Launches

By | February 11, 2008 | Satellite News Feed

Progress Freighter Lifts Off To Resupply Space Station

A Progress freighter spaceship lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS), and docked successfully with the artificial moon, NASA announced.

The robot spacecraft brought more than 2.5 tons of air, water, propellant and other items to the space station and its crew of three.

It was the first mission of a craft in the Soyuz family this year, according to Starsem.

Shareholders in Starsem are Arianespace, Astrium, the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.

The next Starsem launch will occur at Baikonur by the end of April. It will deliver into orbit the Giove-B satellite for the European Space Agency.

MEADS Completes Preliminary Design Review; Tests Set For 2011 – 2013

The American-European Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) completed its preliminary design review (PDR), and a program contractor today voiced confidence that MEADS will be able to shoot down targets successfully.

"Seven flight tests of increasing … complexity" are scheduled for 2011 through 2013 against "different types of targets in different scenarios," said Jim Cravens, president of MEADS International, a multi-national contractor team headquartered in Orlando, Fla. It includes MBDA in Italy, LFK in Germany and Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] in the United States.

Cravens spoke in a teleconference with defense journalists, in which he termed the PDR success "a significant milestone" for the program.

Completion of the PDR means that MEADS now is proceeding into detailed design work and headed for its critical design review next year, Cravens said.

The total program contract for MEADS is worth $3.4 billion, of which about $2 billion goes to work in the United States, $500 million to work in Italy, and the rest to Germany.

The United States funds 58 percent of the MEADS program, and Germany and Italy provide 25 percent and 17 percent respectively as partners in the NATO Medium Extended Air Defense System Management Organization (NAMEADSMO). Its program management agency, NAMEADSMA, is located in Huntsville, Ala.

MEADS is a European system to take out incoming shorter-range tactical enemy missiles and air-breathing threats. The United States also aims to install in Europe a Ground-based Midcourse Defense system to counter longer-range enemy missiles, such as those that might come from Iran. (Please see separate story in this issue.)

Using the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, system, the MEADS program has been years in development. It is mobile, and transportable.

MEADS will replace Patriot systems in the United States and Nike Hercules systems in Italy, and will supplement and eventually replace Patriot systems in Germany.

"We’ve demonstrated to our customer that the basic design of MEADS is ready to move forward into detailed design," Cravens said.

Each step in the program involves significant work, because MEADS has many components that each must be advanced to reach each milestone, he said.

The level of technical detail of the PDR was unprecedented, reflecting the importance and complexity of this next-generation air and missile defense system, and the expectations of three sponsoring governments.

Over the six-month period leading to the summary event on December 18, transatlantic review teams attended 27 multi-day design reviews.

MEADS will incorporate the hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missile in a system that includes 360-degree surveillance and fire control sensors, netted- distributed battle management/communication centers and high-firepower launchers.

The system will combine superior battlefield protection with extensive flexibility, allowing it to protect maneuver forces and to provide selected critical assets for homeland defense against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft.

When completed, MEADS will be the only air and missile defense system able to roll off tactical transports with the troops and begin operations almost immediately, according to Lockheed Martin. It will allow operational mission-tailoring for homeland defense or defense of maneuver forces in various theaters countering air-breathing and tactical missile threats. MEADS is intended to provide significant operation and support cost savings, according to the company.

Orbital Launching Thor 5 Satellite For Norwegian Broadcaster

Orbital Sciences Corp. [ORB] is launching the Thor 5 satellite that will serve a Norwegian broadcaster, Orbital announced.

The company designed, built and tested the satellite at its Dulles, Va., satellite manufacturing facility for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway.

Launch is from the Baikonur Cosomodrome in Kazakhstan.

The spacecraft is going into geosynchronous orbit aboard a Proton launch vehicle provided by International Launch Services (ILS).

Christopher Richmond, senior vice president and head of Orbital’s GEO communications satellite programs, said the launch combines two firsts for the company. "Thor 5 is the first satellite we have built for Telenor and we are looking forward to supporting them for many years to come," he said. "This mission will also be the first time one of our GEO communications satellites has been directly injected into geosynchronous orbit using an ILS Proton rocket."

Thor 5 will provide Ku-band fixed telecommunications and direct-to-home television broadcasting services from Telenor’s 1-degree West Longitude orbital location.

It will have 24 transponders with three times more payload power (3.6 kilowatts) than the current Thor II satellite, which it will replace. Thor 5 weighed approximately 1,960 kg (4,321 pounds) at launch, and will improve Telenor service coverage in the Nordic countries and Europe.

