Launch News STP-S26 atop Minotaur-4 HAPS on Nov. 19, 2010

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STP-S26 is a multi-payload mission executed by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program (STP) at the Space Development and Test Wing (SDTW), Kirtland AFB, NM. The mission was designated STP-S26 to correspond to the 26th small launch vehicle mission in STP's 40-year history of flying DoD space experiments. STP-S26 extends previous standard interface development efforts, implementing a number of capabilities aimed at enabling responsive access to space for small experimental satellites and payloads.

STP-S26 mission will be flying a Minotaur IV launch vehicle (LV), contracted by Orbital Sciences Corporation. Orbital Sciences Corporation is currently contracted to fly several Minotaur IV LVs, all constructed to specifications of the mission. The key difference with STP-S26 launch vehicle is the Hydrazine Auxiliary Propulsion System (HAPS) which gives it dual-orbit capability. Six payloads will be released at the primary orbit of 650 km (404 mi). The LV will then travel to the secondary orbit of 1,200 km (746 mi) to release final payload.

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Launch window:
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  • 01:24-02:54 UTC on 20th
  • 8:24 p.m.-9:54 p.m. EST on 19th
  • 4:24 p.m.-5:54 p.m. AST on 19th

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[highlight]L[eventtimer]2010-11-20 1:25;%c%%ddd%/%hh%:%mm%:%ss%[/eventtimer][/highlight]​

STP-S26 is flying 16 experiments on six satellites. Four satellites are microsatellites (STPSat-2, FalconSAT-5, FASTRAC, FASTSAT-HSV01) and two are CubeSats (RAX, O/OREOS). STP-S26 will also fly Demonstration Separation System (DSS), which will release ballasts at the secondary orbit as a technology demonstrator. DSS is built by Boeing Corporation. Future missions could utilize this capability to deploy spacecraft into either the primary of secondary orbit.

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Mission patches​
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minotaur12065.jpg

There is O-F Calendar event created for this launch. And here you can request a reminder for it, that will be sent via e-mail.



Launch Vehicle:
minotaur-4_haps__stp-s26__1.jpg
|   Minotaur IV HASP
The most recent addition to Orbital's line of space launch vehicles, the Minotaur-4 (a.k.a. OSP-2 Peacekeeper SLV) combines elements of government-furnished decommissioned Peacekeeper missiles with technologies from our proven Pegasus, Taurus and OSP Minotaur boosters. The vehicle consists of three Peacekeeper solid rocket stages, a commercial Orion-38 fourth stage motor and subsystems derived from established space launch boosters. Under a 10-year contract with the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Orbital will develop and operate the low-cost Minotaur-4 vehicle to launch U.S. government-funded satellites into low-Earth orbit.​
The Minotaur-4 incorporates a standard 92-inch fairing from the Taurus booster and supports dedicated or shared launch missions. Capable of boosting payloads more than 1,750 kg into orbit, the vehicle is compatible with multiple U.S. government and commercial launch sites. The Minotaur-4 is designed to provide 18-month mission response including payload integration and launch by Orbital's experienced launch crews.​
This version of Minotaur IV launch vehicle includes a Hydrazine Auxiliary Propulsion System (HAPS) 5th stage to take the vehicle to a secondary orbit.​
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Stage:
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1
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2
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3
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4
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5
Engine:
| TU-903 (SR-118) | SR-119 | SR-120 | Orion-38 | HAPS / 3 MR-107K 



Payload:
{colsp=2} STPSat 2
STPSat 2 is an experimental spacecraft for STP. It is the first flight of the Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV).​
Two experiments are mounted onto the payload standard interface module of the STP-SIV:
  • SPEX (Space Phenomenology Experiment) is evaluating sensor compatibility for the space environment.
  • ODTML (Ocean Data Telemetry MicroSatLink) provides two way data relay from terrestrial (ocean or land) sensors to users (standalone or on the internet).
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stpsat-2__1.jpg

