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Sonntag, 7. Dezember 2014 - 21:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von 200. Langer Marsch Rakete mit CBERS-4 Satelliten für Brasilien

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he fifth cooperative mission between China and Brazil was launched at 03:26UTC on Sunday. In what was a milestone 200th launch for the Chinese rocket fleet, the CBERS-4 satellite was lofted by China’s Long March-4B from the LC9 launch complex at the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.
CBERS Program:
CBERS (China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite) is a cooperative program of China and Brazil.
In November 2002, the governments of China and Brazil decided to expand the initial agreement by including another two satellites – CBERS-3, lost in a launch mishap in December 2013, and CBERS-4 – as the second generation of the Sino-Brazilian cooperation effort.
The planned cooperative program of CAST and INPE employs enhanced versions of spacecraft and instruments. The specifications of the project were agreed upon and completed in July 2004.
In China, the CBERS satellites are referred to as Ziyuan-1 (“Resource-1″). The agreement for the development of first generation satellites was signed in July 1988 to establish a complete remote sensing system (space and ground segment) to supply both countries with multi-spectral remotely sensed imagery.
The overall objective is the observation and monitoring of the Earth’s resources and environment with a multi-sensor imaging payload providing different spatial resolutions.
The CBERS-1 ‘Ziyuan-1A’ (25940 1999-057A) spacecraft was launched at 0316UTC on October 14, 1999 by the Long March (Y1) launch vehicle from Taiyuan’s LC7 Launch Complex. CBERS-1 operated until August 2003.
CBERS-2 ‘Ziyuan-1B’ (28057 2003-049A) was launched at 0316UTC on October 21, 2003 by the Long March (Y4) also from Taiyuan’s LC7 launch complex. The spacecraft was retired in late 2007 when imagery from CBERS-2B was available.
CBERS-2B ‘Ziyua-1B2′ was launched at 0326UTC on September 19, 2007 by the Long March (Y17) launch vehicle from the Taiyuan’s LC7 launch complex. CBERS-2B was retired on May 10, 2010 due to a power failure.
CBERS-3 was launched on December 9, 2013, by the Long March (Y10) from Taiyuan’s LC9 launch complex.
In 2004, Brazil changed its CBERS data distribution and access policies.
With CBERS-2, Brazil adopted an open data distribution policy, ensuring free access through the internet to its catalogue and to full resolution images.
The same policy was adopted for CBERS-2B and will also be adopted for the new satellite. The policy was also extended to neighboring countries under the footprint of the Cuiaba-Brazil ground station and archived at INPE’s catalog.
CBERS-4:
CBERS-4 – with a mass of 1,980 kg – will operate on a sun-synchronous orbit at 778 km altitude with an inclination of 98.504 deg and 100.26-minute orbital period. This orbit has a repeat cycle of 26 days.
The launch of CBERS-4 was originally scheduled for December 2015. However, due to the loss of CBERS-3, China and Brazil agreed to anticipate the launch one year.
The spacecraft consists of a hexahedron shaped structure divided in service and payload modules. In the orbital configuration, the Z axis is pointed to the Earth’s surface. The cameras and antennas are mounted on the +Z side panel. The solar panel is mounted on the -Y side panel and rotates around the Y axis.
The antennas, thrusters and attitude sensors – such as sun sensors and infrared Earth sensors – are mounted on other panels.
The spacecraft is 3-axis stabilized keeping the imager pointed toward nadir. The AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control Subsystem) includes sensors, gyros, GPS receiver, a control computer, momentum wheels and a hydrazine propulsion system.
Thermal control is achieved mainly by passive means using thermal coating and multi-layer insulation blankets. Heat pipes and heaters are also used. The EPS (Electrical Power Subsystem) uses triple-junction GaAs solar panels, a shunt regulator, battery charge control, a battery discharge regulator, DC/DC converters and NiCd (Nickel Cadmium) batteries. The EPS can provide 2.30 kW to the spacecraft.
The nominal payload capability of the platform is 1,000 kg; the mass of the entire spacecraft is 1,980 kg. In its launch configuration, the dimensions are: 2.5 x 2.0 x 1.8 m. Solar panel dimensions are 6.3 x 2.6 m.
The OBDH (On-Board Data Handling) subsystem consists of a main computer and 7 remote terminal units to provide onboard data handling and the spacecraft monitoring and control functions. The S-band is used for the TT&C functions providing two-way communications with the ground. The S-band antenna offers a near omni-directional coverage.
The payload image data is downlinked in X-band by two TWTA transmitters. One of them has three carriers modulated in QPSK (Quadra-Phase Shift Keying): The on-board recorder has a capacity of 274 Gbit, and is capable of recordoing data from all cameras.
CBERS-4 carries four cameras in the payload module, with improved geometrical and radiometric performance (MUXCam, PanMUX, IRS and WFI).
MUXCam is an INPE instrument designed and developed at Opto Eletrônica S. A., of São Carlos, São Paulo, Brazil. The objective is to provide imagery for cartographic applications. MUXCam is a multispectral camera with four spectral bands covering the wavelength range from blue to near infrared (from 450 nm to 890 nm) with a ground resolution of 20 m and a ground swath width of 120 km.
The MUXCam instrument consists of three devices: RBNA, RBNB and RBNC. The RBNA provides image acquisition and is composed of the optical system (entrance mirror and lens assembly), optical housing and the focal plane assembly.
The RBNC subsystem is responsible for generating the CCD reading clocks, processing the CCD analog outputs to a digital signal, and then encoding the signal into a serial data stream. This data is transmitted to the satellite.
The CCD detector is a 4-line array, each line having 6000 pixels of size: 13 µm x 13 µm. Spectral thin films, deposited over a window that covers the photosensitive elements of the CCD, are responsible for the separation of the four spectral bands.
Provided by China, the PanMUX (Panchromatic and Multispectral Camera) is a CCD pushbroom camera that provides panchromatic images with 5m GSD (Ground Sample Distance) and three band multispectral images with 10 m GSD.
The camera has a swath width of 60 km and a side-viewing capability of ±32º. The PanMUX has focal plane adjustment and on-orbit calibration capabilities.
Also provided by China and developed on the heritage of the Infrared Multispectral Scanner used on previous missions, the IRS (Infrared System) or IRMSS-2 (Infrared Multispectral Scanner-2) is an imager with 4 spectral bands. The spatial resolution is halved with regard to IRMSS.
The WFI (Wide-Field Imager) (also referred to as WFI-2) is an advanced version of the INPE instrument flown on CBERS-1, and CBERS-2, featuring 4 spectral bands with a ground resolution of 64 m at nadir and a ground swath of 866 km.
The WFI instrument on CBERS-4 provides also an improved spatial resolution in comparison with the previous WFI sensors on board of the CBERS-1 and CBERS-2 satellites (260 m on previous missions), maintaining, however, its high temporal resolution of 5 days.
This camera will be used for remote sensing of the Earth and it is aimed to work at an altitude of 778 km. The optical system is designed for four spectral bands covering the range of wavelengths from blue to near infrared and its FOV (Field of View) is ±28.63º, which covers 866 km, with a ground resolution of 64 m at nadir.
WFI has been developed through a consortium formed by Opto Electrônica S. A. and Equatorial Sistemas. The optical system development and the performance analyses (including optical system MTF, distortion, polarization sensitivity and stray-light) was executed using ZEMAX software.
Beside the cameras, CBERS-4 will have the DCS (Data Collection System) and the SEM (Space Environment Monitor). The DCS is provided by INPE and the SEM is provided by CAST (Chinese Academy of Space Technology).
Launch vehicle and launch site:
The feasibility study of the Chang Zheng-4 began in 1982 based on the Feng Bao-1 launch vehicle. Engineering development was initiated in the following year. Initially, the Chang Zheng-4 served as a back-up launch vehicle for Chang Zheng-3 to launch China’s communications satellites.
After the successful launch of China’s first DFH-2 communications satellites by Chang Zheng-3, the main mission of the Chang Zheng-4 was shifted to launch sun-synchronous orbit meteorological satellites. On other hand, the Chang Zheng-4B launch vehicle was first introduced in May 1999 and also developed by the Shanghai Academy of Space Flight Technology (SAST), based on the Chang Zheng-4.
The rocket is capable of launching a 2,800 kg satellite into low Earth orbit, developing 2,971 kN at launch. With a mass of 248,470 kg, the CZ-4B is 45.58 meters long and has a diameter of 3.35 meters.
SAST began to develop the Chang Zheng-4B in February 1989. Originally, it was scheduled to be commissioned in 1997, but the first launch didn’t take place until late 1999. The modifications introduced on the Chang Zheng-4B included a larger satellite fairing and the replacement of the original mechanical-electrical control on the Chang Zheng-4 with an electronic control.
Other modifications include improved telemetry, tracking, control, and self-destruction systems with smaller size and lighter weight; a revised nozzle design in the second stage for better high-altitude performance; a propellant management system for the second stage to reduce the spare propellant amount, thus increasing the vehicle’s payload capability; and a propellant jettison system on the third-stage.
The first stage has a 24.65 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter, consuming 183,340 kg of N2O4/UDMH (gross mass of first stage is 193.330 kg). The vehicle is equipped with a YF-21B engine capable of a ground thrust of 2,971 kN and a ground specific impulse of 2,550 Ns/kg. The second stage has a 10.40 meter length with a 3.35 meter diameter and 38,326 kg, consuming 35,374 kg of N2O4/UDMH.
The vehicle is equipped with a YF-22B main engine capable of a vacuum thrust of 742 kN and four YF-23B vernier engines with a vacuum thrust of 47.1 kN (specific impulses of 2,922 Ns/kg and 2,834 Ns/kg, respectively).
The third stage has a 4.93 meter length with a 2.9 meter diameter, consuming 12,814 kg of N2O4/UDMH. Having a gross mass of 14,560 kg, it is equipped with a YF-40 engine capable of a vacuum thrust of 100.8 kN and a specific impulse in vacuum of 2,971 Ns/kg.
This was the 213th orbital launch by China, also being the 201st successful Chinese orbital launch, the 50th successful launch from Taiyuan, the 13th orbital launch by China in 2014 and the 5th from Taiyuan. Notably, it was the 200th Long March launch.
Situated in the Kelan County in the northwest part of the Shanxi Province, the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) is also known by the Wuzhai designation. It is used mainly for polar launches (meteorological, Earth resources and scientific satellites).
The launch center has two single-pad launch complexes, a technical area for rocket and spacecraft preparations, a communications centre, a mission command and control centre, and a space tracking centre.
The stages of the rocket were transported to the launch centre by railway, and offloaded at a transit station south of the launch complex. They were then transported by road to the technical area for checkout procedures.
The launch vehicles were assembled on the launch pad by using a crane at the top of the umbilical tower to hoist each stage of the vehicle in place. Satellites were airlifted to the Taiyuan Wusu Airport about 300km away, and then transported to the centre by road.
The TT&C Centre, also known as Lüliang Command Post, is headquartered in the city of Taiyuan, It has four subordinate radar tracking stations in Yangqu (Shanxi), Lishi (Shanxi), Yulin (Shaanxi), and Hancheng (Shaanxi).
Quelle: NS
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Tags: Raumfahrt 

