Feeds

SpaceX satellite burns up on re-entry after Falcon FAIL

50 per cent success rate for latest Falcon flight

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The satellite that made up the secondary cargo of SpaceX's latest orbital mission has burnt up in the Earth's atmosphere after failing to make it into the correct orbit.

The OG2 satellite, a prototype communications platform built by Orbcomm, was carried by the Falcon rocket as a secondary payload and was due to be boosted up into a higher orbit once the primary payload, SpaceX's Dragon capsule containing supplies for the International Space Station, had been delivered.

Unfortunately for the satellite communications company, the Falcon rocket suffered "an anomaly," as SpaceX put it, 79 seconds after launch. A nozzle on one of the craft's nine Merlin engines blew out, forcing the controllers to shut down the power from that unit. The other eight engines successfully got the Dragon capsule into orbit and the ISS picked up its cargo as specified.

The Falcon was then due to make a second burn to get the OG2 satellite up to its required orbit, but safety regulations forced NASA to call a halt to any further orbital maneuvers. Orbcomm investigated using the satellite's own propulsion systems to get it into the right orbit, but instead opted to use the lower orbit for four days of testing, which the company proclaimed was a success.

"The solar array and communications payload antenna deployments were successful, along with verifying the performance of various components of both the OG2 satellite bus and the communications payload," the company said in a statement.

"The OG2 satellite bus systems including power, attitude control, thermal and data handling were also tested to verify proper operation. The unique communications payload, which incorporates a highly reprogrammable software radio with common hardware for both gateway and subscriber messaging, also functioned as expected."

The company said it has now written the satellite off as a mission failure and has filed an insurance claim for $10m, which should cover the cost of manufacture and launch. The satellite has been de-orbited: boosted down into the planet's atmosphere where it was burnt up by the friction of reentry.

Orbcomm will now focus on its next launches, with will also use SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. Two more launches are planned for 2013 and 2014 to carry Orbcomm's satellites, this time as the primary payload.

"We appreciate the complexity and work that SpaceX put into this launch," stated Marc Eisenberg, Orbcomm's CEO. "SpaceX has been a supportive partner, and we are highly confident in their team and technology." ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.