{colsp=2} FASTRAC A, B (Nanosat 3)
FASTRAC (Formation Autonomy Spacecraft with Thrust, Relnav, Attitude and Crosslink) is a nanosatellite pair whose design and integration has been undertaken by students at The University of Texas at Austin. The project is part of a program sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) whose goal is to lead the development of affordable space technology. The objective of the FASTRAC mission is to investigate technologies that enable space research using satellite formations. The utilization of satellite formations in space is a pivotal advancement for the future of space exploration and research.​
The University of Texas is one of 12 universities in the nation selected to participate in this grant-based competition. In January 2005, UT won the opportunity to have their nanosatellites launched into space.​
The purpose of the FASTRAC mission is to investigate enabling technologies crucial for satellite formations, including on-orbit micro-thrust capability, relative navigation, attitude determination, and satellite crosslink communications. This will be achieved by taking on-orbit data from a pair of twin satellites that will separate once in orbit. The data will be gathered through a network of civilian ground stations and evaluated through post-processing of the recombined downlink message.​
The FASTRAC nanosatellite mission has three primary technical objectives. On-board the satellite, these include two primary experiments: the microdischarge plasma thruster experiment and the GPS relative navigation experiment. The third technical objective is the construction of a civilian distributed ground station network.​
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fastrac-1__1.jpg

{colsp=2} FASTSAT-HSV 01
FASTSAT-HSV (Fast Affordable Science and Technology Satellite - Huntsville) is small technological satellite to test out cow-cost technologies for rapidly built small satellite missions.​
The satellite will carry six small payloads, including three technology demonstration experiments and three atmospheric research instruments.
  • Nanosail D - a technology experiment to demonstrate FASTSAT's ability to deploy a nanosatellite into space;
  • Threat Detection System;
  • Miniature Star Tracker;
  • Thermosphere Temperature Imager, designed to measure spacecraft drag and other flight characteristics;
  • MINI-ME - a low-energy neutral atom imager that will detect neutral atoms formed in the plasma population of the Earth's outer atmosphere to improve global space weather prediction;
  • Plasma and Impedance Spectrum Analyzer - a device that will test a new measurement technique for the type and density of thermal electrons in the ionosphere - which can interfere with radio-based communications and navigation.
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fastsat-hsv-01__1.jpg

{colsp=2} RAX
RAX (Radio Aurora Explorer) is a student-built nanosatellite for ionospheric research. It is built on a triple CubeSat structure.​
The RAX will measure the energy flow in the ionosphere, the highest part of Earth's atmosphere where solar radiation turns regular atoms into charged particles.​
RAX is a Ground-to-Space Bistatic Radar Experiment. The RAX satellite will act as a receiver that will pick up signals from a ground radar transmitter. These radar pulses will reflect off disturbances, or space weather phenomena, in the ionosphere.​
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rax__1.jpg

{colsp=2} O/OREOS
The O/OREOS (Organics and/or Organisms Exposure to Orbital Stresses) satellite Mission is a NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Astrobiology Small Payloads (ASP) free flying science demonstration satellite based on the GeneSat-1/Pharmasat Spacecraft Bus.​
O/OREOS has a modified payload structural section, providing for dual modular payload experimental systems. Modified bus software and new payload experiment control software are also being developed. The general mission scenario involves exposing selected organisms and organic compounds to the space environment, and monitoring or assessing changes to them induced by space exposure.​
The mission concept is a 5.2 kg (max) free-flying spacecraft launched as a secondary (or piggyback) payload. The target launch is the USAF STP S26 mission from Kodiak Island on a Minotaur IV expendable launch vehicle (Dec. 2009). The orbit will be a circular low Earth orbit (LEO) of 650 km altitude at 72 degrees inclination, with an orbital period of 97.7 minutes. Satellite attitude dynamics in orbit are controlled by permanent magnets and hysteresis rods that dampen rotational energy. The satellite rotates about its long axis (z-axis) at a rate ranging from 1 to 2 RPM. The satellite also experiences a nutation, or “coning”, rotation about it center of mass at a rate of 4-5 RPM with a cone half-angle of less than 13 degrees. This spacecraft motion results in a microgravity environment that varies, but remains below 100 micro-g.​
Radiation dose rate on the spacecraft from the inner Van Allen belts and GCR can be as much as 1.4E3 Rads/day. Of this, GCR is expected to make up about 50 mRad/day. Orbit thermal environment varies over time with orbit plane precession (-2.19 degrees per day) and variation in the sun angle (ecliptic plane) during the year.​
There are two experiment payloads that include specimens to be exposed to the space environment. One experiment payload includes two biological specimens, while the other payload includes four types of reaction cells containing organic molecules.​
The O/OREOS satellite project will develop a simple deployable drag device to assist the satellite with achieving natural orbit decay in less than 25 years. The device simply increases the surface area of the satellite by extending mylar panels. This results in a surface to mass ratio sufficient to achieve the required deorbit. No propellants are required.​
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ooreos__1.jpg

