CHAPTER 5 TEXT | CHAPTER 5 NOTES
Both satellites were launched on a Long March 2E rocket. In both cases, an explosion occurred after take-off and before separation of the satellite. Hughes investigated the causes of both of these failed launches and determined that the rocket was the cause of the failures.
In the course of the investigations, Hughes communicated technical information regarding the rocket to the PRC that assisted the PRC in improving the Long March 2E rocket. The activities of Hughes employees in connection with the investigation of the failed launch in 1992 resulted in the transmission to the PRC of technical information that appears to have been approved by a U.S. Government representative but not properly licensed. In the case of the 1995 Hughes failure investigation, Hughes employees exported technical information that also was approved by a U.S. Government representative but should not have been authorized for export to the PRC.
In both cases, Hughes disclosed information to the PRC that related to improving the Long March 2E fairing, a portion of the rocket that protects the payload during launch. Such information was outside the scope of the original licenses Hughes obtained from the State and Commerce Departments, respectively, with respect to the export and launch of the Optus B2 and Apstar 2 satellites. Hughes claims that the 1993 Optus B2 failure analysis disclosures were cleared in advance by U.S. Government officials, but neither Hughes nor the pertinent U.S. Government agencies retained records that would substantiate this claim fully.
The lessons learned by the PRC from Hughes during the 1995 Apstar 2 failure investigation are directly applicable to fairings on other rockets, including those used to launch PRC military satellites.
Although the Long March 2E has not been used since 1995, it is possible that the PRC may have transferred the lessons learned from this launch failure investigation to its ballistic missile programs. These lessons could lead to the development of a more reliable fairing for use with advanced payloads on military ballistic missiles.
Hughes obtained a clearance for the 1995 disclosures that was improperly issued by a Commerce Department official. Hughes was confident that the cause of the 1992 launch failure on the PRC's Long March 2E rocket was the fairing. Hughes then ascertained with more certainty that the fairing was responsible for the 1995 launch failure. Hughes required that the PRC take appropriate corrective measures so that future launches of Hughes satellites on the Long March 2E rocket could occur and be insured.
Hughes employees conveyed to the PRC the engineering and design information necessary to identify and remedy the structural deficiencies of the fairing. At the time of the 1992 failure, the export of both the satellite and any information that might improve the rocket were subject to State Department licensing jurisdiction.
Hughes knew that the fairing was part of the rocket and that a State Department license was required to discuss improvements with the PRC. Although Hughes did not have a license to disclose information to the PRC relating to improvement of the fairing, Hughes, nonetheless, made such disclosures. Hughes claims that each disclosure was authorized by the Defense Technology Security Administration monitor. Contemporaneous Hughes records partially support this assertion. The monitor says he doubts that he in fact approved the disclosure, but says he cannot fully recall these matters.
Neither Hughes nor any relevant U.S. Government agency has been able to produce records substantiating all of the claimed approvals. Even if such approvals were in fact given, they would have exceeded the authority of the Defense Technology Security Administration monitor since he was not empowered to expand the scope of the license granted by the State Department. The monitor also should have known that a separate license was needed for the launch failure analysis activities. By the time of the 1995 failure investigation, partial jurisdiction for commercial satellites had been transferred to the Commerce Department, but licensing for improvements to any part of the rocket, such as the fairing, remained with the State Department.
Hughes officials who were responsible for the launch failure investigation in 1995 knew that technical information that would improve the rocket, including the fairing, was still subject to State Department jurisdiction and was not licensed for export. Nonetheless, Hughes sought Commerce Department approval to disclose information regarding the fairing to the PRC. A Commerce Department official, without consulting with Defense Department or State Department experts, approved that disclosure, he says, on the assumption that the fairing was part of the satellite, not the rocket. He now acknowledges that this decision was a mistake.
The Defense Department recently determined that the information Hughes made available to the PRC was sufficiently specific to inform the PRC of the kinds of rocket changes and operational changes that would make the Long March 2E, and perhaps other rockets, more reliable. In particular, Hughes assisted the PRC in correcting the deficiencies in its models of the stresses or loads (such as buffeting and wind shear) that the rocket and payload experience during flight.
There are differing views within the U.S. Government as to the extent to which the information that Hughes imparted to the PRC may assist the PRC in its ballistic missile development. There is agreement that any such improvement would pertain to reliability and not to range or accuracy. It is not clear, at present, whether the PRC will use a fairing that was improved as a result of Hughes' disclosures in a current or future ballistic missile program. Currently-deployed PRC ballistic missiles do not use fairings, and the PRC's future mobile land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles will probably not use a fairing. However, fairings are used by the PRC in launching military communications satellites and could be used for a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
In the opinion of the Select Committee's independent expert, Dr. Alexander Flax, fairing improvements could also be of benefit to multiple independently-targeted reentry vehicle (MIRV) development, should the PRC decide to move in that direction. (See the Technical Afterword at the end of this chapter for additional details on the possible uses of fairings in intercontinental ballistic missiles.)
