Athena II at LC-46 with Lunar Prospector
|Function||Small expendable launch system|
|Manufacturer|| Lockheed Martin |
|Country of origin||United States|
|Height||28.2 metres (93 ft)|
|Diameter||2.36 metres (7 ft 9 in)|
|Mass||120,700 kilograms (266,100 lb)|
|Payload to LEO||2,065 kilograms (4,553 lb)|
|Payload to SSO||1,165 kilograms (2,568 lb)|
|Payload to GTO||593 kilograms (1,307 lb)|
|Comparable|| Falcon 1 |
|Launch sites|| Cape Canaveral LC-46 |
Vandenberg AFB SLC-6
|First flight||7 January 1998|
|Last flight||24 September 1999|
|First stage – Castor 120|
|Thrust||1,900 kilonewtons (430,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||280 sec|
|Burn time||83 seconds|
|Second stage – Castor 120|
|Thrust||1,900 kilonewtons (430,000 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||280 sec|
|Burn time||83 seconds|
|Third stage (Athena II) – Orbus 21D|
|Thrust||189.2 kilonewtons (42,500 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||293 sec|
|Burn time||150 seconds|
|Third stage (Athena IIc) – Castor 30|
|Thrust||258.9 kilonewtons (58,200 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||294 sec|
|Burn time||143 seconds|
|Fourth stage – OAM|
|Thrust||882 newtons (198 lbf)|
|Specific impulse||222 sec|
|Burn time||1,500 seconds|
The Athena II is an American small expendable launch system which was used for three launches between 1998 and 1999, as of January 2017 [update] . It is a member of the Athena family of rockets, along with the smaller Athena I. Future launches would use the Athena IIc configuration, which features a different third stage.and which was scheduled to return to service in 2012 but has not been flown again
An expendable launch vehicle (ELV) is a launch system or launch vehicle stage that is used only once to carry a payload into space. Historically, satellites and human spacecraft were launched mainly using expendable launchers. ELV advantages include cost savings through mass production, and a greater payload fraction.
Athena was a 1990s Lockheed Martin expendable launch system which underwent several name changes in its lifetime.
The Athena I, known as the Lockheed Launch Vehicle (LLV) at the time of its first flight and Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle (LMLV) at the time of its second flight, is an American small expendable launch system which was used for four launches between 1995 and 2001. It is a member of the Athena family of rockets, along with the larger Athena II.
The Athena II is a four-stage rocket, consisting of solid first, second and third stages, and a monopropellant liquid-fuelled fourth stage. The first and second stages are Castor 120s, which are also used on some versions of the Taurus rocket. An Orbus 21D motor was used as the third stage on launches during the 1990s, however when it returns to service in 2012 the Castor 30, which is under development for the Taurus II,will be used instead. The fourth stage is an Orbital Adjustment Module, fuelled by hydrazine and propelled by four MR-107 engines, which is used for final insertion.
Monopropellants are propellants consisting of chemicals that release energy through exothermic chemical decomposition. The molecular bond energy of the monopropellant is released usually through use of a catalyst. This can be contrasted with bipropellants that release energy through the chemical reaction between an oxidizer and a fuel. While stable under defined storage conditions, monopropellants decompose very rapidly under certain other conditions to produce a large volume of energetic (hot) gases for the performance of mechanical work. Although solid deflagrants such as nitrocellulose, the most commonly used propellant in firearms, could be thought of as monopropellants, the term is usually reserved for liquids in engineering literature.
The Castor family of solid-fuel rocket stages and boosters built by Thiokol and used on a variety of launch vehicles. They were initially developed as the second-stage motor of the Scout rocket. The design was based on the MGM-29 Sergeant, a surface-to-surface missile developed for the United States Army at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Hydrazine is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula N
4, called diamidogen, archaically. It is a simple pnictogen hydride, and is a colorless and flammable liquid with an ammonia-like odour.
Prior to its retirement in 1999, Athena II launches were made from Launch Complex 46 at Spaceport Florida and Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. LC-46 will also be used for Athena IIc launches, with Launch Pad 0B of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and Pad 1 of the Kodiak Launch Complex also offered. If a launch from Vandenberg is ordered, Space Launch Complex 8 will be used instead of SLC-6, which was rebuilt as a Delta IV launch complex following the Athena's initial retirement.
Space Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46) is a launch complex at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station operated under license by Space Florida for Athena rocket launches.
Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is a launch pad and support area. The site was originally developed for the Titan III and Manned Orbiting Laboratory, which was cancelled before construction of SLC-6 was complete. The complex was later rebuilt to serve as the west coast launch site for the Space Shuttle, but again went unused due to budget, safety and political considerations. The pad was subsequently used for several Athena launches before being modified to support the Delta IV launch vehicle family, which have used the pad since 2006.
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During the 1990s, three Athena II launches were conducted, with one failure. Its maiden flight was conducted from LC-46 at Spaceport Florida, and lifted off at 02:28 GMT on 7 January 1997. The launch, which was the first to take place from Spaceport Florida, successfully placed the Lunar Prospector spacecraft into orbit for NASA. The next Athena II launch took place from SLC-6 at Vandenberg on 27 April 1999, with the Ikonos satellite for Space Imaging. The launch ended in failure after the payload fairing failed to separate, and as a result the rocket had too much mass to achieve orbital velocity.The third launch also took place from SLC-6 at Vandenberg, on 24 September 1999. The payload, Ikonos 1, was also for Space Imaging, and successfully reached orbit.
Lunar Prospector was the third mission selected by NASA for full development and construction as part of the Discovery Program. At a cost of $62.8 million, the 19-month mission was designed for a low polar orbit investigation of the Moon, including mapping of surface composition including polar ice deposits, measurements of magnetic and gravity fields, and study of lunar outgassing events. The mission ended July 31, 1999, when the orbiter was deliberately crashed into a crater near the lunar south pole after the presence of water ice was successfully detected.
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