{colsp=2} FalconSat 5
FalconSAT-5, is a microsatellite developed in the Department of Astronautics that will carry United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) Physics Department scientific payloads into space.​
The payloads that are currently intended to be flown on FS5 are Ion Source, Wafer-Integrated Spectrometer (WISPERS), Smart Miniaturized ElectroStatic Analyzer (SmartMESA), and Reciever UHF/VHF Signal Strength (RUSS).
  • Ion Source is a payload resembling that of the Flight heritage Ion Source from Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL).
  • WISPERS measure ions resulting from ion source to validate USAFA and AFRL/PR plume models.
  • SmartMESA detects the temperature and density of ambient ions to validate ionospheric data assimilation models.
  • RUSS, receives UHF/VHF Signal Strength meter, and characterizes UHF/VHF signal distortion to improve ionospheric models.
The FalconSAT-5 team has already completed its Conceptual Design Review and has already met key milestones in the development of the small satellite. The Satellite is currently manifested to launch sometime during the Fall of 2009.​
FS5 will have two processors sharing the responsibilities. One will deal with the science payloads that are taking data to characterize the ionosphere. The other will do the computations associated with the sensors and actuators used for satellite attitude determination and control. Interface systems with these components will be designed by cadets.​
The FalconSAT-5 Attitude Control and Determination System (ADCS) has an active control method, magnetorquers, and a passive control method, the gravity gradient boom. To determine attitude a magnetometer measures the Earth's magnetic field around the satellite and compares the measurements to a model of the magnetic field, and four sun sensors detect the sun vector. The boom is stowed in a box that has to fit inside of the satellite during the launch. Because FS5 could launch on either a Minotaur or an Atlas, the interface to the rocket must be flat. After launch and orbit insertion the magnetometer and magnetorquers will damp out rotation rates until the satellite is spinning slow enough to deploy the boom. An internal configuration changes the characteristics of the gravity gradient control only slightly from those of FalconSAT-3.​
With FS5 serving as the prototype, the technological leap to FalconSAT-4 (FS4), which is a more advanced system, will be already mapped out. FS5 is launching before FS4 because some design constraints on FS4 made FS5 more marketable to finding its way on a launch manifest earlier than FS4.​
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falconsat-5__1.jpg

{colsp=3} NanoSail D
NanoSail D is a cubesat-based solar sail demonstrator. The mission goals are:
  • Establish ARC-MSFC collaborative relationship for future small satellite initiatives
  • Deploy a 10 m2 solar sail leveraging work by MSFC approved under the SMD In-Space Propulsion Program
  • Demo Orbital Debris Mitigation technology – drag sail
  • Ground Imaging to reduce spacecraft instrumentation
  • Add to flight experience – ARC Bus "light" experience
Two units of the NanoSail D satellites have been built. The first satellite failed to reach orbit due to a malfunction of the Falcon-1 launch vehicle first stage. The second satellite is to be deployed from FASTSAT-HSV 01.​
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nanosail-d__1.jpg
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Characteristics:
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STPSat 2
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FASTRAC A, B (Nanosat 3)
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FASTSAT-HSV 01
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RAX
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O/OREOS
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FalconSat 5
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NanoSail D
Type/Application:
| Technology | Technology | Technology | Ionospheric research | Life sciences | Experimental | Technology
Operator:
| USAF STP (Space Test Program) | University of Texas | University of Texas | University of Michigan, SRI International | NASA Ames | U.S. Air Force Academy | NASA Ames Research Center
Contractors:
| Ball Aerospace (prime); AeroAstro (bus) | University of Texas |   | University of Michigan, SRI International | Stanford University | U.S. Air Force Academy, SpaceQuest ? (bus) | NASA Ames Research Center
Equipment:
| SPEX, ODTML |   |   |   |   | Ion Source, WISPERS, MESA, RUSS | Solar sail
Configuration:
| Astro-200 |   |   | CubeSat (triple) | CubeSat (triple) |   | CubeSat (triple)
Propulsion:
|   |   |   | None | None |   | None
Lifetime:
| 1 year |   |   |   |   |   | 7 days
Mass:
|   | 15 kg | ~140 kg | 3 kg | 5 kg |   | 4 kg
Orbit:
| 600-700 km Circular, 64-72° |   |   |   | 650 km, 72° |   | 330 km x 685 km, 9°