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Samstag, 6. Dezember 2014 - 22:10 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Ariane-5 - VA221 am 6.Dezember - LIVE Update

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13.10.2014

Ariane Flight VA221
Preparations for Arianespace’s sixth Ariane 5 mission in 2014 are gearing up with two separate milestones marked this week in French Guiana: arrival of one of the flight’s two satellite passengers – DIRECTV-14 – and the assembly start-up for its heavy-lift launcher.
The DIRECTV-14 spacecraft – which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV – was transported by a chartered An-124 cargo jetliner that landed at Félix Eboué International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne, then unloaded for its transfer by road to the Spaceport.
Based on SSL’s 1300-series platform, this high-capacity satellite is to strengthen DIRECTV’s direct-to-home (DTH) digital entertainment services across the United States and Puerto Rico.
In parallel activity, the mission’s Ariane 5 is coming together as initial build-up procedures involving this workhorse vehicle are performed in French Guiana.
Located inside the Spaceport’s Launcher Integration Building, the Ariane 5 began taking shape during a multi-step process with positioning of the vehicle’s cryogenic core stage over its mobile launch table, followed by integration of the two solid propellant boosters.
The mission is designated Flight VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system, on which DIRECT-14 will be joined by its co-passenger: the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT-16 telecommunications satellite. 
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The Ariane 5 cryogenic core stage for Flight VA221 is readied to be raised into position over its mobile launch table to initiate the build-up activity.
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 25.10.2014
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India's GSAT-16 reaches French Guiana for launch by Ariane 5 in early December
India's communication satellite GSAT-16, that will be a co-passenger on the sixth Ariane 5 mission scheduled for early December, reached Arianespace's spaceport at Korou in French Guiana earlier this week, the European commercial satellite launch company said.
 
A press release from Arianespace said the satellite reached the Félix Eboué International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne by a chartered cargo aircraft. From there, it was transferred by road to the spaceport.
 
Designed, assembled and integrated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), GSAT-16 – which will weigh approximately 3,150 kg. at liftoff – is meant to deliver C- and Ku-band telecommunications services that include very small aperture terminal (VSAT) transmissions, TV broadcasting and emergency communications.
 
GSAT-16’s co-passenger on the Arianespace mission – DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV – arrived in French Guiana earlier this month and is being readied for launch at the spaceport.
 
Ariane 5’s early December FLIGHT is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system for its family of launchers, which also includes the medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega, the release added.
 
According to ISRO, GSAT-16 is a communication satellite configured around I-3K extended bus with a lift off mass of 3150 kg and 6500 W power GENERATION capacity with mission life of more than 12 years. 
 
The spacecraft's commercial payload includes transponders in Ku and C-band. GSAT-16 is aimed at further augmenting communication services in the country, it said.
n November last year, Arianespace had said ISRO had chosen it to launch its GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 telecommunication satellites.
 
GSAT-15 will also ahve lift-off weight of 3150 kg and 6500 W power GENERATION capacity. Its commercial payload will include Ku-Band transponders and a two-channel GAGAN payload. 
 
On August 30 last year, Arianespace's Ariane 5-VA 215 launch vehicle had launched India's first DEDICATEDmaritime communications satellite, GSAT-7, which will have defence applications also.
 
ISRO has a long history of launching payloads with Arianespace – DATING back to the third mission of an Ariane-series vehicle in 1981. Arianespace has so far launched 17 satellites for ISRO, including INSAT-3D, which was a co-passenger on Ariane FLIGHT VA214 in July last year.
Quelle: NetIndian
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Update: 27.10.2014 
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India's GSAT-16 is delivered to French Guiana for the next Arianespace Ariane 5 launch

Protected by its shipping container, GSAT-16 is unloaded from the cargo jetliner following this Indian satellite’s delivery to French Guiana.
Ariane Flight VA221
Both satellite passengers for Arianespace’s sixth Ariane 5 mission of 2014 are now in French Guiana, marking a new milestone as preparations continue ahead of this heavy-lift flight scheduled for early December.
The GSAT-16 spacecraft arrived this week at Félix Eboué International Airport near the capital city of Cayenne. It was delivered by a chartered cargo aircraft and after touching down in French Guiana, subsequently was unloaded for transfer by road to the Spaceport.
Designed, assembled and integrated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), GSAT-16 – which will weigh approximately 3,150 kg. at liftoff – is to deliver C- and Ku-band telecommunications services that include very small aperture terminal (VSAT) transmissions, TV broadcasting and emergency communications.
GSAT-16’s co-passenger on the upcoming Arianespace mission – DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV – arrived in French Guiana earlier this month and is being readied for launch at the Spaceport.
Ariane 5’s early December flight is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system for its family of launchers, which also includes the medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega.
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 2.11.2014 
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DIRECTV-14 is fueled for Arianespace’s next Ariane 5 launch

DIRECTV-14 receives its propellant load inside the S5A fueling and integration hall of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility.

