Spaceflight Now: Minotaur

Projects disclose status from multi-satellite launch
Posted: Feb. 2, 2000

The JAWSAT payload seen attached to the OSPSLV rocket before the fairing was installed. Photo: Spaceport Systems International
The satellite is called JAWSAT (for Joint Air Force Academy-Weber State University Satellite). It was launched on January 26th from the Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) firing range on an experimental Air Force missile; One Stop Satellite Solutions (OSSS), an Ogden satellite engineering company, was the primary payload contractor. As far as we know, the integration and launch of the five separate satellites were 100 percent successful. Data we have received from NORAD indicates that there are six objects (this would be the five satellites plus the fourth stage of the launch vehicle) traveling in the expected orbit. Also, a limited amount of telemetry data from the fourth stage of the missile confirmed that correct separation was achieved. A summary of each of the satellites and its mission follows.

FalconSat is designed to study how electrical charges build up on spacecraft in low earth orbits, is operating normally.

Opal (Orbiting PicoSat Automated Launcher) carries and launches six very small satellites (about the size of a bar of soap or a deck of cards). The emphasis for this payload is on demonstrations of communications capabilities of very small satellites. Opal is operating normally.

The Optical Calibration Sphere (OCS) is a Kapton/aluminum balloon used to calibrate an experimental telescope. OCS has reported normal operation.

ASUSAT is designed and built by ASU students to be launched as a technology demonstrator for low-cost spacecraft. The satellite will be placed in a low-earth polar orbit to provide earth imagery, an audio transponder for amateur radio operations and a proof of concept for many new components. ASUSAT received some data in early orbits, but it appears that the satellite is not receiving appropriate power, as recent orbits have been quiet.

The JAWSAT multi-payload adaptor is a joint venture of OSSS and weber State University (WSU). It served as the main structure of the payload group. It also serves as the platform for a NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center experiment to help validate a new method of studying electrified gases in space, and the OSSS/WSU attitude controlled platform. To date, there have been four contacts with JAWSAT, the most encouraging being a partially complete message on January 31. Other contacts have been transmission of carrier signal only, with no discernable data. We are continuing to work with the satellite to determine if normal operations can be established.

Flight data file
Vehicle: OSPSLV-1
Payload: JAWSAT
Launch date: Jan. 27, 2000
Launch window: 0303-0604 GMT (10:03 p.m.-1:04 a.m. EST on 26th)
Launch site: CLF, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Video vault
The inaugural OSP Minotaur rocket blasts off from pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
  PLAY (271k QuickTime file)

The rocket's second stage ignites and the first stage is jettisoned as seen by infrared camera.
  PLAY (89k QuickTime file)