Miscellaneous Launches and Payloads (updates)


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Unobscured Vision

Thanks for the report, DD. I had forgotten that Lockheed-Martin was a partner in that venture.


Didn't they enter that business arrangement in exchange for the plans and use of the RD-180's? Or was that another, separate business deal? So much happened in 1995-2005 that it's hard to keep track of what they were up to during that time period.

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The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, major event for me personally (Canadian Military). The restructuring of the new Russia was slow and painful due to cash reserves and partial adoption of free market economy . In 1993, Russia allowed some state corporations to be involved in corporate activities.



On 15 April 1993 Khrunichev had created the Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia joint venture with the American company Lockheed, and in 1995, due to the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta, it was transformed into International Launch Services (ILS). The joint venture marketed launches on both the Proton and the American Atlas rockets. The United States had given permission for the appearance of Proton on the international launch market, but introduced a quota to protect the launch market from "Russian dumping." Despite this, the Proton, built by Khrunichev, was successful and by the end of 2000 had earned launch contracts worth over $1.5 billion.[8]


The income from commercial launch contracts and investments from Lockheed enabled Khrunichev to conduct a serious upgrade of its facilities. This included an upgrade of the company's launch facilities in Baikonur, for which several hundred million dollars were invested. The commercial earnings also allowed the company to develop new launch vehicles, boosters and spacecraft on its own without government support.[8] Since its creation, International Launch Services has signed contracts for more than 100 launches valued at more than $8 billion.[9]

In 1998, Khrunichev was made subordinate to the Russian Space Agency, then called Rosaviakosmos. Khrunichev resisted the move for a long time, and managed to prevent the agency from installing its own leadership in the company.





ILS was formed in 1995 to provide launch services to customers worldwide, including technical, management and marketing expertise. Lockheed Martin?s partners in the venture are Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia. ILS offers the broadest range of launch services in the world along with the highest reliability in the industry. 



This amalgamation of 2 Russian firms and Lockheed happened slightly before the Lockheed-Martin amalgamation. During this time frame, acquisitions were plain crazy. This was a good move for Lockheed, itself to enter the commercial satellite market. Shortly there after, the amalgamation with Martin Marietta, which in itself was an amalgamation from 1961, captured what was to become ULA.


There were a few federal inquiries of business practices involving "dumping cheap equipment into the market", allegations denied.



This is from 2006



Lockheed Martin to Sell ILS Interest
On September 7, Lockheed Martin Corporation
announced the proposed sale of its ownership interests
in Khrunichev Energia International, Inc. (LKEI)
and ILS International Launch Services, Inc. (ILS)
to Space Transport Inc., a British Virgin Islands
company established by Mario Lemme, a current
member of the ILS Board of Directors. LKEI was
formed as a joint venture between Lockheed Martin
and two Russian companies, Khrunichev State
Research and Production Space Center and S.P.
Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia to
provides sales, marketing and mission management
support for launches of both the Lockheed Martin-built
Atlas and Khrunichev-built Proton and Angara
rockets to commercial customers. ILS has launched 37
commercial Protons and has a backlog for 11 additional
launches. Following the sale, which remains subject to
completion of regulatory reviews and other closing
conditions, ILS will continue to market the Proton and
Angara launch vehicles and expects to provide all the
same sales, contracting, licensing, mission
management and customer support services. Lockheed
Martin, in turn, will offer commercial Atlas launch
services through its subsidiary, Lockheed Martin
Commercial Launch Services.



Board members of both Russian companies, were on the board. The interest was sold to an offshore interest, and eventually re-acquired by Khrunichev. A lot of money was made during this time with Atlas and Proton, as well as a few other Russian models....and a supply chain sure helped.


Government contracts, sole source, are lucrative, and why put up with headaches, hope this helps.


Doc will have a better take on this, the above is just a recap of my view of events, being an outsider.



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Much of the US-Russia space collaboration after the fall of the USSR was pragmatic geopolitics: the West was extremely concerned that if the now Russian space and nuclear programs were allowed to collapse their engineers would seek work elsewhere - a major missile and nuke proliferation issue. North Korea, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, etc. etc.


In light of these, collaborations like ISS (evolved from the US Space Station Freedom), RD-180 development and sales, new arms limitation agreements with dismantling of stores and other work for the Russian programs were devised. A joint venture of Rocketdyne and Energiya named RD Amross was set up in the US to handle the US RD-180 sales, and it received a license to build RD-180 in the US which was never exercised. No one wanted to pay for setting up production.


Rocketdyne was sold several times, but when it was sold by United Technologies someone made a boo-boo (?); the RD-180 license was not transferred along with Ricketdyne, so now it sits in a drawer at UT - unused. The RD-180 patent runs out in a few years.


ISS construction started with modules which which were built and launched by Russia, but the first were paid for by the US who still owns them. Resupply and crew flights by Soyuz and Progress also received US and Western funding to keep their programs lights on. Until US commercial crew flights begin Russia gets about $450 million from the US taxpayers for each 6 Soyuz seats filled with Western passengers.







Edited by DocM
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Unobscured Vision

Thank you, gentlemen. I have a much clearer understanding about what was going on now. :yes: 

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Brunet: EC Should Have Hand in Designing Europe’s Next-gen Rocket



Having missed the opportunity with Ariane 6 now in development, the European Commission should have a direct role in designing Europe's next-generation launch, a senior EC officials said Jan. 12. Credit: ESA/D. Ducros



BRUSSELS, Belgium – A senior European Commission official on Jan. 12 said the commission should have a direct role in the design of Europe’s next-generation rocket and the organization of Europe’s launch sector, having missed the opportunity with the Ariane 6 vehicle now expected to enter service in 2020.


Philippe Brunet, a director of the commission’s DG Growth, responsible for industry and entrepreneurship, also said Europe should put additional pressure on individual European governments and companies to buy European.


In remarks that suggested the commission regretted that the European Space Agency is not investing more heavily in reusable rockets, Brunet said the commission needed to make its voice heard now that it has become the biggest single European customer for satellites and launch vehicles.


“Blue Origin and SpaceX have conducted [reusability demonstrations] recently that raise the issue of whether we are on the cusp of a big technology change,” Brunet said here during the 8th Annual Conference on European Space Policy, organized by Business Bridge of Brussels, referencing Jeff Bezos’ launch-and-return demonstration at Blue Origin and the SpaceX return of its rocket’s first stage. “If that’s the case, we need to prepare for it starting now.”


Brunet, known for his muscular defenses of European Commission authority, said the commission would launch several dozen navigation and Earth observation satellites in the next 10-15 years at a total cost of 1.5 billion euros, or about $1.6 billion at current exchange rates.


The commission has become launch service provider Arianespace’s biggest single customer, accounting for 835 million euros in Arianespace’s current backlog, Arianespace Chief Executive Stephane Israel said.


