Author Topic: Pegasus to launch ICON Dec. 8, 2017 from Kwajalein  (Read 18690 times)

Offline Comga

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3886
  • Liked: 1212
  • Likes Given: 1037
Another Pegasus
Launch contract is ~$56.3 M.November 20, 2014
NASA Awards Launch Services Contract for Ionospheric Connection Explorer
NASA has selected Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, to provide launch services for the Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission.
 
ICON is targeted to launch in June 2017 from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands aboard a Pegasus XL launch vehicle from Orbital's "Stargazer" L-1011 aircraft.
 
The total cost for NASA to launch ICON under this new firm-fixed price launch services task order is approximately $56.3 million. This includes spacecraft processing, payload integration, tracking, data and telemetry and other launch support requirements.
 
ICON will study the interface between the upper reaches of Earth's atmosphere and space in response to a recent scientific discovery that the ionosphere, positioned at the edge of space where the sun ionizes the air to create charged particles, is significantly influenced by storms in the lower atmosphere. ICON also will help NASA better understand how atmospheric winds control ionospheric variability.
 
NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for management and oversight of the Pegasus XL launch services. The ICON mission is led by the University of California, Berkeley, with oversight by the Explorers Program at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

edit/gongora: Current launch date showing as November 14, 2017
« Last Edit: 09/09/2017 01:06 PM by gongora »
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Online Chris Bergin

Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #1 on: 11/20/2014 11:13 PM »
Glorious news as we really don't want to see Pegasus go away! I want to do an article on this, but they've not really provided much info there. Will have a think, but we're covered with this thread at least.

Offline pericynthion

  • GNC / Comms Engineer
  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 289
  • Liked: 424
  • Likes Given: 167
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #2 on: 11/21/2014 11:09 AM »
Hooray! Every time I land at Mojave I see the L-1011 and wish it would fly again.  Yeah, it's kind of expensive, but it's such a neat system.

Offline Kim Keller

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 863
  • Not OldSpace, Not NewSpace - I'm ALLSpace
  • Location: Wherever the rockets are
  • Liked: 1736
  • Likes Given: 108
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #3 on: 11/21/2014 01:25 PM »
Here's hoping I have another trip to Kwaj in my future!

Offline starchasercowboy

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #4 on: 11/21/2014 10:24 PM »
We flew Stargazer for 45 minutes on Novenber 19th.  Crew had only one squawk.  Last flying L1011 in the world and still flying great.  Got 2 missions on the books to last us to 2017 and we hope Pegasus will take us into the 2020's. 8)
« Last Edit: 11/21/2014 10:26 PM by starchasercowboy »

Offline Comga

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3886
  • Liked: 1212
  • Likes Given: 1037
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #5 on: 11/21/2014 10:33 PM »
We flew Stargazer for 45 minutes on Novenber 19th.  Crew had only one squawk.  Last flying L1011 in the world and still flying great.  Got 2 missions on the books to last us to 2017 and we hope Pegasus will take us into the 2020's. 8)
Welcome to the forum.
The pictures make for a great first post.
It is lovely to see that old machine flying.  Always liked the lines on the L-1011.
Which Pegasus is being carried in the photos?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8504
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1021
  • Likes Given: 234
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #6 on: 11/22/2014 12:35 AM »
Last flying L1011 in the world and still flying great. 
I was going to ask....
« Last Edit: 11/22/2014 12:36 AM by kevin-rf »
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline Kim Keller

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 863
  • Not OldSpace, Not NewSpace - I'm ALLSpace
  • Location: Wherever the rockets are
  • Liked: 1736
  • Likes Given: 108
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #7 on: 11/22/2014 03:35 PM »
We flew Stargazer for 45 minutes on Novenber 19th.  Crew had only one squawk.  Last flying L1011 in the world and still flying great.  Got 2 missions on the books to last us to 2017 and we hope Pegasus will take us into the 2020's. 8)
Welcome to the forum.
The pictures make for a great first post.
It is lovely to see that old machine flying.  Always liked the lines on the L-1011.
Which Pegasus is being carried in the photos?

