|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1999 - Quarter 4|
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Minuteman launched an MSLS target vehicle for the EKV anti-ballistic missile interceptor launched from Kwajalein Atoll.
EKV anti-ballistic missile interceptor launched from Kwajalein Atoll by a two-stage PLV. Intercept of the MSLS launched by Minuteman 2 from Vandenberg was successful.
Third GPS Block 2R satellite. SVN 46 replaced SVN 50 which had been damaged by rain on Pad 17 earlier while being prepared for launch earlier in the year.
Second successful Zenit-3SL flight from the Odyssey launch platform in the Pacific Ocean at 154 deg W, 0 deg N. First flight to carry a commercial payload. The satellite used its R-4D apogee engine to enter geostationary orbit at 81.6 deg W. Finally stationed at 101 deg W.
INPE experimental scientific satellite with a magnetometer, particle detectors and an atmospheric experiment. INPE reportedly lost contact with the satellite in mid-October.
China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite.
At the time of this launch Globalstar began limited service of its satellite telephone system.
Satellite used for international communications; complement the Telstar satellites operated by Loral Skynet. Stationed at 15 deg W.
Communications satellite; failed to reach orbit.
Provided C and Ku-band communications services for GE Americom, replacing Spacenet 4. Stationed at 101 deg W.
Multi-functional Transportation Satellite intended to provide communications and air traffic control for the Japanese transportation ministry and a meteorological data for the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The spacecraft had a mass of 1223 kg dry and was a follow-on to the GMS (Himawari) weather satellite series.
The unmanned first test flight of a prototype of the Chinese Project 921-1 spacecraft took place 49 days after the planned date of October 1, 1999. Shenzhou separated from its launch vehicle and went into orbit about ten minutes after lift-off. The spacecraft was controlled from the new Beijing Aerospace Directing and Controlling Centre. The spacecraft did not manoeuvre during the flight.
The Yuanwang-3 tracking ship off the coast of Namibia picked up the signal at 18:49 UT, and commanded retro-fire. The spacecraft passed out of range of the tracking ship nine minutes later. Its trajectory arced over Africa, skimmed the coast of the Arabian peninsula, and then over Pakistan, before re-entering over Tibet.
Following re-entry, the drogue chute deployed at an altitude of 30 km with the capsules soft-landing rockets firing 1.5 m above the ground. The capsule landed at 41 deg N, 105 deg E, (415 km East of its launch pad and 110 km north-west of Wuhai, Inner Mongolia), at November 20 19:41 UT. The spacecraft had completed 14 orbits of the earth 21 hours and 11 minutes.
Additional launches into Globalstar communications satellite constellation.
UHF Follow-on satellite providing UHF and EHF communications, and Global Broadcast Service television for the US Navy. Stationed at 170 deg W.
Customer: Alcatel Espace(France). French government military electronic intelligence research payload incorporated into an advance microsatellite platform. Based on CERISE with enhanced EMC subsystem. Still operational as of 2000.
Mars landing was planned for December 3, 1999, with the end of the primary mission by February 29, 2000. All contact with the spacecraft was lost at the point of separation of the lander and multiprobes. Subsequent investigations pointed to shortcomings in project management and preflight testing, with the result that future 'faster, better, cheaper' NASA missions would be not quite so 'cheap'.
French optical military reconnaisance satellite based on Spot 4.
Seven Orbcomms launched, rather than eight as on previous flights.
ESA's X-ray Multi-Mirror space observatory was the biggest science satellite ever built in Europe. Complementary in characteristics to NASA's Chandra satellite, the spacecraft were expected to make major new astronomical discoveries.
Second attempted launch of Brazil's indigenous launcher.
First launch of the Block 5D-3 military weather satellite. Satellite F-15 was placed in an initial suborbital trajectory. The Star 37S kick motor on the satellite fired 13 minutes after launch for orbit insertion.
First launch in NASA's Earth Observing System program. Terra carried multispectral imagers, a radiation budget instrument, a detector to measure CO and methane pollution, and an instrument to study cloud top and vegetation properties.
Hubble Space Telescope (HST) servicing mission SM-3A, delayed repeatedly by technical problems with the shuttle fleet after the near-disastrous previous launch. Finally launched after the last possible day to avoid Y2K computer problems; one spacewalk was cancelled so that the shuttle could return by December 28. Hubble was in a 591 km x 610 km x 28.5 deg orbit at launch. After separation of the external tank ET-101 the Orbiter was in a 56 km x 587 km x 28.5 deg transfer orbit. The OMS 2 burn at 0134 UTC raised the orbit to 313 km x 582 km. The payload bay contained:
Measured the integrated solar energy output from 0.2 to 2 microns. Carried instrument deleted from Terra spacecraft.
Burial satellite containing cremated human remains.
Korean Multipurpose Satellite; carried an ocean color sensor developed by TRW and particle detectors. KOMPSAT was built by the Korean Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) based on a test model built by TRW; it used the TRW STEP Lightsat bus and had a mass of around 500 kg, with 73 kg of hydrazine fuel.
Replaced all six of the gyroscopes on Hubble.
First Hughes HS 702 bus satellite, for PanAmSat Corporation to expand video and telecommunications services to North America and Brazil. The 20-watt C-band transponders will be used primarily for cable television customers. The Ku-band payload offers two power levels: 140 watts for video distribution, and 75 watts for data networks and other general communications services. This gives Galaxy 11 a total payload of 64 active transponders.
Installed in the Hubble space telescope a new 486/25 mhz computer and replaced Fine Guidance Sensor FGS-2.
Completed part of the installation of new insulation to the Hubble space telescope. The rest was deferred to the next servicing mission.
Passive naval electronic intelligence satellite. The satellite was placed in an initial 147 km x 442 km orbit at 65 degree inclination. The US-PM's propulsion module fired at apogee to circularize the orbit. Replaced the only previous remaining US-PM satellite which ended operations in November and reentered earlier in December 1999.
Early warning satellite, carrying a large telescope to monitor missile launches. The payload and fourth stage were placed in an initial 229 km x 523 km x 62.8 deg orbit; the fourth stage (Block-2BL) fired over South America on the first orbit and delivered the payload to its 12-hour final orbit.
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