Author Topic: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008  (Read 33458 times)

Offline antonioe

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Re: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #40 on: 05/20/2008 01:33 AM »

OK - now I'm trying it from home and using Mozilla Firefox, not Internet Explorer:

 

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline antonioe

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Re: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #41 on: 05/20/2008 01:42 AM »

Yesss!! It worked!!!.  OK, here come more: the L-1011 landing at Kona on the big island after departing Vandenberg.  The L-1011 flew from Mojave, where it is normally parked, to Vandenberg; there the satellite had been attached to the Pegasus, and then the Pegasus was attached to the L-1011.

After refueling at Kona and crew rest, the L-1011 flew to Kwaj about 9 days before the launch.  The next picture shows the landing at Kwaj.

 

The Air Force C/NOFS site  has a picture of the L-1011 departing Vandenberg.

 

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline antonioe

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Re: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #42 on: 05/20/2008 01:57 AM »

Here's three more: first, the L-1011 at its parking spot.  To the left of the aircraft the Nitrogen tube trailer, one of two large pieces of launch support equipment; it was barged from Hawaii about a month before the flight.  The second one, an air conditioning unit, was taken by an Air Force plane a couple of weeks before the flight (it is barely visible under the wing of the L-1011).

All the satellite ground support equipment was carried on three LD3 containers carried on the belly of the L-1011.  The L-1011 also acted as a nice, air conditioned lab to make small repairs.

The entire Orbital launch team at kwaj peaked at about 30 people or so; most of them arrived shortly before the L-1011, about two weeks before the flight.  Everybody left about two days after the flight - could have departed the day after, but Continental had some problems and the departure commercial flights were delayed.

 

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline antonioe

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Re: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #43 on: 05/20/2008 02:04 AM »

Last two pictures.  First, the launch control room (really!).  The audio boxes were supplied by the USAF, the laptops were Orbital's.  It took a couple of days to set up the room and check it out (well, this was our second launch from Kwaj; the first time it took a bit longer to setup and debug).

Finally, the L-1011 a few hours before takeoff.  Trajectology required the drop to occur around 4 am local, so it was a night takeoff.  The nitrogen trailer is clearly visible, as was an air-conditioned half-length shelter that we conveniently "found" at the island for the satelliters to use as a shelter during satellite pre-launch checkout.  The air conditioning unit we airlifted from Vandenberg is immediately to the right of the rocket.

And that's all a Pegasus launch needs!  Can you spell "Operationally Responsive Launch"?

 

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline jimvela

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #44 on: 05/20/2008 03:12 AM »
Great pictures, Antonio! Thank you.

It's easy to forget with all the current excitement being generated by the new alt.space companies that you guys pulled it off and never widely got proper credit for those achievements.

I see that the spirit of getting a job done right but with an emphasis on being quick, efficient, and frugal is still very much alive and well over there.  

If all of the other players in the industry had that kind of narrow focus on getting the job done cost effectively, we'd be sending settlers out amongst the planets by now...

Even working for a sometimes competitor, I salute you.  

That L1011 sure looks more comfy to work in than the rest of those sparse surroundings!!

 :cool:

Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #45 on: 05/20/2008 11:19 AM »

Thanks for the kind words.  The nice thing about it, it's still as much fun today as it was 20 years ago!  Perhaps a lot has to do with DWT's personality: while having made a sucessful transition from garage-shop entrepreneur to billion-dollar CEO (and very few people have been sucessful doing that), he still retains the thriftness (he flies coach) and small-trusted-team flavor of a 40-person company (Orbital had 40 employes, counting DWT and the receptionist, when I joined the organization).

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #46 on: 05/20/2008 12:16 PM »

Quote
jimvela - 19/5/2008  11:12 PM  That L1011 sure looks more comfy to work in than the rest of those sparse surroundings!!    :cool:

Indeed.  The front part of the cabin has the Launch Panel Operator (LOP) console, auxilliary equipment rack, and eight (first-class!) seats - the original leather ones in the picture we got from Air Canada as part of the deal on the L-1011, but have been since replaced, as the previous picture shows.  In the galley there is an air filtration and conditioning unit, as well as Nitrogen bottles for the satellites.

Behind a (blue) fireproof curtain, the rest of the cabin was stripped clean of all soundproofing, insulation, etc., making N140SC the lightest L-1011 ever. By the way, that's yours truly in the picture of the aft cabin (a few years ago, with much darker hair than today; I don't know what I was doing that day - the tie is unusual, definitely not Orbital dress code).  The picture looks forward, towards the blue fire curtain.  The yellow railing protects the staircase leading down to the galley area.

The LPO console with two seats: one LPO takes care of the rocket, the other takes care of the satellite; you can say that these two people - plus the pilots - are actually doing the launch; the people on the ground only monitor telemetry during the L-1011 flight and issue verbal commands to the LPOs, there is no "command uplink".)

Forward of the LPO console you can see a small closet where we store clothing, snacks, etc.(the lav is on the starboard side) and the entrance to the cockpit.  I'm afraid we would not pass the TSA requirements for armoder cockpit doors, I'm afraid!

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #47 on: 05/22/2008 01:28 AM »

Quote
antonioe - 20/5/2008  7:19 AM (Orbital had 40 employes, counting DWT and the receptionist, when I joined the organization).

Sorry, I was wrong (it's the age, you know...) Orbital had TWENTY employees when I joined... I was employee number 40, but 20 people had left by the time I got there...

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline jcm

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #48 on: 05/22/2008 02:34 AM »
Quote
antonioe - 21/5/2008  9:28 PM

Quote
antonioe - 20/5/2008  7:19 AM (Orbital  ...)