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The DIRECTV-14 satellite has been fueled at the Spaceport as preparations continue for its launch on Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 mission – which is scheduled for liftoff in early December, with India’s GSAT-16 as the co-passenger.
Built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV, the high-capacity spacecraft received its propellant load in the S5A fueling and integration hall – with this activity coming after DIRECTV-14’s fit-check process performed earlier this month in the Spaceport’s S5C clean room facility.
Based on the SSL 1300 platform, DIRECTV-14 is a 20-kilowatt class Ka-band and reverse-band digital broadcast satellite that will be used to deliver Ultra HD and other new consumer services for DIRECTV. It was designed with a very advanced beam forming network to provide service across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
DIRECTV-14 will be joined on the flight by the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT-16 telecommunications satellite – which also is being readied for launch at the Spaceport, and is designed to provide telecommunications services that include VSAT transmissions, TV broadcasting and emergency communications.
Ariane 5’s early December mission with DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system for its family of launchers. 
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 9.11.2014
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GSAT-16 is put through its paces for Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 flight

Ariane Flight VA221
The Indian GSAT-16 telecommunications satellite for Arianespace’s next heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission is undergoing a detailed checkout at the Spaceport in French Guiana ahead of its scheduled liftoff on December 4.
GSAT-16 was designed, assembled and integrated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and validations performed in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility include its initial fit-check with launch vehicle hardware, as well as solar panel deployment.
The latter step involved the extension of GSAT-16’s multi-segment solar panels, validating the proper operation before they are definitively stowed against the satellite in the final liftoff configuration. This particular test uses an overhead latticework that helps support the solar panel's weight – simulating zero gravity conditions of space as the panel opens to its full length.
GSAT-16 will weigh approximately 3,150 kg. at liftoff, and is to deliver C- and Ku-band telecommunications services that include very small aperture terminal (VSAT) transmissions, TV broadcasting and emergency communications.
For the upcoming launch, GSAT-16 will be joined by its co-passenger: DIRECTV-14, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV.
The December 4 flight with Ariane 5 is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system for its family of launchers, which also includes the medium-lift Soyuz and light-lift Vega. 
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 15.11.2014 
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Ariane Flight VA221
Arianespace’s sixth Ariane 5 for launch in 2014 is now ready to receive its two satellite passengers after this workhorse vehicle was moved to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building in French Guiana.
The Ariane 5 rolled out yesterday from the Launcher Integration Building – where its core cryogenic stage, two solid boosters and cryogenic upper stage were mated by industrial architect Airbus Defence and Space – to the Final Assembly Building for delivery to Arianespace.
Now under Arianespace’s responsibility, the launcher is set for integration of its payloads – the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT-16; and DIRECTV-14, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV. This activity will be followed by the final verifications and subsequent transfer to the ELA-3 launch zone in advance of the scheduled December 4 liftoff.
This upcoming heavy-lift flight is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system, signifying the 221st flight of an Ariane family vehicle since 1979. 
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 16.11.2014
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DirecTV 14 set for December 4 launch

Arianespace’s sixth Ariane 5 for launch in 2014 is now ready to receive its two satellite passengers after the vehicle was moved to the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building in French Guiana.
The Ariane 5 rolled out from the Launcher Integration Building – where its core cryogenic stage, two solid boosters and cryogenic upper stage were mated by industrial architect Airbus Defence and Space – to the Final Assembly Building for delivery to Arianespace.
Now under Arianespace’s responsibility, the launcher is set for integration of its payloads – the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT-16; and DirecTV-14, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DirecTV.
This activity will be followed by the final verifications and subsequent transfer to the ELA-3 launch zone in advance of the scheduled December 4 liftoff.
This upcoming heavy-lift flight is designated VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system, signifying the 221st flight of an Ariane family vehicle since 1979.
DirecTV 14 is a high-capacity spacecraft that will use Ka-band and the new “Reverse” DBS band to expand HD and other new consumer services. This satellite will be the sixth SSL-built satellite in DirecTV’s fleet based on the 1300 satellite platform.
This satellite will provide service for users across the US (including Hawaii and Alaska) and Puerto Rico.
Quelle: BTN
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Update: 21.11.2014 
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GSAT-16 is fueled for its Ariane 5 launch with DIRECTV-14 on December 4


Ariane Flight VA221

India’s GSAT-16 telecommunications satellite has been fueled at the Spaceport for its launch on Arianespace’s next heavy-lift Ariane 5 mission, which is scheduled for December 4 from French Guiana.
Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), GSAT-16 will have a liftoff mass of approximately 3,150 kg.  It carries Ku- and C-band transponders to further augment communication services across India.
GSAT-16 will be joined on Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 mission by co-passenger DIRECTV-14, which was built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV.  This relay platform is a 20-kilowatt-class Ka-band and reverse-band digital broadcast satellite, to be used in delivering Ultra HD and other new consumer services for DIRECTV.
The mission with GSAT-16 and DIRECTV-14 will be Ariane 5’s sixth launch in 2014, and is designated Flight VA221 in Arianespace’s numbering system for its family of launchers – which also includes the medium-lift Soyuz and lightweight Vega vehicles.
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 29.11.2014
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DIRECTV-14 is “pointed” for its liftoff next week on Arianespace’s dual-payload Ariane 5 mission

Ariane Flight VA221
The upper passenger for Arianespace’s dual-satellite launch from French Guiana next week has been encapsulated in its protective payload fairing, preparing the DIRECTV-14 relay platform for its integration on Ariane 5.
During activity in the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5, DIRECTV-14 was mounted on the launcher’s SYLDA dispenser unit, followed by the lowering of a large ogive-shaped payload fairing over the combined unit – creating the mission’s “upper composite” section.
With this step completed, the upper composite is now ready to be integrated on the launcher by its positioning atop the mission’s other passenger, India’s GSAT-16 satellite, which is to be integrated on Ariane 5’s core cryogenic stage.
DIRECTV-14 is the larger of Ariane 5’s two passengers on the December 4 mission, and will serve as a 20-kilowatt class Ka-band and reverse-band digital broadcast satellite to deliver Ultra HD and other new consumer services for DIRECTV. Based on the SSL (Space Systems/Loral) 1300 spacecraft platform with a liftoff mass of approximately 6,300 kg., it is to provide service for users across the U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska) and Puerto Rico.
The GSAT-16 satellite that also will be launched on the upcoming Ariane 5 mission was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and carries Ku- and C-band transponders to further augment communication services across India. GSAT-16’s liftoff mass is estimated at 3,180 kg.
Arianespace’s December 4 launch is designed Flight VA221 in the company’s launcher family numbering system, signifying the 221st liftoff of an Ariane family vehicle from the Spaceport. 
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 1.12.2014
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Launcher buildup completed: DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 are both integrated for this week’s Ariane 5 liftoff

Ariane Flight VA221
The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s upcoming flight from French Guiana is now complete following integration of its two satellite passengers: DIRECTV-14 for operator DIRECTV, and the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) GSAT-16 – both of which will be orbited on this heavy-lift mission planned for December 4.
Encapsulated in the ogive-shaped protective fairing, DIRECTV-14 has been positioned atop GSAT-16 – which was installed on the launcher’s cryogenic core stage during activity inside the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5.
These successful integration steps enable a new series of preparation milestones to begin. They include the launch readiness review on December 2, which is to be followed by Ariane 5’s rollout to the ELA-3 launch zone the next day.
Liftoff is scheduled during a 1-hr., 10-min. launch window opening on December 4 at 5:38 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the two spacecraft to be deployed on a flight lasting approximately 32 minutes.
Ariane 5 will deliver a payload lift performance of more than 10,200 kg. during the mission, which includes a combined total of over 9,470 kg. for DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16, plus the launch vehicle’s dual-passenger dispenser system and satellite integration hardware.
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Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 3.12.2014
 
 
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 4.12.2014 / 15.00 MEZ
 
 
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The Ariane 5 nears completion of its transfer from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building – where this heavy-lift vehicle received its DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 payloads – to the ELA-3 launch zone.
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Ariane Flight VA221
Ariane 5 is now at the ELA-3 launch complex for its December 4 mission in service of two long-standing Arianespace customers: DIRECTV and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
During activity at the Spaceport today, the workhorse heavy-lift vehicle – with its DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 dual-passenger payload – was transferred atop its mobile launch table from the Final Assembly Building to the dedicated Ariane 5 launch zone.
Designated Flight VA221 in the company’s numbering system, Arianespace’s sixth heavy-lift mission of the year is scheduled to lift off tomorrow during a 1-hr., 10-min. launch window that opens at 5:38 p.m. local time in French Guiana.
As the seventh satellite to be lofted by Arianespace with a DIRECTV payload, DIRECTV-14 is the mission’s upper passenger and will be released first in the flight sequence at nearly 28 minutes after liftoff. Built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral), DIRECTV-14 is a 20-kilowatt class Ka-band and reverse-band digital broadcast satellite that will deliver Ultra HD and other new consumer services for DIRECTV.
GSAT-16 – which is installed in the vehicle’s lower position – will be the 18th satellite launched by Arianespace for ISRO and is to be separated at just over 32 minutes after liftoff to complete Ariane 5’s mission. Carrying Ku- and C-band transponders to further augment communication services across India, the GSAT-16 spacecraft was developed by the country’s ISRO space agency.
Quelle: arianespace
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Update: 19.30 MEZ
 
