TS News - Pegasus Scientific Launch Fails

TELE-satellit News, 5 November 1996

Pegasus Scientific Launch Fails
  DULLES, Virginia, USA, 96/11/04 (TS) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation said
Monday that its Pegasus XL rocket launched two scientific spacecraft for
NASA into their targeted orbit following release from the company's L-1011
carrier aircraft approximately 100 miles East of Wallops Island, VA.

  The Pegasus launch of the SAC-B and HETE spacecraft occurred at
approximately 1209 EST. Initial data indicate that the Pegasus vehicle
achieved the desired orbit of 265 nm by 297 nm at an inclination of 38 degrees.

  NASA attempted to acquire the spacecraft through its Goldstone tracking
station in California, and sent commands and received data from the SAC-B
spacecraft at its Wallops Flight Facility tracking station at the end of the
first orbit. Based on data currently available, it is believed that the two
spacecraft did not separate from the rocket's third stage as planned.

  Further analysis of the problem is currently underway, with an
investigation board having been convened by Orbital to determine the cause
of the problem.  At the present time, it is unclear which, if any,
objectives of the two scientific missions may be achieved.

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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