Launch site:
Alaska Aerospace Corporation Kodiak Launch Complex was the USA’s first commercial spaceport not collocated on a federal range. Located about 44 road miles south of the city of Kodiak at Narrow Cape on Kodiak Island, the spaceport is state-of-the-industry and AAC strives to keep it that way. Vigilance, regularly scheduled maintenance, and periodic upgrades govern day-to-day activity. KLC is situated on 3,717 acres of state owned land, and AAC has authority during launch missions to limit public access to an additional 7,000 acres to assure public safety and security.


KLC is the USA’s only high latitude full service spaceport. It features all indoor, all weather, processing and was designed specifically to provide optimal support for space launches to polar orbit, including circular and highly elliptical Molniya and Tundra orbits. KLC offers unrestricted down range launch azimuths ranging from 110° to 220°, and is the only U.S. facility that can launch high inclination (63.4°) missions without land over-flight and the requirement to resort to energy consuming dog leg flight segments. The spaceport, like all U.S. west coast facilities, sits on the seismically active Pacific Rim, and all structures and components are designed to exceed applicable design criteria for seismically active zones.




Live Coverage and Updates:
Live updates are provided via Spaceflight Now's Mission Status Center, and live video coverage via Spaceflight Now's livestream channel.

There is also FASTRAC Twitter, NanoSail-D Twitter where updates for given mission will be provided.​



Links:

Videos:

Weather report:
The weather outlook for Friday calls for favorable conditions at launch time. Meteorologists predict no chance for a weather violation during the launch window, which opens at 4:24 p.m. Alaska time (8:24 p.m. EST; 0124 GMT Saturday) and extends for 90 minutes.

Forecasters expect sunny to partly cloudy skies, west winds at 10 to 20 mph, and an afternoon high temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit.

(To be continued in next post, because of pictures limit)
 
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Launch preparations - Payload Processing

Payload Processing:
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force/Lou Hernandez / Source: Spaceflight Now.

01.jpg

Technicians install acoustic insulation inside the Minotaur rocket's payload fairing.


02.jpg

Workers prepare to lift NASA's FASTSAT technology demonstration spacecraft onto the payload deck.


03.jpg

Two FASTRAC satellites from the University of Texas are lowered into place.


04.jpg

The U.S. Air Force STPSat 2 spacecraft is guided toward its attach point on the Minotaur payload adapter.


05.jpg

The FalconSat 5 payload from the U.S. Air Force Academy is added to the spacecraft stack. A portion of the Minotaur's nose cone is visible on the right side of the image.


06.jpg

The four largest satellites on the STP-S26 mission are bolted to the payload dispenser. STPSat 2, FASTRAC, FalconSat 5, and FASTSAT are visible in this image.


07.jpg

The four largest satellites on the STP-S26 mission are bolted to the payload dispenser. STPSat 2, FASTRAC, FalconSat 5, and FASTSAT are visible in this image.


08.jpg

Engineers from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo unpack the RAX CubeSat, an NSF-sponsored spacecraft built in collaboration by the University of Michigan and SRI International.


09.jpg

Engineers unpack the O/OREOS CubeSat, a NASA Ames Research Center payload that will study the response of organic specimens to the space environment.​
 

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Launch preparations - Dress Rehearsal

Launch Dress Rehearsal:
Photo credit: Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now / Source: Spaceflight Now.

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So will Nanosail-D only test for imposing drag on spacecraft by the sail, or try to boost its orbit too?
Objectives rather don't include the solar sailing (below - gathered from fact sheet and NASA article):
While NanoSail-D’s relatively low altitude means drag from Earth’s atmosphere may dominate any propulsion from the sun, the nanosatellite remains a small first step towards eventually deploying solar sails at higher altitudes.

{...}

One objective of the NanoSail-D project is to demonstrate the capability to pack and deploy a large sail structure from a highly compacted volume. This demonstration can be applied to deploy future communication antennas, sensor arrays or thin film solar arrays to power the spacecraft.

