Frontier Status Report

Frontier Status Report #20 - 21

Frontier Status Report #20 - 21

October 24, 1996

Dale M. Gray

It has been a quiet two weeks on the Frontier. Only one Chinese rocket was launched. Launch delays were announced for both the ESA and Russian launch programs. However, the frontier moves on with new camps opening up and old camps revitalized by new technology. China, Brazil, and Canada have announced plans for major upgrades to their own space launch capabilities.


Preparations for the scheduled November 8 launch of Shuttle Columbia are moving forward smoothly. The terminal countdown demonstration test is being conducted and hypergolic fuels are being loaded. The mission will conduct research utilizing the Wake Shield Facility-3 and ORFEUS-SPAS-2 (NASA).


As he enters his second month in space, John Blaha appears to be adapting to the routines of station life. He is conducting a number of experiments. No major problems have been encountered on the station, however, the Russian resupply of the station has been pushed back due to lack of available rockets. The manufacturing of boosters has radically decreased in number in recent years -- due largely to radically underfunded programs (FLATODAY).


The European Space Agency is planning to buy 3 more $480 million Meteosat meteorological satellites from Aerospatiale's Space & Defense Div. The second-generation MSG satellites will be launched from 2002-07 and operated by Eumetsat (AW&ST).

The scheduled November 7 launch of the Malaysian Measat-2 and Arabsat 2A on an Ariane 4 rocket has been delayed to November 13.


Canadian Akjuit Aerospace has signed an agreement with Russia's Scientific and Technological Center Complex to launch Russian Start boosters from a proposed commercial spaceport in northern Manitoba. Construction on Spaceport Canada near Churchill, Manitoba, will begin next summer with the first Start booster launch in late 1998 (AW&ST).


Brazil has signed a $10 million contract with Matra Marconi Space to provide their military with satellite communication terminals (AW&ST).

Brazil has also recently announced that in early 1997 they are preparing to launch a 190-kg telecommunication satellite with a VLS-1 type carrier rocket from their Alcantara Launching Center in northern Brazil (FLATODAY).


Sunday October 20, China launched a Long March 2-D rocket from the Jiuquan launch center in the Gansu province. The booster carried a Chinese manufactured retrievable satellite carrying scientific and technological instruments to LEO where it will conduct experiments for 15 days (FLATODAY).

China has also formally announced plans to upgrade their boosters to the equivalent of the Ariane 5 and hope to orbit their own astronauts in 1999 (AW&ST). The Chinese manned space program has long been in the works, but the announcement was timed for release at the congress of the International Astronautical Federation, which was meeting in Beijing. The announcement was part of the celebration of 50 years as a communist state. Inmar-Tass reported that China is discontent because they are not participating in the International Space Station (FLATODAY). As with other frontiers, the prestige of participation is no small motivator (DMG Frontier model). It is speculated that, orbiting their own astronauts, they would come into any future space negotiations as a major player. However, as a closed society, China's motivation is anything but clear. Currently only the United States and Russia have the capability of placing humans into orbit (FLATODAY).


Washington-headquartered WorldSpace plans to create a $750-million Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) network to provide digital radio programming to remote locations in 11 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and South America. The company has an FCC license for portable satellite service and expects to launch their first three Matra Marconi Space-built satellites from Ariane boosters in 1998-1999. In the first year of operation, 1 million $100 DAB receivers built by TIW (Santa Clara) are expected to be sold with an additional 183 million in the next 10 years. The business is expected to generate profits after the first 2 years of satellite operation. U.S. Satellite Digital Audio Radio Services, Europe's satellite-relayed Eureka-147 and Indonesia's IndoStar are expected to become WorldSpace's competitors (AW&ST).


Inmarsat has introduced a 2-kg satellite phone that has been dubbed the "world's smallest mobile satellite phone." Part of a new family of Inmarsat phones utilizing the powerful new Inmarsat-3 satellites, the phones will be able to operate over 80% of the world's land mass. The new phones cost $3,000, with $3-per-minute air time.


The major components of the Cassini spacecraft have been assembled in preparation for acoustic and thermal testing. The craft is scheduled to be launched next October and will arrive at Saturn in 2004.

Observations using the Hubble Space Telescope's Goddard High-Resolution Spectrograph have revealed that Ganymede may have a thin oxygen atmosphere. Astronomers from Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute studied the ultraviolet observations to determine that the moon's atmosphere is roughly equivalent to Earth's at several hundred kilometers. The oxygen is likely to have come from water molecules on the planet's surface (AW&ST).


The population of the frontier remains at 3: two Russian sojourners and an American sojourner on MIR.

Index for Frontier Status Report 1996

Home Tour Join! Contents Team News Catalog Search Comm
Sources of information. ASI W9900226r1.0
Frontier Status Report is written by Dale M. Gray. Maintained by by Jim Sealy Jr.
Additional web formatting by Simone Cortesi. FSR is also archived on the web at
Copyright © 2001 Artemis Society International, for the contributors. Updated Sat, Oct 20, 2001
Maintained with WebSite Director. Internet services provided courtesy of CyberTeams.