Rocket launch from Hawai?i carrying UH payload experiences anoma - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Rocket launch from Hawai?i carrying UH payload experiences anomaly

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The U.S. Navy along with the U.S. Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office, in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Hawai?i’s Hawai?i Space Flight Laboratory, the Pacific Missile Range Facility and Aerojet Rocketdyne Corp. launched the first rocket from Kaua?i on Tuesday, November 3.

Officials say the rocket experienced an anomaly and failed shortly after liftoff. The cause is under investigation.

Despite the vehicle issue, the project is still a tremendous success for University of Hawai?i. About 150 students worked on the payload, a hyperspectral imager called HiakaSat. All milestones for the payload were met and the students received real-world aerospace experience in building a sophisticated satellite.

Although the mission was unsuccessful, the UH Manoa Hawai?i Space Flight Laboratory trained 150 students in small satellite engineering and testing to various levels. Near future satellite-based wireless networks will and are driving the need for more spacecraft engineers than ever before. Thanks to prudent UH investment years ago, HSFL has the clean room facilities and equipment to fully train the next generation of small satellite engineers.

HiakaSat went through a rigorous NASA-based testing process that was fully documented in order to be accepted for the ORS-4 Mission. The fact that HiakaSat was accepted for flight shows that UH has the equipment and expertise to build and test small spacecraft. Coupled with our ability to build and fly CubeSats through the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative, HSFL will continue to have access to space whether or not a future Super-Strypi is successful.

Currently, a group of HSFL students are working on a suborbital payload launch from New Mexico in the spring of 2016. The payload is a new on-board computing system that will be used in HSFL small sats. In addition, two other suborbital launches have taken place or are planned that involve 4 UH Community Colleges as part of the IMUA program. The first suborbital launch for that program was successful in August 2015. The second planned launch is scheduled for August 2016. Finally, HSFL is working on 2 orbital satellites that will be launched as part of the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative in 2017. The satellites will be much smaller than HiakaSat and measure 10 cm x 10 cm x 30 cm each. The Neutron-1 satellite will detect neutrons that are incoming to the Earth from space. The GOSTE-1 satellite will measure atmospheric water. ORS-4 was one of 6 launches scheduled in a 3 -ear period. The NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative is particularly exciting for HSFL as the program offers FREE launch services for University CubeSats.

Two companies, SpaceX and OneWeb, plan to launch 4900 small satellites in the next few years. Within the next 5 years, the US will launch more satellites than in the entire previous 55+ year history of space flight. Almost all of these small sats are commercial from companies such as SpaceX/Google, Sky Box Imaging/Google, Planet Labs, OneWeb, Spire, Dark Sky, etc.

Although the ORS-4 Mission was unsuccessful, HSFL trained 150 students in small satellite engineering and testing to various levels. Near future satellite-based wireless networks will and are driving the need for more spacecraft engineers than ever before. Thanks to prudent UH investment years ago, HSFL has the clean room facilities and equipment to fully train the next generation of small satellite engineers.

Funding for the next PMRF launch will almost certainly be commercial as HSFL has received two commercial queries regarding use of the launcher AFTER the ORS-4 Mission.

After take-off, the experimental launch vehicle experienced an anomaly. ORS is currently assessing the cause.

The rocket was launched from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kaua?i, through a mission known as ORS-4. The mission was sponsored by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Operationally Responsive Space Office and was the first launch of the Super Strypi launch system. The rocket was carrying UH’s hyperspectral imager as the primary payload, along with 12 cubesats in an integrated payload stack.

Despite the vehicle issue, the project is still a tremendous success for University of Hawai?i. About 150 students worked on the payload, a hyperspectral imager called HiakaSat. All milestones for the payload were met and the students received real-world aerospace experience in building a sophisticated satellite.

Because of this project, there is now a rocket launch pad and rail launcher in place at Pacific Missle Range Facility and those assets performed well today. There are also tracking stations in place at Kaua?i Community College and Honolulu Community College that are fielding requests for services from commercial agencies. UH students at multiple campuses, including the community colleges, are currently working on payloads for future space launches.

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