Frontier Status Report

Frontier Status Report #196

Frontier Status Report #196

March 31, 2000

Dale M. Gray

Another busy week on the frontier. A Delta rocket launched the IMAGE satellite into orbit. India apparently launched seven sounding rockets. An amateur group, J P Aerospace attempted to send a rocket into space. Both Russia and America are preparing flights to the two orbiting space stations.

However, the release of the report on the failed Mars Missions dominated the news. While technical flaws were found, management was seen as the culprit. NASA head Dan Goldin took responsibility. Mars Lander 2001 was cancelled (or delayed), but the Mars Orbiter 2001 survived the storm.

Highlights of the week of March 31 include:

  • Delta launches IMAGE satellite
  • X-38 completes successful drop test
  • Software problem doomed Sea Launch
  • Russia prepares to reoccupy Mir
  • Mars Mission Failure report released
  • Mars Lander 2001 cancelled

SHUTTLE - A new launch date for Shuttle Atlantis has been confirmed by NASA managers. The Shuttle will now lift off on STS-101 on April 24 at about 4:15 p.m. EDT. The delay comes is due to a combination of Commander James Halsell's sprained ankle pushing back the dress rehearsal and a desire by NASA managers for newly integrated team members to have a chance to train together. Susan Helms, Jim Voss and Yuri Usachev were added to the crew late in the process because they have already been training on station maintenance as part of their preparations as the second ISS crew. The Shuttle was rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building to launch pad 39A on Saturday, March 25. The SpaceHab pressurized double cargo module was placed in the cargo bay on Sunday. Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test is scheduled for April 6 and 7 (NASA;; Florida Today).

ISS - On Thursday, the warranty runs out on the orbiting elements of the International Space Station. The Russian built electronics for current configuration, consisting of only the Unity and Zarya modules, was rated for 496 days. This ran out on Thursday, March 23. NASA expects the station to continue functioning normally, just like equipment on the ground that exceeds its warrantee. However, the April 24 Shuttle flight will include repairs and equipment replacement that will recertify the Zarya module until the end of the year. The orbiting elements of the ISS have completed over 7,645 orbits (March 26) and is currently in a 232 x 221 mile orbit (NASA; AP).

Boeing: As one result of last week's reshuffling of space station assembly flights, Boeing has signed a modification to their International Space Station contract. The terms of the $26.3 million modification cover Boeing's planning costs associated with NASA's moving launch dates, deleting and adding US flights and revising the Multi-Increment Manifest (MIM). Work will be conducted as Cost-Plus Award-Fee (NASA).

The new assembly sequence can be viewed at:

Columbus: The European Space Agency announced on March 20 that it would let bids for their Columbus laboratory by the end of the year. Leading European aerospace companies have formed a consortium to bid on the Space Station module. Members of the consortium include DaimlerChrysler, Aerospatiale Matra Lancerus, Alenia Aerospazio, and Matra Marconi Space. The 2-3 billion euros Columbus module is expected to be launched in 2003 - 2004. The consortium seeks also to bid on the Automated Transfer Vehicle, which will be launched on an Ariane 5 in 2003 (Reuters).

Discovery Channel: Discovery Communications has announced that its next "Watch the World" initiative will feature the International Space Station. The program, which will air Sunday, December 10, 2000, will chronicle the development, construction and deployment of the International Space Station. The program "Inside the Space Station" will air in 146 countries in 26 languages. The program will be the Discovery Channel's first to be shot in high definition (Discovery Channel PR).

