Upcoming tether launch

Allen Thomson (thomsona@dzn.com)
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 09:36:54 -0600

The e-mail summary of this week's Space News contains the following item:

NRO To Fly Demonstrator
By Warren Ferster
Space News Staff Writer

WASHINGTON - A low-cost experimental satellite built for the U.S. National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO) during a two-year mission will demonstrate 29
advanced spacecraft technologies, including an electric propulsion system.
The NRO's Space Technology Experiment (Stex) satellite also will deploy a
6-kilometer tether and test an advanced solar array design, according to a
U.S. Defense Department source.
Built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, the 700-kilogram Stex
satellite will be launched in late September from Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif., aboard a Taurus rocket, the source said. The Taurus is built by
Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Va.

Florida Today's extended launch schedule has this:

Sept. 24: Orbital Sciences Taurus with the Space Technology Experiment
(STEX) spacecraft and the Advanced Tether Experiment (ATEx) from area
576-East Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., during a launch window of 5:39
to 6:09 a.m. EDT (0939-1009 GMT).

And a Web search discloses


Which has a lot of information about ATEx, including,

Launch is currently scheduled for September 24, 1998 from Vandenberg,
California. The third Taurus rocket is the launch vehicle. Taurus is guided
to inject into approximately a 365 NM altitude, 85 degree inclination,
circular orbit.
STEX is the rocket's satellite payload. STEX hosts the ATEx and other
mission payloads.
After approximately 3 months of STEX checkout and orbit raising to 425 NM
circular altitude, ATEx will commence. ATEx operations are scheduled from
January 10 to March 18, 1999.