KOUROU, French Guiana, 29 January 2019 (ESA PR) — The first qualification model of the P120C solid-fuel motor, configured for Vega-C, was static fired yesterday on the test stand at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Fully loaded with 142 tonnes of fuel, the 13.5 m long and 3.4 m diameter motor was ignited for a final simulation of liftoff and the first phase of flight.
After a three-week break, SpaceX is gearing up for a busy stretch of launches with three coming up in an 11-day period on opposite sides of the country.
The launch campaign kicks off with an early Sunday morning launch from Cape Canaveral. Falcon 9 will carry Telesat’s Telstar 19 VANTAGE communications satellite, which will provide service to China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean.
The world’s launch providers were extremely busy in the first half of 2018, with China and the United States battling for the lead.
There with 55 orbital launches through the end of June, which amounted to a launch every 3.29 days or 79 hours. The total is more than half the 90 launches attempted in 2017. With approximately 42 missions scheduled for the last six months of the year, the total could reach 97. (more…)
Roscosmos’ new boss, Dmitry Rogozin, appears to be making some changes within his domain with new leadership at two of the nation’s leading space companies.
Tassreports that Vladimir Solntsev, the head of RSC Energia, will step down from his post on Aug. 3. The publication gave no reason for Solntsev’s departure from the corporation, which is a subsidiary of Roscosmos.
Tass reports he became RSC Energia’s president in September 2014 and its director general in June 2016. Energia manufactures the Soyuz crew vehicle and other Russian spacecraft.
Officials plan to selected a new director general at an emergency shareholders’ meeting on Aug. 21. Sergei Romanov, the company’s general designer for human space systems, will become acting director after Solntsev departs.
Rocket maker RCC Progress also has new leadership. On June 26, the corporation’s board of directors appointed Dmitry Aleksandrovich Baranov as acting general director to replace R.N. Akhmetov. An announcement was made on the company’s website.
Born in June 1970 in Kuibyshev. Baranov graduated from Samara State Aerospace University with a degree in rocket engineering in 1994. He began working at RCC Progress (then known as TsSKB Progress) the year before he graduated.
From 2005 to 2011, he served as director of the Soyuz rocket program at Europe’s Guiana Space Center in South America.
Below is the current launch schedule for March. In total, there are 8 launches planned for the month with 16 communications satellites, one meteorological satellite, and one crew mission to the International Space Station. The launches include:
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been delayed until Wednesday, Feb. 21. The launch had been previously scheduled for Feb. 16 and Feb. 18.
The primary payload is the Paz satellite for Hisdesat of Spain. The spacecraft will provide radar imaging as well as ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage.
Elon Musk’s company will also launch two of its own satellites, Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b, that will demonstration technologies needed to provide global broadband services. The company plans to orbit 12,000 in two separate constellations for its Starlink broadband service.
Here is the launch schedule for the next two weeks. Check for updates here.
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Payload: Paz Launch Time: 9:17 a.m. EST; 6:17 a.m. PST (1417 GMT) Launch Site: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Built by Airbus Defense and Space, Hisdesat’s Paz satellite will provide radar imaging as well as ship tracking and weather data. The flight will use a previously-flown first stage.
Launch Vehicle: H-2A Payload: IGS Optical 6 Launch Window: 11:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. EST on Feb. 24 (0400-0600 GMT on Feb. 25) Launch site: Tanegashima Space Center, Japan
The Japanese government’s Information Gathering Satellite carries an optical reconnaissance payload.
Thanks to the “Accord de Guyane” agreement signed April 21 by French and French Guianese officials, launch service provider Arianespace says it will be able to soon resume launch activity and can make up for delays by using previously scheduled downtime over the next two months.
“Now that an agreement has been reached, we are fully ready to resume our operations in [the Guiana Space Centre, or CSG],” an Arianespace official told SpaceNews via email April 21. “We aim to make up for the accumulated delays on the three campaigns that were under way, without impacting the rest of our manifest, by taking advantage of the CSG’s availability in May and most of June, since there were no launches scheduled those months.”
“We believe it will take about eight working days (after resumption of operations) to carry out the VA236 launch that was originally scheduled for March 21,” the Arianespace official added.
The company declined to say when exactly operations would resume.
Residents of the French overseas department have been striking over a lack of jobs, high crime and other problems. Save
The protests that have largely shut down French Guiana show no sign of diminishing as locals and government officials in France remain far apart.