X-38: On Thursday, March 30, a prototype for the Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) was drop tested over Dryden Flight Research Center, California. The V-132 vehicle was dropped from a modified B-52B at an altitude of 39,000 feet. The craft flew free for 44 seconds reaching a speed of over 500-mph, the speed at which it will deploy its drogue parachute when it returns from orbit. Forty-four seconds into the flight the 60-foot diameter drogue chute deployed, slowing the X-38 to 70 mph. The craft then deployed the large, steerable parafoil. The parafoil is so large at 5,500- square feet that designers created it to open in a series of phases. The flight also marked the first use of advanced flight control software. The X-38 then glided for 11.5 minutes to a controlled landing on target on the dry lakebed below. The landing was smooth despite one of three skids failing to deploy. The prototypes of the CRV will be used in a series of increasingly complex flight tests culminating in a launch from a Space Shuttle in 2002. The X-38 is being developed as a "lifeboat" for the crews of the International Space Station (NASA).

QuickTime video of the flight available at:


Soyuz: Cosmonauts Sergey V. Zalyotin and Aleksandr Kaleri, who will be flying to Mir on April 4, arrived at Baikonur on March 29. The pair are preparing for a 45-day stay on the 14-year-old station. Their first order of business is to try to find the slow leak that has slowly deflated the station since it was abandoned last summer. The solution could be as easy as closing the air lock door, or could be a small leak behind equipment. The pressure was partially restored by Progress M-1 supply vessel, which docked with the station in late February. The cosmonauts will dedicate two days for each module in the search for the slow leak and will be bringing four super-sensitive instruments to help them in the search. After the leak has been identified and patched, the crew will begin work on up to 50 experiments. A second supply vessel, Progress M-1-2 will deliver an additional 150-kg of materials to the station in late April.

This will include a 137- kg experimental radiator called "Pelena". The mission to Mir was made possible by MirCorp, which has signed a lease to create the first industrial park in space using Mir as a nucleus (Reuters;; Space Frontier Foundation).

MirCorp Website

Off the Planet: Jerry Linenger, Mir veteran, has put to paper his experiences on the Mir Space station. His book "Off the Planet: Surviving Five Perilous Months Aboard the Space Station Mir" was released by McGraw-Hill in February. Highlights of the book relate the details of the February 23, 1997 fire on the station and a near miss by a Progress supply vessel (


Delta: A Delta 2 rocket (7326) was launched from Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 2 West on March 25 at 3:34 p.m. EST. The payload for the mission was the Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE). The three strap-on solid rockets (GEM-40 boosters) completed their work at 64 seconds into the flight and were jettisoned about half a minute later in order to miss some oil drilling platforms in the Pacific. The shutdown of the RS-27A main engine was around 4.5 minutes into the flight with the second stage liquid-fueled engine (Aerojet AJ- 10-118K) ignition following immediately. The payload fairing separated at T+5 minutes. At the end of 12 minutes of flight the third stage and payload were placed into a 99.9 x 581 nautical mile parking orbit. The solid propellant third stage (Thiokol Star 37FM) ignited at T+51 minutes and fired for about three minutes. The IMAGE payload "spun-up" to 2.5 revolutions per minute and was released at T+56 minutes into a 540 x 24,800 nautical mile (987 x 45,993 km) polar orbit with a 14 hour period. Contact with the satellite was made by a tracking station in Madrid. This was the first launch from SLC 2W in nearly a year as the pad has been closed for refurbishment (Spaceflight Now; Jonathan's Space Report #42).

Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) is the first of NASA's Medium-class Explorers. The two-year $154 million mission will study the solar wind's interaction with the Earth's magnetosphere and processes affecting the magnetosphere's plasmas during geomagnetic storms. The mission coincides with Solar Maximum -- the peak of the sun's 11-year cycle of activity. The $82 million spacecraft was developed under a subcontract with Southwest Research Institute and built by Lockheed Martin. The spacecraft is built on a Lockheed Martin LM100 bus. For the next 40 days controllers will turn on and test equipment, including four 820-foot wire antennas. Instruments include a radio sounder, Ultraviolet imagers, and three neutron atom imagers. With a 1643 foot span, IMAGE will easily be the longest object in space (Spaceflight Now; Florida Today; Space Daily; Jonathan's Space Report #42).

