Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hydraulic malfunction faulted in CubeSat launch failure

Hydraulic malfunction faulted in CubeSat launch failure: The commission probing the July 26 Dnepr-1LV rocket launch vehicle failure that resulted in the loss of more than a dozen CubeSats with ham radio payloads believes it knows why the vehicle didn't reach orbit.

A brief malfunction of a hydraulic drive in a first-stage propulsion unit caused a deviation in the rocket's trajectory and "the issuance of a command to abort the flight," said a news release from Kosmotras, the company responsible for the rocket's launch. Kosmotras said the cause of the hydraulic malfunction has been determined, and the committee is "working up recommendations for its rectification." Russia, meanwhile, has suspended further Dnepr-1 LV launches.

Fourteen of the tiny spacecraft that were lost carried Amateur Radio VHF or UHF beacon or telemetry transmitters. Various accounts indicated that the mission went awry less than two minutes after liftoff. The CubeSat project was a collaboration between California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and Stanford University's Space Systems Development Laboratory. All of the CubeSats were designed and built by students at various universities around the world.--some information from AMSAT News Service.

Courtesy of The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 36, September 8, 2006