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Space Launch Report Archive

April-June, 2010

Worldwide Space Launch Box Score
as of 06/30/10
All Orbital Launch Attempts(Failures)
2010:  35(2)
2009:  78(5)
2008:  68(3)
Crewed Launch Attempts(Failures)
2010:  5(0)
2009:  9(0)
2008:  7(0)

progM06M.jpg (4491 bytes)Progress Freighter Launched Toward Station

A Soyuz-U lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome with cargo-hauling Progress M-06M on June 30, 2010.  The 7.25 tonne spacecraft, loaded with more than 2 tonnes of supplies for the International Space Station, lifted off from Area 1 Pad 5 at 15:35 UTC.  It was the third Progress mission of the year, the fifth R-7 launch for ISS in 2010, and the sixth R-7 launch year to date.  The flight was the 35th orbital launch attempt of the year.

v195.jpg (3442 bytes)Ariane 5 Launches Arabsat 5A/COMS

An Ariane 5 ECA, flying the 195th Arianespace mission, hauled Arabsat 5A and COMS (Communications, Ocean, and Meterological Satellite) into geosynchronous transfer orbit from Kourou Space Center on June 26, 2010.   Vehicle 551 lifted off from ELA 3 at 21:41 UTC.  The flight orbited 4,939 kg Arabsat 5A for Arabsat group of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and 2,460 kg COMS for South Korea.

It was the 25th launch of an Ariane 5 ECA variant.

shavit9.jpg (3924 bytes)Shavit Orbits Israeli Spysat

A Shavit-2 rocket boosted Israel's Ofek 9 imaging "spy" satellite into orbit from Palmachim air force base on June 22, 2010.  The three-stage solid motor launcher lifted off from the  Mediterranean coast base, located south of Tel Aviv, at about 10 PM local time.   Okek 9, a 300 kg satellite, was subsequently tracked in a 343 x 588 km x 141.8 deg retrograde orbit.

The flight was the first by a Shavit since 2007, and the sixth Shavit success in nine known or suspected attempts.

dnepr16.jpg (3532 bytes)Dnepr Orbits German Radarsat

The 16th Dnepr launch vehicle successfully orbited Germany's 1.35 tonne TanDEM-X radar mapping satellite from Baikonur on June 21.  The converted "Satan" missile was blasted out of its Area 109 underground silo at 02:14 UTC.  TanDEM-X separated into a 514 km sun synchronous orbit about 10 minutes later.

TanDEM-X is similar to the TerraSAR-X satellite launched by a Dnepr in 2007.

It was the 15th Dnepr orbital success in 16 attempts flown since 1999.

dnepr15.jpg (2661 bytes)June 15:  Three Launches in One Day

Three orbital launches, all successful, occurred on June 15, 2010. 

China's CZ-2D started the triplet with a 01:39 UTC launch from Jiquan's Site 4-Left.  The two stage hypergolic fueled rocket carried SJ-12 (Practice Satellite 12) into a 575 x 597 km x 97.7 deg orbit.  The mission was not announced.

A Russian Dnepr lifted off from the Yasny site at Dombarovsky Missile Base at 14:42 UTC.  The converted ICBM carried Sweden's dual-satellite PRISMA mission and France's Picard solar physics satellite into low Earth orbit.  A Ukrainian engineering test fixture was also carried, remaining attached to the Dnepr's third stage.

Russia also launch a Soyuz FG carrying Soyuz TMA-19 with three crewmembers from Baikonur Area 1 Pad 5 at 21:35 UTC.  The ISS-bound crew included Russia's Fyodor Yurchihin and new U.S. ISS crew members, Douglas Wheelock and Shannon Walker.  The crew will join Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Korniyenko and U.S. astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson on the station. 

