The U.S. Air Force has awarded contracts worth a maximum of $494.9 million each to 14 companies under its Hosted Payload Solutions (HoPS) program.
‘The purpose of the multiple awarded HoPS IDIQ [indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity] contract is to provide a rapid and flexible means for the government to acquire commercial hosting capabilities for government payloads,” according to the contract announcement. “The contract is designed to create a pool of qualified vendors to meet the government’s needs for various hosted payload missions.”
First Launch in 16 Months After February 2013 Failure
NYON, Switzerland, May 27, 2014 (Seal Launch PR) – Sea Launch SA has successfully launched the EUTELSAT 3B satellite today from at its ocean-based Launch Platform Odyssey. This marks the completion of Sea Launch’s first mission in 2014, its third for Eutelsat, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, and its 36th mission overall.
The Zenit-3SL rocket carrying the spacecraft lifted off at 14:09:59 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) on Monday, May 26th (21:09:59 UTC, 23:09:55 CEST) from the launch platform, positioned at 154 degrees West longitude in the Pacific Ocean. One hour later, the Block DM-SL upper stage inserted the satellite, weighing 5,967 kilograms (13,155 lbs.) into geosynchronous transfer orbit, on its way to a final orbital position at 3 degrees East longitude. Eutelsat acquired the spacecraft’s first signals from orbit shortly after spacecraft separation. All systems performed nominally throughout the launch mission.
The SATELLITE 2012 Conference is going on this week in Washington, DC. Jeff Foust sat in on some sessions today and posted updates on Twitter at @jeff_foust. He covered panels by launch providers and the four major satellite operators.
Launch Vehicle Providers Panel
Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX announces they have an April 30 launch date for their next Dragon mission to ISS; berth May 3.
Shotwell: they have almost an instantaneous launch window that day; launch opportunities only every 3 days.
Shotwell: will have 1st upgraded Falcon 9 (needed for comm’l sat launches) at VAFB by December, launch “shortly thereafter”
Bern, Switzerland, March 12, 2012(Sea Launch PR) – Sea Launch has been selected to launch the EUTELSAT 70B (ex. W5A) communications satellite in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the Intelsat 27 communications satellite in early 2013.
The satellites will be placed into optimized geosynchronous transfer orbits (GTO) utilizing the highly-proven Sea Launch Zenit 3SL launch system. The launches will occur from Sea Launch’s launch platform Odyssey at its equatorial launch site, located at 154 degrees West longitude, in the international waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Peter J. Brown has a lengthy analysis of Eutelsat’s decision to launch a satellite aboard a Chinese Long March rocket and the prospects for export reform in the United States over at Asia Times. It’s a good read.
Eutelsat Chief Unapologetic About Use of Chinese Launch Services Space News
Satellite-fleet operator Eutelsat has no regrets about agreeing to launch one of its satellites aboard China’s Long March rocket and will do it again if the Chinese vehicle meets Eutelsat’s schedule, technical and financial requirements, Eutelsat Chief Executive Giuliano Berretta said.
Why China Will Launch More of the World’s Satellites Time
News this week that China has secured its first launch contract with a major Western satellite operator in more than a decade comes as a major boost for Beijing, which wants a bigger chunk of the world’s bustling satellite launch business. Paris-based communications satellite operator Eutelsat would not comment on a Feb. 23 Wall Street Journal report that the company had finalized a deal to launch a satellite aboard a Chinese Long March rocket sometime in 2010. If true, the launch will mark a major leap forward for China’s space program.
During the House Committee on Science and Technology’s hearings on export reforms on Wednesday, California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) issued an attack on Eutelsat for its decision to launch its communications satellites on Chinese Long March rockets. This is something that is forbidden to American satellite owners under export laws.