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Arianespace Vol VA221
Ariane 5 ECA –DIRECTV-14/GSAT-16
Launch postponed 
In keeping with the CNES/CSG safety regulations, the launch of Arianespace Flight 221 has been postponed due to unfavourable weather conditions over the launch pad in Kourou, French Guiana. Flight 221 will place into geostationary transfer orbit the DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16 telecommunications satellites.
Another launch date will be decided depending on the evolution of the weather conditions in Kourou.
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Update: 6.12.2014 
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GSAT-16 satellite set to be launched tomorrow
Bengaluru, Dec 6, 2014, (PTI) :
 
After being deferred twice,India's latest communication satellite GSAT-16 will be launched tomorrow from the space port of Kourou, French Guiana, Indian Space Research Organisation said.
"GSAT-16 launch is rescheduled on early morning of Dec 07 at 02:10 hrs (IST) from French Guiana," ISRO said on its website.
Hit by inclement weather, the launch of GSAT-16 was deferred for the second time yesterday after it was rescheduled to be put into space in the early hours today by Ariane 5 rocket.
The satellite launch was originally scheduled for Friday but was put off. ISRO had rescheduled it for today at 02.09 AM (IST) but within hours it was postponed again, citing the inclement weather at the launch base.
Ariane 5 VA221 is to place in orbit GSAT-16 which is designed to augment the national space capacity in communication services, along with DIRECTV-14, built by SSL (Space Systems/Loral) for operator DIRECTV to provide direct-to-home television broadcasts across the US.
The capacity crunch has forced ISRO to lease 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for private TV broadcasters' use.
GSAT-16, with a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years, will boost public and private TV and radio services, large-scale Internet and telephone operations.
GSAT-16 will replace INSAT-3E, decommissioned prematurely in April. It will be the 18th satellite to be launched by Arianespace for ISRO.
Quelle: Deccan Herald
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Arianespace Flight VA221 scheduled for December 6
Kourou, December 6, 2014
In light of the improvement in the weather conditions over the Guiana Space Center, Arianespace has decided to restart the countdown for Ariane Flight VA221. This mission will place two satellites into orbit: DIRECTV-14 and GSAT-16.
Lift-off of the Ariane 5 ECA launcher is now set for the night of Saturday, December 6, as early as possible in the following launch window:
From 5:40 p.m. to 6:49 p.m., local time in Kourou, French Guiana
From 3:40 p.m. to 4:49 p.m. in Washington D.C.
From 8:40 p.m. to 9:49 p.m. UTC,
From 9:40 p.m. to 10:49 p.m. in Paris,
From 2:10 a.m. to 3:19 a.m. in Bangalore, on Sunday, December 7.
Quelle: arianespace
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Quelle: arianespace-tv
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An Ariane 5 has lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana and delivered two telecom satellites into their planned orbits.
Launch of flight VA221 occurred on 6 December at 20:40 GMT (21:40 CET, 17:40 local time).
DirecTV-14, with a mass of about 6300 kg and mounted on top of Ariane’s Sylda dual-payload carrier, was the first to be released about 28 minutes into the mission.
Following a series of burns controlled by Ariane’s computer, the Sylda structure encasing the 3181 kg GSAT-16 was then jettisoned. GSAT was released into its own transfer orbit about four and a half minutes after the first satellite.
DirecTV-14, owned by DirecTV, will be positioned at 99°W longitude in geostationary orbit to deliver Ultra HD direct-to-home TV across the USA and Puerto Rico. The satellite has a design life of about 15 years.
GSAT-16, owned by the Indian Space Research Organization, will be positioned at 55°E in geostationary orbit to augment communication services across India. It has a design life of 12 years.
The payload mass for this launch was 10 352 kg. The satellites totalled 9481 kg, with payload adapters and carrying structures making up the rest.
Quelle: ESA

Tags: Raumfahrt 

2165 Views

Samstag, 6. Dezember 2014 - 13:31 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Orion´s Feuerprobe liefert Daten für endgültige Konstruktion

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER/JOHNSON SPACE CENTER – NASA’s new Orion crew capsule flew its first test in space with clocklike precision Friday, using two unmanned orbits that took it deeper into space than any human spacecraft has gone since Apollo 17 before a bull’s-eye splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
On board was a load of recorded engineering data that will shape final design as the agency builds toward astronaut flights to lunar orbit and ultimately Mars. Navy divers recovered the 19,000-lb. capsule – once described as "Apollo on steroids" – using the flooded well deck of the USS Anchorage, after allowing its heat shield to cool down from the 4,000 F heat of re-entry.
Mission Control Center-Houston sent one of its first inflight commands to the next-generation crew vehicle during the 4-hr., 24-min. mission, extending post-touchdown powered operations for 45 min. beyond the automated shutoff once it was clear there was enough battery power left so data on residual cabin heating from the shield could be recorded.
That data, and the recorded input from some 1,200 sensors scattered throughout the flight-test article, will be downloaded and processed at West Coast facilities of Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin. Some of it may help engineers trim weight from the Avcoat heat shield and other structures as they prepare for the next Orion flight – a second unmanned mission that will take a more complete Orion around the Moon as early as 2017.
"We have every expectation this flight today will be the first of decades of flights of Orion and [the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS)]," said Administrator Charles Bolden, shortly before Orion lifted off on the first and only planned Orion Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) at 7:05 EST, after a one-day delay because of weather.
Testing began almost immediately after the vehicle’s three-barrel United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy dropped its two outermost core stages 3 min., 56 sec. into the flight and its center core stage shut down and separated 1 min., 33 sec. after that. With the single RL-10 engine firing in the upper stage to place the test article in its first orbit, pyrotechnic systems separated the load-bearing panels that protected a boilerplate version of the Orion service module under development by the European Space Agency.
Five seconds later a solid-fuel jettison motor supplied by Aerojet Rocketdyne pulled the inert launch abort system off the vehicle, leaving the Orion capsule and its service module exposed to open space.
The upper stage engine roared to life again at 9 a.m., for 4 min., 40 sec. to achieve a 3,604.2-mi. peak altitude for the mission at 10:11 a.m. The last human-rated vehicle to achieve that altitude was Apollo 17, which launched on Dec. 7, 1972.
On the way to apogee the vehicle passed through the Van Allen radiation belts, which tested the avionics in a real space environment and provided data that will shape the shielding that protects future crews. The only effect noted initially was a video-processor reset, according to Mike Hawes, Lockheed Martin’s Orion program manager.
However, flight controllers at Johnson Space Center – space-shuttle veterans all – had some 600 contingency commands at their disposal in case of more serious radiation effects or other problems, according to Larry Price, Hawes’ deputy.
The final testing came on re-entry, when the capsule’s heat shield – built of the same material that protected the Apollo command module but 50% larger – encountered 4,000 F plasma as it re-entered. Engineers were waiting on the recovery vessels to inspect the shield – and the rest of the vehicle – as soon as the divers positioned it for recovery in the Anchorage’s well deck and pumped out the water.
The vehicle performed almost nominally in the atmosphere, jettisoning its back shield to expose its set of 11 drogue and main parachutes. The only visible bobbles came when one of the bags designed to turn the capsule upright failed to inflate, and another inflated only partially. But the Orion landed heat shield down, and stayed that way as the divers waited for it to cool.
The voyage back to Naval Base San Diego was expected to take two days. During the trip to port, the capsule will be repositioned in a special cradle to hasten offloading ashore.
Under the contract covering the $370 million mission, Lockheed Martin must analyze the data it generated and report back to NASA in 90 days, Hawes said. The results will be used in designing the unmanned first Exploration Mission (EM-1) vehicle already in early fabrication, and the EM-2 capsule that will take four astronauts around the Moon as early as 2021.
"We’re trying to build a system that’s manufacturable and fairly easy to reproduce," said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations. "We want to keep our operating costs as reasonable as we can, so we don’t end up with each spacecraft being totally unique from a manufacturing standpoint."
Quelle: AviationWeek
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Statement by John P. Holdren on the Successful Test Launch and Recovery of the Orion Spacecraft
Upon successful launch and recovery of the Orion spacecraft on Friday White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John P. Holdren issued the following statement:
"With today’s successful test launch and recovery of the Orion spacecraft, NASA has taken an important step towards the goal of human exploration of the solar system.  Support from private-sector aerospace partners for the Orion effort – as well as for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program to develop safe, reliable, and cost-effective access to and from space – reflects the Administration’s commitment to create jobs, bolster the American economy, and build the strongest commercial space industry in the world.  
“President Obama’s vision is to develop a balanced space program that supports a sustainable human exploration program, expands scientific knowledge, and invests in transformational technologies that will greatly increase our capabilities in space.  We congratulate the men and women of NASA and their commercial partners for this successful test launch, and we look forward to future milestones on the journey to Mars."
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 

