|Delta 3 Cutaway - Delta 3 Cutaway Drawing|
Credit: Boeing. 21,090 bytes. 224 x 475 pixels.
Launches: 3. Failures: 2. Success Rate: 33.33% pct. First Launch Date: 27 August 1998. Last Launch Date: 23 August 2000. LEO Payload: 8,292 kg. to: 185 km Orbit. at: 28.7 degrees. Payload: 3,810 kg. to a: Geosynchronous transfer trajectory. Liftoff Thrust: 498,590 kgf. Total Mass: 301,450 kg. Core Diameter: 2.4 m. Total Length: 35.0 m. Launch Price $: 90.00 million. in 1999 price dollars.
Built by Hughes/El Segundo for Panamsat. The satellite carried 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders to provide US/Caribbean coverage, and was to have replaced the ageing SBS-5 satellite at 123 deg West. Replenishing the Galaxy/PAS constellation was a high priority for Panamsat following the loss of Galaxy 4 and problems with Galaxy 7. Galaxy 11 was not scheduled to go up until the first launch of the Sea Launch Zenit-3SL in early 1999, and this booster was in limbo due to legal problems with unauthorised transfer of technical data from Boeing to Russia. In addition there were several PAS satellites awaiting launch over the next year on Proton and Ariane vehicles.
The Centaur RL-10B-2 second stage engine's combustion chamber ruptured at the beginning of the second burn. The hot gases already in the chamber vented, putting the stage/spacecraft assembly into an uncontrollable tumble. The Orion 3 communications satellite ended up in a useless parking orbit of 162 km x 1378 km x 29.5 deg. It was to have served the Asia-Pacific region for Loral Orion with 33 Ku-band and 10 C-band transponders.
The third Boeing Delta III launch was financed by the company and carried a dummy payload in order to bolster customer confidence in the new launch vehicle. The second stage ignited at an altitude of 158 km and the RL-10 shut off as planned in a 157 x 1363 km x 29.5 deg parking orbit. The engine fired again until fuel depletion, to place the vehicle in a geostationary transfer orbit of 190 x 20,655 km x 27.6 deg. This was much lower than that planned (23,400 km plus or minus 3,000 km) due to the fuel temperature and atmospheric conditions on the day of launch. The DM-F3 dummy payload was a mass model of the Orion 3 HS-601 satellite launched on the second Delta 3. The 4348 kg model was a 2.0m diameter, 1.7m high cylinder with two circular end plates, painted with black and white patterns. It was to be used by US Air Force researchers as a calibration target.
|Delta 3 - Delta 3 on the pad before its first launch attempt.|
Credit: Boeing. 12,783 bytes. 122 x 374 pixels.