Spaceflight Now Home





Page not found | Spaceflight Now
Breaking News

Page not found (404)

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching can help.

Search

Popular Articles

Random Articles



NewsAlert



Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest news in astronomy and space e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.



Minotaur rocket issue triggers revamped manifest
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: January 7, 2010


Bookmark and Share

A team of industrial and military engineers have designed a fix to the issue grounding the new Minotaur 4 rocket, but an $800 million space tracking satellite waiting for launch could be shuffled behind other payloads in the Air Force manifest.

 
Credit: Orbital Sciences
 
The Minotaur 4 has at least eight missions on the books, but the vehicle's maiden flight has faced several delays stemming from problems with satellites and rocket issues.

The latest issue concerns the rocket's third stage, a solid-fueled motor taken from the military's stockpile of Peacekeeper missiles. Furnished by the government, the third stage's thrust vector control steering system exhaust produces "unintended thrust which would cause issues in flight," according to a spokesperson at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

Engineers from ATK, Orbital Sciences Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., and the Air Force Space Development and Test Wing are developing a diffuser to attach to the third stage and disperse the exhaust, the Air Force said.

"This will decrease the unintended thrust and mitigate any issues in flight," an Air Force spokesperson said.

The issue affects all Minotaur 4 vehicles, but the Air Force may revamp the rocket's manifest and delay launch of the first Space Based Space Surveillance satellite until the third quarter of this year.

Space News, a space industry media outlet, reported the SBSS launch could be delayed until December.

The first Minotaur 4 mission may now fly from Kodiak Island, Alaska, with a cache of small military, NASA and university satellites managed by the Air Force's Space Test Program. That launch is still officially scheduled for May 28.

In such a schedule, SBSS would launch on the second Minotaur 4 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The Pentagon's TacSat 4 technology demonstration satellite is also awaiting a ride to orbit on the Minotaur 4 rocket.

An SMC spokesperson said the launch manifest scenarios are still being finalized.

In the meantime, the SBSS satellite is being stored at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., according to Bob Pickard, a Boeing Co. spokesperson

Boeing manages the SBSS contract for the Air Force, and Ball Aerospace built the spacecraft.

Pickard said the satellite is being kept in a launch-ready state while waiting for its rocket to become available. Workers have already completed construction and testing of the spacecraft.

The satellite will join an array of ground-based radars to track thousands of objects in space for the military.

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

STS-134 Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Ares 1-X Patch
The official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Apollo Collage
This beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Project Orion
The Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA's first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.
 U.S. STORE


Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.