“Without the orders that the European Union has put on the table, there is no new launcher” in Europe, Brunet said, adding: “In what other industry does the number-one customer have no voice in the way the launcher is designed? Look hard: You won’t find one – except the European launcher sector.”


Brunet’s remarks were echoed by Alain Proust, a French member of the European Parliament and a vice chair of the parliament’s Sky and Space Group.


Proust said the European government market is not big enough to provide the necessary launch rhythm that would make reusable rockets economic, unlike the United States. But if reusable vehicles catch on, they could leave Ariane 6 in the dust, he said.


Proust said the European Commission’s investment in launchers should also take the form of being lead financier for a trans-Atlantic cable between Portugal and Brazil, which he said should replace the current cable, which passes too closely to the U.S. National Security Agency and is too easily compromised.


Europe’s Guiana Space Center spaceport is in French Guiana, which is French territory on the northeast coast of South America.

“The current cable passes by the United States and there are two problems,” Proust said. “The first is that its capacity is too low. But above all is the question of data confidentiality. The cable passes not far from an NSA center.


“A solution exists: Attach French Guiana to the future cable and let’s get it financed mainly by the European Union. It’s too important for Europe not to get interested in this project when it’s a question of European Union territory.”


Brunet said the European Commission, starting in 2017, will begin investment in a future launcher program. He said nothing about whether the commission would contribute to the European spaceport, a subject of debate for several years now.


His assertion that the European Commission needed to take part in the design of the post-Ariane 6 rocket caught several officials off guard. The European Space Agency, the French space agency, CNES, and European industry – led by Airbus Safran Launchers – have spent about two years restructuring their relationship to give industry more power in launcher development.


Airbus Safran Launchers has agreed to pay about 150 million euros for CNES’s 35-percent stake in Arianespace.


Alain Charmeau, chief executive of Airbus Safran Launchers, who was on the panel where Brunet made his remarks, said his company would welcome European Commission assistance in financing the European spaceport.


Brunet said his goal is that a small future-launcher program at the commission begins in 2017 to be ready to grow substantially in the commission’s next seven-year budget, starting in 2021 – a year after Ariane 6 is scheduled to make its inaugural flight.


One European industry official said privately: “If I buy 1,000 Mercedes cars, do I then get to design the vehicles? Customers should be consulted, not invited into the design room.”



Looks like a "few" are waking up......



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Re-Entering Rocket Debris captured on Video



Photo: Pavel Presnyakov



A Ukrainian Group of meteor observers captured the re-entry of a piece of Russian rocket debris as it re-entered back on January 3, 2016. The object was a large piece of debris from the second stage of a Kosmos 3M rocket that launched the Kosmos 1763 military communications satellite in July 1986.


The two-stage Kosmos 3M rocket injected the Strela-2M No. 39 satellite into an orbit around 800 Kilometers in altitude and in the process shed a number of debris as is typical for this launch vehicle configuration. Over the years, the debris consistently lost altitude due to drag in the very upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. Taking into account the radar cross section of the debris, the Joint Space Operations Center classified it as a large object and its final days in orbit were tracked closely as the debris approached its final fiery plunge.


The Joint Space Operations Center issued a re-entry prediction of January 3, 2016 at 19:28 UTC with a window of uncertainty of +/-24 Minutes indicating that this re-entry was not tracked in real time with infrared-sensing satellites in which case the uncertainty would be no more than a minute or two. Observations of a spacecraft re-entry were reported by the Astropolis Amateur Astronomers’ Club showing re-entry taking place around 18:40 UTC, well outside the re-entry window issued by the Joint Space Operations Center. There are no other candidates and the ground track of the SL-8 debris is in good agreement with this observation leaving no doubt on the origin of the object.


The Sky Camera operated by the group captured the re-entry of the object, showing it moving through an altitude of 75 Kilometers at a speed of 6.8 Kilometers per second on a trek taking it from south-west to north-east. The visible portion of the re-entry lasted well over 30 seconds and the re-entering object showed a prominent debris and smoke trail as it disintegrated in the dense layers of the atmosphere.


Re-Entry Data:

NORAD ID: 16866
Object: SL-8 DEB
Origin: Russia/Soviet Union
Type: Kosmos 3M Second Stage Debris
Radar Cross Section: Large
Launch: July 16, 1986 – 04:41 UTC
Launch Site: Plesetsk Cosmodrome
Launch Vehicle: Kosmos 3M
Payload: Kosmos 1763 (Strela 2M No. 39)

Re-Entry Prediction: January 3, 2016 – 18:40 UTC
Re-Entry Location: Ukraine



video is at...approx 20 seconds...




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China opens 2016 campaign with Long March 3B launch of Belintersat-1



The Chinese have conducted their first orbital launch of 2016 with the lofting of a new communications satellite for Belarus. Belintersat-1 was launched at 16:57 UTC on Friday via a Long March 3B/G2 rocket. The launch was conducted from the Xichang’s Satellite Launch Center’s LC3 pad.


Chinese Launch:

Belintersat-1 is based on the Chinese DFH-4 bus, with the communications payload being supplied by Thales Alenia Space.

The satellite is equipped with 20 C-band transponders (36 MHz), 18 Ku-band transponders (36MHz) and 4 enhanced Ku-band transponders (54 MHz). The satellite will be operational at the 51.5 degrees East longitude on the geostationary orbit. Operational lifetime is expected to be 15 years.





more at...



When a video becomes available, or village casualty report, I will post it.


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Here we go, more data and a video on the above launch...


 Belarusian communications satellite launched from China



A Long March 3B rocket lifted off at 1657 GMT (11:57 a.m. EST) with the Belintersat 1 communications satellite. Credit: Xinhua



A Chinese rocket carried the first communications satellite for Belarus into orbit Friday, recording a success in the first space launch this year.


The Belintersat 1 telecom craft lifted off at 1657 GMT (11:57 a.m. EST) aboard a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang space center in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.


Owned by the government of Belarus, Belintersat 1’s C-band and Ku-band transponders will broadcast television and radio programming, support corporate networking, and provide broadband Internet connectivity.


The Belarusian government set up the Belintersat project to give the nation’s broadcasters access to international markets and sell the satellite’s excess capacity to commercial users, officials said.


Belintersat finalized the contract for construction of the satellite based on the China Academy of Space Technology’s DFH-4 spacecraft bus in 2012, according to the project’s website. Thales Alenia Space of France supplied Belintersat 1’s communications payload.


The project received financing from the Export-Import Bank of China, according to Belintersat’s website.


The Long March 3B rocket deployed Belintersat 1 into an elliptical geostationary transfer orbit shortly after liftoff. The satellite’s on-board propulsion system will circularize its orbit nearly 36,000 miles — about 22,300 miles — over the equator in the next few weeks.


Belintersat said Friday all systems on the new spacecraft are functioning normally.


The satellite’s operating position will be at 51.5 degrees east longitude, a slot that gives Belintersat 1’s antennas coverage over Europe, Africa and Asia.