{...}

For example, because the sail will deploy relatively close to Earth, researchers will have a difficult time detecting the slight solar effects.

{...}

This de-orbiting process will provide NASA researchers with information about how systems like NanoSail-D might one day be used to bring old satellites out of space. This will provide a means for future satellites to de-orbit after their mission is complete -- keeping them from becoming space junk.
 

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Having this, it sounds more like a step back from achievements of Japansese IKAROS.
NanoSail-D was first to be launched on Falcon 1 in 2008, before IKAROS, but the rocket failed, otherwise it would be the first solar sail in space. Still, it's only a technology demonstration, and testing whether sails using atmospheric drag can be used to deorbit space junk.
________________________________________

Space Daily:Space Travel:The Planetary Society:
Weather Report (Spaceflight Now MSC):
"The team has completed final arming," said Lou Amorosi, senior vice president for Minotaur launch vehicles at Orbital Sciences Corp. "We are just wrapping up final paper work and going through the post-launch scripts. The weather, right now, looks good for tomorrow and Saturday."

The latest weather forecast predicts sunny to partly cloudy skies, southwest winds between 10 and 20 mph. The high temperature Friday is expected to be 42 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is no chance of a violation of one of the launch weather rules Friday. Conditions should also be favorable Saturday, with mostly cloudy skies and a 10 percent chance of weather prohibiting liftoff.

{...}

Countdown operations are scheduled to begin Friday morning. Retraction of the launch service structure at Launch Pad No. 1 is expected around 12 p.m. Alaska time (4 p.m. EST; 2100 GMT).


---------- Post added at 17:50 ---------- Previous post was at 11:11 ----------

Spaceflight Now:

---------- Post added at 22:21 ---------- Previous post was at 17:50 ----------

T-4 hours now. Minotaur 4 rocket is now exposed at Kodiak Launch Complex. More launch vehicle closeouts and rocket motor arming are planned during the next two hours.

Launch timeline:
T[HH:MM:SS] | Event

+00:00:00|Stage 1 Ignition

+00:00:35|Max Q

+00:00:57|Stage 1 Sep. / Stage 2 Ignition

+00:01:56|Stage 2 Sep. / Stage 3 Ignition

+00:02:20|Fairing Sep.

+00:03:08|Stage 3 Burnout

+00:13:21|Stage 3 Sep.

+00:13:32|Stage 4 Ignition

+00:14:39|Stage 4 Burnout

+00:16:39|STPSat-2 Sep.

+00:17:39|RAX Sep.

+00:18:39|O/OREOS Sep.

+00:21:39|FASTSAT Sep.

+00:26:39|FalconSat-5 Sep.

+00:31:39|FASTRAC Sep.

+00:34:39|Stage 4 Sep.

+00:35:39|HAPS Burn 1 Ignition

+00:37:55|HAPS Burn 1 Cutoff

+01:27:??|HAPS Burn 2 Ignition

+01:30:??|HAPS Burn 2 Cutoff

+01:33:??|Ballast Sep.

+01:40:??|HAPS Depletion

+01:44:??|RCS Gas Depletion

+01:44:??|End of Mission


---------- Post added at 23:15 ---------- Previous post was at 22:21 ----------

There will be additional video stream for viewing the launch - "The launch can be viewed on the web at this page, http://www.nasa.gov/fastsat, on Friday, Nov. 19, starting at 7 p.m. CST." (SOURCE)


University of Texas - Know: Up, up and away (FASTRAC).

---------- Post added 20th Nov 2010 at 00:52 ---------- Previous post was 19th Nov 2010 at 23:15 ----------

NEW LAUNCH TIME. The launch team has adjusted the T-0 one minute later in the window. New launch time is 4:25 p.m. local time / 8:25 p.m. EST / 01:25 UTC.

---------- Post added at 01:04 ---------- Previous post was at 00:52 ----------

The gallery linked below contains launch day photos by Stephen Clark/Spaceflight Now:
Spaceflight Now: Launch tower retracted at Minotaur pad (PHOTO GALLERY).​


---------- Post added at 03:04 ---------- Previous post was at 01:04 ----------

The Minotaur IV rocket lifted off as planned at 01:25 UTC, and successfully delivered primary payload onto orbit. The secondary objectives - testing of HAPS stage is underway - HAPS stage 1st ignition was successful.