Hughes also provided the PRC with practical insight into diagnostic and failure analysis techniques for identifying and isolating the cause of a launch failure. Whether or not the structural improvements to the fairing suggested by Hughes are of immediate use to the PRC's missile programs, that information expanded the PRC's repertoire of available technical solutions to future problems that it may encounter in its space and missile programs.
Finally, the Select Committee's independent expert has concluded that Hughes provided the PRC with the benefit of its engineering experience and know-how. As a result, PRC engineers better understand how to conduct a failure analysis and how to design and build more reliable fairings for rockets: "This will stand them in good stead in developing fairings (or shrouds) for ballistic missiles."
The 1992 failure involved the Optus B2 satellite, while the Apstar 2 satellite was destroyed in 1995.
For each event, provided below is a brief discussion of the export licenses for the satellite, and the restrictions that the licenses contained.1 A short discussion of the actual events of the failed launches follows, along with a detailed review of the failure investigations that Hughes conducted and of the U.S. Government's actions that related to those investigations.
Hughes' efforts during the investigations to provide technical information to the PRC for the purpose of assuring success in future launches are explained, as is the extent of the U.S. Government's knowledge and approval of Hughes' actions.
Finally, the actual improvements that were made to the Long
March 2E by the PRC, and assessments of the potential damage
to national security resulting from those improvements, are discussed.
Section 38 of the Arms Export Control Act2 (AECA) authorizes the President to control the export and import of defense articles and services. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (April 1, 1992 edition) contain the following definitions of defense articles and defense services:3
The U.S. Munitions List also enumerates articles that are controlled under the authority of the AECA in relevant part as follows:
U.S. Air Force Instruction 10-1210, "Technology Safeguard Monitoring for Foreign Launches of US Commercial Satellites," identifies the Defense Technology Security Administration4 as having responsibility for the objectives of the technology safeguard program, which include:
Defense Technology Security Administration monitors are responsible for "controlling the disclosure of technical information."6
The U.S. Air Force Technology Safeguard Monitor Handbook describes the role of the Defense Technology Security Administration monitor in debris recovery and accident investigations as follows: "If an anomaly (i.e., crash) occurs during the launch campaign you will need to prevent technology transfer throughout the debris recovery and accident investigation." 7 It continues:
On May 2, 1991, the U.S. Department of State issued export license 483414, renewing license 384476, dated March 16, 1989. The 1991 license permitted the export of two Hughes Model HS-601 satellites (see illustration) to Australia for delivery in space to Aussat (later renamed Optus), Australia's national communications satellite company.
The foreign intermediate consignee was Hughes, in care of China Great Wall Industry Corporation, Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Xichang, PRC.
The license was qualified by a letter dated May 2, 1991 from the Office of Defense Trade Controls of the State Department that sets forth limitations and provisos. In relevant part:
On December 21, 1992, the Hughes-manufactured Optus B2 satellite was launched from Xichang Launch Center in the PRC.
The following description of the failure is excerpted from the Hughes report:
Debris recovery began almost immediately and continued for about three weeks.
Officials from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) and Hughes began to investigate the cause of the crash. Hughes President and CEO Steven Dorfman appointed Vice President Donald Cromer to lead the Hughes investigation to determine the cause of the failure.9
Before joining Hughes, Cromer, had been an Air Force Lieutenant General, and had managed the Space Division of Air Force Systems Command. In that position, he was responsible for the design, development, and acquisition of Air Force space launch, command and control, and satellite systems.10
Cromer's principal assistant in directing the Optus B2 failure investigation was Dr. Stephen L. Cunningham, a senior-level Hughes executive and Ph.D. physicist who has worked in satellite programs at Hughes since 1977.11
Hughes established several teams to conduct the Optus B2 launch failure investigation. The teams comprised 27 individuals, and their activities covered over 20 days of meetings with the PRC, including at least 15 days of meetings in the PRC.
A Failure Investigation Team was chartered to examine all aspects of the failure, including both the satellite and the rocket.
A second team, called the Spacecraft Focus Team, was to limit its focus to the satellite.
A third team, the Independent Review Team, was made up of experts from outside the Hughes organization. It was charged with reviewing the work of the other two Hughes teams and with making an independent assessment of the failure.