J. P Aerospace: On Saturday, March 18, the crew of J.P. Aerospace gathered on a desert ridge overlooking the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to try to be the first amateur rocketry group to reach space. A system of 12 helium-filled weather balloons was designed to carry a "launch box" to 100,000 feet. At that altitude a command from the ground ignites the rocket in the box. The 17-pound, 88-inch long solid-fuel rocket then burns for 5 seconds, to reach a speed of Mach 3+. The rocket then coasts upward to an altitude of over 60 miles/ 97 km (

As the sun rose over the mountain ridges to the east, the group prepared their rocket and inflated twelve balloons. The balloons were placed on a tether in three tiers of four balloons each. As the balloons were attached to the main tether, one balloon escaped, but was quickly replaced with a spare. The rocket, encased in a "launch box" was brought out from a tent where it was prepared and placed upright on the ground next to a wood stepladder, which served as a launch tower. As the launch box was attached to the balloon tether, a small breeze started. This pushed the "train" of balloons over to almost 45 degrees. The launch box was moved into position for launch, but the wind was too strong and an "Abort" command was shouted out. This was quickly changed to a "Hold". The wind abated and a guideline was used to bend the stack back to near vertical. Two balloons had escaped, but the ten remaining were adequate for launch. The launch box was reattached to the tether and the order came to cut the anchor line. As the launch box rose into the air at 7:00 a.m. PST, its orange parachute accidentally deployed. The three tiers of balloons and launch box then rose rapidly, first to the west and then to the east over the Black Rock Desert. The object of the first stage, using balloons was to reach 100,000 feet. The deployed parachute slowed the ascent in the thicker air, but was less of a concern as the system moved upward beyond 30,000 feet. However, as more balloons escaped or deflated, the stack slowed its climb.

Because of the rough launch attempts, the launch box video and the GPS receivers in the rocket and launch box were not reporting properly. Triangulation was used to determine altitude. By the time the rocket box had reached 53,000 feet, it was down to only seven balloons and was slowly descending. The system was armed and the launch command was given. Because the system had passed through a light band of clouds, no visual confirmation of launch could be made so a second launch command was sent. With no launch confirmation, the launch box was commanded to cut-away from its balloons for parachute recovery. GPS telemetry was briefly acquired before the descent, which indicated the launch box achieved a maximum altitude of 62,000 feet. JP Aerospace currently holds the amateur rocket altitude record at 72,223 feet. JP Aerospace plans another attempt in July (Dale Gray personal account; JP Aerospace; Spacecom).

India: In an effort to better understand Kelvin waves and Rossby gravity waves, India has begun a campaign of balloon and rocket launches. From February 21 to the first week of April, the Indian Space Research Organization is launching 40 Rohini Sounding Rockets (RH200). The rockets launched from Sriharikota are expected to reach an altitude of about 70 km on 40 consecutive days. The study is being sponsored by the Space Physics Laboratory of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Kerala University, National Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere Radar Facility (NMRF) and Sri Venkateswara University (Space Daily).


Sea Launch: Investigations into the March 12 failure of the third flight of the Sea Launch system have revealed a root cause. Because good quality of telemetry was obtained throughout the first and second stage of the flight, a team of experts has determined that an anomaly occurred just prior to second stage separation. The anomaly was caused when a valve failed to close in the second stage pneumatic system, which resulted in a 60 percent loss of pressure and reduced engine capability of the Zenit 3SL second stage. A software logic error appears to be the culprit behind the failure of the valve to close. Beginning in April, the Sea Launch Failure Review Oversight Board will review and validate the results of the investigation and appropriate remediation. The Board is made up of representatives of customer companies, satellite manufacturing companies and aerospace industries. The results of the inquiry are expected clear the system for an early summer return to service (Sea Launch PR; Spaceflight Now).

Sea Launch Website

Atlas 3A: A technical issue relating to Eutelsat's W4 satellite payload has delayed the first flight of the Atlas 3A system. The satellite's propulsion system equipment appears to be the cause of the delay. The Atlas 3A rocket remains assembled awaiting flight at pad 36B of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The first flight will now likely occur some time after the May 17 launch of an Atlas 2 carrying GOES-L on May 3 (Spaceflight Now).

