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Archive for 1998


29-Nov-98 | Next launch

Next launch from Vandenberg will be Argos P-91, an Air Force experimental satellite that has had more than its share of problems on the way to launch. It is currently scheduled to fly on 8 January.


23-Nov-98 | Nestle Crunch

Nestle has created a series of commemorative Crunch candy bars to celebrate great moments in space history. Two of the nine scenes to be depicted in rich milk chocolate (and crispies) were and will be made possible by the Delta II: last year’s Mars Pathfinder and next year’s Stardust!


23-Nov-98 | Delta flight 263 – BONUM-1

Fourth time is the charm for Delta flight 263. Its minor technical problems of the previous few days cleared up, and the clouds parted on Sunday evening, 22 November, just long enough for the Delta 7925 to sail smoothly into the Florida sky. It placed BONUM-1 into geostationary transfer orbit for the Russian conglomerate Media Most. BONUM-1 is a Hughes HS-376HP communications satellite, the 55th launch of a 376 model and the 19th aboard a Delta. It is also the first Russian-owned satellite to be flown on an American launcher, and the first privately-owned Russian satellite in history.


18-Nov-98 | Stardust arrives at KSC

Stardust will fly close to comet Wild-2 and will be the first spacecraft to return cometary material to Earth for analysis. It arrived at KSC to begin pre-launch processing (live video) on 12 November, and will launch aboard a Delta 7426 on 6 February.


18-Nov-98 | ROSAT mission ends

The German X-ray observatory satellite ROSAT, launched in 1990 aboard the first Delta II to use a 10-foot-diameter fairing, was permanently shut down on Tuesday, 3 November. Officials determined that the last functional main focal plane instrument, a high-resolution camera, had been irreversibly damaged in September when it was pointed too close to the sun.

During its lifetime ROSAT made the first all-sky survey at X-ray wavelengths, charting more than 60,000 sources, nearly 100 times more than any previous survey. It was also used for study of specific X-ray sources such as quasars and neutron stars, and provided a wealth of data over the last 8 years; according to Spaceviews, “papers using ROSAT data are being published in scientific journals at a rate of more than one a day.”


09-Nov-98 | Hiatus

Delta News will be on hiatus until Tuesday, 17 November.


06-Nov-98 | Delta flight 262 – Iridium-11

A Delta 7920 successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB on the morning of Friday, 6 November, carrying five replacement satellites for the Iridium system. Delta II rockets have now launched a total of 55 Iridium satellites. Iridium began customer service on 1 November.


04-Nov-98 | Stardust prepared for transport to KSC

Stardust will fly close to comet Wild-2 and will be the first spacecraft to return cometary material to Earth for analysis. It is currently being prepared for shipping to KSC on 12 November, and will launch on 6 February.


04-Nov-98 | Delta flight 261 – Deep Space 1 / SEDSAT

Deep Space 1 and SEDSAT are both in excellent health after successfully launching from Cape Canaveral’s Pad 17A on 24 October 1998. The first mission in NASA’s New Millenium Program, DS-1 will flight-test 12 new technologies including a solar-powered xenon ion propulsion system and independent navigation control.

DS-1 and SEDSAT were launched aboard a Delta 7326, a model with a couple of notable features. It was the first Delta II to use only 3 GEM booster motors. In fact, this was the first Delta to fly with 3 motors in over 17 years! [Thanks to Moose Lavigne for pointing this out.] The flight was also the first use of the Star 37FM third stage motor on a Delta. This is the latest improvement on a motor last flown as the third stage in 1987, before the introduction of the Delta II. (Another version of the Star 37 is used as the apogee kick motor aboard Navstar GPS satellites.)


28-Oct-98 | Mars probes in final testing

Both Mars Surveyor 1998 spacecraft are proceeding smoothly through the final stages of assembly and testing at KSC. Mars Climate Orbiter will launch on 10 December. Mars Polar Lander will launch on 3 January. Each Delta 7425 vehicle will be carrying a ‘videoroc’ aboard the first stage to film the launches. This footage should prove as exciting as that produced during Delta 247 (ACE).


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