather satellites on Feb. 11 and now officials from both organizations are racing to determine if the spacecraft can return to service, officials told SpaceNews.

 

The satellite, known as the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 19, is used to help weather forecasters predict fog, thunderstorms and hurricanes that could impact military operations. Launched in April 2014, the spacecraft is the Air Force’s newest weather satellite on orbit.

 

Air Force officials do not yet know the cause of the problem, or if the satellite can be recovered, Andy Roake, a spokesman for Air Force Space Command, said in a March 2 email.

 

“Operators lost the ability to command and control Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 19 (DMSP F-19) Feb. 11, 2016 and subsequently are making attempts to regain connectivity,” he said. “The satellite is in a stable configuration while operators continue to troubleshoot the anomaly.

“At this time, it is not known what caused the anomaly or if the satellite will be recovered, and the anomaly is under investigation. There are no other known issues with the satellite.”

 

Air Force Space Command disclosed the problem with the satellite March 2 in response to questions from SpaceNews.

 

The DMSP constellation requires at least two primary satellites and two backup satellites to gather cloud imagery. As a result of the problem, the Air Force has reassigned an older satellite, DMSP Flight 17, which launched in 2006 and had been serving as a backup, into a primary role, Roake said.

more at the link...

http://spacenews.com/u-s-air-forces-youngest-dmsp-satellite-has-stopped-obeying-commands/

 

This will be an expensive loss if unrecoverable. It could take a few years for an authorized replacement and work contract. :(

 

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Introducing Space.com's New Satellite Tracker from N2YO

 

international-space-station-streak.jpg?i

Space.com's new satellite tracker will report the locations and speeds of 12 satellites that orbit Earth and forecast when they'll be overhead.
Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

 

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Ever wonder when the International Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope will pass by in their multiple daily orbits?

 

Space.com is introducing a new satellite tracker powered by N2YO.com to answer that question for many of the diverse cast of space stations, observational satellites and military orbiters that trace paths through the sky above.

 

 

Satellites are predictable, but the complex algorithms needed to plot their locations are too slow to work in real time in a Web browser, said Ciprian Sufitchi, the tracker's creator. Space.com's new app communicates with a server that reports back the real-time location and speed of several satellites — and makes that information personal by plotting exactly where a given satellite is and reporting when it will pass overhead for the user.

 

Some satellites are easier to see than others; Hubble, for instance, is very faint, while the International Space Station is much brighter and can be seen even from cities or other areas with a lot of light pollution, assuming there's no fog or clouds. Sufitchi advises against using a telescope — the field of view is too narrow, and it's too hard to track the satellites' quick movement across the sky — but binoculars may provide a wide enough view to catch the satellites' passing. However, the naked eye is often the best option, he said.

more at the link..

http://www.space.com/32072-introducing-space-satellite-tracker.html

 

Here is the tracker site. It is an enhanced version of the old ISS tracker site with an additional 12 payloads. Makes it easy to see when it will be going overhead, so that one may view the payload. :D

 

http://www.space.com/32054-satellite-tracker.html

 

enjoy....

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Draggendrop

Next launch

 

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March 9Ariane 5 • Eutelsat 65 West A
Launch time: 0520-0820 GMT (12:20-3:20 a.m. EST)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA229, to launch the Eutelsat 65 West A communications satellite. Eutelsat 65 West A will provide direct-to-home video broadcasts and broadband Internet services to Eutelsat customers in Latin America and Brazil. Delayed from Feb. 25. [Feb. 22]

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

 

arianespace

http://www.arianespace.com/missions/

 

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Arianespace’s second launch of the year will orbit the EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite for the international operator Eutelsat Communications.

This 274th mission by Arianespace’s family of launch vehicles confirms the company’s ability to reach its objective for the year, now set at 12 launches, with up to eight mis-sions performed by Ariane 5.

 

The launch will take place from Ariane launch complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

LAUNCH TIME

The Ariane 5 ECA launcher is scheduled to lift off on Wednesday, March 9, 2016, as early as possible in the following launch window:

2:20 a.m. to 5:20 a.m., local time in Kourou
12:20 a.m. to 3:20 a.m., in Washington, D.C.
5:20 a.m. to 8:20 a.m., UTC
6:20 a.m. to 9:20 a.m., in Paris


MISSION LENGTH

The nominal length of this mission (from liftoff to release of the satellite) is 27 minutes and 23 seconds.

