Author Topic: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!  (Read 18201 times)

Offline Galactic Penguin SST

Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« on: 04/06/2015 06:12 AM »
I honestly didn't know that its first flight was 25 years ago yesterday (April 5, 1990)! While it did not live up to its economical promises the Pegasus lives up as a sturdy rocket for small satellites.

Here's a look back of its history from its development (which was also featured here many years ago, as you all know ;) ):



Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #1 on: 04/06/2015 07:13 AM »
Yeah, here's to the Pegasus!  Quite a space vehicle.  Always in an uphill battle against bigger, better established foes, but never giving up.  Some people might question her methods, but Admiral Caine got the results she needed.


Online jacqmans

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #3 on: 04/06/2015 02:06 PM »
Orbital ATK Celebrates 25th Anniversary of First Pegasus Launch

Initial Collaborative Program of Two Predecessor Companies Produced and Launched First Iconic Rocket in 1990
Pegasus and Derivatives Have Accounted for Over 150 Vehicle Sales Worth More Than $4 Billion During the Last Quarter Century

(Dulles, Virginia, 6 April 2015) – Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced that yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of the first flight of its Pegasus air-launched rocket. The world’s first all-new privately-developed space launch vehicle, Pegasus was developed in the late 1980’s in a joint venture between Orbital Sciences Corporation and Hercules Aerospace Company, a predecessor to ATK Inc., and was first launched on April 5, 1990.   

Since its maiden flight 25 years ago, Pegasus has conducted a total of 42 space launches, including 28 consecutive successful flights over the past 18 years since 1997.  With some launches carrying multiple small satellites on a single rocket, these Pegasus flights placed over 80 satellites into orbit for scientific, commercial, defense and international customers. Recent missions carried out by the air-launched booster include the launch of NASA’s NuSTAR astrophysics satellite in 2012 and IRIS heliophysics spacecraft in 2013.  Pegasus is also scheduled to launch additional satellites into orbit in 2016 and 2017.   

Pegasus technology and subsystems, including the vehicle’s solid rocket motors, avionics and control systems, and composite structures, also have been used in more than 110 other Orbital ATK-built launch vehicles. These include the company’s Orbital Boost Vehicle (OBV) missile defense interceptors, IRBM- and ICBM-class target vehicles, Minotaur and Taurus space launch vehicles, and Hyper-X hypersonic test boosters. Pegasus and its derivatives are compatible with air-launch deployment from three aircraft types (L-1011, B-52, C-17) and have been launched from eight ranges in the U.S. and overseas.

Following the rocket’s first flight, the Pegasus development team received the National Medal of Technology from President George H. W. Bush and the Air and Space Museum Trophy from the Smithsonian Institution, among other honors and awards.   

“Pegasus combined major technological advances in propulsion systems, composite structures, digital avionics and aerodynamic design with a new business model involving commercial development and operation of space launch vehicles,” said Dr. Antonio Elias, Orbital ATK’s Chief Technical Officer and Pegasus’ inventor.

“The spirit of innovation that Pegasus reflects is alive and well at Orbital ATK today, with several exciting new projects now underway.  These include novel space systems, advanced precision weapons and, yes, new launch vehicles made possible by the combined capabilities of ATK and Orbital,” he added.

Online jacqmans

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #4 on: 04/06/2015 02:15 PM »
Some great photos on O/ATK flickr site:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/orbitalatk/

Offline mkent

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #5 on: 04/06/2015 04:40 PM »
"World's First Privately Developed Space Launch Vehicle"

Ahhhh....Conestoga I?

Offline Jim

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #6 on: 04/06/2015 04:51 PM »
"World's First Privately Developed Space Launch Vehicle"

Ahhhh....Conestoga I?

It used a motor developed by the USG.  Sounding rockets are not Space Launch Vehicles (which means orbital).
« Last Edit: 04/06/2015 04:55 PM by Jim »

Offline mkent

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #7 on: 04/06/2015 05:00 PM »
"World's First Privately Developed Space Launch Vehicle"

Ahhhh....Conestoga I?

It was never fully developed and never made it to space.

Yes it did.  On 9 Sep 1982 a Conestoga I carrying a 500 kg dummy payload (including about 40 gallons of water) reached almost 200 miles apogee.

It didn't reach orbit, but it did reach space.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #8 on: 04/06/2015 05:26 PM »
I am still enjoying the tweet they sent out last night "Happy 25th Anniversary to our #Pegasus Air Launch vehicle, igniting on its maiden mission #OTD in 1990" and included a picture of a Pegasus being air dropped by Stargrazer. They then put out a tweet 14 hours later with the B-52.

https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK/status/584851918788362240

https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK/status/585063425686032384

Still, they really need to post the picture that Antonio posted a while back of his Major Kong impersonation while riding the first Pegasus.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #9 on: 04/06/2015 05:41 PM »

It didn't reach orbit, but it did reach space.

a meaningless stunt.  See update to post.

Offline mkent

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #10 on: 04/06/2015 11:48 PM »

Sounding rockets are not Space Launch Vehicles (which means orbital).

