NASA to Launch Navy Communications Satellite 9/18/89: RELEASE:  89-145 Agency   officials   today   announced   a   target   date   of   no   earlier   than   September   22   for   the   68th   and final   launch   of   a   NASA Atlas/Centaur   vehicle.     Atlas/Centaur-68   is   scheduled   to   place   the   last   in   a series   of   Navy   FLTSATCOM   communications   spacecraft   into   a   geosynchronous   Earth   orbit.     Launch   will   take   place   from   Complex   36B,   Cape   Canaveral Air   Force   Station,   Fla.     The   30-minute launch window opens at 4:15 a.m., EDT.                This   final   chapter   in   NASA's   Atlas/Centaur   history   has   roots   dating   back   to   May   1962,   when the   first   launch   took   place.      Since   then,   the   program   has   earned   its   place   in   history   with   missions such   as   Ranger   and   Surveyor   probes   to   the   Moon;   Mariner   flights   to   Mars,   Venus   and   Mercury; and   several   series   of   communications   satellite   launches   including   FLTSATCOM,   Intelsat   and Comstar.                 FLTSATCOM   satellites   --   five   have   been   successfully   placed   into   orbit   --   are   the   spaceborne portion    of    a    worldwide    Navy,    Air    Force    and    Department    of    Defense    system    to    enable communications    between    naval    aircraft,    ships,    submarines,    ground    stations,    Strategic    Air Command elements and Presidential Command Network.                The   FLTSATCOM   program   is   managed   by   the   Space   and   Naval   Warfare   Systems   Command.     The   Air    Force    Space    Systems    Division,    Los   Angeles,    is    responsible    for    production,    launch vehicle/spacecraft   integration   and   tracking   and   data   acquisition.      FLTSATCOM   spacecraft   are built in Redondo Beach, Calif., by the Defense and Space Systems Group of TRW, Inc.                Atlas/Centaur   is   built   for   NASA   by   General   Dynamics   Space   Systems   Division,   San   Diego, Calif.        General    Dynamics,    under    an    agreement    signed    with    NASA    in    1988,    has    assumed operation   and   control   of   Launch   Complex   36   and   in   the   future,   will   provide   commercial   Atlas launch   transportation   services   for   both   the   Government   and   the   private   sector   from   that   site.     With   NASA   oversight,   General   Dynamics   will   serve   in   the   capacity   of   Launch   Director   for   the upcoming mission. - end - NOTE TO EDITORS      Events and logistics associated with the upcoming launch of Atlas/Centaur-68 follow: NEWS   CONFERENCES:      An   L-2   day   prelaunch   conference   is   presently   scheduled   for   2   p.m., EDT,    on    Wednesday,    September    20.        The    conference    will    be    held    in    the    E&O    Building Conference   Room,   Cape   Canaveral Air   Force   Station   (CCAFS).      If   sufficient   on-site   press   interest exists,   a   postlaunch   conference   also   may   be   held   at   the   same   location   at   approximately   T+1 hour.      Conference   participants   will   include   NASA,   DoD   and   General   Dynamics   program   officials.     Local press questions only will be accommodated. PRESS VIEWING:  Press viewing of the launch will be from Press Site 1, CCAFS. ACCREDITATION AND   BADGING:      Requests   for   accreditation   and   badging   for   the   launch   should be    directed    to    the    Kennedy    Space    Center    public    Information    Branch.        Special    audio-visual requirements (remote camera   setups   will   be   accommodated)   should   be   directed   to   the   KSC audio visual office. NASA   SELECT   COVERAGE:      Audio   and   video   of   the   prelaunch   and   postlaunch   (if   held)   news conferences   will   be   carried   via   NASA   SELECT   television.      Launch   commentary   and   video   also will   be   carried   via   NASA   SELECT   beginning   at   3   a.m.   EDT,   launch   morning.      NASA   Select   is available   via   GE   Satcom   F2R,   Transponder   13,   72   degrees   W.   Longitude,   3960   MHz,   vertical polarization. - end - ATLAS/CENTAUR LAUNCH VEHICLE                The   Atlas/Centaur   is   NASA's   standard   launch   vehicle   for   intermediate   weight   payloads.      It   is used   to   launch   payloads   into   low-Earth   orbit,   geosynchronous-Earth   orbit   and   on   interplanetary trajectories.                Centaur   was   the   nation's   first   high-energy,   liquid   hydrogen/liquid   oxygen   propelled   rocket.     Developed   and   launched   under   the   direction   of   NASA's   Lewis   Research   Center,   Cleveland,   it became   operational   in   1966   with   the   launch   of   Surveyor   1,   the   first   U.S.   spacecraft   to   soft-land on the lunar surface.                Since   that   time,   both   the   Atlas   booster   and   Centaur   second   stage   have   undergone   many improvements.      At   present,   the   vehicle   combination   can   place   13,500   pounds   in   low-Earth   orbit, 5,100 pounds in a synchronous transfer orbit and 2,180 pounds on an interplanetary trajectory.                