 

TARGETED ORBIT

Perigee 250 km.
Apogee 35,746 km.
Inclination 0.5 degrees


The launcher will be carrying a total payload of 6,707 kg.

 

The Launch Readiness Review (LRR) will take place on Friday, March 4, 2016 in Kourou, to authorize the start of operations for the final countdown.

EUTELSAT 65 West A is the 31st satellite to be launched by Arianespace for Eutelsat Communications.

 

The satellite’s Ku-band coverage will spur the growth of direct-to-home (DTH) TV broadcasts for households equipped with dish antennas to receive digital and HD (high-definition) channels. It also will boost the connectivity of businesses located in Central America, the Caribbean, the Andes region and Brazil. Its C-band transatlantic coverage is designed to provide contribution links and video distribution services.

 

Furthermore, the satellite’s Ka-band multi-beam payload will help the operator develop Internet access services throughout Latin America, especially in Brazil.

 

EUTELSAT 65 West A was built by SSL using a 1300 platform, and is the 53rd SSL-built satellite to be launched by Arianespace. For further information, download the launch kit by clicking here: www.arianespace.com/news-launch-kits

 

To watch a live, high-speed online transmission of the launch (including commentary from the launch site in French and English), go to arianespace.com on March 9, 2016, starting 15 minutes before liftoff. You can also follow the launch 

http://www.arianespace.com/press-release/arianespaces-second-launch-of-the-year-to-orbit-a-satellite-for-eutelsat/

 

Launch Kit

http://www.arianespace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Dossier-de-presse-VA-229-GB.pdf

 

:)

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The Evil Overlord
11 minutes ago, Draggendrop said:

~snip~

They've made you a moderator?

Who am I supposed to make fun of now???

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Draggendrop
1 minute ago, Aheer.R.S. said:

They've made you a moderator?

Who am I supposed to make fun of now???

 

Keep making fun of me...I'm used to it, I know my way to sulk back to the science section....:woot:

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Draggendrop
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March 9Ariane 5 • Eutelsat 65 West A
Launch time: 0520-0820 GMT (12:20-3:20 a.m. EST)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA229, to launch the Eutelsat 65 West A communications satellite. Eutelsat 65 West A will provide direct-to-home video broadcasts and broadband Internet services to Eutelsat customers in Latin America and Brazil. Delayed from Feb. 25. [Feb. 22]

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

 

Live coverage: Ariane 5 counting down to middle-of-the-night liftoff

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/08/va-229-mission-status-center/

 

Photos: Ariane 5 in position for blastoff from Kourou

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/08/photos-ariane-5-in-position-for-blastoff-from-kourou/

 

lots of great images at the link, here are a few...

 

Lanceur-en-ZL_037.jpg

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

 

 

Lanceur-en-ZL_014.jpg

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

 

:D

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Draggendrop

The Ariane 5 with Eutelsat 65 West A launched at 12:20 am, 9th of March,2016. Payload has been delivered. Will post the launch video when available, as well as payload health report. Good launch, but overcast with short visual.

 

Live coverage

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/08/va-229-mission-status-center/

 

VA229 flight data

http://www.arianespace.com/mission/ariane-flight-va229/

 

mission article

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/03/ariane-5-eutelsat-65-west-a-launch/

 

:D

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Draggendrop

Payload health

 

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Arianespace confirms a successful launch, extending the Ariane 5's streak to 71 successes in a row. Meanwhile, ground controllers have acquired the first signals from the Eutelsat 65 West A communications satellite after tonight's launch, verifying its health in orbit.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/08/va-229-mission-status-center/

 

 

Ariane VA229 launches EUTELSAT 65 West A

video is 2:45 min.

 

 

 

 

:D

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Draggendrop

Next launch...

