Home >> January 2013 Edition >> InfoBeam Part I
InfoBeam Part I
Latest News Items, by the editors

‘Tis Scotland’s First

InfoBeamFig1 Scotland’s first satellite will be launched from a Russian Soyuz-2 rocket in March of 2013.

UKube-1, built by Clyde Space in Glasgow, is now completing final testing at the company’s headquarters before making the journey to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the launch.

Confirming that agreement had been reached for the Russian rocket to carry UKube-1, Clyde Space CEO Craig Clark, said: “UKube-1 aims to be the first of many nanosatellites produced at Clyde Space, and is a fantastic mission for us to demonstrate our capabilities as a spacecraft mission lead. I’m proud of the team here at Clyde Space in achieving such a critical milestone in the mission.”

InfoBeamFig2 The UKube-1 nanosatellite has been designed and manufactured by Clyde Space at their high-tech facility at the West of Scotland Science Park.

The satellite is one of the most advanced of its kind and the mission is the pilot for a collaborative, national CubeSat program bringing together UK industry and academia to fly educational packages, test new technologies and carry out new space research quickly and efficiently.

Payloads in UKube-1 include the first GPS device aimed at measuring plasmaspheric space weather, a camera that will take images of the Earth and test the effect of radiation on space hardware using a new generation of imaging sensor and an experiment to demonstrate the feasibility of using cosmic radiation to improve the security of communications satellites and to flight test lower cost electronic systems.

It will also carry a payload made up of five experiments that UK students and the public can interact with and an outreach program that also allows school children to interact with the spacecraft.

InfoBeamFig3 UKube-1 is a UK Space Agency mission. The mission has been funded jointly by Clyde Space (mission prime) and a number of funding partners including the UK Space Agency, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the Technology Strategy Board and there has also been support from Scottish Enterprise.

As well as the platform and payload elements of the mission, UKube-1 is being supported by three UK Ground Stations. Led by the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory’s Ground Segment in Oxfordshire, these crucial elements will provide the link to the orbiting spacecraft, as well as full planning of the operations.

The supporting ground stations are provided by Dundee and Strathclyde Universities. The university of Strathclyde groundstation was installed by Clyde Space during an earlier phase of the spacecraft development.

MITEQsnipe0113.jpg * * * * * * * * *

A Roaring Conclusion To 2012...

Arianespace’s Ariane 5 flight with the Skynet 5D and Mexsat Bicentenario satellite passengers has wrapped up another busy year of company launch activity.

During 2012, the Arianespace launcher family performed a total of 10 missions from the Spaceport in French Guiana, led by the heavy-lift Ariane 5 with its 10-metric-ton payload lift performance, which has logged 53 consecutive successes during the past 10 years.

Arianespace’s mission cadence in 2012 was called “remarkable” by Chairman & CEO Jean-Yves Le Gall. “It confirms the interest, effectiveness and availability of our launcher product line, which enables us to launch all satellites, for all of our customers, to all orbits,” he said during comments after today’s flight.

InfoBeamFig4 “In addition, 2012 also marked a yearly record in terms of payload mass placed into orbit, since—for the first time—we have reached a total of nearly 75 tons, of which 20 tons was for the Edoardo Amaldi Automated Transfer Vehicle! And, I can add, that if you liked 2012, you will love 2013!” Le Gall stated in his concluding remarks.

The Arianespace launcher family missions performed from French Guiana this year were composed of seven heavy-lift Ariane 5 flights, two with the medium-lift Soyuz, and the lightweight Vega’s inaugural launch.

There was also an additional Soyuz mission, performed from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by Arianespace’s Starsem affiliate. Skynet 5D was orbited for Astrium Services as the fourth in the British military’s Skynet 5 satellite system, and weighed approximately 4,800kg. at launch. This spacecraft is designed to reinforce and extend the operational services provided by the three other Skynet 5 satellites—all orbited by Ariane 5—and will be located over the Middle East at a 53 degrees East orbital slot. The Skynet program is operated as a Private Finance Initiative with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence.

Mexsat Bicentenario weighed an estimated 3,000kg. for liftoff, and is based on Orbital Sciences Corporation’s GEOStar-2 platform. It is to provide communications services to Mexico and its surrounding waters from the 114.9 degrees West orbital slot. Orbital was designated by Boeing to provide the Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) segment of the Mexsat satellite system for the Federal Government of Mexico.

Astrium_ad_SM0113 As Arianespace celebrated a 2012 to remember in terms of its launch activity, the company already is looking to next year’s activity. Preparations are well advanced for a Starsem Soyuz mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome with six Globalstar constellation spacecraft at the start of February, as well as an Ariane 5 launch at the Spaceport—which is to orbit the Amazonas 3 and Azerspace/Africasat-1 telecommunications satellites during the first week in February.

