Stranded Orbcomm OG2-1 satellite re-enters atmosphere – questions remain about why it was stranded

by | Oct 11, 2012 | Seradata News | 4 comments

The Orbcomm OG2-1 communications satellite which was stranded in a lower than planned orbit after the partial failure of the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch on 8 October 2012 (involving a first stage engine shutdown of one of the nine Merlin 1c engines) has now re-entered the atmosphere on 10 October at around 0619 GMT.  The satellite was thought to have been insured to a value of circa $10 million and did not have enough fuel to recover the satellite to its planned operational orbit.

The exact reason why the portion of the flight positioning this spacecraft failed when the earlier positioning of the Dragon CRS-1 unmanned cargo spacecraft worked successfully has not been disclosed. There are unofficial reports that the launch vehicle software had been designed to make up with a shortfall in thrust for the main payload but not for secondary payload positioning.

Dragon CRS-1 has now been captured and docked with the International Space Station (ISS). Dragon CRS 1 was captured by the ISS Robotic Arm at 1056 GMT on 10 October. The Robotic Arm then moved the craft to the Harmony Module of the Station where it then docked with all 16 bolts locked on and berthing was completed at 1303 GMT.

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