 

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March 10PSLV • IRNSS 1F
Launch time: 1030 GMT (5:30 a.m. EST)
Launch site: Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India
India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), flying on the PSLV-C32 mission in the PSLV-XL configuration, will launch the IRNSS 1F navigation satellite. The payload is the sixth spacecraft in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, which aims to improve positioning services over India and neighboring regions. Delayed from December and February. [March 3]

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

 

ISRO website

http://www.isro.gov.in/

 

Indian PSLV Rocket counts down to sixth IRNSS Navigation Satellite Launch

 

14fullyintegratedpslv-c32withirnss-1fbei

Photo: ISRO

 

Quote

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is set for its second launch of the year on Thursday in the continued deployment of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. A rapid deployment sequence in the opening months of 2016 has been outlined by the Indian Space Research Organization to deliver the last three IRNSS-1 satellites to orbit and achieve a full operational capability of the system.

 

PSLV, utilizing its most powerful XL configuration, is set for blastoff from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at 10:30 UTC and will be tasked with a flight of 20 minutes to deliver the IRNSS-1F satellite to a sub-GTO orbit from where the spacecraft will climb into Geostationary Orbit. IRNSS-1F will join the five satellites launched in the last two and a half years with the final IRNSS launch currently set for April to finish a rapid deployment.

 

The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System will reach is fully operational capability later this year after the seventh satellite enters operation. IRNSS has been designed to deliver navigation services to the Indian territory and surrounding areas.

more at the link...

http://spaceflight101.com/indian-pslv-rocket-counts-down-to-sixth-irnss-navigation-satellite-launch/

 

http://www.gpsdaily.com/reports/India_to_Launch_Sixth_Navigational_Satellite_on_Thursday_999.html

 

PSLV-C32/IRNSS-1F

 

Quite a few images at this ISRO link...

http://www.isro.gov.in/launcher/pslv-c32-irnss-1f

 

:)

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PSLV deploys next satellite for Indian navigation network

 

pslvc32quick.png

 

 

Quote

An Indian navigation satellite lifted off Thursday aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, heading for a perch more than 22,000 miles over Africa to grow the country’s independent space-based positioning fleet.

 

The sixth spacecraft in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System launched at 1031 GMT (5:31 a.m. EST) Thursday from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, an island spaceport about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Chennai on India’s east coast.

 

The 44-meter (145-foot) PSLV XL, boosted by six enlarged strap-on solid rocket motors, soared east from the launch base over the Bay of Bengal, surpassing the speed of sound in less than a minute on more than 2 million pounds of thrust.

 

The launch was delayed one minute early Thursday to avoid the risk of colliding with an object already in space.

 

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The PSLV is moved to the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center ahead of the launch of IRNSS 1F. Credit: ISRO

 

 

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The IRNSS 1F spacecraft before encapsulation inside the PSLV’s payload fairing. Credit: ISRO

 

Quote

Solar panels on the IRNSS 1F satellite unfurled shortly after Thursday’s launch to begin generating electricity, officials confirmed.

 

Four firings of the IRNSS 1F satellite’s orbit adjust engine will steer the spacecraft into a circular geostationary-type orbit nearly more than 35,700 kilometers (about 22,300 miles) up.

 

IRNSS 1F’s destination is an orbital slot at 32.5 degrees east longitude over Africa, where its velocity will match the rate of Earth’s rotation.

 

The satellite is joining five other IRNSS platforms launched by India since 2013. A seventh IRNSS spacecraft is due for liftoff in April to finish the network.

 

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/10/pslv-poised-to-launch-with-indian-navigation-satellite/

 

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/ISRO_launches_PSLV_C32_Indias_sixth_navigation_satellite_999.html

 

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2016/03/india-launches-irnss-1f/

 

http://spaceflight101.com/pslv-rocket-soars-into-orbit-with-sixth-indian-navigation-satellite/

 

 

PSLV-C32 launches IRNSS-1F satellite, video is 1:25 min.

 

 

 

 

next launch...