---------- Post added at 03:23 ---------- Previous post was at 03:04 ----------

NASASpaceflight: Orbital Minotaur IV launches with multiple satellites.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Rocket lifts off from Kodiak Island complex:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A Minotaur IV rocket was launched successfully Friday from a rocket launch facility on Kodiak Island in a cost-effective effort to send several satellites into space at the same time, officials said.

The rocket - the third Minotaur IV to be launched - lifted off as scheduled at about 4:25 p.m. Alaska Standard Time. It rose above the island off Alaska's coastline and was carrying 16 experiments on seven satellites.

"Picture perfect," Joe Davidson, spokesman for the Department of Defense's Space and Missile Systems Center, said after the lift-off.

{...}

19quicklaunch_400.jpg
 

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What? Something didn't scrub do to a fuel leak for once?

Glad to see STP made it to orbit.
 

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What? Something didn't scrub do to a fuel leak for once?

Solid rocket motors have their advantages... :lol:

I think that retrofitting ICBM stages to launch science missions is one of the best ideas humanity ever had :thumbup:
 

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Video Replays of Dress Rehearsal & the Launch



---------- Post added at 14:11 ---------- Previous post was at 12:47 ----------

SPACE.com: Rocket Loaded With Solar Sail and Satellites Blasts Off From Alaska.

NASA: NASA's Newest Microsatellite FASTSAT Launches Successfully.

PR Newswire: Ball Aerospace STPSat-2 Satellite Launches Aboard STP-S26 Mission.

Discovery News: O/OREOS Nanosatellite Blasts into Space.

High resolution launch pictures:
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Image thumbnails - click to enlarge​
|

The HAPS stage test was successful, and the primary payload echoed back from orbit to tracking station:
SFN MSC said:
T+plus 1 hour, 27 minutes. The hydrazine kick engine is firing a second time to prove a new multi-orbit capability for the Minotaur 4 rocket.

T+plus 1 hour, 30 minutes. HAPS cutoff! Applause just broke out in the control center as the hydrazine-fueled auxiliary propulsion system finished its second burn.

The HAPS burns placed the rocket in a circular orbit 746 miles above Earth with an inclination of 72 degrees, almost exactly the preflight target. The rocket was expected to release ballast weights before ending its mission.

The primary payload for tonight's launch has radioed back to Earth through a ground station in Hawaii, according to Ken Reese, the Air Force STPSat 2 program manager.
 

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The Launch - Minotaur rocket roars into space at sunset

Launch of the STP-S26 atop Minotaur IV HAPS:
Source: Spaceflight Now.

Photo credit: Thom Rogers/T-Minus Productions Inc.:

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Photo credit: Steven Young/Spaceflight Now:

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NASA: NASA Ejects Nanosatellite From Microsatellite in Space:
On Dec. 6 at 1:31 a.m. EST, NASA for the first time successfully ejected a nanosatellite from a free-flying microsatellite. NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT, demonstrating the capability to deploy a small cubesat payload from an autonomous microsatellite in space.

{...}


The Huntsville Times: NASA launches first satellite from a satellite in Huntsville-controlled experiment.


NanoSail-D2 Mission Dashboard:
{...}

- Data from FASTSAT indicates that ejection occurred at 2231:01 PST.

{...}


NanoSail-D's TLE:
Code:
  NANOSAILD
  1 99902U 0        10337.45398478 +.00000086 +00000-0 +20372-4 0 00185
  2 99902 071.9723 110.7346 0019937 284.0147 075.8775 14.76483169001972
 

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NASA:
NanoSail-D Mission Status Update for Dec. 10

At this time, it is not clear that NanoSail-D ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) as originally stated on Monday, Dec. 6. At the time of ejection, spacecraft telemetry data showed a positive ejection as reflected by confirmation of several of the planned on orbit ejection sequence events. The FASTSAT spacecraft ejection system data was also indicative of an ejection event. NanoSail-D was scheduled to unfurl on Dec. 9 at 12:30 a.m., and deployment hasn't been confirmed. The FASTSAT team is continuing to trouble shoot the inability to make contact with NanoSail-D. The FASTSAT microsatellite and all remaining five onboard experiments continue to operate as planned.
________________________________________

SPACE.com: NASA Solar Sail Satellite May Not Have Ejected from Mothership After All.
 