Ten of Belintersat 1’s 38 transponders have been reserved, according to the project’s website. The government of Belarus has rights to two transponders, and Chinese companies booked the use of eight more.


Belintersat 1 is designed for a 15-year mission.




China Launches Belarusian Telecom Satellite

video is 1:47 min.





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This post will be a little off beat, but since both items are known, and kind of launched...horizontal marine launch, it beats putting this stuff in two threads. I came across this due to SNC's Dream Chaser being selected for round 2 of cargo transport which has had an influx of "shuttle images" being posted on various sites, such as the following images...



one of 2 wooden mock up's made in the 1970's, called  "Inspiration"


'Inspiration' in motion: Mock space shuttle on the move (photos)



Jan. 16, 2016 – "Inspiration," a full-scale space shuttle model that for two decades stood along the state road leading into NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, rolled, and then floated away on Saturday (Jan. 16), beginning its journey towards becoming a traveling exhibit and marketing showpiece.


The 122-foot-long mockup, which at one time housed a theater and simulator, left its mount outside the former Space Camp Florida and U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame facility in Titusville just after 9:30 a.m. EST. Riding on a multi-wheeled transporter to a barge about a half mile away on the shore of the Indian River, the "Inspiration" left on a four hour trip across the water to a Beyel Brothers Crane and Rigging's work yard on Merritt Island, where it will spend upwards of a year being repaired and upgraded for its new mission.


Acquired by LVX System, a company working with NASA to develop new means of visual light-based communications, the "Inspiration" will be outfitted with a state-of-the-art immersive theater experience and a detailed crew cabin before it leaves on a barge for America's waterways, bringing the space shuttle to new audiences.




check out the great images at the link....




Then this came up......



Buran OK-GLI test article on the way to a German museum and restoration



The OK-GLI (Buran Analog BST-02) was a test vehicle ("Buran aerodynamic analogue") in the Buran programme. It was constructed in 1984, and was used for 25 test flights between 1985 and 1988 before being retired. It is now an exhibition at the Technikmuseum Speyer in Germany.

This unit was the work horse for most of the testing and was able to take off and land due to conventional engines.



Test flights[edit]

Nine taxi tests and twenty-five test flights of OK-GLI were performed,[1] after which the vehicle was "worn out". All tests and flights were carried out at Baikonur.

Date Description Maximum speed Maximum altitude Time Crew / Notes [2]
29 December 1984 Taxi test 1 45 km/h   5 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
2 August 1985 Taxi test 2 200 km/h   14 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
5 October 1985 Taxi test 3 270 km/h   12 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
15 October 1985 Taxi test 4 300 km/h     Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
10 November 1985 Flight 1 480 km/h 1500 m 12 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
15 November 1985 Taxi test 5 170 km/h   12 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
3 January 1986 Flight 2 520 km/h 3000 m 36 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
26 April 1986 Taxi test 6     14 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
27 May 1986 Flight 3 540 km/h 4000 m 23 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
11 June 1986 Flight 4 530 km/h 4000 m 22 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
20 June 1986 Flight 5 600 km/h 4500 m 25 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
28 June 1986 Flight 6 650 km/h 5000 m 23 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
10 December 1986 Flight 7 700 km/h 4000 m 24 minutes First automatic landing Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
23 December 1986 Flight 8 750 km/h 6000 m 17 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
29 December 1986 Flight 9     17 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
16 February 1987 Flight 10     28 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
25 February 1987 Flight 11     19 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
29 March 1987 Taxi test 7     2 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
30 March 1987 Taxi test 8     25 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
21 May 1987 Flight 12     20 minutes Anatoli Levchenko, Alexandr Shchukin
25 June 1987 Flight 13     19 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
5 October 1987 Flight 14     21 minutes Automatic landing Shchukin, Igor Volk
15 October 1987 Flight 15     19 minutes Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
16 January 1988 Flight 16       Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
24 January 1988 Flight 17       Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
23 February 1988 Flight 18     22 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
4 March 1988 Flight 19     32 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
12 March 1988 Flight 20       Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
23 March 1988 Flight 21       Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
28 March 1988 Flight 22       Ivan Bachurin, Alexei Borodai
2 April 1988 Flight 23     20 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
8 April 1988 Flight 24       Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
15 April 1988 Flight 25     19 minutes Rimantas Stankevičius, Igor Volk
29 December 1989 Taxi test 9       Rimantas Stankevičius, Viktor Zabolotski





another image here....





Looks great


another image here



That was fun...:D

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Also found these great video's.... to go along with the upper post, forgot to add then...one launch and one landing, even remote cockpit view on approach.


Spacecraft Buran First (and final) Launch Replay Cameras

video is 3:16 min.



First launch of soviet Buran 1.01 spacecraft. November 15th, 1988 at 3:00 UTC, Baikonur Cosmodrome (Space Center), Launch Complex 37 left (110L), Site 110. It was lifted into orbit by Energia rocket. 
Full automated unmanned flight. Buran orbited the Earth twice in 206 minutes of flight. On its return, it performed an automated landing on the shuttle runway at Baikonur Cosmodrome (next user's vid). It was the first and the only one flight of Energia-Buran program. The project was suspended due to lack of funds and the political situation in the Soviet Union






Spacecraft Buran First (and final) Landing Replay Cameras

video is 5:28 min.



The automated landing of soviet Buran 1.01 spacecraft performed on the shuttle runway of Yubileyny airdrome (UAON) Baikonur Cosmodrome (space center) on November 15th, 1988.
It was lifted into orbit by Energia rocket (see previous user's vid). Full automated unmanned flight. Buran spacecraft orbited the Earth twice in 206 minutes of flight. It was the first and the only one flight of Energia-Buran program. The project was suspended due to lack of funds and the political situation in the Soviet Union.




and yes, the chase plane is a Mig 25 Foxbat



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Countdown for PSLV-31's launch begins



Photo: PTI



The 48-hour countdown for Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-31) launch, which will be the first launch in 2016, has commenced today morning. The Vehicle will carry India's fifth navigation satellite as the sole passenger.


The countdown started after Isro 's mission readiness review committee (MRRC) and the launch authorisation board (LAB) gave nod for the launch on Sunday.


The countdown started at 9.31 am for the launch, which is scheduled to take off at 9.31 am on January 20. The rocket will take off from the Sriharikota space port will put into orbit the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1E satellite. The Rocket will carry Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System-IRNSS-1E began.


The satellite's life span is 12 years.









China shoots for first landing on far side of the moon



China will launch a mission to land on the far side of the moon in two years' time, state media reported, in what will be a first for humanity.

The moon's far hemisphere is never directly visible from Earth and while it has been photographed, with the first images appearing in 1959, it has never been explored.


China's Chang'e-4 probe -- named for the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology -- will be sent to it in 2018, the official Xinhua news agency reported.


