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Onboard Cable Short Led To Telstar 18 Launch Problem

By | October 7, 2004

      The Sea LaunchIndependent Review Board, appointed by Sea Launch Co. LLC partner RSC Energia, concluded that the problems associated with the June 28 Telstar 18 satellite launch that released the satellite short of its intended target likely resulted from a short in the onboard cable network. According to the board, the short introduced electrical interference in the circuits that transmit liquid-oxygen and fuel-flow-rate data to the main engine control system, and that interference distorted data received from flow-rate sensors. As a result, the Block DM-SL upper stage of the Zenith-3SL launch vehicle consumed more fuel than planned, and it prematurely shut down due to fuel depletion.

      The incident will not affect the useful life of Telstar 18, and Space Systems/Loral, the bird’s manufacturer, was able to move the satellite into its proper orbital position. The satellite is now fully operational.

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