The second photo looks like the arrival of Stargazer/NuSTAR at Kwaj. Not sure about the top photo - it's a departure shot at VAFB, possibly for NuSTAR, too?

Offline starchasercowboy

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #8 on: 11/22/2014 09:53 PM »
The first photo was Stargazer landing in Kona, Hi with IBEX 2008 onboard Pegasus XL. One night stop over for crew rest and then on to Kwaj.  Second photo was landing in Kwaj with IBEX. We only launch the Pegasus XL version now. 
Chris
What kind of article do you want to do? Stargazer, Pegasus or both? Orbital has been very open to media when it comes to  this launch system.  I can put you in touch with somebody.

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
  • Canada
  • Liked: 280
  • Likes Given: 434
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #9 on: 11/23/2014 05:57 AM »
@starchasercowboy

Is the Stargazer L-1011's engines meeting upcoming noise restrictions? If not, can the L-1011 be refitted with new engines?

Hope to see the Stargazer fly more launch missions.

Offline pericynthion

  • GNC / Comms Engineer
  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 289
  • Liked: 424
  • Likes Given: 167
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #10 on: 11/23/2014 06:03 AM »
I would hope the regulators are sensible enough that those noise restrictions don't apply to MHV, VBG and PKWA - I'm sure the neighbors don't care - but I guess it's never safe to assume that's the case...

Offline llanitedave

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2086
  • Nevada Desert
  • Liked: 1266
  • Likes Given: 1465
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #11 on: 11/23/2014 03:59 PM »
@starchasercowboy

Is the Stargazer L-1011's engines meeting upcoming noise restrictions? If not, can the L-1011 be refitted with new engines?

Hope to see the Stargazer fly more launch missions.

From here:

Quote
The design featured a twin-aisle interior with a maximum of 400 passengers, a three-engine layout, low noise emissions (in the early 1970s, Eastern Air Lines nicknamed the L-1011 "WhisperLiner")

I know noise tolerances are lower than they used to be, but I don't think there's going to be a problem in the context of use here.
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8504
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1021
  • Likes Given: 234
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #12 on: 11/23/2014 07:02 PM »
Funny, some how the An-124 and An-225 manage to still fly cargo through out the US. Not only do they deliver spacecraft, rocket stages, but Boeing uses them from time to time to deliver aircraft parts. Some how I suspect they are louder than a TriStar.

Honestly, if it came down to it, it would be cheaper to find a replacement than to re-engine.

If memory serves, the last profitable re-engine program was the DC-8 Super 70 conversions in the late seventies, early 80's. You could include the mid 90's re-engining of the U-2 with General Electric F118-GE-101's. Every now and then re-engining the B-52 comes up. I think some 707's have been re-engined over the years, but that is about it.

It is not a very common practice. 

The Airbus and Boeing programs to re-engine the a320's and 737's center around new builds, not retro fits.

That said, there are several programs to improve fuel burn by adding wing tips to existing planes. There are always the freighter conversion programs for passenger jets. Yet in all the current refit programs, no one offers an option to replace the engines.
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline Zed_Noir

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2190
  • Canada
  • Liked: 280
  • Likes Given: 434
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #13 on: 11/23/2014 07:25 PM »
Funny, some how the An-124 and An-225 manage to still fly cargo through out the US. Not only do they deliver spacecraft, rocket stages, but Boeing uses them from time to time to deliver aircraft parts. Some how I suspect they are louder than a TriStar.

Honestly, if it came down to it, it would be cheaper to find a replacement than to re-engine.

If memory serves, the last profitable re-engine program was the DC-8 Super 70 conversions in the late seventies, early 80's. You could include the mid 90's re-engining of the U-2 with General Electric F118-GE-101's. Every now and then re-engining the B-52 comes up. I think some 707's have been re-engined over the years, but that is about it.

It is not a very common practice. 

The Airbus and Boeing programs to re-engine the a320's and 737's center around new builds, not retro fits.