"The Chang'e-4's lander and rover will make a soft landing on the back side of the moon, and will carry out in-place and patrolling surveys," it cited the country's lunar exploration chief Liu Jizhong as saying on Thursday.


Beijing sees its military-run, multi-billion-dollar space programme as a marker of its rising global stature and mounting technical expertise, as well as evidence of the ruling Communist Party's success in transforming the once poverty-stricken nation.


But for the most part it has so far replicated activities that the US and Soviet Union pioneered decades ago.


"The implementation of the Chang'e-4 mission has helped our country make the leap from following to leading in the field of lunar exploration," Liu added.


In 2013, China landed a rover dubbed Yutu on the moon and the following year an unmanned probe completed its first return mission to the earth's only natural satellite.


Beijing has plans for a permanent orbiting station by 2020 and eventually to send a human to the moon.


Space flight is "an important manifestation of overall national strength", Xinhua cited science official Qian Yan as saying, adding that every success had "greatly stimulated the public's... pride in the achievements of the motherland's development."


Clive Neal, chair of the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group affiliated with NASA, confirmed that the Chang'e-4 mission was unprecedented.

"There has been no surface exploration of the far side," he told AFP Friday.


It is "very different to the near side because of the biggest hole in the solar system -- the South Pole-Aitken basin, which may have exposed mantle materials -- and the thicker lunar crust".


The basin is the largest known impact crater in the solar system, nearly 2,500 kilometres wide and 13 kilometres deep.


"I am sure the international lunar science community will be very excited about this mission," he told AFP. "I know I am."





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Fifth Indian navigation satellite set for liftoff



The PSLV rolls out of its Vehicle Assembly Building at the Satish Dhawan Space Center en route to the launch site’s Second Launch Pad. Credit: ISRO



India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is scheduled to deploy the fifth satellite in the country’s regional navigation network Wednesday.


The 1,425-kilogram (3,141-pound) spacecraft will blast off on the 33rd flight of India’s workhorse PSLV launcher at 0401 GMT Wednesday (11:01 p.m. EST Tuesday) from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island, a facility on India’s east coast.


The satellite will join four previous craft launched for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System, a constellation set up to provide positioning data to users across India and in territories extending up to 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) from the nation’s borders.


India is developing the network to have an independent navigation system separate from the U.S. military’s GPS fleet. Russia’s Glonass system also provides global navigation coverage, and China and Europe are building their own satellite constellations for worldwide navigation services.

But India’s program is focused on South Asia.


Seven IRNSS satellites will beam position data with L-band signals to users from orbits nearly 36,000 kilometers (22,300 miles) above Earth. After the launch of the fifth IRNSS satellite Wednesday, the final two IRNSS spacecraft are scheduled for launch in the next few months.


IRNSS 1E will ride the most powerful version of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, named the PSLV XL, into orbit following liftoff Wednesday at 9:31 a.m. local time at the launch site.



The IRNSS 1E satellite is pictured before its encapsulation inside the PSLV’s payload fairing. Credit: ISRO



The PSLV XL configuration features six strap-on solid rocket boosters packed with extra propellant to help haul heavier satellites into space.


Four of the PSLV’s six boosters and the solid-fueled core stage will ignite to drive the 44.4-meter (146.7-foot) rocket off the launch pad, and the launcher’s other two strap-on motors will fire at T+plus 25 seconds.


The six boosters and first stage motor collectively generate more than 2 million pounds of thrust in the first phase of launch.


After consuming their pre-packed solid propellant, the first four boosters will jettison from the PSLV at T+plus 70 seconds, followed by the final pair at T+plus 92 seconds, according to a mission press kit released by the Indian Space Research Organization.


The first stage will have burned its supply of 138 metric tons — about 300,000 pounds — of propellant by T+plus 1 minutes, 51 seconds, when the spent rocket motor will jettison and the PSLV’s hydrazine-burning Vikas second stage engine takes over control of the flight.


The Vikas engine will produce 180,000 pounds of thrust in its roughly two-and-a-half minute firing, during which the PSLV’s nose shroud will release at T+plus 3 minutes, 18 seconds, to reveal the IRNSS 1E satellite once the rocket flies above the dense lower layers of the atmosphere at an altitude of 112 kilometers (69 miles).


The PSLV’s third stage solid motor will ignite at T+plus 4 minutes, 24 seconds, and propel the rocket toward orbit for nearly two minutes. Then the rocket will coast through space for almost four minutes before the third stage detaches and the liquid-fueled fourth stage begins the final maneuver to place the IRNSS 1E satellite into orbit.


The fourth stage’s two engines are programmed to burn for about eight-and-a-half minutes, then switch off before deployment of the IRNSS 1E satellite at T+plus 19 minutes, 20 seconds.


The mission will place the spacecraft in an orbit with a low point of about 284 kilometers (176 miles), a high point of 20,657 kilometers (12,835 miles) and an inclination of 19.2 degrees, according to ISRO.


Rocket thrusters mounted on the IRNSS 1E satellite will adjust its path around Earth in the weeks after launch to reach a circular geosynchronous orbit nearly 36,000 kilometers (22,300 miles) in altitude tilted 28.1 degrees to the equator.


IRNSS 1E is one of four Indian navigation satellites set to enter an inclined geosynchronous orbit. When the network is complete, three other IRNSS craft will operate in more conventional geosynchronous orbits closer to the equator.


ISRO says the IRNSS 1E satellite will be positioned at 111.75 degrees east longitude, but its inclined orbit means the spacecraft will oscillate north and south of the equator each day.


The four Indian navigation satellites already launched provide position data with an accuracy of 20 meters (65 feet) during 18 hours of the day, according to ISRO.


“With the launch of IRNSS 1E and the subsequent 1F and 1G in February and March 2016, the IRNSS constellation will be completed for the total operational use,” ISRO officials wrote in the mission press kit.





China to debut new carrier rockets



Long March-5 is currently being tested at a launch site in south China's Hainan Province.



China will send two new models of carrier rocket in the Long March series on their maiden space trips in 2016, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASC) said on Saturday.


The country's strongest carrier rocket, Long March-5 has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to low Earth orbit, or 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit. It is scheduled to carry the Chang'e-5 lunar probe around 2017 to finish the last chapter in China's three-step (orbiting, landing and return) moon exploration program.


According to a CASC statement, which did not specify either of the rockets' missions this year, Long March-5 is currently being tested at a launch site in south China's Hainan Province.


A medium-sized rocket using liquid propellants, Long March-7 will carry up to 13.5 tonnes to low Earth orbit or 5.5 tonnes to sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 700 km. It will carry cargo craft for the planned space station.


"The two carrier rockets' maiden flights will significantly boost our country's ability to enter space and help realize leapfrog development in our space transportation system," said the CASC.


Both rockets were developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology under the CASC.


According to the statement, the academy will be responsible for the launch of 15 space missions this year, covering manned space projects, China's satellite navigation system and satellites for civilian and commercial uses.





