2-1a Launches Foton M4
A 2.5 stage Soyuz 2-1a launch vehicle orbited Foton M4 from Baikonur Cosmodrome on July
18, 2014. Liftoff from Area 31 Pad 6 took place at 20:50 UTC. 6.84 tonne Foton M4,
equipped with a recoverable reentry capsule packed with biological samples, entered low
earth orbit about 10 minutes later. The capsule is expected to return after about two
months in orbit.
Russia's webcast of the launch was not available in the United States and the United
Falcon 9 Campaign Ends with Success
The fifth SpaceX Falcon 9
v1.1, and tenth Falcon 9 overall, launched six Orbcomm data
relay satellites into low earth orbit following a July 14, 2014 Cape Canaveral
launch. Liftoff from SLC 40 took place at 15:15 UTC. The second stage
performed a single direct insertion burn to place the Orbcomm OG 2 payload, consisting of
an adapter with six 172 kg Orbcomm satellites and two 172 kg mass simulators, into a 614 x
743 km x 47 deg orbit. Sierra Nevada Corporation and Boeing Corporation built the
satellites, which will maneuver themselves into 715 km circular operational orbits.
The launch culminated a difficult campaign that endured more than two months of delays.
An early May launch date had to be postponed after a May 8, 2014 static test was
called off due to ground support equipment issues. A helium leak occurred inside the
first stage during propellant loading for a second static test attempt on May 9, 2014.
The leak required rollback of the rocket for inspection and replacement of an
unspecified part from the stage, along with a review of designs and procedures.
The Orbcomm payload was deencapsulated and removed from the rocket after the leak.
After the rocket was repaired, the launch campaign restarted, leading to a successful
static test on June 13, 2014. Then the launch was delayed for five days due to
issues that appeared during testing of the Orbcomm satellites after their period of
storage at SLC 40.
On June 20, 2014, a launch attempt was scrubbed several
minutes before liftoff due to a decay in second stage pressurization, apparently due to an
issue with ground support equipment. A June 21 attempt was scrubbed due to weather
after the propellant was loaded. Another attempt was scrubbed on June 22 before
propellant loading began after a problem with a first stage thrust Vector Control actuator
was detected. Once again, Falcon 9 was rolled back into its hangar for repairs.
While repairs were underway, the Cape Canaveral range entered a pre-planned two-week
shutdown for maintenance, which prevented launch attempts. The rocket was static
tested on July 1, 2014. On the evening of July 10, 2014, Falcon 9 No. 10 rolled out
to its pad for the final time.
The Falcon 9 first stage burned for about 2 minutes 38 seconds as the rocket climbed on a
steeper than typical trajectory while aiming for a 620 km insertion altitude. The
trajectory also allowed the first stage to attempt a landing closer to Cape Canaveral than
achieved during the previous flight. The second stage fired for about 6 minutes 46
seconds to reach its insertion orbit. Orbcomm deployment began about 15 minutes after
After staging, the first stage perrformed a reentry burn, followed by reentry and a final
landing burn to attempt soft landing in the Atlantic Ocean, in a continuation of a test
series evaluating the possibility of recovering the first stage by having it fly back and
land near its launch site. SpaceX head Elon Musk tweeted that the burn and leg
deployment were successful, but that the stage "lost hull integrity right after
splashdown (aka kaboom)". He said that a review of data was needed to determine if
the issue was due to splashdown forces or to the tip over and "body slam" after
The second stage performed a reentry burn after payload separation, a maneuver aided by
the substantial excess delta-v for this mission. Total deployed operational mass was
only 1.032 tonnes. Total mass including the two mass simulators and deployment adapter was
likely only about 1.5 tonnes. Falcon 9 v1.1 capability to the Orbcomm insertion
orbit was likely more than 10 tonnes, though some of that capability was likely expended
in the steep ascent.
Orbital Sciences' Antares boosted a Cygnus spacecraft
into orbit from Wallops Island, Virginia on July 13, 2014 to begin NASA's Orb-2
International Space Station resupply mission. Cygnus Orb-2, named "Janice Voss"
in honor of the late former Orbital employee and NASA astronaut, carried 1,493.8 kg of
crew supplies, vehicle hardware, science equipment, and other equipment inside its
cylindrical pressure hull. Including cargo, Cygnus weighed about 4.923 tonnes at
Liftoff of the fourth Antares rocket took place from Wallops Mid-Atlantic Regional
Spaceport Pad 0A at 16:52 UTC. Antares' twin AJ-26 engines produced about 332 tonnes of
liftoff thrust and burned for 3 minutes 55 seconds to lift the vehicle to more than
158 km altitude and a velocity of about 4.5 km/sec. The second stage and payload section
separated and coasted for about 1 minute 45 seconds before the Castor 30B second stage
motor ignited to produce an average of more than 28 tonnes of thrust during a 2 minute 17
second burn. Just before second stage ignition, the payload fairing and interstage
sections separated. Cygnus separated into a 191 x 284 km x 51.64 deg orbit.
"Janice Voss" approaches ISS
It was the fourth Antares launch, the third Cygnus
spacecraft flight, and the second contracted ISS cargo supply mission for Cygnus.
"Antares 120", a variant with a Castor 30B second stage, flew for the second and
final time during the mission. "Antares 130" with a longer, more powerful Castor
30XL motor will perform subsequent ISS cargo missions beginning later in 2014.
The launch was originally scheduled for May, 2014, but ISS conflicts forced an initial
delay. Then, on May 22, 2014, an AJ-26 being test fired at Stennis Space Center suffered a
catastrophic failure 30 seconds into a planned 54 second burn. The failure destroyed the
engine and triggered an investigation. Orbital did not reveal the cause of the failure.
The Orb-2 Antares engines were cleared for flight following borescope inspections and a
review of their own test firing data.
Cygnus "Janice Voss" reached ISS on July 16,
Soyuz Completes Internet
A Soyuz 2.1b/Fregat orbited four broadband Internet trunking satallites for O3b Networks
(O3b stands for the "Other 3 billion") from Guiana Space Center at Kourou on
July 10, 2014. The 3.5 stage Russian rocket lifted off from Kourou's ELS pad at 18:55 UTC
to kick off the VS08 mission for Arianespace. After a nearly 2.5 hour mission involving
four Fregat upper stage burns, the four 700 kg satellites were released into 7,850 km x
0.04 deg equatorial orbits designed to provide coverage for emerging markets in Asia,
Africa, Latin America, Australia and the Middle East.
