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Archive for October, 1998

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).

21-Oct-98 | Delta III failure investigation completed

The unexpected roll oscillation during the Delta III launch on 27-Aug-98 was the result of a single roll mode out of 56 in the control software. The mode caused the Thrust Vector Control motors to gimbal back and forth in unison, generating torque vectors which became significant at altitude as the rocket shed propellant mass. A bug fix in the software should have the Delta III ready for its scheduled return-to-flight in early 1999. Boeing press release

19-Oct-98 | NEAR TCM uses upgraded software

Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) will be the first spacecraft to orbit a near-Earth asteroid when it arrives at 433 Eros on approximately 10 January. Launched on Delta 232, NEAR recently received upgraded Flight Computer software which will provide “fancy burn” control for use in orbit. TCM 15 using the fancy burn software was successfully completed on 14 October at 1659 UTC.

19-Oct-98 | Delta IV news

Big news about the next-generation Delta IV!

17-Oct-98 | Mars probe processing update

Both Mars Surveyor 1998 spacecraft are now at KSC and will launch on Delta 7425s. Their science payloads are assembled, tested, and ready for flight. Both spacecraft have had problems with cracked glass-body diodes in their power distribution systems, but change-outs are proceeding with no apparent effect on the launch dates.

13-Oct-98 | Iridium vehicle preparation

At Vandenberg AFB, vehicle prep continues for Iridium MS-11, where simulated flight testing is proceeding. Delta II rockets have already launched 50 Iridium satellites, and this flight will carry 5 more. The Iridium system will have its customer debut on 1 November.

01-Oct-98 | Gamma ray flare

A tremendous gamma ray flare reached Earth on 27 August (29-Sep-98 NASA Press Release). The flare, emitted from a newly discovered type of star called a magnetar, was so bright that it saturated the gamma ray detectors aboard the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer (Delta 230) even though RXTE was pointed over 40 degrees away. At least 6 other spacecraft were similarly affected, including NEAR.



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