Arizona county to build new headquarters for World View



Pima County, Arizona, will spend $15 million to build a new headquarters for World View as well as an adjacent launch pad for the company's high-altitude balloons. Credit: World View



WASHINGTON — Arizona officials approved a plan Jan. 19 to build a new headquarters and launch site for World View, a company developing high-altitude balloons for space tourism and other applications, keeping the company from moving out of state.


The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted 4–1 to approve a proposal to spend $15 million on construction of a new headquarters and manufacturing facility for World View near Tucson International Airport. The proposal also includes development of an adjacent concrete pad for balloon launches, called Spaceport Tucson.


World View, currently headquartered in Tucson, plans to use the new facility to develop and fly high-altitude balloons that can travel more than 30 kilometers into the stratosphere, carrying research payloads and tourists. The new headquarters is expected to begin construction soon and be complete by late this year.


The company said it decided to remain in Tucson after weighing proposals from Florida and New Mexico to relocate near spaceports in those states. “They have amazing facilities and put some incredible offers on the table,” Jane Poynter, chief executive of World View, said in an interview. “We were really happy that Arizona stepped up and said that they wanted to keep World View here. Ultimately, it was a business decision.”


World View will lease the building from the county for 20 years, paying from $675,000 to $1.62 million per year in rent, according to county documents about the agreement. The company agreed to grow its workforce from a current level of 25 employees to more than 400 in five years.




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PSLV lofts satellite for India’s indigenous navigation system



A frame from a live webcast of Wednesday’s PSLV launch shows the rocket lifting off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center. Credit: ISRO



The fifth satellite for India’s regional navigation network rode into orbit Wednesday aboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, joining a growing fleet of spacecraft to provide positioning services to users across South Asia.


The mission lifted off at 0401 GMT Wednesday (11:01 p.m. EST Tuesday) on the 33rd flight of India’s PSLV, the country’s most prolific launch vehicle.

The PSLV ignited its solid-fueled core rocket motor and strap-on boosters at 9:31 a.m. local time to fire away from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on Sriharikota Island, India’s spaceport located on the Bay of Bengal about 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, north of the Indian industrial city of Chennai.

The rocket flew in its most powerful configuration, known as the PSLV XL, with six solid rocket boosters packed with extra propellant to carry heavier satellites into orbit.


The 44.4-meter (145.6-foot) launcher veered southeast from its launch pad at Sriharikota, shedding its six boosters and first stage in less than two minutes as the PSLV’s hydrazine-fueled Vikas second stage engine took over to continue accelerating toward space.


The PSLV jettisoned its nose cone moments later, then a solid-fueled third stage fired for two minutes. The rocket’s fourth stage propulsion system, burning a mixture of liquid propellants, ignited to push the fifth satellite for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System into orbit.


The IRNSS 1E spacecraft deployed from the PSLV’s fourth stage more than 19 minutes after blastoff, and the Indian Space Research Organization declared the mission a total success.


The rocket put IRNSS 1E in an orbit with a low point of about 282 kilometers (175 miles), a high point of 20,655 kilometers (12,834 miles) and an inclination of 19.21 degrees, very close to preflight predictions, according to ISRO.


Engineers stationed at a facility in Hassan, India, took control of the 1,425-kilogram (3,141-pound) satellite shortly after it separated from the launch vehicle, according to M. Annadurai, director of the ISRO Satellite Center.





ISRO PSLV launches IRNSS-1E, 5th navigation satellite from Sriharikota

video is 1:30 min..poor quality but shows a bit...





next launch...


Jan. 27Proton • Eutelsat 9B
Launch time: 2219 GMT (5:19 p.m. EST)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
An International Launch Services Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage will deploy the Eutelsat 9B communications satellite owned by Paris-based Eutelsat. Eutelsat 9B will provide digital television and video programming across Europe. The spacecraft hosts the first payload for the European Space Agency’s European Data Relay Satellite (EDRS) system to relay communications between ground stations and satellites in low Earth orbit. [Jan. 13]
Jan. 27Ariane 5 • Intelsat 29e
Launch window: 2234-0059 GMT (5:34-7:59 p.m. EST)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA228, to launch the Intelsat 29e communications satellite. Intelsat 29e is the first Intelsat Epic high throughput satellite, hosting a next-generation all-digital payload that can be reconfigured in orbit and is resilient to interference and jamming. Intelsat 29e offers coverage spanning North and South America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the North Atlantic aeronautical route connecting North America and Europe. [Jan. 4]




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Roscosmos Approves Delay of Eutelsat 9B Launch Due to Bad Weather



Russia's space agency Roscosmos has approved the postponement of the launch of a Proton-M carrier rocket with the European Eutelsat 9B communications satellite until January 30 due to weather-related logistical issues, the United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC) said Thursday.


The launch, previously scheduled for January will be carried January 30 at 01.20 Moscow time from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan (22:20 GMT on January 29), URSC said in a statement.


According to the company, the preparation for the launch is continuing without any technical issues.


The Proton-M, produced by Russia's Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, is the largest carrier rocket in the country's space launch vehicle fleet. The rocket has lifted dozens of Russian-made and foreign satellites since it was first launched in 2001.


In October, a subsidiary of Khrunichev Center signed a contract with Eutelsat to put the French-based company's satellites into orbit during the period of 2016-2023.


According to the Khrunichev Center, the Russian Proton carrier rockets launched 11 Eutelsat satellites over the past 15 years.




line up now....


Jan. 27Ariane 5 • Intelsat 29e
Launch window: 2320:41-0040:24 GMT (6:20:41-7:40:24 p.m. EST)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA228, to launch the Intelsat 29e communications satellite. Intelsat 29e is the first Intelsat Epic high throughput satellite, hosting a next-generation all-digital payload that can be reconfigured in orbit and is resilient to interference and jamming. Intelsat 29e offers coverage spanning North and South America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the North Atlantic aeronautical route connecting North America and Europe. [Jan. 20]
Jan. 29Proton • Eutelsat 9B
Launch time: 2219 GMT (5:19 p.m. EST)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
An International Launch Services Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage will deploy the Eutelsat 9B communications satellite owned by Paris-based Eutelsat. Eutelsat 9B will provide digital television and video programming across Europe. The spacecraft hosts the first payload for the European Space Agency’s European Data Relay Satellite (EDRS) system to relay communications between ground stations and satellites in low Earth orbit. Delayed from Jan. 25 and Jan. 27. [Jan. 20]




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Assembly begins on 2nd Ariane 5 launcher for 2016



The second Ariane 5 for launch by Arianespace in 2016 has begun taking shape at French Guiana, as build-up of the heavy-lift vehicle is now underway in the Spaceport's Launcher Integration Building.


Following a well-established assembly flow, the process began with this week's positioning of the launcher's central core cryogenic stage over one of two mobile launch tables utilized for Ariane 5.


