It was almost noon yesterday in Kazakhstan when the MexSat-1 satellite, also called Centenario to celebrate the centenary of the Mexican Revolution, was launched on a Proton-M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about 10 minutes, however, something malfunctioned in the rocket’s third stage, causing the loss of the satellite.
The second of the two satellites of the Galileo constellation launched into a wrong orbit on August 22, 2014 has been recovered. In mid-January a series of 14 maneuvers was started that altered its orbit until it became the same as its “twin” after about six weeks. Now these two satellites have a mirror orbit, on opposite sides of the planet.
The events took place on February 3, 2015, but the US Air Force disclosed them only a few days ago. DMSP-F13 (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13), the oldest military meteorological satellite constellation still in use, apparently exploded producing a series of fragments following a sudden spike of temperature with subsequent loss of control.
The DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) satellite was launched a few hours ago on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from the Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage after about half an hour and inserted in the trajectory that will bring it to its destination. It also deployed its solar panels and sent the first signals, confirming that it’s working properly.
DSCOVR will be placed in an area called L1, about a half million kilometers (about 930,000 miles) from Earth, where the planet and the Sun’s gravity are balanced. There it will begin its mission of observation of the solar wind after the test period, that will last about 40 days.
The SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) satellite was launched on a Delta II rocket from Space Launch Complex 2 7320-10LC (SLC-2) of the base of Vandenberg, California. The spacecraft successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage after almost an hour and was placed in a sun-synchronous almost polar orbit that will have an altitude between 660 and 685 km (between 410 and 426 miles).