Launch Schedule

2008

Date: Feb. 7

Mission: STS-122

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launched: 2:45 p.m. EST

Description: STS-122 will deliver the Columbus European Laboratory Module and will be the twenty-fourth mission to the International Space Station.

Date: March 11 +

Mission: STS-123

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time:2:31 a.m. EDT

Description: Mission STS-123 on Space Shuttle Endeavour will deliver the pressurized section of the Kibo Japanese Experiment Logistics Module (ELM-PS) on the twenty-fifth mission to the International Space Station.

Date: April 17

Mission: STSS ATRR – Missile Defense Agency

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC-2

Launch Time: **

Description: STSS ATRR serves as a pathfinder for future launch and mission technology for the Missile Defense Agency. To be launched by NASA for the MDA.

Date: April 24 +

Mission: STS-124

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 8:26 a.m. EDT

Description: Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-124 will transport the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module – Pressurized Module (JEM-PM) and the Japanese Remote Manipulator System (JEM-RMS) to the International Space Station.

Date: May 16

Mission: GLAST

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17 – Pad 17-B

Launch Window: 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. EDT

Description: An heir to its successful predecessor — the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory — the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope will have the ability to detect gamma rays in a range of energies from thousands to hundreds of billions of times more energetic than the light visible to the human eye. Radiation of such magnitude can only be generated under the most extreme conditions, thus GLAST will focus on studying the most energetic objects and phenomena in the universe.

Date: June 15

Mission: OSTM/Jason 2

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC-2

Description: The Ocean Surface Topography Mission on the Jason-2 satellite will be a follow-on to the Jason mission.

Date: July 15

Mission: IBEX

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL Rocket

Launch Site: Reagan Test Site, Kwajalein Atoll

Description: IBEX’s science objective is to discover the global interaction between the solar wind and the interstellar medium and will achieve this objective by taking a set of global energetic neutral atom images that will answer four fundamental science questions.

Date: Aug. 7 *

Mission: STS-125

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 8:24 a.m. EDT

Description: Space Shuttle Atlantis will fly seven astronauts into space for the fifth and final servicing mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. During the 11-day flight, the crew will repair and improve the observatory’s capabilities through 2013.

Date: Aug. 8 *

Mission: GOES-O

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta IV

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17

Description: NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are actively engaged in a cooperative program, the multimission Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite series N-P. This series will be a vital contributor to weather, solar and space operations, and science.

Date: Aug. 14 +

Mission: TacSat-3

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Minotaur Rocket

Launch Site: Wallops Flight Facility – Goddard Space Flight Center

Description: NASA will support the Air Force launch of the TacSat-3 satellite, managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate. TacSat-3 will demonstrate the capability to furnish real-time data to the combatant commander. NASA Ames will fly a microsat and NASA Wallops will fly the CubeSats on this flight in addition to providing the launch range.

Date: Sept. 18 +

Mission: STS-126

Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

Launch Time: 8:08 p.m. EDT

Description: Space Shuttle Endeavour launching on assembly flight ULF2, will deliver a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the International Space Station.

Date: Oct. 28

Mission: LRO/LCROSS

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: The mission objectives of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite are to advance the Vision for Space Exploration by confirming the presence or absence of water ice in a permanently shadowed crater at either the Moon’s North or South Pole.

Date: Dec. 1 *

Mission: SDO

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Atlas V

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 41

Description: The first Space Weather Research Network mission in the Living With a Star (LWS) Program of NASA.

Date: Dec.15

Mission: OCO

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC 576-E

Description: The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is a new Earth orbiting mission sponsored by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder Program.

2009

Date: Feb. 1

Mission: NOAA-N Prime

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC-2

Description: NOAA-N Prime is the latest polar-orbiting satellite developed by NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA uses two satellites, a morning and afternoon satellite, to ensure every part of the Earth is observed at least twice every 12 hours. NOAA-N will collect information about Earth’s atmosphere and environment to improve weather prediction and climate research across the globe.

Date: Feb. 16

Mission: Kepler

Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17 – Pad 17-B

Description: The Kepler Mission, a NASA Discovery mission, is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to detect and characterize hundreds of Earth- size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone.

Date: March 1

Mission: Glory

Launch Vehicle: Orbital Sciences Taurus Rocket

Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base – Launch Pad SLC 576-E

Description: The Glory Mission will help increase our understanding of the Earth’s energy balance by collecting data on the properties of aerosols and black carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere and how the Sun’s irradiance affects the Earth’s climate.

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