 

Quote
March 12Soyuz • Resurs P3
Launch time: 1856 GMT (1:56 p.m. EST)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the Resurs P3 Earth observation satellite to collect remote sensing data for Russian government agencies and foreign customers. [Feb. 29]
March 14Proton • ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter
Launch time: 0931 GMT (5:31 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage will deploy the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. The mission will make improved measurements of trace gases in the Martian atmosphere, such as methane, which could be an indicator of biological activity. ESA’s Schiaparelli lander will accompany the Trace Gas Orbiter to Mars. Delayed from Jan. 7. [Jan. 4]

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

 

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Soyuz Rocket rolls to Baikonur Launch Pad to lift third Resurs-P Earth Observation Satellite

 

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Photo: Roscosmos

 

Quote

A Soyuz 2-1B rocket was rolled to its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in thick fog on Thursday to head into two days of final preparations of a late night liftoff on Saturday, set for 18:56 UTC, 0:56 local time. Sitting atop the 48-meter tall Soyuz rocket is the third Resurs-P Earth Observation satellite, looking forward to a nine-and-a-half-minute ride into orbit.

The Resurs series of Earth Observation Satellites is part of Russia’s civilian Earth observation and remote sensing program, operated separately from the country’s military reconnaissance satellites, although sharing common technology. As such, the Resurs-P satellites and their predecessors are based on their military counterparts and deliver a similar image resolution.

 

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Photo: Roscosmos

 

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Photo: Roscosmos

 

Indepth article ...

http://spaceflight101.com/soyuz-rocket-rolls-to-baikonur-launch-pad-to-lift-third-resurs-p-earth-observation-satellite/

 

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Photos: Soyuz Rocket rolls to Baikonur Launch Pad for Resurs-P Satellite Launch

 

Quote

A Soyuz 2-1B Rocket makes its way to Site 31/6 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in thick morning fog and low-hanging clouds to be transferred to its vertical launch position for two days of final preparations.

 

All Photos: Roscosmos

http://spaceflight101.com/photos-soyuz-rocket-rolls-to-baikonur-launch-pad-for-resurs-p-satellite-launch/

 

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http://spaceflight101.com/photos-soyuz-rocket-rolls-to-baikonur-launch-pad-for-resurs-p-satellite-launch/

 

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Soyuz launch aborted moments before liftoff!

 

Quote

The launch of the Soyuz-2-1b No. 016 rocket was scheduled for March 12, 2016, at 21:56:00 Moscow Time (1:56 p.m. EST; 18:56 GMT) from Pad 6 at Site 31 in Baikonur. The countdown was proceeding seemingly well until the very last moment before the engine ignition, when the AVD command, which stands for "automated engine cutoff" was issued. The rocket appeared to be safe by the time the video broadcast from the launch pad was discontinued seconds after the incident.

 

The mission had only a 10-second launch window, which would not reopen until 24 hours later. Before the first launch attempt was scrubbed, the backup liftoff had been scheduled for 21:56:00 Moscow Time on March 13, 2016. In less than two hours after the incident, a poster on the web forum of the Novosti Kosmonavtiki magazine said that the launch abort had been caused by a missing signal in the flight control system confirming the ignition of pyrotechnic devices initiating the operation of engines. Because the process was stopped before the actual ignition, the rocket could be defueled and refueled for another launch attempt within 24 hours, the poster said. Although the nature of the problem was positively identified, specialists were conducting careful analysis of the launch sequence and checks of electrical circuits and pyrotechnics to isolate the exact culprit before the next launch attempt.

 

In 2006, several attempts to launch a Soyuz-2 rocket came close to the liftoff time, but had to be scrubbed due to technical reasons.

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/resurs-p3.html

 

Quote

The Russian space agency — Roscosmos — said the launch was reset for 1856 GMT (2:56 p.m. EDT) Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the Resurs P3 remote sensing satellite, the third in a series of civilian-operated high-resolution imaging spacecraft designed look down on Earth from orbit.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/12/soyuz-launch-halted-just-before-engine-start/

 

PAD ABORT of the Russian Soyuz-2.1b carrying the Resurs-P3 earth observation sat from Baikonur

video is 1:02 min.

 

 

 

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Russian Earth observing satellite delivered to orbit

 

soyuz_quick_resurs.png

A Soyuz rocket lifts off at 1856 GMT (2:56 p.m. EDT) with the Resurs P3 Earth observation satellite. Credit: TsENKI TV

 

Quote

A day after a rare last-minute abort by its Soyuz launcher, a sharp-eyed civilian-operated Russian Earth observation satellite blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday on a five-year mission, giving Russia a fleet of three advanced digital imaging spacecraft in orbit.