Next will be integration of the two large solid propellant boosters - which are installed directly on the launch table, followed by placement of the combined vehicle equipment bay and upper stage unit atop the core stage.


This activity is performed under the direction of industrial prime contractor Airbus Safran Launchers, and will lead to Ariane 5's subsequent transfer to the Final Assembly Building, where Arianespace takes responsibility for payload integration, final checkout, and the launch operations.

Designated VA229 in Arianespace's launcher family numbering system, the upcoming mission is planned in early March with the EUTELSAT 65 West A relay satellite for Eutelsat. EUTELSAT 65 West A is to offer coverage for Latin America in C, Ku and Ka bands - providing video distribution and direct-to-home broadcasting, along with flexible high throughput for broadband access.


After deployment by Ariane 5 into geostationary transfer orbit, the Space Systems Loral-built (SSL) satellite will operate at position of 65 degrees West.


Arianespace is planning up to eight Ariane 5 missions in 2016 - which would be a new operational record for the heavy-lift launcher. Also on the company's manifest this year are one flight with its medium-lift Soyuz and two using the lightweight Vega launcher.


The year-opening Ariane 5 flight is set for next week, with Intelsat's Intelsat 29e telecommunications satellite to be lofted from the Spaceport on January 27.





LISA Pathfinder arrives at its worksite



LISA Pathfinder, ESA's mission to test technology for future gravitational-wave observatories in space, depicted after the separation of the propulsion module. LISA Pathfinder launched on 3 December 2015, and used its propulsion module to raise its orbit six times and embark on the path to its operational orbit. After releasing the propulsion module on 22 January, the science module will enter its final orbit around the first Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L1, 1.5 million km from Earth in the direction of the Sun. Image courtesy ESA/C.Carreau.



After a six-week journey, LISA Pathfinder arrived at its destination today, an orbit around a point of balance in space where it will soon start testing technologies crucial for exploring the gravitational Universe.


LISA Pathfinder is testing the key elements that could be used for a future mission to detect gravitational waves - ripples in spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein in his General Theory of Relativity. To this end, it will release two test masses into near-perfect free fall and measure their motion with unprecedented accuracy.


LISA Pathfinder was launched on 3 December 2015 and arrived today in its orbit around 'L1', the first libration point of the Sun-Earth system, a virtual point in space some 1.5 million km from Earth towards the Sun.


LISA Pathfinder's arrival came after a final thruster burn using the spacecraft's hard-working propulsion module on 20 January. The small, 64-second firing was designed to slightly change its speed and just barely tip the craft onto its new orbit about L1.


Since launch, the propulsion module raised the orbit around Earth six times, the last of which kicked it towards L1.


"We had planned two burns to get us into final orbit at L1, but only one was needed," says Ian Harrison, Spacecraft Operations Manager at ESA's ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

More at the link...




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Live coverage: Intelsat’s first “Epic” satellite ready for Ariane 5 launch



Live coverage of the countdown and launch of an Ariane 5 rocket with the Intelsat 29e communications satellite. Text updates will appear automatically below; there is no need to reload the page.



Jan. 27Ariane 5 • Intelsat 29e
Launch window: 2320:41-0040:24 GMT (6:20:41-7:40:24 p.m. EST)
Launch site: ELA-3, Kourou, French Guiana
Arianespace will use an Ariane 5 ECA rocket, designated VA228, to launch the Intelsat 29e communications satellite. Intelsat 29e is the first Intelsat Epic high throughput satellite, hosting a next-generation all-digital payload that can be reconfigured in orbit and is resilient to interference and jamming. Intelsat 29e offers coverage spanning North and South America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the North Atlantic aeronautical route connecting North America and Europe. 



First Ariane 5 launch of the year set for Wednesday



The Ariane 5 rocket rolls out to its launch pad Tuesday. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – S. Martin



An Ariane 5 rocket journeyed from its assembly hangar to a nearby launch pad in French Guiana on Tuesday, a day before the heavy-duty launcher is scheduled for liftoff with the first in a new generation of high-capacity communications satellites for Intelsat.


The nearly 180-foot-tall (55-meter) rocket emerged Tuesday morning from the final assembly building at the European-run Guiana Space Center on the northern coast of South America for the 1.6-mile (2.6-kilometer) trip to the ELA-3 launch zone.


The Intelsat 29e communications satellite, the first member of Intelsat’s new “Epic” series of modernized telecom platforms, is cocooned inside the Ariane 5’s nose cone.


Once it arrived at the launch pad, the Ariane 5 and its mobile platform were to be connected to ground supplies of electricity, gases and propellants ahead of Wednesday’s countdown.


A launch readiness review Monday cleared the Ariane 5 for rollout after confirming the status of the rocket, Intelsat 29e satellite and ground systems.

Liftoff is set for 2320 GMT (6:20 p.m. EST) Wednesday at the opening of an 80-minute launch window.


Wednesday’s launch will be the first Ariane 5 flight to carry a single commercial payload since 2009. The Ariane 5 typically launches with two communications satellites at a time, allowing customers to share the cost of the rocket.




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




Proton rocket rolled out for launch of Eutelsat satellite



Riding on its side aboard a rail car, a Proton rocket trekked to its launch pad Tuesday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with a Eutelsat television broadcast satellite ready for liftoff Friday.


The Proton rocket reached Complex 200 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome early Tuesday, then hydraulic lifts hoisted the rocket vertical before mobile access platforms wheeled into position around the launcher.


The booster is set for launch Friday at 2220 GMT (5:20 p.m. EST) on the Proton’s first mission of 2016.


The Eutelsat 9B satellite mounted on the tip of the Proton rocket is kicking off a 15-year mission to increase Eutelsat’s capacity for television and video services in Europe.


Airbus Defense and Space built Eutelsat 9B, which weighs about 11,380 pounds (5,162 kilograms) at launch, with a wide area communications beam to cover Europe and four regional Ku-band beams over Germany, Greece, Italy, and the Nordic countries with the Baltics and Ukraine.


The 191-foot-tall (58-meter) rocket will propel Eutelsat 9B and a Breeze M upper stage on a suborbital trajectory less than 10 minutes after launch from Kazakhstan.


The hydrazine-burning Breeze M engine will ignite five times to raise Eutelsat 9B’s altitude and move it closer to the equator, eventually releasing the satellite at 0732 GMT (2:32 a.m. EST) Saturday.


The mission’s target orbit has an apogee, or high point, of 22,180 miles (35,696 kilometers), a perigee, or low point, of 2,761 miles (4,444 kilometers) at an angle of 12.18 degrees to the equator, according to flight data released by International Launch Services, the U.S.-based company which manages commercial Proton flights.


Eutelsat 9B’s on-board thrusters will maneuver the spacecraft to its final orbital position nearly 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) over the equator. The satellite is destined to operate from 9 degrees west longitude, replacing the Eutelsat 9A satellite launched in 2006.


