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ABRIXAS at MPE

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Chronology of the ABRIXAS Mission

Monday
12-07-1999

The scientific mission of ABRIXAS has failed!

Read the press release (in German) of the MPE and AIP from July 12, 1999.

Monday
05-07-1999

X-ray satellite ABRIXAS could not be activated -
Scientific mission has failed!

Read the press release 43/99 (in German) of the German Aerospace Research Center (DLR) from July 05, 1999.

Thursday
24-06-1999

Recent radar measurements and optical sightings suggest that ABRIXAS rotates in about 190 seconds around the axis perpendicular to its solar panel; the period is probably slightly increasing. However, the orientation of the rotation axis is unknown so that the pointing of the solar panel towards the sun is unclear.

Wednesday
05-05-1999

ABRIXAS was successfully launched on Aril 28th, 20:30 UT on a COSMOS rocket from Kapustin Yar, Russia. The launch was on time and perfect, the orbit is excellent. The spacecraft worked very well in the beginning, slowing down its rotation, slewing the solar panel towards the sun and acquiring attitude stability. After a few hours, however, the main battery of the satellite's power system failed. The exact cause of this event is still not completely clear, but the evidence for a complete loss of the battery system is increasing. For two days the satellite could still be operated with the help of an additional "starter battery", but since May 1st the contact with the satellite got lost and so far could not be restored. We have not yet given up hope, but the chances for a scientific success for the mission are going down. We shall know more about the remaining options (e.g. operation during the full sun orbits in June) after a failure meeting to be held om May 6th at GSOC. Needless to say that for us scientists the loss of the mission would be a tragedy.

Joachim Trümper
MPE Garching
Günther Hasinger
AIP Potsdam
Thursday
29-04-1999

On the second ground contact, about three hours after the launch, an increased temperature of the battery was noticed. At 02.15 CEST an abrupt change of the battery voltage occured. The data indicates either a damaged element of the eleven battery cell or even more likely a break of the connection of the battery and the rest of the power supply. ABRIXAS survived another two days with the help of the starting battery which cannot be reloaded. In the night from April 30th to May 1st the contact to ABRIXAS finally was teared off.

Wednesday
28-04-1999

Launcher fuelled at 15:00 UTC.

ABRIXAS launched on schedule at 20:30 UTC (22:30 MEST) with a COSMOS-3M rocket from the Russian Kapustyn Yar located about 150 km southeast of Volgograd.

After a successful separation from the rocket ABRIXAS reached its nominal orbit. The first contact was established with the ground station in Canberra, Australia at 21:06 UTC. Getting the first contact of ABRIXAS with the German ground station at Weilheim - about one hour after the launch (21:30 UTC) - the control center of Germany's national space agency (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen could start with telemetry and a system test (22:10 UTC).

Thursday
22-04-1999

Plane with ABRIXAS arrived at Volgograd. Transport with Truck to Kapustin Yar. Arrival at 5.00 UTC.

Thursday
15-04-1999

Start of the launch campaign.

Monday
12-04-1999

Transportation to the launching base at Kapustyn Yar.

Tuesday
09-03-1999

"ABRIXAS Flight Readiness Review", Meeting at OHB System in Bremen, March 9 & 10, 1999, with a following "Mission Simulation Test".

Monday
22-02-1999

Performance test of the focal plane intrumentation with the whole satellite (22-02-1999 to 24-02-1999).

Wednesday
10-02-1999

ABRIXAS arrives at OHB in Bremen.

Monday
08-02-1999

Software test (8-02-1999 to 8-04-1999).

Sunday
07-02-1999

The so-called end-to-end test of ABRIXAS's flight telescope is succesfully finished at MPE's X-ray test facility PANTER.

Monday
01-02-1999

Final test of the attidude control system (1-02-1999 to 05-02-1999).

Tuesday
19-01-1999

ABRIXAS arrives inside the former ROSAT container at MPE's X-ray test facility PANTER in Neuried for the so-called end-to-end test. (19-01-1999 to 07-02-1999).

Monday
11-01-1999

Intergration of the telecope consisting of the focal plane intrumentation, mirror system unit, and telescope pipe (11-01-1999 to 18-01-1999).

Wednesday
30-12-1998

Calibration of the focal plane intrumentation at the PANTER test facility (30-12-1998 to 10-01-1999).

Wednesday
16-12-1998

Thermal/vacuum test of the focal plane intrumentation at the PANTER test facility in Neuried (16-12-1998 to 24-12-1998).

Monday
07-12-1998

Vibration test of the focal plane intrumentation (07-12-1998 to 15-12-1998).

Saturday
05-12-1998

Completion of the focal plane intrumentation.

Friday
16-10-1998

The Zeiss company delivers the mirror system unit to OHB.

Tuesday
14-07-1998

X-ray optical calibration of the single mirror flight modules FM1 to FM7 (14-07-1998 to 10-10-1998).


© X-Ray Group at MPE (group)
last update:, editor of this page:Ortwin Schwentker


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