* * * * * * * * *

Solid To The Core

The team designing America’s new flagship rocket has successfully completed a major technical review of the vehicle’s core stage.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) will take the agency’s Orion spacecraft and other payloads beyond low-Earth orbit, providing a new capability for human exploration.

The core stage preliminary design review (PDR) was held Thursday at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and included representatives from the agency and The Boeing Co. Boeing’s Exploration Launch Systems in Huntsville is the prime contractor for the core stage and its avionics. Marshall manages the SLS Program.

“Passing a preliminary design review within 12 months of bringing Boeing on contract shows we are on track toward meeting a 2017 launch date,” said Tony Lavoie, manager of the SLS Stages Element at Marshall.

InfoBeamFig5 “We can now allow those time-critical areas of design to move forward with initial fabrication and proceed toward the final design phase—culminating in a critical design review in 2014—with confidence.”

The first flight test of the SLS, which will feature a configuration for a 70-metric ton lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond the moon, is scheduled for 2017.

As the SLS evolves, a two-stage launch vehicle using the core stage will provide a lift capability of 130-metric tons to enable missions beyond low-Earth orbit and to support deep space exploration.

The purpose of the PDR was to ensure the design met system requirements within acceptable risk and fell within schedule and budget constraints.

An important part of the PDR was to prove the core stage could integrate safely with other elements of the rocket’s main engines and solid rocket boosters, the crew capsule and the launch facilities at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Core stage designers provided an in-depth assessment to a board of engineers comprised of propulsion and design experts from across the agency and the aerospace industry.

“Each individual element of this program has to be at the same level of maturity before we can move the program as a whole to the next step,” SLS Program Manager Todd May said. “The core stage is the rocket’s central propulsion element and will be an optimized blend of new and existing hardware design. We’re building it with longer tanks, longer feed lines and advanced manufacturing processes. We are running ahead of schedule and will leverage that schedule margin to ensure a safe and affordable rocket for our first flight in 2017.”

The core stage will be built at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans using state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment.

The plant continues modifying its facilities and ordering materials for construction of the rocket. Michoud has built components for NASA’s spacecraft for decades, most recently, the space shuttle’s external tanks.

* * * * * * * * *

Taking A Transponder

SES has struck a long-term capacity agreement with Anadolu Networks for one transponder at the ASTRA 31.5 degrees East orbital position.

Anadolu Networks will start using the capacity from January 1, 2013, onwards to launch its DTH platform that will broadcast local TV channels to the whole of Turkey.

The initial channels to be broadcast will include TRT Turk, Karadeniz Kackar TV, Kanal 2000 Mersin and Kanal 15 Burdur, with more channels to be added in the course of the year.

ArabsatFP_ad_SM0113 The 31.5 degrees East orbital position is SES’ prime orbital position for Turkey and the larger region, offering services via the ASTRA 1G satellite.

The launch of ASTRA 5B, with its wide beam in Q3 2013, will bring further opportunities for Anadolu Networks to broadcast its content to countries including Germany and the CIS region.

SES also revealed that ASTRA is now broadcasting the Swiss private channel 3+ from its prime orbital position 19.2 degrees East.

3+ is the first broadcaster based in Switzerland to use SES’ satellite capacities. The transmission will expand the reach of 3+ by approximately 400,000 households in Switzerland.

The reception of the encrypted private channel 3+ requires a satellite receiver and the SRR Sat Access Card from the Swiss Broadcasting Organisation SRG.

SES Platform Services near Munich provides the uplink and the encryption of the channel.

3+ is one of the leading Swiss broadcasters and reaches an average of 1.7 million viewers—1/3 of the German-speaking Swiss population.

* * * * * * * * *

Four Down, One To Go

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has successfully integrated four of the five payloads and a spacecraft de-orbit module onto STPSat-3, the Department of Defense Space Test Program’s Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) slated to launch August 1, 2013. Integration of the four instruments and the MMA Design LLC De-Orbit Module was completed in 18 days.

InfoBeamFig6 STPSat-3 is a common spacecraft, standard payload interface series of satellites built by Ball Aerospace for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development & Test Directorate. The standard interface vehicle supports a variety of experimental and risk reduction payloads at various low-Earth orbits. The design is based on the flight-proven Ball Configurable Platform 100 (BCP-100) which is compatible with multiple launch vehicles.

The first payload integrated to the spacecraft was the NOAA Total Solar Irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE), built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. This instrument will help determine the effects of solar radiation on Earth’s climate and will provide continuity of climate data record measurements prior to the launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System in 2017. The JPSS-1 satellite is also being built by Ball Aerospace.

The additional four payloads integrated include: iMESA-R (Integrated Miniaturized Electrostatic Analyzer Reflight); SSU (Strip Sensor Unit); and SWATS (Small Wind and Temperature Spectrometer). All of the integrated instruments have been individually tested. The spacecraft is currently proceeding through space vehicle system performance testing. Arrival and installation of the final payload, J-CORE (Joint Component Research), will be completed by the end of 2012.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.