The   Atlas/Centaur,   approximately   137   feet   high,   consists   of   an   Atlas   SLV-3G   booster   and Centaur   D1AR   second   stage.      The   Atlas   booster   develops   438,922   pounds   of   thrust   at   liftoff using   two   188,750   thrust   booster   engines,   one   60,500   pound   thrust   sustainer   engine   and   two vernier   engines   developing   461   pounds   thrust   each.     The   two   RL-10   engines   on   Centaur   produce a total of 33,000 pounds of thrust.  Both the Atlas and Centaur are 10-feet in diameter.                Until   early   1974,   Centaur   was   used   exclusively   in   combination   with   the   Atlas   booster.      It   was subsequently   used   with   a   Titan   III   booster   to   launch   heavier   payloads   into   Earth   orbit   and interplanetary trajectories.                The   Atlas   and   the   Centaur   vehicles   have   been   updated   over   the   years.      Thrust   of   the   Atlas engines   has   been   increased   about   50,000   pounds   since   their   first   use   in   the   space   program   in the early 1960's.                The   Centaur   D-1AR   has   an   integrated   electronic   system   that   performs   a   major   role   in checking   itself   and   other   vehicle   systems   before   launch   and   also   maintains   control   of   major events   after   liftoff.      The   new   Centaur   system   handles   navigation   and   guidance   tasks,controls, pressurization   and   venting,   propellant   management,   telemetry   formats   and   transmission   and initiates vehicle events.  Most operational needs can be met by changing the computer software. FLEET SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM                The   Fleet   Satellite   Communications   System,   managed   by   the   U.S.   Navy,   provides   near   global satellite    communications    for    high    priority    requirements    of    the    Navy,    Air    Force    and    other Department of Defense communications needs.      Five satellites presently comprise the FLTSATCOM constellation.        Two    satellites    in    the    planned    eight-satellite    series    were    lost    --    the    Flight    4 spacecraft   was   damaged   during   launch   in   1981   and   did   not   operate   and   the   Flight   6   spacecraft and launch vehicle were destroyed by an apparent lightning strike during launch in 1987.                Each   FLTSATCOM   spacecraft   has   23   communications   channels   in   the   ultra-high   and   super- high   frequency   bands.      Ten   of   the   channels   are   used   by   the   Navy   for   worldwide   communications among   its   land,   sea   and   air   forces.      Twelve   of   the   channels   are   used   by   the   Air   Force   as   part   of the Air   Force   Satellite   Communications   System   for   command   and   control   nuclear   capable   forces.     A 500 kilohertz channel on the satellite is allotted to National Command Authority.                The   ground   segment   of   the   fleet   satellite   system   consists   of   links   among   designated   and mobile    users,including    most    U.S.    Navy    ships    and    selected    Air    Force    and    Navy    aircraft, submarines,   global   ground   stations   and   presidential   command   networks.      These   terminals   are being managed and acquired by the individual services. FLTSATCOM FLIGHT-8 CHARACTERISTICS (A/C-68) WEIGHT:      The   final   FLTSATCOM   spacecraft   (designated   Flight-8)   along   with   its   apogee   kick motor, with solid propellant, weighs approximately 5,100 pounds going into transfer orbit. SIZE:      The   Flight-8   spacecraft   body   is   8   feet   in   diameter   and   22.8   feet   high.      Main   parabolic antenna   is   16   feet   in   diameter   with   an   80-inch   solid   center   surrounded   by   a   wire   mesh   screen.     Once   in   orbit,   the   folded   screen   is   deployed   by   ground   command.      A   13.5   foot   helical   receive antenna,   13-inches   in   diameter   at   the   base,   is   mounted   outside   the   edge   of   the   transmit   antenna dish.      The   receive   antenna   also   is   folded   within   the   Centaur   fairing   during   launch   and   deployed by separate ground commands. POWER:      Primary   electrical   power   for   the   Flight-8   spacecraft   is   provided   by   two   deployable   solar array   paddles   which   supply   approximately   1,200   watts   of   power.      In   addition,   three   nickel- cadmium   batteries,   each   having   24-sealed,   34-amp-hour   cells,   provide   power   during   eclipse operations. DESIGN LIFE:  5 years ORBIT:  The satellites are three-axis stabilized in geosynchronous orbit, 22,250 nautical miles above the Earth's equator. MAJOR CONTRACTOR:  TRW Space and Defense Systems Group, Redondo Beach, Calif. ATLAS/CENTAUR-68 LAUNCH VEHICLE PREPARATIONS      Kennedy Space Center is responsible for pre-launch processing   and   testing   of   the   Atlas   Centaur-68   vehicle.      Most   of   this   activity   occurred   at   Launch Complex 36 on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).                