Antonio - great pictures and info, thanks! Do you have the drop time and L-1011 takeoff time handy?
I've seen 3 different drop times quoted...
And was the drop point the same as last time -  7.65N 167.70 E I believe...

 thanks if you can supply any of this
  Jonathan McDowell
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Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #49 on: 05/22/2008 12:04 PM »

Jonathan:

I'll get you the precise drop time.

By the way, an interesting on-board video of the Alexis launch (Pegasus Flight 4, back in 1993) is now posted in the L2 Ultimate Video Section along with a "play-by-play" commentary by yours truly who was the LPO on that flight.

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #50 on: 05/22/2008 04:08 PM »

Quote
jcm - 21/5/2008 10:34 PM Do you have the drop time and L-1011 takeoff time handy? I've seen 3 different drop times quoted... And was the drop point the same as last time - 7.65N 167.70 E

L-1011 takeoff time: 16:04:00 UTC (actually, brakes-off time)

Drop time: 17:02:48 UTC (ignition is drop + 5 seconds)

Lat/Lon: in work, will report.

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline jcm

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #51 on: 05/23/2008 12:16 AM »
Quote
antonioe - 22/5/2008  8:04 AM

Jonathan:

I'll get you the precise drop time.

By the way, an interesting on-board video of the Alexis launch (Pegasus Flight 4, back in 1993) is now posted in the L2 Ultimate Video Section along with a "play-by-play" commentary by yours truly who was the LPO on that flight.


Antonio - thanks much for the times!
Jeff Bloch actually showed me a version of that video years ago, it's great. I assume you know Jeff, he was Dr. Alexis, and spent
an interesting few months trying to get the satellite talking to him.

  Jonathan
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Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #52 on: 05/23/2008 01:29 AM »

No, I never had the privilege of meeting him.  As for the drop Lat/Lon, as a token of our appreciation for Dr. McDowell's tireless pursuit and cataloguing of space activities (I have an Excel conversion of your table right on my desktop!), here's an actual snapshot of the telemetry screen showing the lat/lon/alt at drop (latitude is geodetic; I trust the GPS numbers far better than the INS numbers):

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline jcm

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #53 on: 05/23/2008 02:10 AM »
Quote
antonioe - 22/5/2008  9:29 PM


No, I never had the privilege of meeting him.  As for the drop Lat/Lon, as a token of our appreciation for Dr. McDowell's tireless pursuit and cataloguing of space activities (I have an Excel conversion of your table right on my desktop!), here's an actual snapshot of the telemetry screen showing the lat/lon/alt at drop (latitude is geodetic; I trust the GPS numbers far better than the INS numbers):


Wow, that's perfect - thank you so much!
I'm glad you find my stuff of use, Antonio. I know we are all thrilled with your informative and candid postings on this site.

  - Jonathan
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Offline jcm

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #54 on: 05/23/2008 02:54 AM »

Quote
antonioe - 22/5/2008  9:29 PM


No, I never had the privilege of meeting him.  As for the drop Lat/Lon, as a token of our appreciation for Dr. McDowell's tireless pursuit and cataloguing of space activities (I have an Excel conversion of your table right on my desktop!), here's an actual snapshot of the telemetry screen showing the lat/lon/alt at drop (latitude is geodetic; I trust the GPS numbers far better than the INS numbers):


And to further celebrate the coolness of Pegasus, I have updated my list of rockets launched by aircraft,
at
http://www.planet4589.org/space/misc/air.pdf

and attached it below.
 - Jonathan
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Jonathan McDowell
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Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #55 on: 05/23/2008 04:06 AM »
Great list, Jonathan!  But I think there may have been a few (Two?  Three? One?) air launches of relatively large TARGET vehicles from a C-17 for the USAF using the classical parachute extraction method.
ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline jcm

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #56 on: 05/23/2008 02:01 PM »
Quote
antonioe - 22/5/2008  12:06 AM

Great list, Jonathan!  But I think there may have been a few (Two?  Three? One?) air launches of relatively large TARGET vehicles from a C-17 for the USAF using the classical parachute extraction method.

Look at the bottom of page 5: SRALT and LRALT Targets, I lumped them with the ALBM and ASAT firings.
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Offline Skyrocket

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #57 on: 05/23/2008 02:25 PM »
On the ALBM list, there should be also the launches of two Minuteman missles (only first stage), launched from C-5A Galaxy

M-55E1 (Airlaunch) -              08.Sep.1974  WTR, C-5A
 M-55E1 (Airlaunch) -              24.Oct.1974  WTR, C-5A

Offline antonioe

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #58 on: 05/23/2008 03:02 PM »

Quote
jcm - 23/5/2008 10:01 AM Look at the bottom of page 5: SRALT and LRALT Targets, I lumped them with the ALBM and ASAT firings.

By golly!  You're right!  My most humble apologies...

ARS LONGA, VITA BREVIS...

Offline jcm

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RE: Pegasus-XL - C/NOFS: 15 April 2008
« Reply #59 on: 05/24/2008 12:04 AM »
Quote
Skyrocket - 23/5/2008  10:25 AM

On the ALBM list, there should be also the launches of two Minuteman missles (only first stage), launched from C-5A Galaxy

M-55E1 (Airlaunch) -              08.Sep.1974  WTR, C-5A
 M-55E1 (Airlaunch) -              24.Oct.1974  WTR, C-5A

I didn't include these because they were only low altitude flights within the atmosphere -
I also didn't include tens of thousands of launches of air-to-air missiles like Sidewinders.

Although the first of these two Minuteman launches did reach 50 km, so that's a marginal candidate.
The second one was just a 6 km apogee flight, I believe.

Jonathan

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