OK, fair enough.  I'll concede the point.


It didn't reach orbit, but it did reach space.

a meaningless stunt.  See update to post.

I wouldn't call it a meaningless stunt.  To my knowledge, it was the first privately developed launch vehicle to reach space.  That Orbital's Pegasus eventually surpassed them by reaching orbit doesn't detract from SSI's accomplishment.  They are both important milestones on our outward journey to the stars.

And, btw, congratulations to Orbital and their Pegasus team.  What an amazing and inspiring accomplishment!

Those were heady days back then with the Space Shuttle returning to flight; the first flights of Delta II, Titan IV, Pegasus, and Atlas II; and the launch of Magellan, Galileo, Ulysses, Hubble, and Compton, all within about two-and-a-half years.  Delta Clipper followed not too long after that.  May we see those days again soon.

Congrats again, Orbital.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #11 on: 04/07/2015 12:10 AM »
Latest tweet from Orbital with everyone's favorite rocket designer!

https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK/status/585199204638785542

Quote
[email protected]'s Antonio Elias, #Pegasus chief engineer/designer - then (1990) & now on the rocket's 25th Anniversary
If you're happy and you know it,
It's your med's!

Offline Jim

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #12 on: 04/07/2015 01:46 AM »

I wouldn't call it a meaningless stunt.  To my knowledge, it was the first privately developed launch vehicle to reach space. 


Again, it wasn't privately developed, It used a motor (Minuteman stage II) developed by the USG.  Financing may have been private.  And so what, they just used a different source of money to fly something that already existed.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #13 on: 04/07/2015 01:51 AM »
Again, it wasn't privately developed, It used a motor (Minuteman stage II) developed by the USG.  Financing may have been private.  And so what, they just used a different source of money to fly something that already existed.

While I agree with you, the claim is straight from OrbATK.

Quote
• World's first privately developed space launch vehicle.
• Maiden 1990 mission marked the first all-new, unmanned space launch vehicle developed in the U.S. in more than 20 years.
• First winged vehicle to accelerate to eight times the speed of sound.
• First air-launched rocket to place satellites into orbit, using its carrier aircraft as an "air breathing reusable
first stage."

https://www.orbitalatk.com/flight-systems/space-launch-vehicles/pegasus/docs/2B2_Pegasus.pdf

I think it's maybe being a little pedantic to say the vehicle wasn't privately developed because the engine was ex-military. It's not like launch vehicles are 100% engine.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline ChrisWilson68

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #14 on: 04/07/2015 02:01 AM »
Again, it wasn't privately developed, It used a motor (Minuteman stage II) developed by the USG.  Financing may have been private.  And so what, they just used a different source of money to fly something that already existed.

While I agree with you, the claim is straight from OrbATK.

Quote
• World's first privately developed space launch vehicle.
• Maiden 1990 mission marked the first all-new, unmanned space launch vehicle developed in the U.S. in more than 20 years.
• First winged vehicle to accelerate to eight times the speed of sound.
• First air-launched rocket to place satellites into orbit, using its carrier aircraft as an "air breathing reusable
first stage."

https://www.orbitalatk.com/flight-systems/space-launch-vehicles/pegasus/docs/2B2_Pegasus.pdf

I think it's maybe being a little pedantic to say the vehicle wasn't privately developed because the engine was ex-military. It's not like launch vehicles are 100% engine.

I believe Jim's quote was talking about the Conestoga.  Upthread somewhere someone was disputing the claim by Orbital ATK that Pegasus was the first, pointing to Conestoga.

Offline LunarFlyBy

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #15 on: 04/07/2015 02:57 AM »
In William and Chris's otherwise excellent article on the history of the Pegasus, it is incorrectly stated that:

"Despite reaching the planned orbit, both payloads failed to separate from the rocket, running out of power a few days after launch as they were unable to orient their solar panels towards the sun."

As is usually the case, the payload release mechanisms were part of the rocket, not part of the satellites.

Thus, the correct statement is:

"Despite reaching the planned orbit, the Pegasus-XL failed to release its two satellites. Both payloads remained locked to the upper stage.  HETE was trapped within its Dual Payload Attachment Fitting (DPAF), while the dead mass of the rocket's upper stage prevented SAC-B from orienting its solar panels towards the sun."

Offline Kim Keller

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #16 on: 04/08/2015 02:46 PM »
Still, they really need to post the picture that Antonio posted a while back of his Major Kong impersonation while riding the first Pegasus.

That photo shows up in the video posted at the top of the thread.

Offline kevin-rf

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Re: Happy 25th birthday to the Pegasus!
« Reply #17 on: 04/17/2015 03:57 PM »
https://twitter.com/OrbitalATK/status/589093433932910593

Quote
Orbital ATK @OrbitalATK
@OrbtialATK L1011 Stargazer airplane is undergoing a new look to support upcoming #Pegasus launches in 2016 and 2017

...If they go with an R2D2 theme, it would be really cool ;)
If you're happy and you know it,
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