Sunday, 17 June, 2018

UCF-led NASA mission at risk after Ariane 5 rocket experiences failure

UCF-led NASA mission at risk after Ariane 5 rocket experiences failure UCF-led NASA mission at risk after Ariane 5 rocket experiences failure
Nellie Chapman | 27 January, 2018, 21:31

About 9 minutes after liftoff, the outlook turned grim: Arianespace lost contact with the rocket's upper stage, leading to speculation that the payloads had been lost. Late Thursday evening, Arianespace was unable to acquire the rocket's telemetry after it slipped under the horizon, but Arianespace Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Stephane Israel later confirmed that SES and YahSat have both made contact with their respective satellites.

The SES-14 and Al Yah 3 satellites were expecting to null out a 3-degree inclination, not 20 degrees, and it will require more time - and propellant - to reach their geosynchronous outposts.

"This lack of telemetry lasted throughout the rest of powered flight", the statement said. This total factors in the two satellite passengers' combined liftoff mass, as well as hardware for Ariane 5's dual-payload deployment system.

Arianespace of Evry, France, in a statement released January 26, blamed a "trajectory deviation" for the break in communication with the rocket, which stopped sending telemetry 9 minutes and 26 seconds after liftoff, seconds after the rocket's second stage engine ignited. "Arianespace has set up an independent investigation commission chaired by ESA's General Inspector". Built by Airbus Defence and Space, SES 14 will offer coverage over Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and the North Atlantic region from 47.5 degrees west with C- and Ku-band wide beams and Ku-band high throughput spot beams.

"Being on hosted commercial satellites gives us, NASA, a new cost-effective tool in our toolbox for doing science", he said.

"GOLD's imaging represents a new paradigm for observing the boundary between Earth and space", said Bill McClintock, the deputy principal investigator on the CU-Boulder spectrograph and a senior research scientist at LASP.

But the Ariane 5 disappeared over the horizon at the Kourou space base a few seconds later. Arianespace is now in the process of transitioning to its next medium-heavy lift rocket, Ariane 6, set to launch for the first time in 2020.

Both satellites were designed for missions of at least 15 years, while the GOLD instrument has a two-year mission lifetime. However, in a statement from SES, it's been confirmed that despite the unusual launch the satellite has, indeed, made it into space safely.