Saturday, September 14, 2013

Japan Launches Telescope; Orbital Sciences Delays Test Launch

Japan launches new, cheaper rocket

Japan launches the SPRINT-A satellite, the first space telescope designed to observe other planets.
(Image Source: AP Photo/Kyodo News)

By Glenn A. Walsh
Reporting for SpaceWatchtower

Saturday, Japan successfully launched a space telescope into orbit, while Orbital Sciences Corp. delayed launch of a demonstration mission to the International Space Station.

The Japanese Hisaki satellite, also known as the Spectroscopic Planet Observatory for Recognition of Integration of Atmosphere (SPRINT-A), includes an extreme ultraviolet spectrometer which will be used to study atmospheres and magnetospheres surrounding the planets of our solar system.

Launched from Japan's southern main island of Kyushu, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) used a new three-stage Epsilon rocket, instead of the space agency's standard H2A rocket. The Epsilon rocket was designed to be a cheaper and more efficient means to send satellites into orbit. With a lower cost launch system, Japan hopes to be more competitive in the international business of launching satellites.

In a NASA news release, it was announced that the Orbital Sciences Corp.launch of its Antares rocket, with a Cygnus spacecraft, in a demonstration mission to the International Space Station (ISS), would be delayed at least 24 hours to Sept. 18.  Cygnus' rendezvous with ISS remains planned for Sept. 22.

Cygnus is an unmanned resupply space capsule designed by Orbital Sciences Corp., as one of several space vehicles destined to resupply the International Space Station with provisions and materials in the future.

Antares and Cygnus will be launched from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Atlantic Coast of Virginia.

This will be the second major space launch from Wallops Island this month. The first, the launch of the LADEE spacecraft mission to the Moon, was launched on the evening of Sept. 6. Although this mission experienced problems immediately after launch, those problems have been resolved, and the LADEE is expected to enter lunar orbit around Oct. 6.

More on the Japanese Hisaki satellite launch:
Link >>>

More on the Japanese Hisaki satellite: Link >>>

NASA News Release, regarding delay in launch of Antares and Cygnus:
Link >>>

More on the Antares rocket: Link >>>

More on the Cygnus spacecraft: Link >>>

Sources: Associated Press; NASA; ; Glenn A. Walsh Reporting for SpaceWatchtower, a project of Friends of the Zeiss.

Related Blog Post ---

Problems After Launch of Moon Probe w/ New Laser-Com System  (2013 Sept. 7):

Link >>>

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