The   launch   of   AC-68   originally   was   planned   for   1987,   but   was   postponed   after   a   leak   was discovered   during   a   terminal   countdown   demonstration   test   in   June   of   that   year.      The   leak,   near the   Centaur   number   one   engine   gimbal   assembly,   resulted   in   a   decision   to   demate   the   Centaur stage.                During   the   disassembly   process,   a   workstand   was   dislodged,   fell   and   struck   the   Centaur   liquid hydrogen   tank,   causing   the   rupture   and   loss   of   the   tank.      An   investigation   board   concluded   that the tank was ruptured when a leg of the falling workstand penetrated the tank skin.               A   new   Centaur   stage   had   to   be   fabricated   and   both   the Atlas   booster   and   Centaur   upper   stage were shipped back to the General Dynamics plant in San Diego.                The   current Atlas/Centaur   vehicle   arrived   by   C5A   transport   plane   at   the   Skid   Strip   on   CCAFS on   May   24.      The   Atlas   first   stage   was   erected   in   the   gantry   of   Pad   B   on   Launch   Complex   36   on June   6   and   the   interstage   adapter   was   attached   the   next   day.      The   Centaur   stage   was   hoisted into   the   gantry   and   mated   to   the   Atlas   stage   on   June   8.      The   vehicle   was   powered   up   for integrated testing on June 20.               A   terminal   countdown   demonstration,   which   includes   loading   the   vehicle   with   propellants,   was conducted   Aug.   22.      This   test   served   as   a   launch   team   certification   and   is   designed   to   simulate as closely as possible all pre-liftoff events on launch day, including the loading of propellants.                A   flight   events   demonstration,   an   electrical   test   which   simulates   post-liftoff   events   and exercises   all   components   aboard   the   vehicle   used   during   powered   flight,   was   conducted   on   Sept. 7.                    All    launch    vehicle    and    pad    operations    during    the    countdown    are    conducted    from    the blockhouse at Complex 36 by a joint NASA-General Dynamics Space Systems launch team. FLTSATCOM F-8 SATELLITE PRELAUNCH PROCESSING                The   FLTSATCOM   F-8   spacecraft   was   shipped   from   the   TRW   plant   in   Redondo   Beach,   Calif., and arrived at Hangar AM on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 31.               The   satellite   was   removed   from   its   environmentally   controlled   storage   canister   and   testing   was resumed.  The systems tests were completed on Aug. 11.                The   satellite   was   transported   to   the   Explosive   Safe   Area   (ESA-60)   on   Aug.   21.      The   apogee kick   motor,   the   solid   propellant   rocket   used   to   circularize   the   orbit   at   geosynchronous   altitude, was installed on Aug. 21 and 22 at this facility.                Encapsulation   of   the   spacecraft   in   the   nose   fairing,   which   protects   the   spacecraft   during   the portion of flight within the Earth's atmosphere, was accomplished on Sept. 11.                The   satellite   was   scheduled   to   be   transferred   to   Pad   B   at   Launch   Complex   36   on   Sept.   12, where   it   was   hoisted   into   position   atop   the Atlas   Centaur   rocket.     A   composite   electrical   readiness test   was   completed   on   Sept.   14,   to   demonstrate   the   operation   of   all   airborne   electrical   systems and components used in-flight.                Spacecraft   prelaunch   processing,   testing   and   launch   vehicle   integration   are   managed   and conducted by a joint Air Force/TRW test team at CCAFS. DOWNRANGE LAUNCH SUPPORT                Launch   vehicle   telemetry   and   data   will   be   established   through   the   NASA   Spaceflight   Tracking and   Data   Network   and   the Air   Force   Eastern   Test   Range.      Initial   launch   coverage   will   come   from the   Merritt   Island   Launch   Area   station   located   at   Kennedy   Space   Center   and   the   USAF's   Tel-4 station   located   on   south   KSC,   followed   by   the   NASA   station   on   Bermuda.     As   the   vehicle   moves downrange,   tracking   support   will   be   provided   by   other   NASA   stations   at   Ascension   Island   and Canberra, Australia.                The   Eastern   Test   Range   also   will   supply   telemetry   and   data   from   its   stations   at   Tel-4,   Jupiter Inlet,   Fla.,   and   from   its   downrange   tracking   station   on   the   island   of   Antigua.      A   pair   of   Advanced Range   Instrumentation   Aircraft   stationed   over   the   Atlantic   Ocean   between   Ascension   Island   and Africa   will   cover   the   time   interval   of   the   second   main   engine   burn   on   the   Centaur   stage   and   the subsequent spacecraft separation.                NASA   and   Department   of   Defense   radars   will   provide   downrange   trajectory   information   to range   safety   personnel   and   computers.      