2063 Views

Samstag, 6. Dezember 2014 - 09:12 Uhr

Astronomie - Zum ersten Mal konnte riesiger galaktischer Gas Ausbruch beobachtet werden

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(Image: University of Hertfordshire)
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It's the galactic equivalent of steam shooting out of a pressure cooker. For the first time, a colourful jet of gas has been spotted being forced out of a galaxy – by just the pressure of stars forming at the galactic centre.
The sighting, made by a team led by James Geach at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield, UK, while measuring gas around a compact galaxy called SDSS J0905+57, shows that the energy from a growing central black hole isn't necessarily required for such a blow out to occur, as was previously assumed.
The huge amount of gas in the jet, which is being blasted out at up to 1000 kilometres per second, could form the equivalent of more than a billion suns. The loss of so much material would have a major impact on the evolution of the galaxy, causing the stellar nursery to rapidly shut down.
"We are witnessing the aggressive termination of star formation," says Geach.
Quelle: NewScientist

Tags: Astronomie 

2018 Views

Freitag, 5. Dezember 2014 - 18:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Splashdown von Raumschiff ORION - LIVE-Update-8

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Critical Step on the Journey to Mars
NASA's new spacecraft, Orion, is now more than 3,000 miles above Earth after the second engine burn of the Delta IV Heavy rocket.  Orion launched from Florida  this morning and is expected to splashdown in the Pacific at around 11:29 a.m. EST.
Orion is designed to take humans beyond Earth orbit into deep space, including missions to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.

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Quelle: Frams: NASA-TV



Tags: Raumfahrt 

2240 Views

Freitag, 5. Dezember 2014 - 14:50 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Lift Off von Raumschiff ORION - LIVE-Update-7

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2001 Views

Freitag, 5. Dezember 2014 - 13:10 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Raumschiff ORION - LIVE-Update-6

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5.12.2014 / 11.33 MEZ

Launch Team Gives ‘Go’ For Tanking; Orion Set to Launch This Morning

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The first flight test of Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft capable of sending astronauts on future missions to an asteroid and the journey to Mars, is scheduled to launch today at 7:05 a.m. EST, atop a ULA Delta IV Heavy from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Orion/Delta IV launch teams approved fueling this morning of the Delta IV Heavy rocket with cryogenic propellants. NASA TV coverage begins at 6 a.m. There is a two-hour, 39-minute launch window.
During the flight test, the un-crewed Orion will orbit Earth twice and travel to a distance of 3,600 miles into space before splashing down in the Pacific.
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Our administrator, Charles Bolden, said that today's #Orion launch will be a "big day for the world."
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Tags: Raumfahrt 

2214 Views

Freitag, 5. Dezember 2014 - 09:50 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Raumschiff ORION - LIVE-Update-5

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Orion Launch Weather Forecast Improves

Meteorologists upgraded their outlook for Orion’s launch tomorrow morning to give it a 70 percent chance of acceptable conditions. The forecast says drier conditions are expected and the chance of coastal showers has diminished during the 2-hour, 39-minute launch window. The primary rules concerns remain flight through precipitation and high winds.
With less than 23 hours remaining before Orion begins its first flight test with a launch on a Delta IV Heavy rocket, everything remains on track for liftoff at 7:05 a.m. EST. The Mobile Service Tower enclosing the rocket and spacecraft will be rolled back to its launch position late tonight, revealing the Orion stack on the launch stand at Space Launch Complex 37.
Quelle: NASA

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Update: 4.12.2014 / 9.30 MEZ

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Orion Test Flight Brings Back That Old Apollo Feeling at NASA

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — This week's first-ever test flight of NASA's Orion deep-space capsule is all about the future of America's space effort, but it's also about reviving the past.
"I feel like the Blues Brothers — we're getting the band back together," Bob Cabana, director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, said Wednesday during a news conference at the Orion's Florida launch pad.
The cone-shaped Orion craft is due for liftoff at 7:05 a.m. Thursday, atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 37. Mission managers said there were no major technical issues standing in the way of an on-time launch.
Forecasters raised the chances of acceptable weather to 70 percent from 60 percent, with the possibility of rain or high winds looming as the only factors that could spoil the launch.
This Orion test vehicle won't be carrying a crew. The flight is meant only to check out the spacecraft's systems for the first time in space — particularly its heat shield and parachutes. But a full-featured version of the spaceship is scheduled to send astronauts beyond Earth orbit in 2021, for the first time since the Apollo 17 moonshot in 1972.
NASA plans to use Orion spaceships to send astronauts to an asteroid by the mid-2020s, and to Mars and its moons starting in the 2030s.
"What you will see tomorrow is building upon the legacy of Apollo. ... If we didn't want to go to Mars, then we shouldn't have done Apollo," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden told reporters.
Echoes of Apollo
Even this crewless outing — known as Exploration Flight Test 1, or EFT-1 — carries echoes of Apollo: The 4.5-hour, two-orbit trip will send Orion 3,600 miles out from Earth, the farthest that a spacecraft meant for humans has flown since 1972. And it will splash down in the Pacific Ocean — just like NASA's last Apollo spaceship, which returned to Earth at the end of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.
"It's been close to 40 years since NASA has recovered a human-rated spacecraft from the ocean," said Jeff Angermeier, who manages ground systems development and operations for the EFT-1 mission.
Apollo veterans will be on hand on the recovery ship as well as in Mission Control. Angermeier said Milt Heflin — who was onboard the recovery vessels for eight splashdowns during the Apollo and Skylab eras — is aboard the USS Anchorage this time around. And Apollo flight director Gene Kranz (famous for "Failure Is Not an Option") will be a VIP guest at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
EFT-1's lead flight director, Mike Serafin, acknowledged that his team sought veterans' guidance "about how they did things under Apollo." He also noted that everyone at Mission Control was a veteran of the space shuttle program, which ended in 2011.
Serafin seconded Cabana's sentiment about getting the band back together. "We haven't had this feeling in a while, since the end of the shuttle program," he said.
Photographers set up remote cameras on Wednesday to record the launch of NASA's Orion space capsule atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
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Test flight for the team
This time around, NASA managers aren't the only players in the band: In fact, the prime contractor for the Orion program, Lockheed Martin, is handling launch logistics for the $370 million test flight under a novel arrangement with NASA.
"This is a test flight of the ways we work together as well," said Mike Hawes, Lockheed Martin's Orion program manager.
For NASA, even the fact that people are paying attention to the Orion test flight comes as a welcome blast from the past. The space agency says more than 500 journalists and 150 #NASASocial tweeters and bloggers have been accredited for the launch — which is more than for any other Florida launch since the shuttle fleet's retirement. Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to watch liftoff.
"It is exciting to me, to see you," Bolden told the crowd who attended Wednesday's launch-pad news conference.
Quelle: NBC
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@NASA
Fill-&-drain valves on 3 core boosters will be cycled open & closed to see if that solves the problem.
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Once it launches, @NASA_Orion flight will test parachutes, avionics, & altitude control. Hour left in #launch window!

