ULA successfully launches Air Force satcom satellite into orbit

Standard

WASHINGTON – The United Launch Alliance successfully launched the Air Force’s Wideband Global Satcom 9 satellite Saturday evening aboard a Delta 4 rocket.

The Delta 4 Medium-Plus (5,4) lifted off from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 37 at 8:18 p.m. Eastern, about halfway into its 75-minute launch window. The window opened at 7:44 p.m., but an issue with the swing-arm system on the gantry extended a planned hold in the countdown.

The launch is the second national security mission for ULA this month, following the liftoff of a National Reconnaissance Office payload on an Atlas 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California  March 1.

div_wgs9_m8-resize.jpg

The Delta 4 rocket sported logos for the WGS 9 satellite and the Air Force’s 70th anniversary.
U.S. allies also use the constellation, and WGS-9 was funded in part by Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Luxembourg.The Boeing-built WGS-9 is the next unit in the Air Force’s military satcom constellation. It will provide greater capacity, as well as Ka- and X-band communications with anti-jamming capabilities. The Air Force celebrated the WGS-9 launch as part of the festivities for the service’s 70th anniversary.

“Military operations are increasingly dependent on capabilities based in space and the Canadian Armed Forces recognizes this fact,” Brigadier General Blaise Frawley, director general for space for the Royal Canadian Air Force, said in a statement. “WGS-9 will further enhance a reliable satcom network, and ensure our forces at home and abroad can communicate effectively to enable success on operations.”

Another WGS launch is planned for 2019, bringing the constellation up to 10. The Defense Department is currently conducting an analysis to determine what its next step should be for military satellite communications. The potential options include purchasing more WGS satellites, starting a new system, or purchasing greater capacity from the commercial sector.

Source: http://spacenews.com

Details on NASA mission involving Orion spacecraft

Standard

Original reporter:
Dan Billow

IT MAY HAPPEN SOONER RATHER THAN LATER. ORION, DESIGNED TO GO TO THE MOON OR TO AN ASTEROID. AT PRESIDENT TRUMP’S URGING THE FIRST FLIGHT INSTANT OF BEING AN UNMANNED TEST FLIGHT COULD BE IN 2019. WE HAVE NOT SINCE HUMANS OUTSIDE OF LOW OEARTH ORBIT SINCE 1972. REPORTER: HE GAVE AN UPDATE ON ORION TO A LARGE ENTHUSIASTIC GATHERING OF THE NATIONAL SPACECLUB ORDER TRACTOR.– CHAPTER.AMONG THE DIFFERENCES IS THAT ORION IS MUCH BIGGER AND FLEXIBLE, BUILT WITH CHANGE IN MIND. PRESS: WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ON THE MISSION?>> OF NASA WILL FINISH A STUDY THAT COULD FINISH UP THE TIMETABLE.>> EXCITING AND FUN.

On Feb. 22, engineers successfully installed ESA’s European Service Module Propulsion Qualification Module (PQM) at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico that was delivered by Airbus – ESA’s prime contractor for the Service Module. The module will be equipped with a total of 21 engines to support NASA’s Orion spacecraft: one U.S. Space Shuttle Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) engine, eight auxiliary thrusters and 12 smaller thrusters produced by Airbus Safran Launchers in Germany. The all-steel PQM structure is used to test the propulsion systems on Orion, including “hot firing” of the OMS engine and thrusters.

Orion will travel more than 40,000 miles beyond the moon to test the spacecraft that will carry humans farther into the solar system than ever before. NASA will use the proving ground of space near the moon to establish the deep-space mission operations needed to for long-duration missions. These missions will incrementally decrease our reliance on the Earth for in-space operations and enable future missions on the journey to Mars.

What Will Orion Do?

orion

NASA’s Orion spacecraft flew around Earth two times on a test flight.

Orion will carry astronauts into deep space and then return them home to Earth. Orion will be able to travel to an asteroid or even Mars.

NASA is developing a huge rocket called the Space Launch System, or SLS. This rocket is a heavy-lift launch vehicle. Orion will launch on top of this rocket. The heavy-lift launch vehicle will carry Orion beyond low Earth orbit, where the International Space Station orbits, and far past the moon.

Orion has three main parts. The upper section is the launch abort system, or LAS; the crew module is the middle part; and the service module is the lower portion of the spacecraft. Astronauts will sit in the middle section, the crew module. This will be their living quarters. If an emergency occurs during launch or the climb to orbit, the LAS would activate in milliseconds. It would propel the crew module away from the rocket to safety. The LAS looks like a tower on top of the crew module. Beneath the crew module is the service module. It holds the power and propulsion systems. Solar array panels on the service module will absorb sunlight to create electricity. This power will allow the spacecraft to remain in orbit for months at a time.