Swarm mission set for delay following Rockot upper stage anomaly

by | Jan 25, 2013 | commercial launch services, ESA, Russia, Science, Seradata News | 0 comments

After Flightglobal’s Hyperbola revelation that the Breeze M (Briz M) upper stage had not peformed a planned post-satellite delivery final orbit-lowering/propellant depletion manoeuvre during the latest Rockot launch, Eurorockot, the firm that markets Russian-built Rockot launch vehicles, has confirmed that an investigation is underway and that subsequent Rockot launches including the planned early year launch of the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission will now be delayed.

The situation on Swarm is such that we are presently awaiting the outcome of the Russian failure commission`s findings on what occrred on January 15, 2013.” Said Peter Freeborn, Director of Marketing and Sales at Eurockot before adding: “Recent planning for Swarm entailed a launch in May or June  2013, so we do hope this may eventually be maintained.” 

The launch of the three spacecraft Swarm mission could however actually be delayed until the late summer, partly because of the failure investigation,and partly because two Russian goverment launches have priority in the Rockot launch schedule. At least one of these Russian government/military launches is expected to take place before the Swarm mission can take place. 

The European Space Agency’s Swarm mission is designed to study the Earth’s magnetic field ideally as solar activity peaks during the so-called Solar Maximum this year.  The launch of the Swarm mission had previously already been delayed from its planned 2012 launch by an investigation Breeze-KM (Briz-KM) upper stage malfunction after a Rockot launch lost a Russian science satellite in February 2011.  

Concern over this apparently minor Breeze KM malfunction has been heightened over the fact that still partly-fuelled upper stage might one day explode adding to the space debris in oribt. There are also concerns that this event is yet another example of a Breeze upper stage going wrong.  Apart from the Rockot’s Breeze KM problems, the Proton M launch vehicle has been beset by recent failures involving the Breeze M version of this upper stage.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

PICTURE: Orbital Sciences’ releases Taurus II launch pad concept

Orbital Sciences released the latest concept image of its Taurus II rocket launch site (being built at the NASA Wallops Read more

Two steps forward, one step back for India and China

India's test of a new rocket engine had to be stopped early according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Read more

Reusable first stage focus of Franco-Russian study

France and Russia are to co-operate on a light weight reusable first stage demonstrator under the two countries joint Oural Read more

India tests scramjet test vehicle

India has flight tested a sounding rocket that will be the vehicle used to carry the countries scramjet technology prototypes. Read more

Indian space agency gets huge hike for manned spaceflight

According to these Indian news sources including The Hindu newspaper the Indian government has give its Indian Space Research Organisation Read more

VIDEO: Russia Today reports Energia nuke rocket motor work

VIDEO: Russia Today reports Energia nuke rocket motor work

Russia plans 2015 tests under nuclear propulsion study

The Russian Federal Space Agency (aka Roscosmos) has told Hyperbola that it is getting 70 million Rubles for the nuclear Read more

French govt study backs Orion Ariane 5 launch

NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle could be launched by the latest version of Europe's Ariane 5 rocket by 2019 according Read more

Categories

Archives

Tags