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NASA's Orion launch scrubbed
Space agency set to try again Friday
Follow the Progress of NASA's New Spacecraft for Human Exploration
Friday Opportunity at 7:05 A.M. EST
Thu, 04 Dec 2014 14:46:35 GMT
The launch team has tentatively set a liftoff time of 7:05 a.m. EST, the opening of a 2-hour, 39 minute window just as today. We will begin our launch coverage at 6 a.m. tomorrow on NASA TV and on the Orion blog. Tune into the blog and NASA.gov for continuing updates throughout the day.
Quelle: NASA
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Update: 17.30 MEZ

Quelle: NASA

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Update: 21.15 MEZ

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NASA probing valve issue, planning for Friday Orion launch

NASA said engineers are going over data to ensure they know what happened that led to Thursday morning scrub of the spacecraft Orion launch.
Two sticking valves on hydrogen fuel lines scrubbed the final launch attempt of the Delta IV Heavy rocket that will carry Orion on a test flight.
The hydrogen valves appear to have become slow and sluggish because of cold conditions caused by the hydrogen fuel, according to United Launch Alliance Chief Operating Officer Dan Collins.
"This is something we have seen on one previous Heavy launch, where we had a long window and had gone ... quite a ways into the window," Collins said.
Collins said engineers were reviewing the data to confirm that was what happened, and he believed the equipment would be ready for a Friday morning launch.
Two previous attempts during the Thursday morning launch window were held because of gusting winds. High winds can push the rocket during liftoff and cause it to drift toward the towers around the launch pad, Collins said.
There was also a concern about a boat straying into a prohibited area near the launchpad during the first attempt, but officials said the boat was not in danger.
There was no attempt to close the fuel valves during the first two attempts, Collins said.
Friday morning's launch is scheduled for 6:05 a.m. Central time. There is also a launch window Saturday.
There are two scenarios left for the launch, according to Collins. If Friday's launch is scrubbed before the launch window opens, an attempt would be made Saturday. However, if Friday's attempt is scrubbed during the launch window, hydrogen fuel tanks would need to be refilled and another launch date would have to be scheduled.
Quelle: SpaceAlabama
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Managers Tap Friday Launch Attempt
Orion’s managers for NASA, Lockheed Martin and the United Launch Alliance said they will push on with planning to launch Orion on its flight test Friday morning at 7:05 a.m. EST. The launch window will be 2 hours, 39 minutes, the same time span as Thursday. “Our plan is to fly tomorrow,” said Mark Geyer, Orion program manager.
Fill-and-drain valves on the Delta IV Heavy will be tested throughout the day so the launch team can prevent a mechanical problem like one that came up Thursday. “We’re very confident we’re going to be able to exonerate the equipment,” said Dan Collins, chief operating officer of United Launch Alliance. The valves that failed to close properly late in the countdown allow liquid hydrogen to flow into the three core boosters of the first stage. Normal operation calls for the valves to stay open during the fueling and shut tight a few minutes before liftoff to seal the fuel tank.
Although Orion didn’t get off the ground today to begin its first uncrewed flight test, the officials said a great deal was learned about the systems during the countdown as the spacecraft went on internal battery power and saw other changes through the lead-up to launch and then through the three attempts at different points in the launch window. “The spacecraft worked extremely well,” said Mike Hawes, Lockheed Martin’s program manager for Orion. Lockheed Martin built Orion for NASA and is operating this mission. “The systems did just like the simulators told us they’d do.”
The weather for Friday is forecast to be a bit worse than Thursday, though still favorable. Meteorologists are calling for a 60 percent chance of acceptable conditions.
Quelle: NASA

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Update: 5.12.2014 9.50 MEZ

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The first flight test of Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft capable of sending astronauts on future missions to an asteroid and the journey to Mars, now is scheduled to launch Friday, Dec. 5 at 7:05 a.m. EST, atop a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 6 a.m. There is a two-hour, 39-minute window for the launch.
A Thursday launch attempt was scrubbed due to valve issues that could not be remedied before the launch window closed. Several valves are used to fill and drain the first stage of the rocket with propellant prior to liftoff.
NASA TV commentary of the flight will continue through splashdown, approximately 4.5 hours later in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles southwest of San Diego. A post-flight test news conference will be held Friday approximately two hours after splashdown.
During its trip, designated Exploration Flight Test-1, Orion will orbit Earth twice and travel to a distance of 3,600 miles into space. The flight is designed to test many of the most vital elements for human spaceflight and will provide critical data needed to improve Orion’s design and reduce risks to future mission crews.
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Quelle: NASA
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Tags: Raumfahrt 

2074 Views

Donnerstag, 4. Dezember 2014 - 11:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Auswirkungen von Klimastabilität bei der Suche nach Leben auf Exoplaneten in der habitablen Zone

