TS News - Recent Launches

Recent Launch Roundup from Jonathan's Space Report

  China's Chang Zheng 3B launch vehicle made its first successful launch on
Aug 19 from Xichang. The previous attempt failed shortly after takeoff
causing numerous casualties. The CZ-3B ("Long March 3B") is built by the
China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) near Beijing, with the
first two stages made by the Shanghai Bureau of Astronautics. The powerful
liquid-hydrogen third stage  made its fourth successful flight (it is also
used on the CZ-3A).

  The CZ-2, CZ-3 and CZ-4 rockets all use a common two-stage core. There's
an older version of these core stages, built by CALT, and an upgraded
version, which is built by Shanghai for at least some of the variants. The
various Long March rockets are:

Variant  Prime         Configuration
 CZ-2C:  CALT          Old core
 CZ-2D:  Shanghai      New core
 CZ-2E:  CALT          New core with stretched stage 2, plus 4 liquid boosters
 CZ-3:   CALT          Old core with small LOX/LH2 stage
 CZ-3A:  CALT          New core with large LOX/LH2 stage
 CZ-3B:  CALT          New core with large LOX/LH2 stage and 4 liquid boosters
 CZ-4:   Shanghai      New core with conventional third stage

  CALT's old original CZ-2 (1974), Shanghai's FB-1 (1973-1981), and CALT's
DF-5 ballistic missile are believed to have been similar to the CZ-2C. The
DF-31 ballistic missile may be similar to the CZ-2D. CALT's CZ-1 used to
launch the first two Chinese satellites in 1970-71 was a smaller rocket of
a different design.

  The CZ-3B placed in geostationary transfer orbit a Space Systems/Loral
FS-1300 communications satellite, Agila 2. Agila 2, also known as Mabuhay,
is owned by Mabuhay Phillipine Satellite Corp.

  The fourth Iridium launch, on Aug 21, placed five more Motorola/Lockheed
cellphone satellites in orbit using a Boeing Delta 7920 launch vehicle from
Vandenberg AFB in California. This is the first Delta launch since
McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing. 

  Lockheed Martin Astronautics (Denver) successfully launched the second
LMLV-1 Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle from Vandenberg's Space Launch
Complex 6 on Aug 23. (The first vehicle, built by Lockheed/Sunnyvale prior
to the Martin Marietta merger and at that time called LLV-1, was destroyed
in an Aug 1995 launch attempt). The LMLV is launched from the pedestal
originally build for one of the Shuttle's solid rocket boosters. The LMLV
carried NASA's Lewis remote sensing satellite which features an imaging
spectrometer (so-called `hyperspectral imager'). Lewis is built and
operated by TRW under NASA HQ's Small Spacecraft Technology Initiative (a
companion satellite, Clark, is being built by the bit of Orbital Sciences
Corp. that used to be CTA). Unlike most NASA satellites, there is no NASA
center managing the program, although Stennis Space Center is involved in
the data distribution. The Lewis satellite also carries an ultraviolet
background astronomy experiment from Berkeley. Initial orbit of Lewis is
289 x 306 km  x 97.6 deg. The LMLV-1 uses a Thiokol/Utah Castor 120 first
stage (a variant of the Peacekeeper ICBM's TU-120 motor), an Orbus 21D
second stage from UTC/San Jose, and an Orbit Adjust Module with Olin/RRC
thrusters. A hydrazine propellant system will raise Lewis' orbit to its
operational altitude. Congratulations to the folks at LMA/Denver on getting
the LMLV to orbit.

  Kosmos-2345 is now in near-geostationary orbit. It is reported to be
heading for 24W and is therefore probably a Prognoz-class early warning
satellite built by the Lavochkin association.

  Source: Jonathan's Space Report
  World Wide Web: http://hea-www.harvard.edu/QEDT/jcm/space/jsr/jsr.html 

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