Ariane 5 light: The ESA Council has ended a dispute between Italy and France over a smaller capability rocket to compliment the Ariane 5. As a result of the decision, the Italian "Vega" light launch system will be abandoned in favor of a medium capability rocket that can lift single small or medium satellites. With the next generation of satellites averaging 3.5 tons, they are too large for the Ariane 5 to double-deploy and ineffective to deploy individually. The Ariane 5 has a 5.9-ton to GEO capability. This capability is expected to rise to 10 tons by 2002 and 11 tons by 2005 (

RLV 2nd Generation: With the jury still out on the first generation of Reusable Launch Vehicles, namely the X-33 / VentureStar, NASA has decided to begin plans for the second generation of RLVs. On March 28, NASA published its "Second Generation RLV Risk Reduction Definition Program". The studies seek to build a $4.5 billion effort to study and design a next generation system. A development competition would occur in 2005 and the system would be operational in 2010. The purpose of the program is for the government to cover some of the risk associated with development of a full-scale program, to lower cost of transportation to orbit and to provide alternative access to the International Space Station (Space Daily).

Japan: A report released on March 29 by the Japanese Management and Coordination Agency had bad news for Japan's space agency , the National Space Development Agency (NASDA). According to the report, NASDA has amassed $17 billion in cumulative losses by the end of fiscal year 1996. This deficit is primarily the result of excessive costs in developing Japanese rockets. NASDA's critics have long asserted that Japanese launch costs were too high and that the money would be better spent "jump starting" the Japanese economy. NASDA was forced to abandon plans to develop the J-1 rocket in August of 1999 and dropped the H- 2 program following the December failure of an H-2 rocket. The report was cited in the Jiji news agency (Reuters).


Air breathing rocket: NASA' Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville has successfully completed ground tests on an air-breathing rocket engine. The engine utilizes oxygen inhaled during flight. The engines utilize air in the rocket engines from Mach 2 to Mach 10 then convert to conventional rocket engines. By utilizing atmospheric oxygen in flight, the engines can provide significant weight savings. The engines being testes utilize a rocket engine placed in the air intake duct. Aerojet Corp. and Rocketdyne are conducting similar tests. Additional research in being conducted on placing two rocket engines in the air duct and the use of hydrocarbon fuels instead of hydrogen (Spaceflight Now).

S-Band Transponders: SpaceDev and Wireless Future have joined forces to develop and market a "next-generation, miniaturized, low-cost STDN-compatible transponder (the MST-21)". The first MST-21 will fly on CHIPsat; currently being developed by SpaceDev for the University of California Berkeley. The satellite will be launched in the spring of 2002 on a Delta II rocket. The MST-21 is fully compatible with NASA's Space Tracking and Data Network (STDN). The transponder is designed for either lunar or Earth-orbiting missions (Jim Benson).


Breaux Bill: A financial aid package for rocket manufactures has apparently stalled out on the Senate floor. The bill, introduced by Senator John Breaux (D-Louisiana), is called the Commercial Space Transportation Cost Reduction Act. It seeks to create a federal office to back commercial loans to U. S. rocket makers. The bill has had a mixed review by industry with Lockheed Martin supporting it, while Boeing has come out against it. The bill has been widely criticized by small aerospace companies and by space activist groups like ProSpace. It is felt that as written, government officials and not market forces would determine "winners and losers". In this most recent set-back for the bill, a parliamentary procedure problem forced Senator Breaux to remove it as a rider on an bill to provide loan guarantees for rural satellite television and internet access. While the Breaux bill was ruled, "not germane to the legislation", Breaux tried to resurrect the bill by taking it to the floor of the Senate for a vote on Wednesday, March 29. While the bill appears to have been defeated short of crossover to the House, Senator Breaux is both resourceful and motivated so the bill will probably continue to be an issue (; ProSpace; Space Frontier Foundation).