 

The Resurs P3 satellite launched at 1856 GMT (2:56 p.m. EDT) from the historic launch base in Kazakhstan.

 

The satellite’s Soyuz booster steered north from Baikonur, and dropped its four first stage engines about two minutes after liftoff. A core engine — called the second stage — and a third stage propulsion system delivered the Resurs P3 satellite to a preliminary orbit about 9 minutes, 21 seconds into the flight, according to a statement by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.

 

The launch of Resurs P3 was supposed to occur Saturday, but an automatic abort triggered moments before ignition of the Soyuz rocket’s engines halted the countdown. Such launch scrubs late in the countdown are rare for the workhorse Soyuz booster, which usually launches more often than any other rocket in the world.

 

Sunday’s Soyuz launch came less than a day before a Proton rocket is due to lift off from a different sector of the expansive cosmodrome with an ambitious European-led Mars mission named ExoMars.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/13/russian-earth-observing-satellite-delivered-to-orbit/

 

Soyuz Rocket launches heavy Resurs Earth Observation Satellite

video is 6:03 min.

 

 

 

 

Quote

March 14Proton • ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter
Launch time: 0931 GMT (5:31 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage will deploy the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter. The mission will make improved measurements of trace gases in the Martian atmosphere, such as methane, which could be an indicator of biological activity. ESA’s Schiaparelli lander will accompany the Trace Gas Orbiter to Mars. Delayed from Jan. 7. [Jan. 4]


March 18Soyuz • ISS 46S
Launch time: 2126 GMT (5:26 p.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. [Dec. 16]

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

 

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Launch schedule

 

Quote
March 18Soyuz • ISS 46S
Launch time: 2126 GMT (5:26 p.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. [Dec. 16]
March 22/23Atlas 5 • OA-6
Launch window: 0302-0332 GMT on 23rd (11:02-11:32 p.m. EDT (on 22nd)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-064, will launch the sixth Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo freighter on its fifth operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The mission is known as OA-6. The rocket will fly in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from March 10 and March 20. [Feb. 19]
March 31Soyuz • Progress 63P
Launch window: 1620 GMT (12:20 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 63rd Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from Feb. 12. [Feb. 11]

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

 

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

 

ISRO to test plane-shaped reusable rocket

 

isro-reusable-launch-vehicle-technology-

file image

 

Quote

India will test a small aeroplane-shaped vehicle this year as part of its programme to develop a reusable space launch vehicle, a senior official of Indian Space Research Organisation said.

 

"We will test a small aeroplane-shaped vehicle - reusable launch vehicle technology demonstrator - weighing around 1.7 tonnes soon. The vehicle will travel up to 70 km and will return," K. Sivan, director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, part of ISRO said.

 

Currently, the cost of placing 1kg of object in space is about Rs.3 lakh ($5,000) which scientists are hoping can be brought down to about Rs.30,000 ($500).

 

He also said that ISRO will be flying its heaviest rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III) powered by its own cryogenic engine.

 

"The rocket's carrying-capacity will be between 3.2-3.4 tonnes. It will carry the GSAT 19 communication satellite," Sivan added.

Apart from these, ISRO has also lined up a series of other launches.

 

"Next month, the seventh navigation satellite-IRNSS-1G will be launched. This will be followed by the launch of India's Cartosat-cartography satellite - and a couple of small satellites in May. The two launches will be done using the PSLV (polar satellite launch vehicle) rockets," P. Kunhikrishnan, director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre said.

 

"In August, communication satellite INSAT-3DR will be launched using GSLV (GSLV Mark II version)," Kunhikrishnan added.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/ISRO_to_test_plane_shaped_reusable_rocket_999.html

 

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

 

Soyuz Rocket Assembled for Launch of next ISS Crew

 

photo_03-15-10-512x340.jpg

Photo: RSC Energia

 

Quote

The Soyuz rocket for the launch of the next ISS crew has been assembled at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Monday and Tuesday to kick off the final days of preparations to set the stage for a Friday night liftoff.

 

Over the course of the last week, preparations for launch were in full swing at two different facilities – Site 254 where the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft finished processing and the MIK-112 Launcher Integration Facility where the Soyuz FG rocket was prepared.