Thales Alenia Space built the O3b constellation satellites, which join the first four that
were launched in June, 2013 by an identical rocket to form an initial, fully operational
After satellite deployment, Fregat performed two more burns to raise itself into a planned
8,003 x 8,041 km x 0.02 deg disposal orbit.
It was the fourth Russian space launch in seven days.
Angara Flies from Plesetsk
After a two decade long, stop-start development program, Russia's new LOX/kerosene fueled
Angara rocket performed its first test launch from Russian soil on July 9, 2014. The
suborbital flight from Plesetsk Cosmodrome was made by an Angara 1.2PP, a special
two-stage version specifically prepared by Khrunichev for this inaugural test. The launch
should herald the start of a new modular launch vehicle family capable of lifting a range
of payloads ranging from light to heavy.
Angara 1.2PP (PP for Pervy Polyot, or "First Flight") consisted of a 2.9 meter
diameter URM-1 (Universal Rocket Module) first stage topped by a 3.6 meter diameter URM-2
second stage. Heavy lifter Angara 5, planned to fly later this year, will use five
clustered URM-1 modules topped by a URM-2 second stage, so the flight served served as an
Angara 5 precursor test. The 171 tonne, 42.8 meter tall white rocket lifted off from
Plesetsk Cosmodrome Site 35/1 at 12:00 UTC, rising slowly on 196 tonnes of thrust produced
by a single Energomash RD-191 staged combustion engine.
First stage burnout was expected to occur about 3 minutes, 39 seconds after launch, as
Angara headed east across Russia's missile test range. Stage separation was planned to
occur about 3 seconds later, followed 2 seconds after that by ignition of the 30 tonne
thrust RD-0124A second stage engine. This staged-combustion, four-chamber engine, similar
to the engine developed to power the upgraded Soyuz-2-1b upper stage, was expected to
perform a 4 minute 28 second burn to boost the stage and instrumented test payload to
near-orbital velocity with an apogee of nearly 190 km. The rocket's 2.9 meter diameter
payload fairing was to separate shortly after second stage ignition.
According to official Russian media, the remains of the stage and payload impacted the
Kura test site on the Kamchatka Peninsula about 21 minutes after liftoff, some 5,700 km
The launch took place after an aborted launch attempt on June 27 that was caused by a loss
of pressure in the first stage LOX tank. That, like most non-defense launch
attempts, was broadcast live to Russian citizens and to the world, but such long-standard
live coverage was not provided for both the June 8 Meteor M2 launch and the inaugural
Orbits Seven Satellites
Russia's Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat orbited that country's Meteor M2 weather satellite, along with
six smaller satellites from several countries, from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on
July 8, 2014. Liftoff from Area 31 Pad 6 took place at 15:58 UTC to start a slighly-more
than 1.5 hour mission.
The storable propellant Fregat stage performed two burns before deploying the 2.7 tonne
primary payload into an 835 km x 98.8 deg sun synchronous orbit about one hour after
During the next 30+ minutes, Fregat performed two more burns while maneuvering into lower
orbits to deploy the smaller satellites. The first to be released was Russia's Relek
(MKA-FKI), a 0.25 tonne magnetospheric science satellite. Next was the 0.1 tonne U.S.
Skysat 2 commercial imaging satellite. A 0.15 tonne UK satellite named TechDemoSat 1 was
released next, followed by 6.5 kg AISSat 2 and 3 kg UKube 1, two nanosatellites from
Norway and Scotland, respectively.
A 9.5 kg dummy mass was carried in place of Canada's M3MSat, which was pulled from the
manifest by Canada's government in protest of Russia's 2014 actions in Ukraine.
After the payloads were deployed, Fregat performed a
fifth, deorbit burn to remove itself from orbit.
Roscosmos cancelled its previously announced webcast of the launch only minutes before it
was expected to begin, without explanation.
Orbits Gonets 3M Satellites
Russia's Rokot/Briz KM orbited three Gonets 3M data
relay satellites from Area 133 Pad 3 at Plesetsk space center on July 3, 2014. The
three stage rocket lifted off at 12:43 UTC. Its Briz-KM thired stage performed two
burns to lift the 282 kg satellites, identified as 18L, 19L, and 20L, into 1,480 x 1,510
km x 82.5 deg orbits.
The first Briz KM burn began about five minutes after
liftoff and lasted for about 9.5 minutes to insert the vehicle into an elliptical parking
orbit. The second, circulization burn began about 1.5 hours after liftoff near apogee and
lasted for less than one minute. Spacecraft separation occurred at about 14:28 UTC.
It was the year's second Rokot launch.
2 Returns with OCO-2 Launch
After a three year hiatus, and a one-day delay caused by
a faulty launch pad water deluge system, Delta 2 returned to
service on July 2, 2014, successfully orbited NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2)
satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The 2.5 stage United Launch
Alliance Delta 2-7320-10, with three strap-on solid boosters and a 10 foot diameter
composite fairing, lifted off from Space Launch Complex 2 West at 09:56 UTC. The 39 meter
tall, 152 tonne rocket lifted off on 227 tonnes (about 500,000 lbs) of thrust produced by
three Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEMs) and the RS-27A RP/LOX first stage engine. Delta's
hypergolic (Aerozine 50 and Nitrogen Tetroxide) fueled second stage fired its 4.47 tonne
thrust AJ-10-118K engine twice during a 56 minute long mission to aim OCO-2 toward a
targeted 686 km x 98.2 km sun synchronous orbit.
OCO-2 is NASAs first spacecraft dedicated entirely to measuring atmospheric carbon
dioxide (CO2). The 453 kg satellite, built by Orbital Sciences for NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, will map the geographic and seasonal variations of both human and natural
sources of carbon dioxide, and the "sinks" that pull CO2 out of the atmosphere.
OCO-2 replaces OCO-1, which was lost in a Taurus launch failure on February 24,
2009 due to a payload fairing separation failure.
