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Archive for August, 2000

23-Aug-00 | Delta flight 280 – DM-F3


The Boeing Delta team is celebrating this morning as Delta III had a glorious morning launch from Cape Canaveral’s Pad 17B. The terminal countdown went smoothly with no major problems reported. The launch time was pushed back from the opening of the window by five minutes as engineers wanted the second stage hydrogen tank housing to have a bit more time to chill down to a desired temperature range. Liftoff occurred at 07:05:00.050 EDT, with every flight event occurring exactly at its expected time. Spacecraft separation came at T+36 minutes, 30 seconds.

Boeing is hopeful that this success will restore customer confidence in Delta III, which suffered unrelated failures in its first two launch attempts, both of which lost operational communications satellites. This mission, DM-F3, was paid for entirely by Boeing and carried a dummy payload to geostationary transfer orbit that simulates “the mass and frequency characteristics of common commercial communication payloads sized for Delta III.” The University of Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, in partnership with USAF, will utilize the payload for a variety of missions and studies.

14-Aug-00 | Aerojet and Pratt & Whitney to merge

Aerojet, builder of Delta II’s AJ10-118K second stage, and Pratt & Whitney, builder of Delta III’s RL10B-2 second stage, have announced plans to form a new space propulsion company that would consolidate most of Aerojet’s propulsion programs under P&W aegis. Most of Aerojet’s engine manufacturing would be relocated from the company’s Sacramento facility, allowing GenCorp (Aerojet’s parent company) to focus on other market segments, such as space electronics. A definitive agreement is expected by the end of 2000. (Aerojet press release, 17-Jul-00)

14-Aug-00 | NASA to launch a pair of Mars rovers

NASA has announced it will launch twin rovers to Mars in 2003. (NASA Press Release, 10-Aug-00) Both landers will use the tetrahedral airbag landing system proven on Mars Pathfinder in 1997. Unlike Pathfinder, the science packages will be 100% rover, without base stations. Two separate regions on Mars are targeted. The missions will fly on identical Delta II (7425) vehicles; the addition of a second mission deals with NASA’s surplus rocket problem caused by the cancellation of the Mars 2001 lander. (28-Mar-00 NASA Press Release)



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