Eutelsat 9B will focus on digital television and direct-to-home broadcasting, according to Eutelsat.


The satellite also hosts a laser communications terminal for the European Space Agency’s new data relay service aimed at facilitating faster links between spacecraft in low Earth orbit and ground controllers.


The European Data Relay System will enable the near-instantaneous transmission of imagery from Europe’s Sentinel Earth observation satellites, which carry complementary laser communications devices to link with the payload aboard Eutelsat 9B, known as EDRS-A.


Another EDRS satellite is set for launch in 2017 to expand the network’s coverage area. ESA, the European Commission and Airbus, the system’s industrial operator, eventually plan up to four EDRS laser terminals spread around the world for global coverage.


Future users of the data relay system could include the International Space Station and airborne drones.


The optical communications link offered by EDRS can pass data at a rate of 1.8 gigabits per second, much faster than possible with traditional radio telecom systems.



Lots of images at above link....here are a few...

Note... Photo credit: Roscosmos












Removal of a Proton-M space rocket with the satellites Eutelsat 9B

video is 3:19 min.   good one





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Ariane 5 has lifted off at 6:20 pm EST, VA 228 mission...still in progress, will post what I have so far...


Live coverage



VA 228 press kit



Mission site



Launch of Heavy Lift Ariane 5 with Intelsat 29e (VA-228)

video is 10:08 min. with launch at the start of video





and this would not be complete without this...




Will post when more available....



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19:24  AOS of Intelsat 29e
The first signals from the newly-launched Intelsat 29e satellite have been acquired from a ground station in South Korea, confirming the spacecraft is alive following today's liftoff.


18:55  Success confirmed
Arianespace chief executive Stephane Israel has confirmed the separation of Intelsat 29e, marking the Ariane 5 rocket's 70th straight successful launch since 2003.



Launch and preliminary health are good...will take time to get to orbital parking spot, run diagnostics and put her to work...


Next up...


Jan. 29Proton • Eutelsat 9B
Launch time: 2219 GMT (5:19 p.m. EST)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
An International Launch Services Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage will deploy the Eutelsat 9B communications satellite owned by Paris-based Eutelsat. Eutelsat 9B will provide digital television and video programming across Europe. The spacecraft hosts the first payload for the European Space Agency’s European Data Relay Satellite (EDRS) system to relay communications between ground stations and satellites in low Earth orbit. Delayed from Jan. 25 and Jan. 27. [Jan. 20]




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For your viewing pleasure...noise included,  5:20 pm EST launch


Live coverage: Proton rocket readied for commercial launch



Live coverage of the countdown and launch of a Proton rocket with the Eutelsat 9B communications satellite.




or here





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Proton launch, lift off at 5:20 pm EST


1st burn of Breeze-M has started, 5 burns total required..



17:35  Breeze M first ignition confirmed
T+plus 15 minutes. International Launch Services confirms the first ignition of the Breeze M upper stage has occurred to place the Eutelsat 9B satellite into a preliminary parking orbit about 100 miles above Earth.


17:33  Proton/Breeze M separation
ILS confirms a good separation of the Breeze M upper stage with Eutelsat 9B from the Proton rocket's third stage.


17:31  Third stage shutdown
T+plus 11 minutes. Officials confirm successful shutdown of the Proton's third stage. Standing for confirmation of the separation of the Breeze M upper stage, which should begin its first firing shortly.

This first burn should last about four-and-a-half minutes, placing the Breeze M and Eutelsat 9B in a circular parking orbit 107 miles high with an inclination of 51.6 degrees.


T+plus 7 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.

17:24  Liftoff image





Indepth analysis at...



will post video and payload health when available..



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Found the launch video...


Launch of Russian Proton-M Rocket with Eutelsat 9B

video is 12:08 min., launch at beginning of video




will post payload health when available...




Ariane 6 design finalized, set for 2020 launch



disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only



Airbus Safran Launchers has finalized the architecture for its Ariane 6 launch vehicle, announcing a maiden launch to take place in 2020.


The Ariane 6 is a joint venture between Airbus and Safran. Unlike earlier efforts, Le Figaro reports the next European heavy launcher will be partially assembled horizontally, similarly to the Russian Soyuz rocket.


Ariane 6 will be built in A62 and A64 configurations to meet the design expectations of the satellite launch market, which accounts for satellites of average and heavy mass in geostationary transfer orbit.


The A62 configuration, equipped with two boosters, will be responsible for launching scientific satellites for the European Space Agency, at an estimated cost of under $76 million. The A64 configuration, equipped with four boosters, is designed to carry twice the payload, and will reportedly cost under $126 million.


Airbus Safran Launchers completed six Ariane 5 launches in seven months in 2015, and is planning at least seven launches for 2016. The first Ariane 5 launch of 2016 marked the launcher's 70th consecutive successful flight.



Another throw away launcher with the new paint smell.....:(

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Proton lifts off with Eutelsat-9B



Opening Russia's space launch operations in 2016, the nation's workhorse rocket is carrying the Eutelsat-9B communications satellite into orbit. In addition to expanding the fleet of a major European operator, Eutelsat S.A, the launch is also the final test for the Proton before its historic mission to send the ExoMars-2016 probe to the Red Planet in March.









During the delivery of the Eutelsat-9B satellite, Proton-M followed a typical launch profile for most commercial missions. A Proton-M/Briz-M launch vehicle lifted off as scheduled from Baikonur Cosmodrome's Pad 39 at Site 200 on Jan. 30, 2016, at 01:20:09 Moscow Time (5:20 p.m. EST on January 29).

The first, second and third stages of the launch vehicle flew a standard ascent trajectory matching the orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees toward the Equator, placing the payload section including a Briz-M upper stage and the Eutelsat-9B satellite into a sub-orbital trajectory.

Briz-M is scheduled to perform five engine firings to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and, finally, to a geostationary transfer orbit.

Separation of the satellite is scheduled approximately 9 hours, 12 minutes after liftoff into a highly elliptical orbit.

The satellite is expected to use its own propulsion system to enter the geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the Equator at 9 degrees East longitude.






Eutelsat-9B is being prepared for shipment from Airbus assembly facility to Baikonur in November 2015.  ESA


Moscow time
Scheduled elapsed time
Factual elapsed time
5:20 p.m.*
Stage I separation
5:22 p.m.*
Stage II separation
5:25 p.m.*
Payload fairing separation
5:25 p.m.*
Stage III separation
5:29 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 1 starts
5:31 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 1 ends
5:35 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 2 starts
6:27 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 2 ends
6:45 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 3 starts
8:48 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 3 ends
9:02 p.m.*
Briz-M jettisons its external tank
9:02 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 4 starts
9:04 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 4 ends
9:08 p.m.*
Briz-M firing 5 starts
2:11 a.m.
Briz-M firing 5 ends
2:20 a.m.
Spacecraft separation
2:32 a.m.
17 Briz-M disposal orbit firing 1 starts 12:36:49.00 4:36 a.m. -
18 Briz-M disposal orbit firing 1 ends
4:37 a.m.
19 Briz-M disposal orbit firing 2 starts
5:56 a.m.
20 Briz-M disposal orbit firing 2 ends
5:58 a.m.

*January 29

Above: Flight profile, ground track and the latest data on the Proton mission to deliver the Eutelsat-9B satellite on Jan. 30, 2016. Credit: ILS




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ILS Proton successfully launches Eutelsat 9B telecom/data-relay satellite



PARIS— An International Launch Services (ILS) Russian Proton rocket on Jan. 30 successfully placed the Eutelsat 9B commercial telecommunications satellite into orbit, with Proton’s Breeze-M upper stage separating the satellite nine hours and 12 minutes after liftoff from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan.


Paris-based Eutelsat said the satellite was healthy in orbit and sending signals, and that the solar panels had deployed as planned.


Built by Airbus Defence and Space of Europe, Eutelsat 9B weighed 5,162 kilograms at launch and carries 47 36-megahertz-equivalent transponders in Ku-band for video coverage mainly in Europe through five beams – one pan-European and four regional beams. It will operate from 9 degrees east in geostationary orbit, where it will replace the Eutelsat 9A satellite launched a decade ago.


Eutelsat 9A will be moved this year to another orbital slot that Eutelsat has not yet announced.



next up for launch...


Feb. 1Long March 3C • Beidou
Launch time: Approx. 0745 GMT (2:45 a.m. EST)
Launch site: Xichang, China
A Chinese Long March 3C rocket will launch a Beidou navigation satellites into orbit for the Chinese government. The rocket will fly with a Yuanzheng upper stage. [Jan. 28]
Feb. 5Atlas 5 • GPS 2F-12
Launch window: 1338-1357 GMT (8:38-8:57 a.m. EST)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-057, will launch the U.S. Air Force’s 12th Block 2F navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. 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 Jan. 26. [Jan. 28]
Feb. 7Soyuz • Glonass M
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch a Glonass M navigation satellite. The rocket will fly in the Soyuz-2.1b configuration with a Fregat upper stage. Delayed from Dec. 29. 


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China’s Long March 3C opens record-setting Year with Beidou Navigation Satellite Launch



Photo: Weibo



China’s year opening space launch took place on Monday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center when a heavy-lift Long March 3C rocket blasted off on a multi-hour mission to deliver the next Beidou-3 navigation satellite to orbit to become part of the Chinese pendant to the American Global Positioning System or Europe’s Galileo Satellite Navigation System.


Liftoff occurred just after 7:30 UTC Monday morning, according to local reports of shaking windows and photos posted to Chinese social media. Confirmation of launch success will be provided after the successful insertion into an orbit over 20,000 Kilometers in altitude, several hours after liftoff.


Monday’s mission – opening what is expected to be a record-setting year for Chinese space flight – marks the last launch of an experimental Beidou-3 navigation satellite in an important step in Phase III of the Beidou program, scheduled for completion by 2020 for operational global navigation coverage. Over two dozen launches from Chinese launch centers are on the books for 2016 including the first missions from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center, premiering the Long March 5 and Long March 7 launch vehicles. China also plans to launch the Tiangong-2 Space Station module later this year to be followed up with a crewed mission using the Shenzhou spacecraft to visit the miniature space station in China’s continued development efforts aiming to deploy a modular station around the end of the decade.

more at the link...







XICHANG, Feb. 1, 2016 (Xinhua) -- A Long March-3C carrier rocket carrying the 21st satellite for the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System lifts off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center,southwest China's Sichuan Province, Feb. 1, 2016. China launched a new-generation satellite into orbit that will support its global navigation and positioning network at 3:29 p.m. Beijing Time Monday. (Xinhua/Xue Yubin) 




up next...


Feb. 5Atlas 5 • GPS 2F-12
Launch window: 1338-1357 GMT (8:38-8:57 a.m. EST)
Launch site: SLC-41, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, designated AV-057, will launch the U.S. Air Force’s 12th Block 2F navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System. 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 Jan. 26. [Jan. 28]
Feb. 7Soyuz • Glonass M
Launch time: TBD
Launch site: Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia
A Russian government Soyuz rocket will launch a Glonass M navigation satellite. The rocket will fly in the Soyuz-2.1b configuration with a Fregat upper stage. Delayed from Dec. 29. [Jan. 13]
Feb. 10Delta 4 • NROL-45
Launch period: 1100-1300 GMT (6-8 a.m. EST; 3-5 a.m. PST)
Launch site: SLC-6, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
A United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket will launch a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office, the U.S. government agency that develops and owns spy satellites. The rocket will fly in the Medium+ (5,2) configuration with two solid rocket boosters. Delayed from April 15, June 6, Sept. 15 and Dec. 9. [Jan. 1]




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Re-Entry of Chinese Rocket Stage seen over Hawaii



Photo: Steve Cullen / Starscape Gallery (www.starscapegallery.com)



Truly spectacular photos of a re-entering rocket stage were captured on Saturday by astrophotographer Steve Cullen who happened to stop at just the right time to capture nightscape panoramas at Mauna Kea, Hawaii showing the blazing demise of a Long March 3B upper stage.


The rocket body that met its fiery fate in the skies over the Big Island of Hawaii was in action four and a half months earlier, launching as part of a three-stage Long March 3B rocket from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center. In a mission lasting 27 minutes, the third stage of the rocket conducted a pair of engine burns to boost the secretive Tōngxùn Jishù Shiyàn 1 (Great Wall Satellite 1) to a highly elliptical Geostationary Transfer Orbit.


While the satellite continued to Geostationary Orbit on its own for what is reported to be a communications technology demonstration, the third stage of the rocket was left in an orbit of 182 by 34,890 Kilometers – skimming the very upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere every time it passed the low-point of its orbit where drag slowed the stage down, causing a progressive decrease of its speed and apogee altitude.


It took over four months for the stage to make its slow drop towards the dense layers of Earth’s atmosphere, being last tracked in an orbit of 95 by 822 Kilometers – on the verge of its deep dip into the atmosphere.


Photo: Steve Cullen / Starscape Gallery (www.starscapegallery.com)


Re-Entry Data

NORAD ID: 40893
Origin: China
Object: CZ-3B Rocket Body
Type: Long March 3B Upper Stage
Dry Mass: 2,740 Kilograms
Inclination: 26.7°

Launched: September 12, 2015 – 15:42 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Long March 3B
Launch Site: Xichang Satellite Launch Center, China

>>Launch Article

Re-Entry Prediction: January 30, 2016 – 12:01 UTC +/-1 Min.
Re-Entry Zone: Pacific Ocean, Hawaii


more at the link...http://spaceflight101.com/re-entry-of-chinese-rocket-stage-seen-over-hawaii/



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