During the ascent, the three GEM boosters burned out 64
seconds after liftoff, but were not jettisonned until the 99 second mark in order to clear
offshore oil rigs. The RS-27A main engine shut down at T+264 seconds, followed 8 seconds
later by stage separation. The first second stage burn extended from T+278 seconds to
T+621 seconds (T+10m 21s), leaving the stage and payload in an elliptical transfer orbit.
Payload fairing separation occurred during the burn at the 301 second mark.
After coasting over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean to Madagascar on the east African
coast, Delta's second stage reignited 50 minutes and 50 seconds after liftoff for a 12.4
second burn that circularized the orbit. OCO-2 separated about five minutes later.
Vandenberg AFB SLC 2W was one of seven Thor launch pads built during the late 1950s at the
California launch site. Known originally as 75-1-2, the pad hosted its first Thor
launch on September 17, 1959. After serving as a Thor-Agena launch pad during the
1960s, it was converted to host NASA's Delta launch vehicles beginning in 1967.
It was the 152nd Delta 2 launch, the 51st NASA Delta 2,
the 42nd Delta 2 from SLC 2W, and the 97th consecutive success. Only three more
Delta 2 flights are currently scheduled. Parts for a fourth, unassigned Delta 2
PSLV Orbits SPOT-7
India's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
orbited SPOT-7 and four microsatellites from Satish Dhawan Space Center near Sriharikota
on June 30, 2014. Liftoff of the C23 mission from the First Launch Pad took place at
04:22 UTC. A Core Alone PSLV variant (PSLV-CA) performed the flight. SPOT-7, a
714 kg earth observation satellite, was placed into a roughly 655 km x 98.23 deg
sun-synchronous orbit slightly less than 18 minutes later.
Airbus Defense and Space built SPOT-7 as part of a
private venture that will sell data to the French government and to commercial clients.
The four microsatellites were built in Canada, Germany,
and Singapore. Germany's 14 kg AISSat, built by DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen,
will recieve naval vessel tracking signals. NLS 7.1 and 7.2 were 15 kg
satellites built by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies to perform
formation flying experiments using a cold gas propulsion system. VELOX-1 was a 7 kg
satellite built by Nanyang Technical University in Singapore, which will eject
smartphone-sized submicrosatellites during its mission.
It was the 27th PSLV flight since 1993 and the 23rd
Launches 37 Satellites
Russia's Dnepr, a modified R-36MU ICBM, boosted 37 small
satellites into a 630 km sun synchronous low earth orbit on June 19, 2014 from Yasny
Launch Base at Dombarovsky in Russia's Orenburg Region. The 211 tonne rocket was ejected
from an underground missile silo at Site 370/13 at 19:11 UTC to begin the mission.
The 37 satellites represented a record for a single launch. Deimos-2 and KazEOSat-2
were the heaviest of the 37 satellites. Deimos 2 was a 300 kg imaging satellite built by
SATREC of South Korea for Deimos Imaging of Spain. KazEOSat 2 was a 185 kg earth
observation satellite built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited of the United Kingdom
for Kazakhstan's Gharysh Sapary.
Twenty one of the satellites were "cubesats"
that likely weighed less than 1.5 kg each.
It was the 20th Dnepr launch. The first took place in 1999. Developed by the Yuzhnoye
Design Bureau of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, the hypergolic fueled R-36MU, like the R-36M
before it, was derived from earlier R-36 Tsyklon type rockets that dated from
the late 1960s.
Russia's Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat rocket boosted a Glonass-M
(Uragan-M) navigation satellite into orbit from Plesetsk Cosmodrome on June 14,
2014. The 3.5 stage rocket lifted off from Area 43 Pad 4 at 17:16 UTC. After
the Soyuz rocket boosted Fregat and its payload into low earth orbit, the Fregat upper
stage performed three burns to lift the 1.415 tonne satellite into a roughly 19,130 x
19,150 km x 64.8 deg orbit. Spacecraft separation occurred at 20:53 UTC.
It was the second Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat launch with a
Glonass M payload from Plesetsk in 2014.
TMA-13M Carries Three to Orbit
Russia's Soyuz FG launched Soyuz TMA-13M with Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, NASA
astronaut Reid Wiseman and European Space Agency flight engineer Alexander Gersttwo into
orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome on May 28, 2014. The 2.5 stage LOX/kerosene rocket lifted
off from Area 1 Pad 5 at 19:57 UTC, beginning a planned four-orbit ascent to rendezvous
with the International Space Station.
The 7.12 tonne Soyuz TMA-13M three-part spacecraft separated into a 190 x 230 km x 51.6
deg orbit nine minutes after liftoff. It was the year's second crewed orbital
The crew will join the Expedition 40 crew - Commander Steve Swanson of NASA and Flight
Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, on ISS.
Sea Launch returned to the orbital launch scene on May
26, 2014 for the first time since a February 2013 launch failure. The company's Ukrainian
built two-stage Zenit 3SL rocket, topped by a Russian-built Blok DMSL third stage, boosted
Eutelsat 3B into geosynchronous transfer orbit after lifting off from Odyssey Launch
Platform floating on the Pacific Ocean near the equator at 154 deg. West Longitude.
Zenit 3SL/DMSL lifted off at 21:10 UTC on 740 tonnes of liftoff thrust from its
four-chamber RD-171M Russian engine. The first two stages fired in sequence during the
first 8.5 minutes of the mission. Blok DMSL then performed two burns separated by a 30
minute long coast to insert the 5.967 tonne satellite into a 385 x 35,686 km x 0 deg
transfer orbit. The first burn lasted 4 minutes 40 seconds. The second burn was 6 minutes
57 seconds long.
Airbus Defence and Space built Eutelsat 3B, which was based on the Eurostar 3000 platform.
The satellite was equipped with up to 51 C, Ku, and Ka band transponders. it will serve
Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and South America.
No more Sea Launch missions are currently planned until 2016. Following its bankruptcy
reorganization, Sea Launch became 95% Russian-owned. Its next payloads are Russian
built satellites for Russian users. Accordingly, Russia has been contemplating moving Sea
Launch operations from Long Beach, California to an eastern Russian port.
