Launch of the last Thor DSV-2U carrying DMSP-5D1 F5
|Function||Expendable launch system|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Launch sites||Vandenberg SLC-10W|
The Thor DSV-2U or Thor LV-2F Star-37XE Star-37S-ISS was an American expendable launch system used to launch five DMSP weather satellites between 1976 and 1980. It was a member of the Thor family of rockets, and a derivative of the Thor DSV-2.
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.
The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) monitors meteorological, oceanographic, and solar-terrestrial physics for the United States Department of Defense. The program is managed by the Air Force Space Command with on-orbit operations provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The mission of the satellites was revealed in March 1973. They provide cloud cover imagery from polar orbits that are Sun-synchronous at nominal altitude of 450 nautical miles (830 km).
The weather satellite is a type of satellite that is primarily used to monitor the weather and climate of the Earth. Satellites can be polar orbiting, covering the entire Earth asynchronously, or geostationary, hovering over the same spot on the equator.
The first stage was a Thor missile in the DM-19 configuration. A Star-37XE was used as the second stage, and the third stage was a Star-37S-ISS. All five launches were conducted from Space Launch Complex 10W at the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The final launch on July 14, 1980 of a DMSP 5D satellite failed.
Thor was the first operational ballistic missile deployed by the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Named after the Norse god of thunder, it was deployed in the United Kingdom between 1959 and September 1963 as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) with thermonuclear warheads. Thor was 65 feet (20 m) in height and 8 feet (2.4 m) in diameter. It was later augmented in the U.S. IRBM arsenal by the Jupiter.
Space Launch Complex 10, or Missile Launch Complex 10, is located on Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California. It was built in 1958 to test ballistic missiles and developed into a space launching facility in 1963. Prior to 1966 Space Launch Complex 10 West was known as Vandenberg AFB Pad 75-2-6. It remains a rare pristine look at the electronics and facilities created in that era that helped the United States grow its space capabilities.
Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base 9.2 miles (14.8 km) northwest of Lompoc, California. It is under the jurisdiction of the 30th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).
Thor boosters launched from SLC-10W used an erector system to hoist them up to the pad. While common on Soviet launch vehicles, this method was unusual in the US space program. Thor 304 had been erected on the pad a few weeks before launch, and during this step, a connecting pin in the erector broke and sent the rocket falling back down to ground level. Launch crews examined the Thor for damage, but could not find any outward indication of it. The booster passed routine preflight systems checks and liftoff took place at 6:22 PM PST on July 14. Shortly after liftoff, the Thor's telemetry system failed, but weather conditions and visibility were excellent, and the booster could be tracked visually for over two minutes. Telemetry from the DMSP satellite indicated that it was operating properly. SECO took place on time, as did the second stage burn. Third stage burn began, and then after about four seconds, all telemetry abruptly ceased. The initial assumption was that the third stage exploded, and initial Air Force press releases about the launch stated such. However, radar tracking showed that the third stage motor continued operating as it drove the DMSP into the Pacific Ocean. The investigation board concluded that connectors in the electrical interface between the second and third stage had been jolted loose by the erector mishap several weeks earlier. After second stage burnout, staging failed to take place due to the misaligned connectors, and the third stage motor thus fired with the spent second stage still attached to it. The force from the third stage motor burning managed to tear the second stage free, but in doing so, it ripped out wiring in the base of the third stage, which shorted out the guidance computer and caused it to direct the stage and spacecraft down into the ocean. Much like the DMSP failure in 1976, the incident was attributed to poor program management.
Delta is an American versatile family of expendable launch systems that has provided space launch capability in the United States since 1960. There have been more than 300 Delta rockets launched, with a 95% success rate. Only the Delta IV remains in use as of 2018. Delta rockets are currently manufactured and launched by the United Launch Alliance.
The Thor-Able was an American expendable launch system and sounding rocket used for a series of re-entry vehicle tests and satellite launches between 1958 and 1960. It was a two stage rocket, consisting of a Thor IRBM as a first stage and a Vanguard-derived Able second stage. On some flights, an Altair solid rocket motor was added as a third stage. It was a member of the Thor family and an early predecessor of the Delta.
The Scout family of rockets were American launch vehicles designed to place small satellites into orbit around the Earth. The Scout multistage rocket was the first orbital launch vehicle to be entirely composed of solid fuel stages.