 

Fully fueled, the Soyuz spacecraft returned to its processing facility last Wednesday and was attached to its payload adapter.

 

Quote

With the Soyuz placed in its test stand, engineers completed a final technical inspection and removed the last protective covers before the spacecraft was rolled to a horizontal position. The docking mechanism cover was removed and the launch shroud was carefully put in place around the vehicle.

 

Once encapsulated, the Soyuz was raised to a vertical position again for the last visit by the three crew members who climbed through a hatch in the shroud to ingress their spacecraft for an inspection and to familiarize themselves with the cargo situation on board.

 

Soyuz TMA-20M was packed up on Monday and shipped to the MIK-112 facility to undergo integration with the Soyuz FG rocket. In the past weeks, the four 19.6-meter long boosters had been attached to the 27.8-meter long core stage, leaving only the third stage and Soyuz to be installed.

 

Overall, Soyuz FG is 49.5 meters tall weighing 305,000 Kilograms at liftoff, capable of carrying more than seven metric tons into a Low Earth Orbit.

much more at the link...and a lot of great images, here are a few...NASA for image credit, from Roscosmos.

http://spaceflight101.com/soyuz-rocket-assembled-for-launch-of-next-iss-crew/

 

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more at the link....eye candy.....:D

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90 Years Ago: Robert Goddard's First Liquid Rocket Launch

 

oo1280px-Goddard.jpg

Goddard's First Liquid Fueled Rocket     CLARK UNIVERSITY ROBERT H. GODDARD ARCHIVE

 

Quote

Less than a century ago, astronomers relied entirely on ground-based observations to further scientific study.

 

Today, descendants of that first liquid-fueled rocket provide eyes on cosmic phenomena, unravel mysteries of the early universe, and even take a closer look at what makes our own planet tick.

 

None of this would be possible without the experiments of Massachusetts physics professor Robert Goddard, best known for inventing the liquid-fueled rocket. The namesake of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, he dreamed as early as 1909 of creating an interplanetary vehicle. While he couldn't achieve that in his lifetime, his inventions in the first half of the 20th century became the engineering foundation for the rockets that first took humans to the moon in the 1960s and for today's rockets, which look further into space than ever before.

Prior to Goddard's experimentation, rockets had not changed much in several centuries. Chinese engineers invented them as war machines in the 13th century, using solid gunpowder as fuel. But Goddard realized that liquid propellants offered a number of advantages over solid-fueled rockets. He began to test rockets fueled by liquid gasoline and liquid oxygen.

 

The new design posed a number of challenges. For instance, he had to find a way to mix the fuel with oxygen. Otherwise it wouldn't burn fast enough to produce the necessary thrust to lift the weight of the rocket. He also had to find a mechanical solution to pressurize the fuel chamber so it would continually feed fuel to the engine. Each solution he found brought with it a new challenge to solve.

 

After nearly 17 years of work, Goddard successfully launched his creation on March 16, 1926.

 

"It looked almost magical as it rose, without any appreciably greater noise or flame, as if it said, 'I've been here long enough; I think I'll be going somewhere else, if you don't mind,'" Goddard wrote in his journal the next day.

 

Most rockets today use liquid fuels because they provide more thrust per unit of fuel and they allow engineers to time how long the rocket will remain lit more precisely. For example, the Atlas V, on which many NASA missions launch such as the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission, which launched in 2015 and the Ariane V, on which NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will launch in 2018, both use liquid fuels in one or more of their stages.

 

Over the course of his career, as well as posthumously, Goddard was awarded more than 200 patents for his inventions, many of which pertained to rocketry. These also included the invention of multistage rockets, which contain multiple fuel tanks and engine segments that can be jettisoned as they are emptied.

 

Goddard's work didn't stop there. He continued to improve upon his rocket concepts until his death in 1945. The U.S. failed to recognize the full potential of his work until after his death in fact, some of his ideas about reaching outer space were ridiculed during his lifetime. But the first liquid-fueled rocket flight was as significant to space exploration as the Wright brothers' first flight was to air travel, and 90 years later, his patents are still integral to spaceflight technology.

