Space: October 10, 1999


The Lockheed Martin Atlas-IIAS and Boeing Delta-III satellite boosters have been on stand-down for over four months due to the failure of a Pratt & Whitney RL10 engine, used in the Centaur upper state of both boosters. After an exhaustive technical review, P&W said that the RL10 was ready and the Atlas-IIAS returned to flight on 23 Sept with a successful launch.--Stephen V Cole

NASA was embarrassed on 23 Sept when its Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft went behind Mars for an orbital insertion engine burn and never reappeared. It apparently was too close to the planet and with the speed lost in the orbit maneuver was caught by the atmosphere and suffered aerodynamic destruction. Having lost the $125 million mission, NASA is now trying to convince itself that it can perform the same surveys with later missions. The UFO industry, remembering the mysterious crash of a Russian probe to Mars years ago, were already cranking up stories of mysterious sightings and alien facilities on the red planet.--Stephen V Cole

Lifting satellites (and anything else) into orbit is going to get cheaper. Boeing and Lockheed are building new launchers (and bringing new designs on line) at a fast rate, Ariane is trying to reduce the cost of its boosters, and Sea Launch (using Russian/Ukrainian missiles) is just getting started. By 2005 the number of launchers produced each year will reach 150. Considering that the number of payloads looking for a booster has been about 30 per year and will climb to 40 by 2005, competition is going to be tough and prices should plummet.--Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

Space: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close