The movement behind more than two weeks of social unrest in French Guiana has called for a complete shutdown of the overseas territory from Monday, after a police officer was injured.
Activists are protesting decades of under-investment in the French territory in South America, paralysed by a general strike that 37 unions called on March 25.
Locals last week rejected an offer from Paris to inject a billion dollars of aid to the territory, home to 250,000 people, instead demanding $2.5 billion (Dh9 billion) immediately.
The protests also led to the indefinite postponement of an Arianespace rocket launch at Europe’s Guiana Space Centre in Kourou.
A Collective to Get Guiana Moving, spearheading protests to improve economic development and job creation programmes, on Saturday called for a complete blockade from Monday of the territory, which relies on huge injections of public funds.
Checking in on activities down at the European spaceport in Kourou, we find the rocket base is abuzz with activity. On Wednesday, an Ariane 5 successfully delivered two communications satellites to space. It was the rocket’s fifth mission of 2011; one more and it will match the number flown last year, which ended with Arianespace actually losing money.
Meanwhile, preparations are well along for the first Soyuz launch from the spaceport on Oct. 20. The venerable Russian rocket will launch the first two satellites in Europe’s Galileo navigational constellation.
And in related news, officials announced this week that the debut of Europe’s new Vega small satellite launcher will be delayed until January. It had been set to launch from Kourou in November or December.
Russian Soyuz-ST rocket launch from Kourou set for April 2010 RIA Novosti
The first launch of Russia’s Soyuz-ST carrier rocket from the Kourou space center in French Guiana has been scheduled for the beginning of April 2010, general director of the Progress design bureau said on Tuesday.
Soyuz-ST is a modernized version of the Soyuz-2 rocket developed by the Samara-based Progress design bureau specifically for launches from Kourou.
“Next year at the start of April we must ensure the first launch of a Soyuz-ST [carrier rocket]; the first three rockets are ready,” Alexander Kirilin said, adding that a ship carrying two rockets will leave the port in St. Petersburg on November 1.
Russian rockets readied for South America launch AFP
The maker of Russia’s Soyuz rockets said on Thursday it had finished building the first rockets due to be launched from South America pad in cooperation with the European Space Agency.
“The first two rockets are ready. They have got through all the tests and have been placed in the containers in which they will be delivered,” said the deputy head of TsSKB-Progress, Sergei Tyulevin, quoted by ITAR-TASS….
Aviation Week reports that EADS-Astrium is pushing Europe to fund the development of a new medium-lift launcher to replace the Soyuz 2 rocket that will begin operating later this year from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana:
“Today, though, the Guiana Space Centre (CSG) is girding for a new era when it will host Russian rockets and Russian engineers who just a short while ago were Europe’s space rivals.
“On Sunday, a freighter is due to dock in Cayenne bearing a first consignment of 150 containers of equipment to fit out a launch pad at CSG where, from the second half of 2009, the first “European” Soyuz is scheduled to blast into space.”
“The capstone of a fleet of German military satellites rocketed into space from Russia early Tuesday, completing a series of five launchings of spacecraft designed to scout locations around the world.
“The SAR-Lupe 5 satellite, a 1,700-pound craft (771-kg) outfitted with cloud-piercing and night-vision radar, launched aboard a Russian Kosmos 3M rocket at 0240 GMT Tuesday (10:40 p.m. EDT Monday), according to news reports.”
The Ariane 5 lifted off successfully at 04:03 UT Sunday from the European Spaceport in French Guiana carrying ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle. The robotic spacecraft, dubbed Jules Verne, is bound for the International Space Station to deliver 7 metric tons of equipment and supplies.
The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with ISS several weeks from now after the space shuttle Endeavour completes its construction mission. Endeavour is schedule for launch on March 11 and is schedule to stay 16 days at the station.
ATV will conduct system checks for several weeks, including two approaches to the orbital outpost as well as â€œescapeâ€ maneuvers to back away from the station. The tests are designed to verify software and prevent any collision with ISS.
â€œThe two approach tests will give ESA, NASA and Rocket Space Corp. Energia time to critically examine the performance of ATVâ€™s systems,â€ said Brian Smith, NASAâ€™s lead ATV flight director. â€œATV must pass these tests before it will be allowed to initiate the final rendezvous and docking. The tests have been designed to verify the systems vital to ensuring the safety of the ISS and its crew perform as expected.”