 

For more about Robert Goddard, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/about/history/dr_goddard.html

 

For more about NASA Goddard, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/goddard

http://spaceref.com/nasa-hack-space/90-years-ago-robert-goddards-first-liquid-rocket-launch.html

 

Robert Goddard - Development of High Altitude Rockets

video is 4:40 min.

 

 

 

The following is my opinion only.

 

Robert Goddard was way ahead of his time, so far in fact, he was shunned for a good portion of his career. In 1919, he stated his dream of launching a rocket to space, and perhaps the moon, where upon the New York Times ran bitter articles accusing him of not understanding high school physics. After much ridicule, he went into private research for the remainder of his life. Many countries oversea's realized his brilliance and also continued research...one such country was Germany with the V series.

 

Robert Goddard is revered now, but please don't forget the unforgivable early treatment he received from a populace that did not comprehend his work, and a MSM pretending to be the more knowledgeable.

 

:D

 

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

 

Soyuz Rocket rolled to Baikonur Launch Pad for crewed Flight to ISS Friday Night

 

Quote

Strong winds complicated the rollout of the Soyuz FG rocket to its Baikonur Launch Pad on Wednesday, requiring the booster to remain in a horizontal position until the evening hours when winds had calmed down. Despite the delay, launch remains targeted for Friday at 21:26 UTC to send the next crew to the International Space Station.

 

The Soyuz FG rocket had been assembled on Tuesday and the Russian State Commission provided clearance for the vehicle’s rollout after a technical review. The 50-meter long rocket emerged from the MIK assembly facility at the traditional early morning hour, dating back to the rollout of Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok 55 years ago, an anniversary that is commemorated with an emblem on the payload fairing of the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft.

 

Quote

Wheeled to the launch pad at Site 1/5 under thick clouds, the Soyuz was positioned to be raised to its vertical launch position, but teams had to hold at that point as winds were over the safety limit with gusts up to 100 Kilometers per hour.

 

Wednesday’s rollout was attended by the backup crew of Soyuz TMA-20M – Sergei Ryzhikov, Andrei Borisenko and Shane Kimbrough. The prime crew of commander Alexey Ovchinin, and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Jeff Williams were not allowed to see the rollout since it is considered to bring bad luck.

 

Soyuz FG remained in a horizontal position throughout the day as winds persisted. The Russian State Commission conducted a review of conditions in the afternoon, local time, and decided to push the erection of the launcher until the evening hours. Soyuz was finally raised to its vertical position after sunset and the two halves of the Service Structure were placed around the vehicle, allowing engineers to connect propellant, power and data umbilicals to mark the start of two days of launch preparations.

 

According to Roscosmos, the launch will remain scheduled for Friday night and updated processing schedules were distributed in the evening hours on Wednesday. As part of its on-pad campaign, the Soyuz undergoes detailed testing and engineers prepare the vehicle for tanking to set up for the initiation of the countdown on Friday, eight hours prior to liftoff.

more at the link...and a great image collection...

http://spaceflight101.com/soyuz-rocket-rolled-to-baikonur-launch-pad-for-crewed-flight-to-iss-friday-night/

 

All Photos below: NASA

 

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much more at the link...

 

:D

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Soyuz crew transport arrives at launch pad

 

Quote

A Russian Soyuz rocket has reached its last stop before liftoff Friday with two Russian cosmonauts and veteran NASA flight engineer Jeff Williams, who is slated to break the record for the most cumulative time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut.

 

The kerosene-fueled rocket is set for launch at 2126 GMT (5:26 p.m. EDT) Friday from historic launch pad No. 1 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the same starting point used on the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin in 1961.

 

Commander Alexey Ovchinin, a 44-year-old first-time space flier, will occupy the center seat of the Soyuz TMA-20M space capsule for Friday’s launch. Cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, who logged 159 days in orbit on a space station expedition in 2010 and 2011, will sit in the left seat of the Soyuz spacecraft, serving as board engineer No. 1 and assisting Ovchinin during the flight.

 

Williams, who will become commander of the International Space Station in June, will take the right seat of the Soyuz capsule for ascent. He is making his fourth trip into space, and his third long-duration mission to the space station.

 

Quote

The trio will join three crew members already aboard the orbiting outpost 250 miles above Earth — NASA Expedition 47 commander Tim Kopra and flight engineers Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko from the European Space Agency and Russia, respectively.