That said, there are several programs to improve fuel burn by adding wing tips to existing planes. There are always the freighter conversion programs for passenger jets. Yet in all the current refit programs, no one offers an option to replace the engines.

IIRC you need a jumbo jet of some type without a center fuselage landing gear under the wings to carry & launch the Pegasus. So not too many alternates to the L-1011, maybe some early models of the DC-10/MD-11.

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8504
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1021
  • Likes Given: 234
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #14 on: 11/23/2014 10:57 PM »
Uummm... as the B-52 proved, it does not have t be carried on the center line.  The under construction Straolauncher also comes to mind. I think White Knight 2 lacks the necessary lift, Space Ship 2 is half the weight.

There are options, but I don't see them being needed. They chose the airframe because it was cheap and has a beam along the center of the fuselege that the DC-10 lacks.  For Pegasus, the airframe has plenty of life left in it. They are storing it in a desert. A place that has a fair number of noisy military aircraft flying in and out.

I think the worry about noise compliance is a red herring. It definitely is not a valid reason to spend a large sum of money on an aircraft that flies fewer times in a year than it did over a week while in commercial service. I mean jeeze, Travolta still goes bouncing around in that retired Qantas 707 he has. (Though, to be fair, it does have hush kits on the engines)
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline starchasercowboy

  • Member
  • Posts: 28
  • Liked: 26
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #15 on: 11/24/2014 09:32 PM »
We upgraded the engines from RB211-22b to RB211-524B4, 42k to 50k thrust per engine back in 2009. Stargazer is a real hotrod now. She got a new paint job in 2013. This aircraft is babied all the time and should last a while. The management at Orbital has a lot of fondness for this launch system and as long as we keep getting satellites to put up, the airplane will be ready.
We usually fly to military bases when we launch Pegasus, so noise is not a factor.

Offline llanitedave

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2086
  • Nevada Desert
  • Liked: 1266
  • Likes Given: 1465
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #16 on: 11/25/2014 02:15 AM »
I flew on an L-1011 once, back in 1974.  I thought I had really hit the big time!

Purty plane, it was.  And this one still is.
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline Kim Keller

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 863
  • Not OldSpace, Not NewSpace - I'm ALLSpace
  • Location: Wherever the rockets are
  • Liked: 1736
  • Likes Given: 108
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #17 on: 11/26/2014 06:59 PM »
I flew on an L-1011 once, back in 1974.  I thought I had really hit the big time!

Purty plane, it was.  And this one still is.

Purty, yes. Big time? Well, I flew across the pond a few times on L1011's with 2-5-2 seating. Since I was a lowly contractor (flying to TAL sites for shuttle support), my seat was usually in the middle of the 5-seat group, at the rear of the cabin, directly under that center engine - for six hours or more. I never felt like I had hit the big time!

Offline edkyle99

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12659
    • Space Launch Report
  • Liked: 3454
  • Likes Given: 576
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #18 on: 11/26/2014 08:29 PM »
I flew on an L-1011 once, back in 1974.  I thought I had really hit the big time!

Purty plane, it was.  And this one still is.

Purty, yes. Big time? Well, I flew across the pond a few times on L1011's with 2-5-2 seating. Since I was a lowly contractor (flying to TAL sites for shuttle support), my seat was usually in the middle of the 5-seat group, at the rear of the cabin, directly under that center engine - for six hours or more. I never felt like I had hit the big time!
I share your less than fond memories of flying on L1011 aircraft.  I remember the interior vibrating, rattling the overhead bins during climbouts, etc.  I rode them on Eastern Airlines and maybe TWA.

 - Ed Kyle

Offline kevin-rf

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8504
  • Overlooking the path Mary's little Lamb took..
  • Liked: 1021
  • Likes Given: 234
Re: Pegasus to launch ICON in June '17 from Kwajalein
« Reply #19 on: 02/20/2015 12:57 PM »
Looks like Stargrazer went out for a flight recently, a fair number of people on airliners.net are all abuzz about the flight.

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/6320479/
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Tags: