Another XL loss

Launched on 22 June 1995, the second Pegasus XL suffered a mechanical problem.33 The first set of pyrotechnics on the annular interstage fired to jettison the first stage, and 0.8 second later other charges separated the interstage from the aluminium ring at the rear of the second stage, but the interstage snagged.34 The investigation found that one of the three skid-guides had been improperly installed, and prevented the interstage from sliding off. The continued presence of the interstage...

Retrieving the lost satellites

NASA mounted an ambitious rescue mission on STS-51A in November 1984. After it had deployed another HS-376 and an HS-381, Discovery was to retrieve the satellites stranded in elliptical orbits with 1,000-kilometre apogees in February.17 After jettisoning their stages, these satellites had used their thrusters to lower themselves, and were now in similar orbits and spaced several hundred kilometres apart. Their retrieval would involve considerably more orbital manoeuvring than on any previous...

Lawsuit

In July and August 1995 TRW was granted US patents related to the operation of a constellation of communications satellites in medium orbit which, it argued, would pose ''serious challenges to competitors who wish to provide similar services''.30 This was a reference to ICO. However, while TRW planned 12 satellites in three orbital planes, ICO intended to use 10 satellites in two planes, and while a TRW satellite would have 37 beams, an ICO satellite would have 160 beams. ICO said that the only...

The demise of the H2

On 15 November 1999 the first stage of an H-2 shut down 107 seconds short of what was to have been a 5-minute 46-second powered ascent. After coasting ballistically, the vehicle staged 30 seconds early. The second stage - which was marking the debut of the LE-5B that had been built for the H-2A - ignited 8 seconds later, but was unable to make up the inherited velocity shortfall and was destroyed by the range safety officer at an altitude of 45 kilometres. The debris fell into the Pacific near...

International Launch Services

In April 1993 Martin Marietta acquired Astro Space from General Electric, giving it a high-profile presence in the commercial satellite business. On 23 December 1993 it announced its decision to buy the Space Systems Division from General Dynamics, and this acquisition on 2 May 1994 not only gave the company two of the main US launch vehicles, but also the powerful Centaur upper stage.81 In March 1994 it announced an agreement in which the Russian Energomash company would develop and supply...

Thor

In 1946, as the US Army fired off the V-2 missiles that it had captured from Germany, the Naval Research Laboratory ordered a study of a high-performance sounding rocket to be its successor. This led to the issuing of a contract to the Glenn L. Martin Company to develop the Viking, utilising the XLR-10 rocket motor that (as in the case of the engine of the V-2) burned alcohol and oxygen. On 1 August 1955 President Dwight Eisenhower told the Navy to manage the Vanguard project to place a...

Titan Iv

When the Shuttle was declared operational in 1982 the Air Force became concerned that it took so long to 'turn around' that it would never achieve the advertised flight rate, and that without considerable further development it would not meet its target of being able to insert a 14.5-tonne payload into polar orbit. On 7 February 1984 the Department of Defense issued a Space Launch Strategy calling for the development of an expendable launch vehicle capable of placing a Shuttle-class payload...

Atlas Centaur

The Centaur was a powerful upper stage that used a pair of RL-10 hydrogen-burning engines. On the first test of the Atlas-Centaur on 8 May 1962, the shroud collapsed early in the ascent.22 On 27 November 1963 the Centaur achieved orbit, but on 30 June 1964 it suffered a hydraulic failure. The flight on 11 December 1964 succeeded, but on 2 March 1965 the vehicle exploded on the pad. After two successes it made its operational debut on 30 May 1966 by dispatching Surveyor 1 to land on the Moon. On...

Desert Launch

In 2001 Sea Launch raised the possibility of providing launches from Baikonur. While this would reduce the cost of operating from an ocean platform, it would also significantly reduce the Zenit 3SL's capacity to geosynchronous transfer orbit.122 In fact, Energiya and Yuzhnoye were both making commercial Zenit 2 launches from Baikonur. Another option was to launch the Zenit 2 from Odyssey, with lightweight payloads for equatorial low orbit. Work began to refurbish a pad at Baikonur to service...

Notes

Spaceflight, November-December 1980, p. 340. 2. The configuration of the Semyorka was not publically revealed until it was put on display at the Paris Air Show in 1967. 12. Aviation Week & Space Technology, 27 March 1995, p. 66. 13. Aviation Week & Space Technology, 3 April 1995, p. 29. 16. Far Travelers The Exploring Machines, O.W. Nicks, SP-480, NASA, 1985, p. 1. 19. On the Shoulders of Titans - AHistory of Project Gemini, B.C. Hacker and J.M. Grimwood, NASA SP-4209, 1977, p. 268. 20....

Atlas Agena

The decommissioned Atlas-D missiles were fitted with Agena upper stages for use as space launchers. As the Agena was stretched to carry more propellant, and its engine was made both more powerful and capable of being restarted in space, it became available in A, B and D models the planned C model was cancelled . The Atlas-Agena-A employed the MA-2 power plant.14 Two of four launches failed. On the first launch, on 26 February 1960, the Agena with the first satellite for the Missile Defense...