S. 2097: A bill to provide $1.25 billion in loan guarantees for rural television and internet providers passed through the Senate on March 30 with a vote of 97-0-1. The bill is technologically neutral with no language relating to cable, satellite or other signal system, but the inherent difficulty of providing broadband communications to sparse rural areas tends to favor satellite solutions. The legislation was introduced by Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana) with an amendment to add internet service added by Senators Max Baucus (D-Montana) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). Two similar pieces of legislation (H.R. 3615) have been approved in the House by the Commerce Committee and the Agriculture Committee. These bills must be merged or one picked over the other for the legislation advance to Conference Committee. The legislation appears to be popular on the Hill, but several conservative groups have come out against the legislation (AP; Ted Hearn).

Commercial Space Partnership Act: This past week, Senator Bob Graham (D-Florida) unveiled legislation that would allow space companies to lease NASA-owned property. Senator Connie Mack (R-Florida) and Senator John Breaux (D-Louisiana) cosponsor the Act. Representative Dave Weldon (R-Florida) is preparing a similar bill for introduction. The motivation of the bill is apparently aimed at leasing unused ground-based facilities at fair market value. The funds generated by the leases would be used by NASA to cover its own costs. With the coming election cutting the legislative calendar short, it is unclear if the Bill will get a hearing in committee before the Senate adjourns for the election (Florida Today;


Space University: After wandering the Earth for 13 years without a home of its own, the International Space University will be breaking ground on a central campus near Strasbourg, France. Since its inception in 1988 at MIT, the school has graduated 1,500 people from 77 countries. A Masters program was begun in 1995 and a post-doctorate program added in 1997. ISU's Chancellor is Arthur C. Clarke and its President is Karl Doetsch. This years summer session will be held at the Universidad Technica Frederico Santa Maria in Valparaiso, Chile. The University has over 20 affiliates, including industry universities and research facilities (


Cluster 2: Preparations for the launch of the Cluster 2 mission have reached a new milestone. Two containers filled with 3.75 tonnes of rocket fuel have been delivered to Baikonur Cosmodrome. The containers carried monomethyl hydrazine (MMH), and mixed oxides of nitrogen (MON1). The fuel began its trek to Kazakstan from Hull, U.K. where it was shipped to St. Petersburg, Russia. The fuels were then put on a container train and transported 2,500 km under armed guard to the launch center. The four Cluster 2 satellites are due to be launched in June and July of this year. Each will carry 650 kg of fuel to achieve an 119,000-km polar orbit and then maintain the orbit over the operational life of the spacecraft (ESA PR).


NEAR Shoemaker: Having successfully orbited asteroid Eros at an altitude of 205 km for nearly a month, mission planners will begin to lower the orbit of the spacecraft on April 1. A 40-second thruster fire will begin to lower the orbit of the spacecraft. By April 11, the spacecraft is expected to be in a 100-km orbit around the center of the asteroid. During the past week, three solar flares on March 22 and 23 have allowed scientists to gather fluorescent "signatures" with the X-Ray/Gamma Ray Spectrometer. The instrument picked up readings of magnesium, aluminum, silicon, calcium and iron on the surface.

Cassini: The Cassini spacecraft is in excellent health. For the past week, the spacecraft was checked out using reaction wheel control, but has since been returned to the Reaction Control Subsystem.

Cassini Website

Deep Space 1: Testing of the new control software has begun at the DS1 test facility at JPL. The new procedures were made necessary after the failure of the Star Tracker last November. The testing and refining the software to utilize functioning equipment on the spacecraft will continue until early May when it will be prepared for transmittal to the spacecraft. The Deep Space 1 spacecraft is also being tested for responses so that ground simulation equipment can more completely mimic that in the spacecraft. The tests have helped answer questions such as the proper length of time for the camera exposure and the best way to transfer the resulting pictures to the central computer. While the spacecraft's attitude has been successfully controlled using analysis of its radio frequency here on Earth, the use of the on-board camera will once again allow the craft to proceed with its comet encounter using autonomous attitude control DS1 is now over 266 million km from Earth (Marc Raymond).

