Status Report

Delta II Launches Two Earth-Observing Satellites for NASA and Argentina, Plus a Swedish Nanosatellite

By SpaceRef Editor
November 21, 2000
Filed under ,

Two
earth-observing satellites and a nanosatellite designed to gather
space weather data were launched into orbit Tuesday aboard a Boeing
Delta II rocket.

The rocket lifted off the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 2 at
10:24 a.m. PST, carrying spacecraft for NASA, Argentina and Sweden.
The two primary payloads were NASA’s New Millennium Program
Earth-Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite, plus Argentina’s first
earth-observing satellite, the Satelite de Aplicaciones Cientificas-C
(SAC-C). The secondary payload was Sweden’s Munin nanosatellite.

“Boeing was very pleased with the performance of the new Dual
Payload Attach Fitting (DPAF),” according to Joy Bryant, Boeing
mission director for this launch. “It did its job perfectly, allowing
us to carry two distinctly different primary payloads — with
different mission and integration requirements — for separate
customers on the same launch.”

Each spacecraft jettisoned on schedule: the EO-1 at approximately
an hour after lift-off; the DPAF separable portion at approximately 1
hour, 10 minutes; the SAC-C at approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes; and
the Munin separation at approximately 1 hour, 50 minutes.

NASA contracted with Boeing to develop the DPAF. In turn, Boeing
worked with Astrium — a European aerospace company with activities in
France, Germany and the United Kingdom — to create the dispenser. The
space agency wanted to be able to fly its small satellites on a
reliable vehicle, Bryant said, and the Boeing Delta II rocket fit that
requirement perfectly.

The DPAF allows Boeing to compete in a different class, with
competitors’ smaller Taurus and Athena rockets. Boeing has two
additional launches at Vandenberg in 2001 that will carry dual primary
payloads for customers.

The EO-1 is the first of NASA’s three New Millennium program
earth-orbiting missions. It is specifically oriented at the land
remote-sensing technologies, spacecraft and methodologies to be used
in defining future landsat-type missions. Its three instruments are
the advanced land imager, the hyperspectral imager and the Linear
Etalon Imaging Spectral Array Atmospheric Corrector.

The SAC-C satellite, launched by the Argentine Commission on Space
Activities, was designed to study terrestrial and marine ecosystems,
measure space radiation and determine variability in the atmospheric
structure, provide measurements of the geomagnetic field, and measure
the long wavelength component of the gravity field.

The Munin secondary payload was designed and built by the Swedish
Institute of Space Physics in cooperation with students at Sweden’s
Umea and Lelea universities. Its primary objectives include gathering
space weather data, monitoring auroral activity and serving as a
testbed for autonomous monitoring satellites.

The Delta II is a medium-capacity expendable launch vehicle
derived from the Delta family of rockets built and launched since
1960. The launch vehicle, which is assembled in Pueblo, Colo., is
powered by the RS-27A engine built by Boeing in Canoga Park, Calif.
Launch coordination and operations for the NASA mission is provided by
the Delta launch team at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Alliant Techsystems, Magna, Utah, builds the graphite epoxy motors
for boost assist. Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif., manufactures the
second-stage engine. L-3 Communications, Teterboro, N.J., builds the
guidance and flight control system.

SpaceRef staff editor.