Upcoming Cape launch of ROCSat

Philip Chien (kc4yer@amsat.org)
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 21:02:36 -0500

Tuesday evening's launch of the Republic of China's ROCSat on an Athena 1
launch vehicle should be spectacular.

The Athena 1 has one less stage than the Athena II used to launch Lunar
Prospector about a year ago.  But the first stage generates the same amount
of thrust - so when it launches - it's outa there!

What's interesting is the early evening launch window (7:34 to 9:27 p.m.
EST) may result in the second stage being visible from the Florida
Spacecoast area.  Besides the rocket's exhaust there may also be
illumination from the sun if it's high enough to get out of the Earth's

I verified that the third stage, OAM will remain in orbit for a couple of
weeks.  It will perform two separate burns to raise ROCSat's orbit before
it's deployed.  After spacecraft separation the OAM performs a backaway
maneuver and a burn to reduce the orbital lifetime and deplete the
propellant tanks.

So there should be two objects cataloged from this mission - ROCsat will be
the A object and the OAM stage will be the B object.

Due to the delay (again) of the Argos/Sunsat/ěrsted launch because of
weather (again) the Republic of China will become the 28th country to own
its own satellite (e.g. excluding international consortiums) in orbit.

Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.