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Skizze:NASA

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The carbon-silicate cycle regulates the atmospheric CO2 content of terrestrial planets on geological timescales through a balance between the rates of CO2 volcanic outgassing and planetary intake from rock weathering. It is thought to act as an efficient climatic thermostat on Earth and, by extension, on other habitable planets. If, however, the weathering rate increases with the atmospheric CO2 content, as expected on planets lacking land vascular plants, the carbon-silicate cycle feedback can become severely limited.
Here we show that Earth-like planets receiving less sunlight than current Earth may no longer possess a stable warm climate but instead repeatedly cycle between unstable glaciated and deglaciated climatic states. This has implications for the search for life on exoplanets in the habitable zone of nearby stars.
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1. Introduction
It is generally thought that the carbon-silicate cycle acts as a stabilizing feedback and a powerful thermostat for the Earth climate, guaranteeing surface liquid water conditions. Above freezing temperatures, rock weathering occurs faster at higher temperatures, which reduces the CO2 atmospheric partial pressure, pCO2, and cools down the climate. Conversely, on a frozen planet that temporarily lacks weathering, atmospheric CO2 builds up from continued volcanic outgassing, which warms up the climate until surface liq-
uid water and weathering conditions are restored [1, 2, 3]. Such pCO2 build up is in fact the leading scenario for the deglaciation of Earth following a snowball event [4, 5, 6]. Generalizations of these concepts to Earth-like planets around other stars are central to the definition of their liquid water habitable zone [2, 7, 8]. In particular, planets subject to modest levels of insolation are expected to achieve temperate conditions with liquid water at the surface by building up massive enough CO2 atmospheres [2, 9, 10].
Experimental data, theoretical arguments and paleoclimate modeling suggest that the rate of CO2 intake via rock weathering by a planet lacking land vascular plants increases with the atmospheric CO2 content, pCO2 [3, 11, 12, 13, 14]. This feature of lifeless planets or planets with only primitive forms of life is important because it will limit the buildup of CO2 at high values. As a result, the climate thermostat due to the carbon-silicate cycle should become less efficient on weakly-insolated Earth-like planets located
in the outer regions of the habitable zone.
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2. Climate-Weathering Models
To address this issue quantitatively, we model Earth-like climates with a zero-dimensional, energy balance model that equates the net insolation and thermal radiation fluxes,
where S is the insolation flux, is the planetary Bond albedo and OLR is the outgoing longwave radiation flux emitted by the planet. OLR and are functions of the surface temperature, Tsurf , and pCO2, derived from radiative-convective climate models [9] (see Appendix A for details).
While we assume that the climate reaches thermal equilibrium rapidly, by virtue of Equation (1), the slower CO2 compositional equilibrium is not imposed a priori in our models. Rather, pCO2 is evolved on the relevant geological timescales according to
where V is the global CO2 volcanic outgassing rate (estimated as V =7 bars/Gyr for Earth [15]) and W is the rate of CO2 intake by the solid planet via rock weathering. The functional form of W is adapted from Earth studies for pre-vascular plant conditions [14]:
where p = 330 μbar is the pre-industrial pCO2 level, W = W ≡ V for Tsurf = 288K, kact = 0.09 is related to an activation energy and krun =0.045 is a runoff efficiency factor. Varying [14] kact in the range 0.06–0.135 and krun in the range 0.025–0.045 has only a minor quantitative impact on our results. Values of = 0.25–1 have been considered in the literature [3, 12, 16, 17] for the dependence of weathering on pCO2 in the absence of land vascular plants. We use = 0.5 (default) and 0.25 in this work. Note that equations (1) and (2) are coupled through pCO2 and Tsurf .
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3. Climate Solutions
3.1. Steady-State Solutions Steady-state climate solutions, satisfying both radiative (Equation (1)) and weathering equilibrium (d/dt ≡ 0 in Equation (2)) are represented in
Figure 1 by intersecting cooling and heating curves. Solid red lines in Figure 1 show the albedo-corrected insolation flux (LHS of Equation (1)) received by a planet located at 1, 1.25 and 1.6 AU from a Sun-like star as a function of surface temperature.1 Net insolation drops precipitously from 273K to 263K as the planetary surface freezes and the albedo reaches ∼ 0.65.
The various blue lines in Figure 1 represent the OLR cooling flux (RHS of Equation (1)) according to various scenarios for the atmospheric CO2 content.
A standard model with pCO2 arbitrarily fixed at p = 330 μbar (i.e. not constrained by Equation (2)) is represented by the slanted solid blue line. As is well known [18, 19, 20], three steady-state climate solutions exist in such a model for an Earth-like planet at 1AU, as indicated by diamonds where the red and blue curves intersect. Earth’s current climate (Tsurf ≃ 288 K) and a globally-frozen state (Tsurf ≃ 229 K) are both stable, while the intermediate state (Tsurf ≃ 270 K) is thermally unstable.
However, when pCO2 is also required to satisfy weathering equilibrium (Equation (2)), steady-state climate+weathering solutions only exist above freezing temperatures since weathering stops operating on a frozen planet.
A model including weathering without any pCO2 dependence[9] ( = 0 in Equation (3)) is represented by the vertical solid blue line in Figure 1. In such a model, weathering equilibrium enforces a unique surface temperature, set by requiring that weathering balances volcanic outgassing in 1Even though the planetary albedo in Equation (1) depends on pCO2, we find that this dependence is quantitatively negligible for pCO2 ≪ 0.2 bar. For simplicity, we plot heating (red) curves in this low pCO2 limit in Figure 1, which is indeed satisfied by all the cooling (blue) curves shown. All our other results fully account for the –pCO2 dependence.
Equation (2), and pCO2 is only indirectly constrained by the constant Tsurf
requirement.
On the other hand, when the weathering rate depends on both pCO2 and Tsurf , noticeable bends appear in the blue cooling curves shown in Figure 1. Indeed, in this class of models, the reduced efficiency of weathering at low temperatures must be balanced by large pCO2 values to match the volcanic outgassing rate V . The weaker the weathering pCO2 dependence, the stronger is the pCO2 build-up at low surface temperatures (compare= 0.5 and 0.25 models represented by the dashed and dash-dotted lines in Figure 1, respectively). A planet with a larger volcanic CO2 outgassing rate [21] achieves a warmer stable climate (Tsurf ≃ 292 K for V = 3V and adopting our default weathering parameters, which is the case shown as adotted line in Figure 1).
Interestingly, stable climate+weathering solutions can cease to exist at low insolation levels, such as the 1.25 and 1.6 AU cases shown in Figure 1, for a strong enough dependence of the weathering rate on pCO2. For example, we find that blue curves no longer intersect with heating (insolation) lines beyond 1.077 AU if = 0.5 and beyond 1.25 AU if = 0.25. Conversely, a very weak weathering dependence on pCO2 ( < 0.1), including the singular case = 0 (vertical solid blue line in Figure 1), do permit stable climate+weathering solutions at almost arbitrarily low insolation levels [9]. Low values may be the relevant limit for planets where land vascular plants are widespread [3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17]. On the other hand, for values of ∼ 0.25–0.5 appropriate for planets lacking land vascular plants [3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17], the bending of cooling curves seen in Figure 1 also implies that at fixed volcanism rate, V , less insolated planets achieve climate+weathering equilibrium at gradually lower Tsurf values. For example, in the case = 0.25 , equilibrium is only marginally achieved above freezing temperatures at 1.25 AU, as shown in Figure 1. At low enough insolation levels (far enough away from the star), climate+weathering equilibrium is no longer possible above freezing temperatures, which implies that weathering equilibrium is unattainable.
On planets lacking weathering equilibrium, the climate must repeatedly cycle through a succession of radiative equilibria as illustrated in Figure 1:rapid transition from marginal to full glaciation (A→B, at fixed pCO2), slow build-up of pCO2 caused by volcanic outgassing in the absence of weathering (B→C), rapid transition to a deglaciated state (C→D, at fixed pCO2) and gradual pCO2 decay under the action of weathering (D→A), until the cycle repeats again with full glaciation. The general properties of the four critical
points A-B-C-D of this climate cycle, which are independent of details of the weathering model, are quantified in Figure 2 as a function of orbital distance from a Sun-like star. Blue curves correspond to the coldest cycle point with the lowest pCO2 value, B, while the red curves correspond to the hottest point with the highest pCO2 value, D. Figure 2 shows that Earth-like planets at larger orbital distances glaciate and deglaciate at larger pCO2 values. A deglaciation with pCO2 ≃ 0.14 bar at 1 AU is consistent with values reported for snowball Earth deglaciation [6]. Planets beyond 1.3 AU support massive (> 0.3 bar) CO2 atmospheres throughout their climate cycle. Planets in the frozen state have albedos≃ 0.65, while the albedo of unfrozen planets rises from ≃ 0.3 to 0.45 in the range 1-1.8 AU, from an increasing atmospheric scattering contribution.
The extremes of surface temperature along the cycle vary modestly with insolation level, with Tsurf ≃ 210-225 K at the coldest point and 310-330 K at the hottest point.
3.2. Climate Cycles
Explicit time-dependent integrations of the system of Equations (1)-(3) reveal details of the climate cycle illustrated in Figure 1. We initiated these integrations at the hot, high pCO2 (weathering-independent) point D and confirmed that Earth-like planets receiving sufficiently large insolation fluxes settle to a steady-state warm climate solution after relaxation to weathering equilibrium. By contrast, planets at large enough orbital distances (low enough insolation levels) experience large amplitude climate cycles, as antic-
ipated from our discussion of equilibrium solutions in relation to Figure 1. Figure 3 shows six illustrative examples (A-F) of such climate cycles, shown in terms of variable Tsurf and pCO2 curves. Most of the cycle time is spent in the frozen state, during which pCO2 build-up is slow compared to the fast weathering that occurs at above-freezing temperatures. In model 1, 4.6% of the 70 Myr cycle is spent in a warm state with surface liquid water.
The corresponding numbers are 0.8% of 477 Myr in model 2, 7.5% of 76 Myrin model 3, 3.9% of 139 Myr in model 4, 28% of 312 Myr in model 5 and 17% of 517 Myr in model 6. Faster weathering at higher Tsurf also implies that most of the time in the unfrozen state is spent just above freezing temperatures, near the lowest pCO2 levels covered during the cycle. For a fixed volcanic outgassing rate, V , the climate cycle duration increases with decreasing insolation because larger absolute pCO2 values must be reached
for climate transitions to occur (Figure 2). Decreasing insolation also reduces the fraction of cycle time spent with surface liquid water by the planet, although this can be compensated for by stronger volcanic outgassing. A weaker pCO2 weathering dependence (lower ) lengthens the duration of the unfrozen state since the decline in pCO2 with time has less of an effect on the weathering rate.
To summarize, a temperature-only dependence of the weathering rate ( = 0) uniquely ties the surface temperature to the volcanic outgassing rate V via Equation (2). A more general dependence on pCO2 ( > 0) leads to a richer set of climate solutions, including unstable climate cycles at low enough insolation levels, when weathering equilibrium ceases to exist. These results are not specific to the weathering functional form adopted in Equation (3), in the sense that other weathering laws with a positive dependence on pCO2 and Tsurf would lead to qualitatively similar climate behaviors.
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4. Conclusions
The key new feature of our analysis is the lack of stable climates on Earth-like planets lacking land vascular plants, at low enough insolation levels. This suggests that a subset of Earth-like planets located in the outer regions of habitable zones may be preferentially found in a frozen, rather than deglaciated, state. A globally frozen state might be observationally inferred from the very high albedo and the correspondingly low water content of the planet’s atmosphere. According to these results, some Earth-like planets in the outer habitable zone would also be caught in a transiently warm state with surface liquid water present only infrequently.
The link between unstable climate cycles and the emergence and evolution of life on weakly-insolated Earth-like planets is unclear but possibly important. A reduced amount of time with surface liquid water on planets experiencing climate cycles could in principle slow down the emergence and/or evolution of life. On the other hand, life itself could strongly impact the weathering process on weakly-insolated Earth-like planets, as it seems to have done on early Earth [3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17]. In particular, the ability of land vascular plants to regulate the soil pCO2 level that is relevant to the weathering process, well above atmospheric pCO2 levels, is consistent with these plants effectively decoupling the weathering rate from the atmospheric pCO2 level [3, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17], leading to → 0 in Equation (3).
As a result (Figure 1, vertical line), the climate of weakly-insolated Earthlike planets could be stabilized against transient cycles once the presence of land vascular plants becomes widespread. This would constitute a strong example of life exerting a feedback on its environment.
It is worth noting that Earth’s geological record is qualitatively consistent with the evolutionary path one may envision for a habitable planet orbiting a star that is gradually brightening over time. Repeated snowball events should be restricted to early times, when insolation is weak and land vascular plants are absent. They should disappear at late times once insolation is strong enough and/or land vascular plants become widespread.
Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. The author is grateful to J. Leconte and D.Valencia for comments on the manuscript.
Appendix A. Energy Balance Climate Model.
We model the climate of Earth-like planets with a zero-dimensional reduction of a one-dimensional energy balance model [9]. The model assumes Earth parameters unless otherwise specified (e.g., surface gravity, land/ocean fraction and nitrogen contribution to the total atmospheric mass).
Greenhouse effect from atmospheric H2O and CO2 are included, with an atmospheric vapor pressure set by surface evaporation (temperature).
The top-of-atmosphere albedo and the outgoing longwave radiation flux are modeled as polynomial fits to a large number of radiative-convective models [9]. The polynomial fits are functions of surface temperature, partial CO2 pressure, solar zenith angle and surface albedo. Simple prescriptions for snow/ice coverage, surface albedo and water cloud coverage are adopted [9].
For simplicity, we fix the cosine of the zenith angle to μ = 0.4 and the albedo of ice-free oceans to 0.07 in all the models presented here. We also smooth out the top-of-atmosphere albedo polynomials near the 280 K transition to improve the continuity of the albedo function with temperature. Based on published results [2], we expect that our results would be quantitatively different, but remain qualitatively valid, for planets that differ modestly from Earth in terms of their surface gravity, land/ocean fraction and/or nitrogen atmospheric content. Note that it has been suggested that weathering does not strongly depend on land/ocean fraction on an Earth-like planet [16].
The energy balance model employed here may not be fully reliable beyond 1.3-1.4 AU, where CO2 clouds are expected to form and influence the climate [9, 10]. The most massive CO2 atmospheres found in our models only marginally approach hard limits on CO2 condensation [22].
Figure 1: Climate at global radiative equilibrium for an Earth-like planet. Red lines show the albedo-corrected insolation (heating) flux as a function of surface temperature, Tsurf , at 1 AU (top), 1.25 AU (middle) and 1.6 AU (bottom) from a Sun-like star. Blue lines show the infrared cooling flux (OLR) according to various scenarios for the atmospheric CO2 content (slanted solid line: fixed pCO2 model; dashed: = 0.5 weathering model; dotted: = 0.5 weathering model with 3 times larger CO2 outgassing rate; dashed-dotted:= 0.25 weathering model; vertical solid: = 0 weathering model). When no stable climate exists at large orbital distances (absent blue-red intersections), the climate must repeatedly cycle through points A-B-C-D shown in the 1.6 AU case, with a slow pCO2 build-up (B-C), a transition to a hot climate (C-D), a weathering period with decreasing pCO2 (D-A) and a transition to global glaciation (A-B).
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Figure 2: Values of atmospheric partial CO2 pressure (1), surface temperature (2) and planetary albedo (3) at extremes of the climate cycle illustrated in Figure 1, as a function of orbital distance from a Sun-like star. Blue curves correspond to point B (cold, high albedo, low pCO2) and red curves to point D (hot, low albedo, high pCO2) of the cycle shown in Figure 1.
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Figure 3: Six examples of time-evolved climate cycles, with two full cycles shown in each case. For each model (1-6), the evolution of atmospheric partial CO2 pressure (lower panel) and surface temperature (upper panel) are shown. Model 1: Default weathering model at 1.1 AU ( = 0.5 in Equation (3)). Model 2: Default weathering model at 1.8 AU. Model 3: 3 times larger CO2 outgassing rate at 1.3 AU. Model 4: 3 times larger CO2 outgassing rate at 1.6 AU. Model 5: Weaker pCO2 weathering dependence ( = 0.25) at 1.3 AU. Model 6: Weaker pCO2 weathering dependence ( = 0.25) at 1.6 AU. Increasing the CO2 outgassing rate shortens the duration of the cold, CO2 build-up phase. Weakening the weathering pCO2 dependence ( = 0.25 rather than 0.5) lengthens the duration of the hot weathering phase, resulting in a much larger fraction of time spent with surface liquid water.
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Appendix B. Model Simplifications and Limitations.
Our models are idealized in a number of important ways. In addition to the simplified, zero-dimensional treatment of climate described above, which suggests the possibility of richer behaviors in higher complexity, threedimensional climate models, our treatment of weathering processes is intentionally simple, in order to isolate they key factors that determine climate stability. We ignore seafloor weathering [16] and the mantle CO2 cycle [23].
The absolute calibration of weathering rates in the absence of land vascular plants is unknown, but it is thought to be less than in their presence [11]. For concreteness, we have chosen to calibrate weathering fluxes in our models using current Earth [13, 14] (Equation (3)). We note that in a model admitting steady-state solutions, a factor three decrease in the weathering rate is equivalent to a factor three increase in the volcanic outgassing rate (see Equation (2)), which is one of the cases shown in Figure 1 (dotted blue line). Such a model retains the main qualitative feature highlighted in this work, which is the disappearance of stable climates solutions at low enough insolation levels (beyond 1.2AU for the dotted blue line shown in Figure 1).
Different calibrations in weathering rates and/or volcanic outgassing rates will thus affect our results quantitatively, but our main conclusions should remain valid.
More generally, a planet is likely to change its weathering regime gradually over time, as different forms of life emerge and spread over its surface [3, 12]. Our models have intentionally focused on the distinction between the absence and presence of land vascular planets, which exemplifies the interplay between life, weathering processes and climate stability.
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Quelle: Centre for Planetary Sciences, Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4, Canada
Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H4, Canada

