NASA Antares Rocket Launch Failure

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-306.01
ANS-306 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 306.01
From AMSAT HQ Kensington, MD.
November 2, 2014
BID: $ANS-306.01

Amateur Radio Satellite Payloads Lost in Antares Launch Explosion

The RACE and GOMX-2 CubeSats were among more than 2 dozen satellites lost
after an unmanned Orbital Space Sciences (OSC) Antares 130 vehicle exploded
spectacularly shortly after launch at 2222 UTC on Tuesday, October 28, from
the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern
Shore. Both satellite packages carried Amateur Radio payloads. The rocket
exploded about 6 seconds after launch, sending a huge ball of fire hurtling
toward the ground, which set a massive fire at the NASA launch site.

The RACE (Radiometer Atmospheric Cubesat Experiment) CubeSat was a joint
project between The Texas Spacecraft Laboratory (TSL) at the University of
Texas-Austin and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Built by a 30-
student team, it carried a 183 GHz radiometer, a new science instrument
designed by JPL. The spacecraft was equipped to transmit using GMSK at
38.4 k and CW telemetry on a downlink frequency of 437.525 MHz.

TSL's Glenn Lightsey, KE5DDG, a UT engineering professor, oversaw the
student project that worked hand-in-hand with NASA staff in creating a
satellite that aimed to measure water vapor in Earthfs atmosphere.

"Itfs unfortunate, but it is also part of the aerospace industry",
Lightsey told the Texas Statesman newspaper. "The nature of building space
vehicles is that it is not a 100 percent reliable process. Getting into
space is really the hardest part."

The 2U GOMX-2 CubeSat was intended to test a de-orbit system designed by
Aalborg University in Denmark. Karl Klaus Laursen, OZ2KK, is listed as the
"responsible operator" on International Amateur Radio Union frequency
coordination documents. The Amateur Radio payload proposed using a 9k6 MSK
data downlink on 437.250 MHz. Also on board was an optical communications
experiment from the National University of Singapore. The mission also
aimed to flight qualify a new high-speed UHF transceiver and SDR receiver
built by an Aalborg University team.

The Antares 130 launcher was on a resupply mission, carrying some 5000
pounds of cargo to the International Space Station. RACE, GOMX-2 and the
other satellites onboard the rocket were to be launched into orbit from
the International Space Station.

The Antares 130 also was carrying the Flock-1d array of 26 satellites
as well as Arkyd-3 and Cygnus CRS-3.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information]

Back to Top
Back to Home Page