The   radars   are   located   at   Cape   Canaveral,   Tel-4   Patrick Air Force Base, Jupiter Inlet, Bermuda and Antigua. GENERAL DYNAMICS/LAUNCH COMPLEX 36:  A NEW ERA                General   Dynamics,   under   an   agreement   signed   with   NASA   in   1988,   has   assumed   operation and   control   of   Launch   Complex   36,   CCAFS.      Following   the   upcoming   Atlas/Centaur-68   mission, the   company   plans   to   provide   commercial Atlas   launch   services   from   that   site   for   both   NASA   and private customers.                General   Dynamics'   first   commercial   launch   of   its   Atlas   I   vehicle   is   scheduled   for   1990   with   a launch   rate   capability   of   four   launches   per   year   from   Complex   36B.      The   Atlas   I   configuration accommodates   an   11-foot-diameter   as   well   as   a   14-foot-diameter   fairing   enabling   the   vehicle   to perform   a   broader   range   of   missions.      General   Dynamics   also   is   developing   a   commercial derivative   of   its   military   Atlas   II   vehicle.      The   commercial   configuration   is   called   Atlas   IIA,   which will   offer   25   percent   higher   performance   than   Atlas   I.      Atlas   II   class   vehicles   begin   launch operations in 1992.                To   date,   General   Dynamics   has   contracted   for   commercial   launch   services   with   four   users.     A EUTELSAT   II   spacecraft   is   scheduled   for   a   1990   launch   with   options   for   two   additional   launches.     NASA,   on   behalf   of   the   National   Oceanic   and   Atmospheric   Administration,   has   contracted   for commercial   launch   services   for   up   to   five   Geostationary   Operational   Environmental   Satellites (GOES).     The   first   GOES   launch   is   scheduled   for   1990.      In   addition,   NASA   has   awarded   the   1990 launch   of   its   Combined   Release   and   Radiation   Effects   Satellite   to   General   Dynamics   for   a commercial Atlas launch.                General   Dynamics   also   is   under   contract   from   Hughes   to   launch   10   of   the   new   generation UHF   Follow-On   communications   satellites,   and   Intelsat   has   contracted   for   two   launches   on Atlas IIAs. Source: NASA
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Advanced Range Instrumentation Aircraft
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NASA to Launch Navy Communications Satellite 9/18/89: RELEASE:  89-145 Agency   officials   today   announced   a   target   date   of   no earlier   than   September   22   for   the   68th   and   final   launch of   a   NASA   Atlas/Centaur   vehicle.      Atlas/Centaur-68   is scheduled    to    place    the    last    in    a    series    of    Navy FLTSATCOM      communications      spacecraft      into      a geosynchronous    Earth    orbit.        Launch    will    take    place from   Complex   36B,   Cape   Canaveral   Air   Force   Station, Fla.      The   30-minute   launch   window   opens   at   4:15   a.m., EDT.                This   final   chapter   in   NASA's   Atlas/Centaur   history has    roots    dating    back    to    May    1962,    when    the    first launch   took   place.      Since   then,   the   program   has   earned its   place   in   history   with   missions   such   as   Ranger   and Surveyor   probes   to   the   Moon;   Mariner   flights   to   Mars, Venus      and      Mercury;      and      several      series      of communications         satellite         launches         including FLTSATCOM, Intelsat and Comstar.                           FLTSATCOM     satellites     --     five     have     been successfully    placed    into    orbit    --    are    the    spaceborne portion   of   a   worldwide   Navy,   Air   Force   and   Department of   Defense   system   to   enable   communications   between naval     aircraft,     ships,     submarines,     ground     stations, Strategic    Air    Command    elements    and    Presidential Command Network.                    The    FLTSATCOM    program    is    managed    by    the Space   and   Naval   Warfare   Systems   Command.      The Air Force     Space     Systems     Division,     Los     Angeles,     is responsible    for    production,    launch    vehicle/spacecraft integration      and      tracking      and      data      acquisition.      FLTSATCOM   spacecraft   are   built   in   Redondo   Beach, Calif.,   by   the   Defense   and   Space   Systems   Group   of TRW, Inc.               Atlas/Centaur   is   built   for   NASA   by   General   Dynamics Space   Systems   Division,   San   Diego,   Calif.      General Dynamics,   under   an   agreement   signed   with   NASA   in 1988,   has   assumed   operation   and   control   of   Launch Complex   36   and   in   the   future,   will   provide   commercial Atlas     launch     transportation     services     for     both     the Government   and   the   private   sector   from   that   site.      With NASA   oversight,   General   Dynamics   will   serve   in   the capacity of Launch Director for the upcoming mission. - end - NOTE TO EDITORS                Events   and   logistics   associated   with   the   upcoming launch of Atlas/Centaur-68 follow: NEWS     CONFERENCES:         An     L-2     day