Orbits Radar Imager
H-2A F-24 lifted Japan's second Advanced Land
Observation Satellite (ALOS-2) and four microsatellites into sun synchronous low earth
orbit from Tanegashima on May 24, 2014. Liftoff from Yoshinobu Launch Complex 1 took place
at 03:05 UTC. The 2.12 tonne radar imaging satellite was inserted into a 628 km x 98 deg
orbit about 16 minutes after liftoff, following a single burn of the LE-5B powered second
Four microsatellites separated after ALOS-2. They were the 7.1 kg Space Research On Unique
Technology (SPROUT) spacecraft, the 50 kg Raijin-2, the 50 kg University International
Formation Mission (UNIFORM), and the 48 kg Space Optical Communications Research Advanced
Technology Satellite (SOCRATES) satellite.
F24 was an H-2A-202 variant with two SRB-A solid motor boosters. The boosters burned for
about 115 seconds along with the LE-7A powered core stage. The core shut down about 4.5
minutes after liftoff. The second stage then performed its single 8 minute 24 second burn.
Rokot Launches Milcomsats
A Rokot/Briz KM launched three Rodnik (Strela 3M) "store/dump" communication
satellites for the Russian military, along with a fourth unknown satellite, on May 23,
2014. The three-stage rocket lifted off from Plestesk Site 133 Pad 3 at 05:27 UTC under
the direction of a Russian Space Forces missile launch crew. After the initial ascent sent
Briz KM and its payload into a 100 x 1,500 km x 82.5 deg transfer orbit, Briz KM performed
a cirularization burn at around 07:12 UTC.
The 225 kg Rodnik satellites were named Kosmos
2496-2498. The fourth unannounced satellite will presumably be named Kosmos 2499.
It was the first Rokot launch of 2014.
Despite Rogozin Threats
AV-046, an Atlas 5-401 variant, launched NROL-33, a
classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) into orbit from Cape
Canaveral Space Launch Complex 41 on May 22, 2014. Liftoff took place at 13:09 UTC. Atlas
flew an eastward trajectory consistent with a geosynchronous transfer orbit mission.
The two-stage rocket entered a news blackout after the RD-180 powered first stage
completed its burn and the Centaur stage RL-10 engine ignited. About 90 minutes later,
United Launch Alliance announced that the launch had been a success. An additional Notice
to Mariners for Centaur de-orbit debris was listed to begin about 10 hours after liftoff
near Kwajalein in the Pacific Ocean.
The launch took place nine days after Russia's Deputy Prime Miniter Dmitryi Rogozin
threatened to cut off U.S. access to Russia's RD-180 engine for military missions. Despite
the threat, ULA officials received no notice of any change in policy by builder NPO
Energomash or importer RD-AMROSS. A Russian technical team monitored engine systems from
its Cape Canaveral control room as usual.
In the wake of Rogozin's statement, a proposal was made
in Congress to fund a U.S. replacement for RD-180 and ULA announced that it intended to
speed up purchases that could allow Delta 4 production to increase if needed.
Delta 4 Launches
Delta 4 completed a back-to-back series of GPS launches
by orbiting GPS 2F-6 from Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 17, 2014. Delta 366, a Delta 4M+4,2 with two solid
boosters and a four meter payload fairing, performed the mission that began with an 00:03
UTC lift off from SLC 37B. An idential Delta 4 with an identical payload rose from
the same pad on February 21, 2014.
Delta 4's Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS) performed
two burns during a 3.25 hour mission to lift the 1.63 tonne navigation satellite into a
20,459 km x 55 deg circular orbit. This profile differed from the February launch,
which used three DCSS burns. On this mission, DCSS performed an initial long burn to
reach a 186 x 20,459 km transfer orbit on a northeast heading. After a 3 hour coast,
DCSS peformed a short apogee burn to circularize the orbit.
It was the 26th Delta 4 launch and the second of the
(Updated June 12, 2014)
Khrunichev's mainstay Proton rocket suffered a launch failure on May 15, 2014 - the first
failure by any of the world's launch vehicles this year - while attempting to place
Russia's Ekspress AM4R communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The
failure appeared to occur during the third stage burn about 540 seconds after a 21:42 UTC
liftoff, around the time when the payload fairing was supposed to be jettisonned. No orbit
The 397th Proton lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome Area 200 Pad 39. Its Express AM4R
payload was an Astrium Eurostar 3000 series satellite that weighed 5.775 tonnes at
liftoff. It was built as a replacement for Express AM4, which was stranded in a useless
orbit by a Briz M upper stage failure during a 2011 Proton flight.
An inter-agency investigating commission was formed on
the day of the failure. The team found that the payload fairing and control systems
had functioned correctly. It soon focused on telemetry that showed a dramatic
pressure drop in the third stage steering engine, indicating a drop in pressure developed
by the generator turbine. On June 11, 2014 Roscosmos announced that the cause had
been determined to have been a failed bearing in the RD-0214 steering engine
The 4.1 meter diameter third stage is powered by an
RD-0212 propulsion system that consists of a single fixed RD-0213 engine that produces 59
tons thrust for about 232 seconds and a four-nozzle RD-0214 vernier/steering engine that
produces 11.7 tonnes of vacuum thrust for about 247 seconds. A single turbopump
feeds propellant to the four steering engine nozzles.
It was the 75th Proton M/Briz M variant flight and the
7th failure, ending a streak of 12 consecutive successes.
Orbital is planning for a future after Aerojet
Rocketdyne's dwindling supply of NK-33 engines runs out.
Could a solid motor Antares
provide a solution?
Launches Russian Spy Satellite
A Soyuz 2-1a rocket launched a 6.7 tonne Kobalt-M
optical film return reconnaisance satellite from Plestesk Cosmodrome on May 6, 2014.
The 2.5 stage R-7 based vehicle lifted off from Area 43 Pad 4 at 13:49 UTC, beginning a 10
minute long ascent to low Earth orbit. The spacecraft, cataloged as Cosmos 2495, was
inserted into a 176 x 285 km x 81.41 deg orbit.
Kobalt-M (or Yantar 4K2M) is equipped with two small film return capsules. It is
the last in a long line of Soviet and Russian film-return spy satellites that is being
phased out in favor of Persona electro-optical imaging satellites. Only one more
satellite of this type is thought to remain. This was the first Kobalt-M launched
by a Soyuz 2-1a.
It was the year's 25 orbital launch, and 25th success.