Soyuz TMA-19 was the 106th Soyuz spacecraft flight since the program began in 1967.

kslv1-2.jpg (2318 bytes)Second KSLV-1 Launch Fails

The second Korean Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-1) failed after liftoff from South Korea's Naro space center on June 10, 2010.  A "flash" was seen and telemetry was lost 137 seconds into the flight, about 60% of the way into the burn of the vehicle's Energomash RD-151 first stage engine.  The cause of the failure was not immediately apparant.

The rocket was carrying a second STSat-2B engineering test satellite, similar to the satellite lost when the first KSLV-1 failed on August 25, 2009.  That failure was the result of a payload fairing separation problem.

KSLV-1 was developed jointly by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. Khrunichev builds the Anagara-based first stage.  KARI is resposible for the solid motor upper stage and payload fairing.  The 3 by 33 meter, two-stage rocket weighs 140 metric tons and is able to lift about 100 kg to low earth orbit.

SpaceX Falcon 9 Inaugural Launch (Updated June 10, 2010)
f9-1L1s.jpg (9001 bytes)f9-1-2.jpg (3485 bytes)

The first SpaceX Falcon 9 two-stage kerosene rocket launched from Cape Canaveral on June 4, 2010.   Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 occurred at 18:45 UTC.    The rocket carried a Dragon spacecraft simulator toward a planned 250 km x 34.4 deg low earth orbit. 

Falcon 9's nine Merlin first stage engines developed 387.825 tonnes of liftoff thrust to slowly lift the 320-333 tonne, 47 meter tall rocket off its launch platform.  The rocket rolled slightly immediately after liftoff, but steadied itself as it cleared the pad.  Falcon 9 then flew smoothly through its initial ascent and pitch profile as it projected a thunderous roar back down onto observers at the Cape and Kennedy Space Center. 

The center two Merlin engines shut down as planned about 165 seconds into the flight.  The remaining first stage engines cut off at about 181 seconds.

f9-1-3.jpg (8490 bytes)Staging and second stage engine start - the first in-space start of a Merlin engine - appeared nominal, but a roll developed during the five minute long burn of the second stage Merlin Vacuum engine.  The roll did not appear to have a substantial effect on first burn velocity performance.  The roll began about 5 minutes after liftoff, after the turbopump exhaust nozzle stopped vectoring.  Merlin shut down about 517 to 524 seconds after liftoff, just as the stage completed its fourth roll.  The stage was rolling about three times per minute at second stage engine cutoff. 

SpaceX claimed that the stage and payload had reached orbital parameters very close to the planned orbit, but initial U.S. orbital tracking data showed a less precise, 235 x 276 km x 34.5 deg orbit.  Subsequent tracking showed the stage in a 242 x 269 km x 34.5 deg orbit. 

During a teleconference after the launch, Elon Musk of SpaceX stated that the second stage Merlin Vacuum engine had performed a brief "burp" restart during its first orbit as an engineering test, but provided no details of the burn.  Jonathan McDowell subsequently reported, on June 8, that a planned restart of the Merlin Vacuum engine had failed 54 minutes after liftoff.    

Observers in eastern Australia saw the stage pass overhead about 65 minutes after liftoff.  Video of the pass showed that the stage was still rotating out of control, venting gas to form a spiral pattern.  The relationship of the reported engine restart failure and the spiral gas pattern remains uncertain.  

Falcon 9 No. 1 produced more thrust at liftoff than any U.S.-powered kerosene-fueled rocket since Saturn IB SA-210 carried the Apollo Soyuz Test Project spacecraft with three crew into orbit on July 17, 1975.  Merlin Vacuum performed the first U.S. turbopump-fed kerosene engine air-start since the last Titan I ICBM flew in 1965.

p357.jpg (8344 bytes)Proton Launches Badr 5

The 357th Proton, a four-stage Proton M/Briz M, launched the Badr 5 communications satellite into orbit from from Baikonur Cosmodrome on June 3, 2010.  Badr 5, a 5,420 kg satellite built by Europe's EADS Astrium for Arabsat, was aimed toward a high-perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit.    