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Spaceflight Now: NASA solar sail lost in space:
NASA has not heard from the experimental NanoSail-D miniature solar sail in nearly a week, prompting officials to wonder if the craft actually deployed from a larger mother satellite despite initial indications it ejected as designed.

{...}

Engineers have been unable to contact the spacecraft since its suspected release early Monday, according to Kim Newton, a spokesperson at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

{...}

NASA still has not confirmed the sail deployment event, which was programmed to occur this week. Four spring-loaded guide booms were expected to pop out of the compact spacecraft, then the polymer membrane was designed to stretch tight in a diamond shape within about five seconds.

{...}
 

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NanoSail-D has ejected from the FASTSAT yesterday, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011!

NASA: NanoSail-D Ejects: NASA Seeks Amateur Radio Operators' Aid to Listen for Beacon Signal:
On Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 11:30 a.m. EST, engineers at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that the NanoSail-D nanosatellite ejected from Fast Affordable Scientific and Technology Satellite, FASTSAT. The ejection event occurred spontaneously and was identified this morning when engineers at the center analyzed onboard FASTSAT telemetry. The ejection of NanoSail-D also has been confirmed by ground-based satellite tracking assets.

{...}


The Huntsville Times: NASA says solar sail satellite has deployed from FASTSAT.

NanoSail-D2 Mission Dashboard:
1900 PST 1/17/11 NanoSail Ejected

TLE:
Code:
NANOSAILD           
1 90027U 0        11019.40613897 +.00003325 +00000-0 +47680-3 0 00013
2 90027 071.9739 007.2360 0021785 203.3337 159.2085 14.77038910000019
 

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NASA: NASA's First Solar Sail NanoSail-D Deploys in Low-Earth Orbit:
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Friday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. EST, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., confirmed that the NanoSail-D nanosatellite deployed its 100-square-foot polymer sail in low-Earth orbit and is operating as planned. Actual deployment occurred on Jan. 20 at 10 p.m. EST and was confirmed today with beacon packets data received from NanoSail-D and additional ground-based satellite tracking assets. In addition, the NanoSail-D orbital parameter data set shows an appropriate change which is consistent with sail deployment.

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NanoSail-D2 Mission Dashboard:
The last documented beacon packet was received early morning PST on 1/21/11, and the satellite is now believed to be out of power (which is expected).

We will be monitoring the de-orbiting of NanoSail-D over the next few months, and we will post any available visual photographs of the satellite, which are being collected by the mission team at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

Beacon 437.270 MHz|Latest contact
0554 PST 1/21/11​


Spaceflight Now: NASA's first solar sail makes unlikely comeback in orbit.
 

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NASA: NASA Partners On Nanosail-D Amateur Astronomy Image Contest:
To encourage observations of NanoSail-D, Spaceweather.com is offering prizes for the best images of this historic, pioneering spacecraft in the amounts of $500 (grand prize), $300 (first prize) and $100 (second prize).

The contest is open to all types of images, including, but not limited to, telescopic captures of the sail to simple wide-field camera shots of solar sail flares. If NanoSail-D is in the field of view, the image is eligible for judging.

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To learn more about the NanoSail-D imaging challenge and contest rules, satellite tracking predictions and sighting times, visit:


NASA Science: Solar Sail Stunner.
 

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NASA:
NASA Chat: First Solar Sail Deploys in Low-Earth Orbit

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Live Web Chat About Solar Sails

On Thursday, Jan. 27 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. EST, Dean Alhorn, the principal investigator for NanoSail-D at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will answer your questions about the NanoSail-D mission and solar sails.

Joining the chat is easy. Simply return to this page (http://www.nasa.gov/connect/chat/nanosail_chat2.html) a few minutes before 4:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, Jan. 27. The chat module will appear at the bottom of this page. After you log in, wait for the chat module to be activated, then ask your questions!


More About Chat Expert Dean Alhorn

Alhorn, a NASA Marshall employee since 1991, is an expert in electro-mechanical systems and the principle investigator for NanoSail-D. Alhorn has prior flight systems experience with the Chandra X-ray Observatory telescope; the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite; and the Suppression of Transient Accelerations by Levitation Experiment. Alhorn continues to perform research in the area of solar sail propulsion technology.

He is a native of Albuquerque, N.M., and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, and a Master of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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