Europe's Vega performed its third launch on April 30, 2014. The VV03 mission boosted 830
kg DZZ-HR, an earth observation satellite for the Republic of Kazakhstan, into a 750 km x
98.5 deg sun synchronous orbit from Kourou space center. The four stage rocket lifted off
from ZLV (Vega Launch Zone) at 01:35 UTC and headed north across the Atlantic Ocean.
Vega's first three solid motor stages burned in succession during the first 6 minutes 14
seconds of the mission to lift the upper stage and payload to orbital velocity. The AVUM
(Attitude & Vernier Upper Module) stage then fired its hypergolic bipropellant
Ukrainian built engine for about 5 minutes to reach an elliptical transfer orbit.
After a 40+ minute coast to apogee, AVUM performed a 2
minute burn to circularize the orbit for DZZ-HR separation.
DZZ-HR, Vega's heaviest payload to date, was built by Airbus Defence and Space in
Russia's Proton M/Briz M orbited two communication
satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 28, 2014. The 705 tonne rocket lifted off
from Area 81 Pad 24 at 04:25 UTC in a rare daylight launch, kicking off a 9.5 hour ascent
that included five burns of the launch vehicle's Briz M upper stage. Russia's 1.15 tonne
Luch 5v data relay satellite rode atop Kazhakstan's Kazsat-3, which likely weighed about
1.7 tonnes at liftoff. Both satellites were inserted directly into geosynchronous orbit.
The first Briz M burn put the vehicle into a 180 km x 51.56 deg parking orbit. The second
burn raised the orbit to 270 x 5,007 km x 50 deg. The third burn ended with a 404 x 35,810
km x 47.8 deg transfer orbit. Briz M released its drop tank after the burn. After a long
coast to apogee, a fourth burn put the stage into a 35,753 x 35,793 km x 5 deg orbit for
Luch 5v release. A short fifth burn was made prior to release of KazSat 3 into a 35,793 km
x 0 deg orbit.
It was the year's third Proton launch.
Falcon 9 Orbits
Dragon Cargo Mission (Updated 4/25/14)
The ninth SpaceX Falcon 9 - and the fourth upgraded "1.1" version - launched a
Dragon spacecraft on the CRS-3 resupply mission for NASA's International Space Station
from Cape Canaveral on April 18, 2014. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 took place at
20:25 UTC. The two-stage rocket boosted Dragon into a 313 x 332 km x 51.6 deg low earth
orbit during a 9 minute 40 second ascent. Dragon controllers had to bypass a faulty
quad thruster helium pressurization system isolation valve during the spacecraft
initiation phase, but the problem was quickly solved using a backup system.
Dragon was loaded with either 2.09 or 2.27 tonnes of supplies (sources vary) for ISS - the
heaviest Dragon cargo load to date a result of the first use of Falcon 9 v1.1 to launch a
cargo mission. The spacecraft weighed more than 8.6 tonnes at liftoff,
including cargo, making it the heaviest Falcon 9 payload to date. It was expected to
return to a splashdown off California's coast in several weeks with 1.59 tonnes of
After the first stage separated, it restarted three of its Merlin 1D engines to perform a
reentry burn to eliminate most of its horizontal velocity. The stage, the first equipped
with landing legs folded against the lower part of the vehicle, then dropped through the
atmosphere and restarted a single Merlin 1D as it approached the surface of the Atlantic
Ocean to eliminate vertical velocity. During the burn, the stage was expected to
extend its legs in a test of future land landing techniques. The stage was unlikely to be
recovered, and recovery was not necessary for the purposes of this test.
Legs on F9-9 First Stage Prior to Rollout
Several hours after the flight, Elon Musk tweeted that
data from a tracking plane had showed that the final landing phase had been performed
successfully, meaning that the stage had remained stable, that the landing burn had fired
for its full duration, and presumably that the landing legs had deployed. Several
boats were enroute to the landing zone located about 520 km downrange from the Cape and
about 400 km east-southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, though heavy seas were reported
in the area.
After Dragon separated, the second stage coasted for 35
minutes before performing a brief depletion burn as it flew over the Indian Ocean
southwest of Australia. The burn was intended to determine propellant residuals and
to lower the orbit of the stage, hastening its reentry.
Dragon successfully berthed with ISS two days after
CRS-3 Dragon Approaches ISS
On April 21, 2014, SpaceX President and Chief Executive
Officer Gwynne Shotwell said that the first stage had landed softly at near zero velocity,
but that recovery was unlikely due to rough seas. She said that the stage, or that
parts of the stage, had been located. A Coast Guard navigation hazard notice briefly
listed a floating stage obstruction at about 31 North, 76 West, but the notice was
Four days later, Elon Musk confirmed that the stage had
deployed its legs and landed softly, but had subsequently sunk due to wave action.
High seas prevented any ships from searching for the stage for two days. Only
floating fragments were located, included pieces of the carbon composite interstage and of
one of the landing legs. Mr. Musk said that the company would try another first
stage ocean landing on the next Falcon 9 flight.
Launches Spy Satellite for Egypt
One of Russia's final Soyuz-U rockets launched EgyptSat 2, an optical reconnaissance
satellite, into low earth orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 16, 2014. The 2.5 stage
rocket lifted off from Area 31 Pad 6 at 16:20 UTC and quickly lifted the 1.05 tonne
satellite into a 435 x 700 km x 51.6 deg orbit. Orbital insertion occurred 520 seconds
Russia's RKK Energia developed and built the new imaging satellite for Egypt's military
and other government agencies. If successful, the design could be the first of many to fly
for Egypt and other countries.
The launch was unusual because a Progress payload fairing housed the satellite. It was
likely the final launch of a Soyuz-U with a non-Progress payload. In the not too distant
future, likely during 2015, Soyuz 2-1a, with modernized flight control systems and
upgraded engines, will replace the older, but highly reliable Soyuz-U design even for
Atlas 5 Launches
The 45th Atlas 5, a 541 model with a five meter diameter
payload fairing and four solid rocket boosters, launched a classified satellite for the
National Reconnaissance Office from Cape Canaveral, Florida on April 10, 2014. AV-045
lifted off from Space Launch Complex 41 at 17:45 UTC to begin the NROL-67 mission. A bit
more than four hours later, United Launch Alliance announced that the rocket had completed
its mission successfully. The timing of the announcement, and the eastward launch azimuth,
was generally consistent with a launch directly to geosynchronous orbit involving three
Centaur upper stage burns.
The launch had been delayed by more than two weeks due to failure of hard-to-replace
equipment at a range radar tracking station.
It was only the second flight of an Atlas 5-541, and was the first time that the variant
performed an NRO launch. Some analysts suspect that the NROL-67 could be a new-generation
signals intelligence satellite. Others believe that it might be a new type of data relay
Launches Israeli Spy Satellite (Updated 4/11/14)
Israel's Shavit-2 rocket launched a synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite named Ofek
10 into orbit from Palmachim Air Base on April 9, 2014. Liftoff took place at 19:06 UTC.
Ofek 10 was expected to operate in a 600 km orbit, though some sources described a 330 x
610 km x 141 deg insertion orbit.
The launch was jointly carried out by IAI and the Defense Ministrys Space
Administration, which is a part of the Administration for the Development of Weapons and
MAFAT, the research and development department of Israels Ministry of Defense,
contracted Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI Ltd) and other Israeli companies to develop
both the Ofek 10 satellite and the Shavit 2 launcher. It was the third Shavit-2 launch.
Progress Cargo Spacecraft
Launches, Docks with ISS
A Soyuz U rocket launched the unmanned Progress M-23M cargo spacecraft into orbit from
Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 9, 2014. The spacecraft flew a fast track, four-orbit, six
hour approach to an International Space Station docking. Docking took place at 21:14 UTC.
Progress M-23M lifted off from Area 1 Pad 5 at 15:26 UTC. The spacecraft carried about 2.7
tonnes of cargo and fuel to the station. The Expedition 38 crew currently occupies the
station. It consists of Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin,
Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev of Russia, and NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and
It was the 55th Progress flight to ISS and the 146th launch of all types to the station
since construction began in 1998.
PSLV-XL C24 orbited Indias IRNSS 1B, a navigation
satellite, from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota on April 4, 2014. The four stage
rocket lifted off from the First Launch Pad at 11:44 UTC. The stages fired in succession,
with a nearly four minute coast occurring between the third and fourth stage burns. The
fourth stage inserted 1.432 tonne IRNSS 1B into a subsynchronous transfer orbit targeted
to be 284 x 20,650 km x 19.2 deg. Mission plans call for the satellite to use its own
propulsion system to perform a series of burns to reach its final 35,786 km x 0 deg
IRNSS-1B, the second of seven planned IRNSS missions, was developed by the Indian Space
C24 was the 6th PSLV-XL and the 24th success in 26th PSLV flights.
2-1a/Fregat Launches Europe's Sentinel 1A
Russian contractor teams launched a Soyuz 2-1a/Fregat
from Kourou Space Center in French Guiana for Arianespace on April 3, 2014. The launch
orbited the European Space Agency's Sentinel 1A environmental monitoring satellite. The
3.5 stage rocket lifted off from the ELS pad at 21:02 UTC to begin the Arianespace VS07
mission. The 2.257 tonne Thales Alenia Space-built satellite was boosted into a 693 km x
98.2 deg sun synchronous orbit after the Fregat stage completed a single burn about 20
minutes after liftoff..
Sentinel 1A will use a C-band synthetic aperture radar to provide imagery of both ocean
and land surfaces.
Atlas 5 Orbits
Atlas 5-401 number AV-044 lofted Defense Meteorological
Satellite Program Flight 19 into sun synchronous orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base on
April 3, 2014. The two-stage rocket, powered by a Russian-built RD-180, lifted off from
Space Launch Complex 3 East at 14:46 UTC. After the first stage completed its 244 second
burn, the Centaur second stage performed a single, nearly 12 minute burn to insert DMSP
F19 into an 853 km x 98.87 deg orbit.
Lockheed Martin built the 1.2 tonne weather satellite, which will serve the needs of the
U.S. Department of Defense.
It was the 43rd successful Atlas 5 launch in 44 attempts, and the 34th consecutive
A CZ-2C rocket launched China's
Shijian 11-06 into sun synchronous orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on March 31,
2014. It was China's first orbital launch of the year.
The 213 tonne, two stage rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 43, Pad 603 at 02:46 UTC.
The satellite, sixth in a series, entered a roughly 700 km x 98.3 deg orbit.
Shijian 11-06 was developed by China Spacesat Co. Ltd
for China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It likely weighed less than 1
tonne, given CZ-2C's near-polar orbit capability.
The purpose of the satellite is unknown by outsiders.
China announced only that it will be used to conduct scientific experiments in space.
A Soyuz FG orbited the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft with two
Russians and one American from Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 25, 2014. Liftoff from Area 1
Pad 5 took place at 21:17 UTC. The launch was successful, but Soyuz TMA-12M had to abort
its planned fast-track, four-orbit rendezvous with the International Space Station when a
problem occurred during an orbit changing burn. Crewmates Alexander Skvortsov, Oleg
Artemyev, and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson were expected to revert to a back-up plan that
called for at least a two-day approach to ISS.
The crew was expected to join the current Expedition 39 team at ISS, which includes
Japan's Koichi Wakata, Russia's Mikhail Tyurin, and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio.
The flight took place even as tensions grew between the U.S. and Russian governments after
Russia's military occupation and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
It was the first crewed space launch of 2014.
A Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat rocket boosted a Russian Glonass-M
navigation satellite into orbit from Plesetsk Cosmodrome on March 23, 2014. Liftoff from
Area 43 Pad 4 took place at 22:54 UTC. The 2.5 stage Soyuz accelerated Fregat and its
payload into low earth orbit during a nine minute ascent. Fregat subsequently performed
three burns to lift the 1.415 tonne Glonass-M (Uragan-M No. 42) into a 19,128 x 19,154 km
x 64.81 deg orbit, with spacecraft separation taking place at 02:26 UTC on March 24.
It was the first Glonass launch attempt since three similar satellites were lost in a
spectacular July 2013 Proton launch failure at Baikonur.
5 Launches from Kourou
Ariane 5 Launcher Number 571, an Ariane
5 ECA, boosted ASTRA 5B and Amazonas 4A into geosynchronous transfer orbit from Kourou
on March 22, 2014. The 772.3 tonne rocket lifted off from ELA 3 at 22:04 UTC to begin
Arianespace Mission VA-216. 5.724 tonne ASTRA 5B and 2.938 tonne Amazonas 4A were inserted
into 250 x 35,786 km x 3 deg orbits about 25 minutes after liftoff. Amazonas 4A rode in
the lower position inside a SYLDA 5A adapter.
