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By | June 2, 2008

      Ariane 5 Launch Postponed Again, After Glitch In Rocket

      A scheduled launch Friday of an Ariane 5 rocket carrying the Skynet 5C and the Turksat 3A satellites was canceled because of a last-minute glitch during a software test, according to Arianespace.

      A new mission date for liftoff from the spaceport in French Guiana, South America, will be announced as soon as possible, the company stated.

      A board of experts is assessing what caused the problem, which involved "a non-nominal result" in the Ariane 5 rocket, according to Arianespace.

      This was the second postponement, after the company earlier shifted the original launch date of May 23 to May 30.

      That earlier delay was ordered to provide time to perform complementary checks on the Ariane 5 rocket.

      The Ariane 5 and its Skynet 5C and Turksat 3A payloads are in a safe condition, Arianespace stated.

      Delta II To Launch GLAST From Cape Canaveral Pad 17-B At 11:45 A.M. To 1:40 P.M. ET June 3

      Gamma Ray Telescope To Probe Universe

      A Delta II will launch the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, at 11:45 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. EDT, NASA announced.

      The rocket will lift off from Pad 17-B at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., with launch window times remaining unchanged through Aug. 7.

      That June 3 launch date is dependent on Space Shuttle Discovery lifting off May 31 on the STS-124 , and will move if the shuttle launch is delayed. (Please see Space & Missile Defense Report, Monday, May 19, 2008.)

      The new gamma-ray observatory will open a wide window on the universe, examining Gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light. GLAST data will enable scientists to answer persistent questions across a broad range of topics, including supermassive black-hole systems, pulsars, the origin of cosmic rays, and searches for signals of new physic

      GMLRS Rocket Launches From HIMARS With New Control System

      Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) rockets were fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) wheeled vehicle launcher using the new Universal Fire Control System (UFCS).

      Those launches occurred at White Sands Missile Range, NM, where four GMLRS rockets flew a pre-planned trajectory and successfully engaged their targets.

      The UFCS is an evolutionary block upgrade of the MLRS Fire Control System for firing GMLRS munitions that incorporate anti-jamming technology.

      The upgrade enhances reliability, mitigates obsolescence and reduces the sustainment cost of current systems.

      "The UFCS is now a demonstrated, cost-effective solution that will improve the reliability and extend the life of the MLRS family of rockets and launchers," said Jim Gribschaw, director of precision fires at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. Deliveries of UFCS, which recently completed its development and qualification program, have begun under the HIMARS full-rate production program.

      In March, Lockheed Martin also launched an ATACMS missile from a HIMARS equipped with UFCS.

      GMLRS is effective against counter fire, air defense, light materiel and personnel targets. It incorporates a Global Positioning System-aided inertial guidance package integrated on a product improved rocket body. Additionally, small canards on the guided rocket nose add basic maneuverability to further enhance the accuracy of the system.

      HIMARS can accommodate the entire family of MLRS munitions, including all variants of the GMLRS rocket and ATACMS missiles. Designed to enable troops to engage and defeat artillery, air defense concentrations, trucks, light armor and personnel carriers, as well as support troop and supply concentrations, HIMARS can move away from the area at high speed following missile launch, well before enemy forces are able to locate the launch site.

      Because of its C-130 transportability, HIMARS can be deployed into areas previously inaccessible to heavier launchers and provides a force multiplier to the modular brigade. It also incorporates self-loading, autonomous features. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of MLRS rockets, or one ATACMS missile.

      JSOW Infrared Camera Seeker Passes Captive Flight Tests

      The AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon C1 underwent captive flight tests of its new infrared camera seeker system, Raytheon Co. [RTN] announced.

      That test moves the weapon a stop closer to free flight, according to the company.

      JSOW is a family of low-cost air-to-ground weapons that employs an integrated GPS/Inertial Navigation System that guides the weapon to the target.

      The JSOW-C1 adds to the JSOW-C a weapons data link to receive in-flight target updates from the Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter aircraft.

      JSOW-C1 also includes new seeker algorithms to allow the weapon to hit moving targets.

      Tests demonstrating the seeker capability to track moving maritime targets were conducted by attaching the seeker to the outside of a Raytheon-owned Convair aircraft, which then flew through the same mission profiles the JSOW-C1 might experience during an operation.

      The tests subjected the seeker to the same stressors — wind, vibration, and altitude — the JSOW-C1 would face during an operational mission.

      "By putting the seeker under a great deal of stress, the tests ensured the weapon can engage moving targets during the rigors of an operational mission," said

      John O’Brien, Raytheon JSOW program director. "The tests validated the seeker’s ability to perform and provided data for assessment of the JSOW-C1’s hardware and software performance."

      Ballistic Missile Sensor Units Track Target Missile

      The multi-layered ballistic missile defense (BMD) system scored another success when myriad sensors in different BMD systems all tracked a target missile, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) announced.

      That target missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., as a target of opportunity.

      Elements of the BMD system, including the Sea Based X-Band Radar, Beale Air Force Base Upgraded Early Warning Radar, an Aegis ballistic missile defense cruiser, and a transportable AN/TPY-2 radar, detected and tracked the long-range missile over the Pacific Ocean.

      Operational sensors provided acquisition and missile tracking data to the missile defense system Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications system using operational communications links. Data collected by those sensor elements will be used for extensive post-mission analysis to further characterize BMD capabilities.

      This test also served as a target of opportunity for several emerging technology programs, including the External Sensors Laboratory and the use of infrared sensors carried aboard F-16 aircraft to track boosting long-range missiles.

      The Air Force test, called Glory Trip 197, was part of a continuing program to evaluate and demonstrate the operational readiness of the ground-based strategic deterrent force. The ability to utilize a target of opportunity allows MDA to conduct many exercises and obtain extensive data without incurring the expense associated with launching a test- specific target missile.

      NASA’s Shuttle and Rocket Missions

      Updated — May 31, 2008 – 6:40 p.m. EDT

      Legend: + Targeted For | *No Earlier Than (Tentative) | **To Be Determined

      2008 Launches

      Date: June 5 *

      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 – 1:40 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

      Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

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

      Launch Window: 1:47 – 1:56 a.m. PDT/4:47 – 4:56 a.m. EDT

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

      Date: Sept. 13 *

      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: Sept. 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: Oct. 8 +

      Mission: STS-125

      Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Atlantis

      Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

      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: Nov. 10 +

      Mission: STS-126

      Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour

      Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

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

      Date: Nov. 13

      Mission: STSS Demonstrators Program – Missile Defense Agency

      Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta II

      Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 17, Pad A

      Description: STSS Demonstrators Program is a midcourse tracking technology demonstrator and is part of an evolving ballistic missile defense system. STSS is capable of tracking objects after boost phase and provides trajectory information to other sensors and interceptors. To be launched by NASA for the Missile Defense Agency.

      Date: Nov. 24 *

      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. 4 +

      Mission: STS-119

      Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery

      Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center – Launch Pad 39A

      Description: Space Shuttle Discovery launching on assembly flight 15A, will deliver the fourth starboard truss segment to the International Space Station.

      Date: Dec. 12 *

      Mission: GOES-O

      Launch Vehicle: United Launch Alliance Delta IV

      Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – Launch Complex 37

      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.

      2009 Launches

      Date: Jan. 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.

      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: June 15

      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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