 

Ovchinin, Skripochka and Williams will restore the space station crew to six members after docking to the research lab’s Poisk module at 0312 GMT Saturday (11:12 p.m. EDT Friday), less than six hours after liftoff.

 

The Soyuz TMA-20M crew is scheduled to return to Earth around Sept. 7 after 172 days in orbit.

 

25166095543_2e0ce62408_z.jpg

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, Soyuz commander Alexey Ovchinin and flight engineer Oleg Skripochka. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

 

more at the link...

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/03/17/soyuz-crew-transport-arrives-at-launch-pad/

 

This is a neat ( I thought it was neat..oops) video since it shows the gantry being put into place and the size of the release counter weights.

 

ILV Soyuz-FG with TPK Soyuz TMA-20M is set to Gagarin's Start

video is 2:35 min.

 

 

 

 

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

 

Soyuz Trio on the Eve of Liftoff on half-year ISS Mission

 

Quote

The Soyuz rocket received its traditional pre-flight blessing on Thursday and is ready to head into an eight-hour countdown operation on Friday to be fueled for liftoff at 21:26 UTC. Rising into the night skies over Baikonur, Soyuz FG will begin a high-speed chase of the Space Station that will pass over the launch site just minutes ahead of liftoff. Set for a nine-minute ride into orbit, Soyuz TMA-20M – the last in the TMA-M series of Soyuz spacecraft – is aiming for an orbit 200 Kilometers in altitude.

 

Quote

To support the fast-track rendezvous, Soyuz will perform a pair of engine burns on its first lap around Earth to begin raising its orbit straight away and commence the climb towards the orbiting outpost. Another pair of maneuvers is planned for the second orbit, adjusted based on measured orbital parameters to correct any errors occurring during launch. The fully automated rendezvous with ISS will be initiated on Orbit 3 as Soyuz activates its KURS systems to guide itself to ISS. Docking to the Poisk module is planned for 3:12 UTC on Saturday.

Hatch opening is expected a little under two hours after docking to mark the arrival of three new crew members, joining the resident crew of Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra and Flight Engineers Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko.

more at the link...

http://spaceflight101.com/soyuz-trio-on-the-eve-of-liftoff-on-half-year-iss-mission/

 

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

 

Quote
March 18Soyuz • ISS 46S
Launch time: 2126 GMT (5:26 p.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. [Dec. 16]

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

 

:D

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For the continuation and docking of Soyuz TMA-20M to the ISS, please jump over for all the "goodies", to the ISS thread, pages 30 and 31...

 

 

ISS Thread, pages 30 and 31

 

Upcoming launches.....

 

Quote
March 22/23Atlas 5 • OA-6
Launch window: 0305:48-0335 GMT on 23rd (11:05:48-11:35 p.m. EDT (on 22nd)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-064, will launch the sixth Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo freighter on its fifth operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The mission is known as OA-6. The rocket will fly in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, no solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. Delayed from March 10 and March 20. [Feb. 19]
March 31Soyuz • Progress 63P
Launch window: 1620 GMT (12:20 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch the 63rd Progress cargo delivery ship to the International Space Station. Delayed from Feb. 12. [Feb. 11]
April 8Falcon 9 • SpaceX CRS 8
Launch time: 2043 GMT (4:43 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 10th Dragon spacecraft on the eighth operational cargo delivery mission to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Delayed from Aug. 13, Sept. 2, Jan. 3, Feb. 7, March 20 and March 29. [March 16]
Mid-AprilFalcon 9 • JCSAT 14
Launch window: TBD
Launch site: SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the JCSAT 14 communications satellite for Tokyo-based SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. JCSAT 14 will support data networks, television broadcasters and mobile communications users in Japan, East Asia, Russia, Oceania, Hawaii and other Pacific islands. Delayed from late 2015. [March 8]

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

 

:D

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Unobscured Vision

Gotta love the cadence that Aerospace is setting this year. :yes: Bunch of great Missions, and great launches. The launch of TMA-20M was fantastic, thanks @Mirumir for sharing it with us!

 

Next up is OA-6. Say what we will about ULA, that Atlas-V is always a good launcher to look at. :D 

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