Ariane 5's EPC core stage burned for about 8.75 minutes to push the upper stage into a
-1027 x 179 km x 6.95 deg suborbital trajectory. The ESC-A upper stage then performed a
single, roughly 16 minute long burn to complete the ascent.
ASTRA 5B was manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space (former Astrium). AMAZONAS 4A was
built by Orbital Sciences Corporation.
It was the 43rd consecutive Ariane 5 ECA success, moving the rocket marginally back ahead
of Atlas 5 in the Space Launch Report reliability list.
Russia's 395th Proton rocket successfully placed two
broadcast TV satellites into geosynchronous orbit after a March 15, 2014 launch from
Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Proton M/Briz M lifted off from Area 81 Pad 24 at 23:08 UTC to
begin its more than nine-hour mission. During the flight, Briz M fired four times to lift
Express AT1 and Express AT2 into their deployment orbits.
The satellites were stacked directly on top of each other within the Proton payload
fairing. Express AT2, which weighed 1.326 tonnes, was positioned below 1.672 tonne Express
AT1. Russia's ISS Reshetnev built the Express 1000-series satellites, which were equipped
with Thales Alenia Space communications payloads.
With the flight, Proton became the first orbital launch vehicle to fly a second time
during 2014. It was the 10th orbital flight of the year, worldwide.
Orbits NASA/JAXA Precipitation Observatory
Japan's 23rd H-2A launch vehicle, an H-2A-202 with two
SRB-A strap on motors, orbited the joint JAXA/NASA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)
Core Observatory satellite from Yoshinobu Launch Complex 1 at the Tanegashima Space Center
on February 27, 2014. H-2A F23 lifted off at 18:37 UTC. Its second stage performed a
single burn to insert the 3,850 kg GPM Core Observatory into a 407 km x 65 deg orbit about
16 minutes later.
The observatory, built by Goddard Space Center in Maryland, will provide near real-time
observations of rain and snow precipitation. It is equipped with a microwave imager built
by Ball Aerospace & Technologies and a precipitation detecting radar built by NEC
Toshiba Space Systems.
F-23 was the 17th consecutive H-2A success. The
only H-2A failure in occurred in November 2003.
Delta 4 Launches
Delta 365, a Delta 4M+4,2 with
two solid boosters and a four meter payload fairing, launched GPS 2F-5 into orbit from
Cape Canaveral, Florida on February 21, 2014. Liftoff took place from SLC 37B
at 01:59 UTC.
Delta 4's Delta Cryogenic Second Stage (DCSS) performed
three burns during a 3.5 hour mission to lift the 1.63 tonne navigation satellite into a
20,459 km x 55 deg circular orbit. DCSS fired first during the initial ascent to
reach a low earth parking orbit. It performed a second burn after a 9-minute coast
to enter an elliptical transfer orbit with a roughly 20,459 km apogee. Following a
three hour coast, DCSS fired a third time to reach the GPS 2F-5 insertion orbit.
It was the 25th Delta 4 launch. The flight came
after a six-month launch gap party due to an additional investigation into a propellant
leak on a second stage RL10B-2 engine during a 2012 Delta 4 mission that barely managed to
place GPS 2F-3 into its orbit. GPS 2F-5 was the first Delta 4 GPS launch since that
Proton Orbits Satellite for Turkey
2014's first Proton M/Briz M successfully boosted
Turksat 4A into geosynchronous transfer orbit from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on
February 14. Liftoff from Area 81 Pad 24 occurred at 21:09 UTC to start a 9 hour 13
Turksat 4A, a Mitsubishi Electric Corporation DS2000 series
satellite that weighed 4.85 tonnes, was inserted into orbit using a five burn Briz M
After the three Proton stages completed their ascent
burns to achieve a velocity just short of orbital speed, Briz M fired to reach a circular
parking orbit. The upper stage fired one orbit later to reach an intermediate orbit.
One orbit after that it fired twice, dropping its toroidial external tank between
burns, to reach a transfer orbit. Finally it fired at apogee to raise its perigee
and reduce its inclination to complete the mission. The target orbit was 9,673 x
35,786 km x 12.7 deg.
Turksat 4A will provide communications services for
The mission was performed by Proton serial number 93543,
which was the 394th Proton launched.
Ariane 5 Orbits
Ariane 5 ECA Launcher 572 boosted two communications
satellites into geosychronous transfer orbit from Kourou space center on February 6, 2014.
The 773.4 tonne rocket lifted off from ELA 3 at 21:30 UTC to begin the Arianespace VA-217
mission. Launcher 572 rose on 1,326 tonnes of thrust produced by its two EAP solid motors
and its single Vulcain 2 liquid core engine. Within 32 minutes, 6.33 tonne ABS-2 and 3.08
tonne Athena-Fidus separated into 244 x 35,786 km x 6 deg orbits.
ABS-2 (Asia Broadcast Satellite), which rode atop the Sylda 5B dual payload system, was an
FS-1300 series satellite built by Canadian-owned Space Systems/Loral for East Asia
Athena-Fidus, a Spacebus 4000B2 model built by Thales Alenia Space for French and Italian
military use, rode within the Slyda 5B adapter.
It was the first Ariane 5 launch in more than five
ISS Cargo Launch
A 2.5 stage Soyuz-U launched Progress M-22M, an unmanned
cargo spacecraft headed for the International Space Station (ISS), into low earth orbit
from Baikonur Cosmodrome Area 1 Pad 5 on February 5, 2014. Liftoff took place at
16:23 UTC from a cold winter landscape.
Progress M-22M will use the fast-rendezvous technique to
reach ISS in about four orbits, or six hours. The spacecraft carries about 2 tonnes
of supplies for ISS.
With the New Year's holiday period concluded, the
liftoff begin's Russia's launch year.
The year's first Atlas 5, a two-stage 401 model,
successfully orbited NASA's TDRS-L (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite) from Cape Caneveral
on January 24, 2014. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 41 took place at 02:33
UTC. TDRS-L, a Boeing Space System 601 model that weighed 3.454 tonnes, was aimed
toward a 4,839 x 35,788 km x 25.5 deg high perigee geosynchronous transfer orbit
(GTO). Spacecraft separation took place 1 hour 45 minutes 57 seconds after liftoff.