Tags: Astronomie 

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Donnerstag, 4. Dezember 2014 - 10:10 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Trägerrakete Antares wird erst wieder in 2 Jahre nach der Explosion starten

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Damage to Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A is visible from this aerial photograph taken by NASA on Oct. 29.
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NORFOLK, Va. -The unmanned rocket that exploded within seconds of launching on Wallops Island will return to space in 2016.
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority announced Tuesday that Antares will undergo a “hot fire” test in 2015 and then head out on its maiden voyage the following year. It was Oct. 28 when the rocket owned by Orbital Sciences Corp. burst into flames just moments after it lifted off for the International Space Station. Initial reports pointed to a failure in one of its two main engines.
No one was hurt in the eruption, and officials said an anomaly in its first stage 15 seconds after taking off caused a catastrophic failure of the vehicle.
Antares was the fifth launch by Orbital and the first failed one. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad was spared severe damage as the rocket fell just north of the launch mount. The company said everyone at the site had been accounted for after the explosion, and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities.
Nothing on the lost flight was urgently needed by the six people living on the space station 260 miles into space.
The repairs are estimated to take about 12 months. Initial environmental tests, pumping water from the impact crater and sampling it, have shown no impact to back bays and tributaries. Some soil was contaminated and crews will have to remove six-inches of dirt from the area.
The launch pad damaged in the explosion was $160 million – $90 million coming from Virginia, $60 million from NASA and $10 million from Orbital.
“We are looking for both Orbital and NASA to partner with the Commonwealth for funding to begin repairing the launch facility and ongoing environmental cleanup,” said Aubrey Layne, secretary of transportation.
The Antares rocket was carrying a Cygnus cargo capsule, loaded with 5,000 pounds of gear for the astronauts living on the International Space Station. It was initially scheduled to launch Oct. 27, and Orbital Sciences Corp. got within the 10-minute mark for liftoff, but a sailboat ended up in the restricted danger zone, and controllers halted the evening countdown.
About one-third of the contents of the Cygnus involved science research. Among the instruments that were lost: a meteor tracker and 32 mini research satellites, along with numerous experiments compiled by schoolchildren.
The two Americans, three Russians and one German on the orbiting space station were watching a live video feed from Mission Control and saw the whole thing unfold before their eyes, said NASA’s space station program manager Mike Suffredini. They were keeping abreast of what was happening.
Quelle: WAVY

Tags: Raumfahrt 

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