The Delta G, or Thor-Delta G was an American expendable launch system used to launch two biological research satellites in 1966 and 1967. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Thor-Burner was an American expendable launch system, a member of the Thor rocket family. It consisted of a Thor missile, with one or two Burner upper stages. It was used between 1965 and 1976 to orbit a number of satellites, most commonly Defense Meteorological Satellite Program weather satellites. Twenty-four were launched, of which two failed. Each launch cost 11.890 million 1985 US Dollars. It weighed 51,810 kg and was 24 metres tall.
Juno II was an American space launch vehicle used during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was derived from the Jupiter missile, which was used as the first stage.
The Thor-Ablestar, or Thor Able-Star, also known as Thor-Epsilon was an early American expendable launch system consisting of a PGM-17 Thor missile, with an Ablestar upper stage. It was a member of the Thor family of rockets, and was derived from the Thor-Able.
The Burner and Burner 2 rocket stages have been used as upper stages of launch vehicles such as the Thor-Burner and Delta since 1965. The currently available Burner 2 is powered by a Star 37 solid rocket motor. Thor Altair and Thor Burner were mainly used for US military meteorological programs (DMSP), although they also launched technological satellites.
The Thor DSV-2 was a series of sounding rockets, test vehicles, and anti-satellite weapons derived from the Thor Intermediate-range ballistic missile. It was also used as the first stage of several Thor-derived expendable launch systems
The Thor-Delta, also known as Delta DM-19 or just Delta was an early American expendable launch system used for 12 orbital launches in the early 1960s. A derivative of the Thor-Able, it was a member of the Thor family of rockets, and the first member of the Delta family.
The Delta D, Thrust Augmented Delta or Thor-Delta D was an American expendable launch system used to launch two communications satellites in 1964 and 1965. It was derived from the Delta C, and was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta J, or Thor-Delta J was an American expendable launch system of the late 1960s. Only one was launched, with the Explorer 38 spacecraft. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta L, Thor-Delta L, or Thrust-Augmented Long Tank Thor-Delta was a US expendable launch system used to launch the Pioneer E and TETR satellites in 1969 (failed) and HEOS satellite in 1972. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta M or Thor-Delta M was an American expendable launch system used for thirteen orbital launches between 1968 and 1971. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets.
The Delta 2000 series was an American expendable launch system which was used to conduct forty-four orbital launches between 1974 and 1981. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets. Several variants existed, which were differentiated by a four digit numerical code.
The Delta 1000, 2000 and 3000 series used surplus NASA Apollo program rockets engines for its first and second stages.
The Delta 3000 series was an American expendable launch system which was used to conduct 38 orbital launches between 1975 and 1989. It was a member of the Delta family of rockets. Several variants existed, which were differentiated by a four digit numerical code.
The Titan 23G, Titan II(23)G, Titan 2(23)G or Titan II SLV was an American expendable launch system derived from the LGM-25C Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. Retired Titan II missiles were converted by Martin Marietta, into which the Glenn L. Martin Company, which built the original Titan II, had merged. It was used to carry payloads for the United States Air Force, NASA and NOAA. Thirteen were launched from Space Launch Complex 4W at the Vandenberg Air Force Base between 1988 and 2003.
SPARK, or Spaceborne Payload Assist Rocket - Kauai, also known as Super Strypi, is an American expendable launch system developed by the University of Hawaii, Sandia and Aerojet Rocketdyne. Designed to place miniaturized satellites into low Earth and sun-synchronous orbits, it is a derivative of the Strypi rocket which was developed in the 1960s in support of nuclear weapons testing. SPARK is being developed under the Low Earth Orbiting Nanosatellite Integrated Defense Autonomous System (LEONIDAS) program, funded by the Operationally Responsive Space Office of the United States Department of Defense.
The Star is a family of American solid-fuel rocket motors used by many space propulsion and launch vehicle stages. It is used almost exclusively as an upper stage.
Navstar 7, also known as GPS I-7 and GPS SVN-7, was an American navigation satellite which was lost in a launch failure in 1981. It was intended to be used in the Global Positioning System development program. It was the seventh of eleven Block I GPS satellites to be launched, and the only one to fail to achieve orbit.
The Encyclopedia Astronautica is a reference web site on space travel. A comprehensive catalog of vehicles, technology, astronauts, and flights, it includes information from most countries that have had an active rocket research program, from Robert Goddard to the NASA Space shuttle to the Soviet Shuttle Buran.
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