Stardust: The Stardust spacecraft continues to operate nominally. This past week's activities included the transmission of images taken by the Navigation Camera. The aerogel grid was rotated another 10 degrees to keep it perpendicular to the interstellar dust stream. The Data Management and Archive for the mission has made its first official delivery of data to the scientific community this past week. Over 2 gigabytes of data were delivered to the NASA Planetary Data System using DVD media (NASA).

Stardust Website

Mars Missions:

NASA released the Mars Mission Assessment Report on March 28. The report found significant flaws in formation and execution, which led to the failures of the recent Mars missions. The Report was created by the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team (MPIAT) beginning on January 7. The MPIAT team concluded the most probable cause of the failure of the Mars Polar Lander was erroneous signals from the lander legs, which led to premature shut down of the descent stage. Without any telemetry to indicate the spacecraft survived to this stage, the MPL was most certainly lost after the deployment of the lander legs triggered the false shutdown. While significant flaws were found in the execution of NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" philosophy, the flaws were seen as correctable. The most serious flaws include mismanagement, unrealistic expectations and anemic funding as the core causes of the failures. The MPIAT examined both successful and unsuccessful missions to come to their conclusions. NASA is forming a new Mars Program Office to manage future Mars missions to strengthen institutional support for missions. Dan Goldin has taken personal responsibility for the lost Mars missions. He has stated that he "pushed too hard, cut too much and made it impossible for the spacecraft managers to succeed (NASA;; SpaceViews).

In light of the results of the investigations and report on the Mars Mission, NASA has cancelled the 2001 Mars Surveyor mission. The cancellation has been expected for some time. The instrumentation for the 2001 mission will be completed, but would not fly until some future mission, perhaps in 2003. The Mars Surveyor 2001 orbiter will not be affected by the decision (SpaceViews).


WSNet: The World Satellite Network has announced an agreement with Motorola for the use of the DigiCipher(R) II uplink encoding system, digital set-top box technology and a small dual-feed satellite dish. The DigiCipher II system will allow WSNet to upgrade services without expensive equipment or software change-outs. Since its product announcement last week, the company has received $52 million in private equity funding. WSNet expects to deliver over 190 digital channels of music, video, movies and pay- per-view that will be sold through existing video service providers. The service will be inaugurated April 12 during the WSNet's annual operator summit and will begin customer transmission in May (PR Newswire).


Insat-3B: The Insat-3B satellite launched March 22 from Kourou on an Ariane 5 rocket has successfully deployed its two solar arrays on March 27. Together the arrays produce 3.4 kW from an area of about 23 square meters. The satellite has to date completed three orbit raising maneuvers using its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor . The third maneuver on March 26 placed the satellite in a near circular geosynchronous orbit. On March 28, the craft was placed in a 3-axis stabilization mode. It currently has a period of 23.75 hours and is moving 2.5 degrees per day toward its final orbital slot. Activation and testing of communications equipment will occur in the next ten days (Space Daily).

MTSAT-1R: Space Systems/Loral has won a contract to build a replacement of the MTSAT multi-functional satellite destroyed last November during a failed H-2 launch attempt. The replacement satellite will be delivered in 2002. The satellite will be a variation on the SS/L 1300 bus with many of the advanced technologies developed for the GOES-I-M program. MTSAT will provide air traffic control and weather observation for Japan's Ministry of Transport (Space Daily).