Proton lifted off from Area 200 Pad 39 at 22:00 UTC to start a nearly 9 hour mission that involved five burns of the Briz M upper stage. The first four burns were successful, and the fifth burn was pending at press time.

It was the sixth Proton flight of 2010, more than any other rocket.

cz3c4.jpg (7401 bytes)China Orbits Navigation Satellite

A 3.5 stage CZ-3C boosted China's Compass G3 navigation satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit from Xichang Satellite Launch Center on June 2, 2010.  Liftoff from Pad 2 occurred at 15:53 UTC.  The rocket rose on the combined 450 tonnes thrust of six YF-20B hypergolic engines - four on the 3.35 meter diameter core and one on each of two 2.25 meter diameter strap-on boosters.  A hypergolic second stage and cryogenic liquid hydrogen fueled third stage completed the ascent.   

The launch, the year's 25th orbital launch attempt, was the third Chang Zheng (Long March) flight of 2010.

rokot14.jpg (6475 bytes)Rokot Orbits Servis

A Rokot/Briz-KM launch vehicle orbited Servis-2, a 900 kg Japanese engineering test satellite from Plesetsk Cosmodrome on June 2, 2010.  The two-stage rocket lifted off from Area 133 Pad 3 at 01:59 UTC.  During a 1.5 hour mission, the rocket's Briz KM upper stage performed two burns to inject Servis 2 into a 1200 km x 100.5 deg sun synchronous orbit.  A third post-separation burn moved the stage into a lower 1200 x 819 km orbit. 

It was the first Rokot launch of the year, and the 14th overall. 

This Section to be Updated

d349.jpg (9104 bytes)Delta 4 Boosts First "Next-Gen" GPS

Delta 349, the 10th Delta 4 Medium with a 4-meter diameter Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS), launched GPS 2F-1 into orbit from Cape Canaveral on May 28, 2010.  The Medium+(4,2) rocket, fitted with two GEM-60 solid motors, lifted off from SLC 37B at 03:00 UTC. 

GPS 2F-1 was the first next-generation Global Positioning Satellite designed to be launched by Delta 4 and Atlas 5 EELVs. 

Delta 349's DCSS performed three burns during a 3.5 hour mission to inject 1.63 tonne GPS 2F-1 directly into a 20,459 km x 55 deg circular orbit.  Previous Delta 2 GPS launches required the spacecraft to perform a circularzation burn at transfer orbit apogee.

The flight was the third for Delta 4 in less than six months from SLC 37B, a Delta 4 launch tempo not previously achieved from a single pad. 

sts132s.jpg (5801 bytes)Atlantis Launch Finale

NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis performed her final launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida on May 14, 2010.   The 25 year old orbiter lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at 18:20 UTC, bound for a 51.6 degree low earth orbit.  Six veteran astronauts rode Atlantis along with Russia's Mini Research Module, which the crew will attach to the International Space Station. 

It was the 32nd launch of Atlantis since the orbiter first flew in 1985.  During her career, Atlantis orbited Venusian explorer Magellen, Jupiter probe Galileo, performed the first Shuttle-Mir docking, and flew the final Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission.

f91r.jpg (15342 bytes)SpaceX Falcon 9 Hot Fire Test

On March 13, 2010, the first SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle performed its first "hot fire" static test at Cape Canaveral's Space Launch Complex 40.  During the 3.5 second test, the rocket's nine Merlin 1C first stage engines ignited and ramped up to full thrust.  The test took place four days after an initial attempt had been scrubbed only two seconds before ignition.  The scrubbed test identified a problem with the launch sequencer, which failed to issue a command to open a ground helium valve.

The successful test sets the stage for the final leg of the inaugural Falcon 9 launch campaign.  A mid-April launch date now appears likely.   The test flight will carry a dummy Dragon qualification unit toward low earth orbit.
4,2) and the 12th flight of the Delta 4 family.