The RD-180 powered first stage burned for 4 minutes 2
seconds. This was followed by a 13 minute 55 second long Centaur second stage burn
that boosted the vehicle into a 185 x 24,919 km x 26.5 deg parking orbit. After a 1
hour, 21 minute 55 second coast, Centaur reignited for a 63 second burn to accelerate
TDRS-L into its final orbit.
The success, the 42nd in 43 Atlas 5 attempts, moves
Atlas 5 past Ariane 5 for the first time on the Space Launch
Report reliability list. The incremental difference, which essentially
represents a statistical tie, will likely shift back and forth between the two launch
vehicles during the coming months.
Cygnus Cargo Mission
Orbital Sciences launched its third Antares rocket from
Wallops Island, Virgina on Janaury 9, 2014 with the company's first operational Cygnus
cargo mission to the International Space Station. The Orb-1 Commercial Resupply Services
mission, the first of eight currently planned for NASA, began from Launch Complex 0A -
part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport - with an 18:07 UTC liftoff.
It was the first flight of an Antares 120 variant outfitted with an upgraded ATK Castor
30B second stage solid motor. Castor 30B was the same size and produced about the same
thrust as the Castor 30A motor used during the first two launches, but it used a longer,
larger nozzle that improved specific impulse to about 300 seconds. One more Antares 120
will fly this year, to be followed by the first Antares 130 with a more powerful, longer,
and heavier Castor 30XL second stage motor.
The Yuzhnoye/Yuzhmash first stage burned its Kuznetsov/Aerojet AJ-26 engines for 3 minutes
54 seconds to lift the rocket to an altitude of about 100 km. After shutdown, the stage
separated and the upper portion of the vehicle coasted upward to about 179 km altitude
until the Castor 30B ignited about 1 minute 52 seconds after first stage shutdown. The
payload fairing and interstage adapter separated shortly before the 128 second long second
stage burn began.
Second stage burnout occurred about 7 minutes 54 seconds after liftoff. Cygnus, named
"C. Gordon Fullerton" in honer of the NASA astronaut and test pilot who died in
August, 2013, separated two minutes later in a 219 x 280 km x 51.654 deg orbit. Cygnus
carried 1.261 tonnes of ISS cargo, including equipment, crew supplies, and 33 CubeSat
microsatellites that will be released from ISS later this year. The spacecraft weighed
about 4.69 tonnes including cargo.
Orb-1 Cygnus Approaches ISS Berthing on January 12,
After a three day long series of orbit raising manuvers,
Cygnus successfully berthed with ISS on January 12, 2013 at 13:05 UTC.
Orbital Sciences officials had delayed the launch one
day to study high solar radiation levels after a January 7 solar flare. A winter storm
producing very cold temperatures had delayed the launch by one day earlier in the week.
The entire mission had been delayed by three weeks when a coolant leak developed on the
space station that required a pair of space walks by the ISS crew to repair.
9 Launches Thaicom 6
SpaceX Corporation's eighth
Falon 9 rocket, and its third upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 variant, launch Thailand's Thaicom 6
commuication satellite into orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 6, 2014.
Liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 took place at 22:06 UTC. The Merlin 1D Vacuum
powered second stage performed two burns to accelerate the 3.016 tonne Orbital Sciences
GEOStar 2 satellite toward a targeted 295 x 90,000 km x 22.5 deg supersynchronous transfer
After maneuvering itself to
geosynchronous orbit, Thaicom 6, equipped with Ku and C-band transponders, will be
co-located with Thaicom 5 at 78.5 degrees East.
After a 174 second long first stage
burn, the second stage burned for about 350 seconds to place itself and its payload into a
173 x 497 x 27.3 deg parking orbit. Payload fairing separation occurred during the
early part of the second stage burn. After an 18 minute coast, the second stage
reignited for just over one minute to loft the payload toward its insertion orbit.
Spacecraft separation occurred about 31 minutes 13 seconds after liftoff.
SpaceX performed its quickest launch pad
turnaround for Thaicom 6, which lifted off just more than one month after Falcon 9 No. 7
orbited SES 8. During the campaign, the Thaicom 6 booster performed a hot fire test
at SLC 40 on December 28, 2013.
India's Cryogenic Stage Succeeds
Indias Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle
(GSLV) successfully boosted the GSAT 14 communications satellite into geosynchronous
transfer orbit on January 5, 2013. It was the first success for the launch vehicle
since 2004, and the first success for India's indigenously-developed, liquid hydrogen
fueled Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).
The 415 tonne, 49 meter tall three-stage GSLV Mk 2
rocket, fitted with a 3.4 meter diameter payload fairing, lifted off at 10:48 UTC from the
Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota to begin the GSLV-D5
development mission. It rose on 690.7 tonnes (1.52 million lbf) of liftoff thrust
produced by a solid core motor augmented by four L40 liquid non-separating strap-on
motors, each powered by a Vikas 2 engine that burned UDMH/N2O4 until cutoff 149 seconds
after liftoff, about 60 seconds after the core burned out. The liquid second stage,
powered by a single Vikas 4 UDMH/N2O4 engine, performed a 140.5 second burn to lift the
vehicle to a 132 km altitude and a velocity of more than 4,900 m/sec.
The CUS LOX/LH2 third stage then fired its 7.5 tonne
thrust CE-7.5 engine one time for more than 12 minutes to finish the mission. The
1.982 tonne satellite payload was accelerated toward a targeted 180 x 35,975 km x 19.3 deg
orbit. ISRO's CE-7.5 is a staged combustion engine designed to operate at 454
seconds specific impulse - more efficient than the Aerojet-Rocketdyne RL10A-4-1 engine
that powers the Atlas 5 Centaur stage. The fixed CE-7.5 engine is augmented by a
pair of small steering engines.
An August, 2012 attempt to
fly GLSV-D5 was thwarted by a second stage propellant leak during the early stages of the
countdown. Damage caused by the leak forced ISRO to roll back and dismantle the
rocket. Its core first stage and second stage were replaced entirely while its first
stage liquid units were refurbished.
It was the third GSLV
success in eight flights since 2001.
See Older Launch Reports in the Space Launch Report Archive