Iridium: Apparently unwilling to watch while a $7 billion operational satellite network is thrown away, a grass-roots effort is being mounted by The group is hoping to use the network to create "the world's first orbiting Open Source public network. Anyone wishing to join the effort, or see if it is viable can research the issue at: . Alternately, the planned deorbiting of the Iridium satellites may provide an opportunity for scientists to study the mysterious sound that often precedes the arrival of a meteor through the atmosphere (


iSky: In an effort to expand into data/Internet services, EchoStar has announced plans to invest $50 million in the iSky broadband system. The company plans to offer DISH customers the option of receiving Internet access along with its established DBS service through one small satellite dish. The move gives EchoStar a 12 percent interest in iSky with warrants to increase its holdings to 20 percent. The infusion of cash comes as iSky has reached the halfway point in its $750 million fundraising goal. The two-way Ka-band satellite service is expected to begin operations late next year. The iSky system is planning to offer 1 megabit to 1.5 megabits downstream with 0.5 megabits upstream. The agreement is non-exclusive with iSky announcing a similar deal with Canadian Telesat. EchoStar previously announced that it would also be featuring one-dish services with Gilat Satellite Services that will begin Ku-band Internet connection service later this year (MediaNews; Cable World).

PanAmSat: PanAmSat has unveiled plans for a new satellite-based high-bandwidth Internet network. Dubbed "NET/36", the system will provide satellite connections between the source of high-quality content and the last mile to the user. PanAmSat plans to supply at no cost to qualified cable headends and DSL providers the downlink equipment and servers and routers needed at the last mile. It plans on distributing 1,000 compatible servers to ISPs within the next 12 months. PanAmSat has initially dedicated 24 transponders on its 20-satellite constellation to the project. PanAmSat has partnered with US West and RealNetworks for NET/36 (; PanAmSat PR).


NPR: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has announced that it will be investing $1 million in putting the National Public Radio on Sirius satellite radio. Sirius plans to begin service in late 2000. The move by CPB is part of its strategy to "deepen and extend public service to the American people" (PRNewswire).


Russian ICBM test: A Russian submarine stationed in the Barents Sea fired two long-range ballistic missiles on March 27. The missiles destroyed targets 5,000 miles away in the Kamchatka peninsula (Space Daily).


Courtesy J. Ray, and J. Foust

Spaceflight Now: Tracking Station - World Wide Launch Schedule
Spaceviews Website

May 31 - 11th Advanced Space Propulsion Workshop, JPL, Pasadena, California.

April 3-6 - 16th National Space Symposium, Colorado Springs, CO.

April 4 - Soyuz TM, Mir 28 crew, Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

April 16 - 18 - Proton, Sesat, Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

April 18 - Ariane 4 - Galaxy 4R, Kourou, French Guiana.

April 21 - Eurockot Rokot, Experimental payload, Plesetsk, Russia.

April 21 - Delta, NAVSTAR GPS 2R-4, pad 17A, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

April 24 - Shuttle Atlantis (STS-101), ISS flight 2A.2A, Kennedy Space Center.

April 27-29 - Space Access 2000 conference, Scottsdale, Arizona.

April 28 - Cosmos-3M, CHAMP/BIRD/MITA, Complex 132, Plesetsk, Russia.

Late April - Soyuz U, Progress M1, Baikonur, Kazakstan.

April - Zenit-2, Badr-2, Meteor-3M, Malaysian Tiungsat-1, Maroc-Tubsat, Complex 45 Baikonur, Kazakstan.

May 8 - Titan 4B, DSP Payload (B-29), SLC-40, Cape Canaveral Air Station.

May 16 - Orbital Sciences TLV (Target Launch Vehicle, TL- DEMO, LF-06, Vandenberg AFB.

Mid May - Atlas 3A, Eutelsat W-4, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Inaugural Launch.

May 21 - Pegasus XL, TSX 5, Vandenberg AFB.

July 10-14 - Proton, ISS flight 1R, Zvezda Service Module, Baikonur, Kazakstan.

CENSUS - There are currently no humans in orbital space. Humans have spent a total of 67.5 man-days in orbit in the year 2000. The first element of the International Space Station has been in orbit for 498 days. The occupation of the International Space Station is expected to begin in the fall of 2000.

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