Space News for April 29, 1999

IKONOS Never Made it to Orbit

Telemetry from the recent launch of the IKONOS 1 space imaging satellite indicates that it was never placed into orbit, and likely burned up in the atmosphere, or crashed into the South Pacific Ocean. This is the first unsuccessful launch of an Athena II rocket since they were first operational in 1997.

Astronomy Now

Weather Satellite Preparing for Launch

The latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GEOS) is being prepared for a May 15th launch from Cape Canaveral. Designed to provide forecasters with advance warning of weather conditions, the satellite will act as a backup for the two GEOS already in orbit.

CNN Space

New Evidence Shows Galactic Collisions More Common

A new imaging technique has allowed astronomers to discover a greater number of galactic collisions than was previously known. Astronomers believe that spiral galaxies with thick bars of stars are formed from these hits (and near misses).

Congress Considers Launch Insurance Coverage

Commercial launch companies are currently required to pay several hundred million dollars of insurance in case there’s an accident on launch – the government extends this with an additional $1.5 billion of coverage. Congress is considering how long to continue this coverage, if at all.