Finally, because Hughes recognized that the findings of its teams could be in conflict with those of the PRC accident investigators representing the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), it established the International Oversight Team made up of three members: one from Intelsat, one from the China Aerospace Corporation (CASC), and the Chairman of the Hughes Independent Review Team.
The Hughes teams were organized by functional specialties as illustrated in the chart previous.12
The organization chart identifies Peter M. Herron, who was the Optus B2 Assistant Program Manager, as responsible for U.S. Government/PRC coordination for the failure investigation. In this role, Herron was the person responsible for obtaining U.S. Government approval for all information transfers from Hughes to the PRC during the failure investigation.13
The failure investigation began immediately, and proceeded as shown below.14
As the debris recovery progressed, Defense Technology Security Administration monitors who were present for the launch continued to monitor the recovery efforts.15 Defense Technology Security Administration monitors were also present during the subsequent failure investigation, both in Beijing and Xichang, whenever Hughes employees had meetings with PRC officials.
U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Allen Coates was one of the Defense Technology Security Administration monitors. He was present in Beijing from January 4 to 14, 1993 as a Defense Technology Security Administration monitor for the failure investigation.
Lt. Col. Coates specifically recalls informing Hughes senior management, including Vice President Donald Cromer, Chief Technologist Al Wittmann, Chief Scientist Robert Steinhauer, and Optus B2 Assistant Program Manager Peter Herron of the restrictions in Hughes' export license regarding the transfer of any information related to the design of the satellite or the rocket.16 He additionally advised Hughes personnel there, specifically Herron, and possibly Steinhauer and Wittmann, that Hughes could not discuss modifications to the fairing.17 At that time, Al Wittmann, Chief Technologist at Hughes, reported directly to CEO Steven Dorfman.18
In the early stages of the investigation, the PRC focused its analytic efforts on the rocket, and Hughes examined the satellite. Both the PRC and Hughes were seeking to determine whether their respective hardware was responsible for the failure. Because the first visible sign of an explosion appeared as a flame at the top of the rocket, there was some question as to whether the satellite could have exploded.
As part of the investigation, Wittmann, Hughes' Chief Technologist, and the other engineers first looked into the possibility that the satellite fuel tank structures failed. They later determined the fuel tanks did not fail.19
Upon his return from the PRC, Wittmann had an accident that forced him to recuperate at home. During his recuperation, he was assisted by Spencer Ku, another Hughes engineer. In reviewing some of Ku's analysis, it occurred to Wittmann that statements made to him by PRC personnel regarding the structure and materials strength of the rocket's fairing (that is, the portion of the rocket including the nose cone that surrounds the satellite) were not realistic.20
Wittmann was sure in January 1993, while still in recuperation, that the fairing21 that surrounds the satellite failed, thus collapsing and crushing the satellite.22
As the investigation progressed, Hughes scientists became more and more certain that the fairing on the Long March 2E rocket had indeed failed, causing the launch failure.
Hughes' Technology Export Control Coordinator, Donald Leedle, was the focal point in the company from 1992 until 1996 for technology licensing issues. A program or contracts manager who needed to export a satellite would consult him for information regarding licensing requirements. He was responsible for maintaining current knowledge of governmental regulations related to export licensing.23
Leedle describes himself as one of the most knowledgeable Hughes employees on the subject of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations as they relate to communications satellites. He says he was responsible for briefing Hughes program managers on these regulations. He was also responsible for coordinating licensing conditions and requirements for the Hughes programs. He consulted with Hughes Electronics' corporate International Traffic in Arms Regulations expert, Dar Weston, when necessary.24
Leedle says that the Optus B2 licenses, as many as 18, had been approved before he was involved in the Optus program. Some licenses had expired, however, and he was involved in the renewal by the State Department of the expired licenses.25
In response to a general question about the need for a license for a failure investigation, Leedle says that an accident investigation might be covered by the original license, or it might need a new license, but such a decision would be made by the U.S. Government. He advises that technical data would require different State Department licenses than the satellite hardware. Further, he says that Hughes was not permitted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations to make suggestions that would help improve PRC rockets.26
Leedle is aware that rockets are included on the Munitions List and that a fairing is a part of the rocket.27
Sometime after the Optus failure, Leedle met with a group of Hughes employees, among them Hughes attorney Jennifer Smolker28 and Peter Herron, who had been the Assistant Program Manager for the Optus B2 satellite, to determine whether a license was needed for the failure investigation.29 Hughes CEO Dorfman describes Smolker as "the first point of accountability, from my perspective, on the whole licensing process." 30
In April 1993, Leedle most likely contacted Donald E. Majors, Director for International Affairs at Hughes' Washington, D.C. office, regarding Hughes communications with the PRC concerning Long March 2E rocket fairing deficiencies. Although he does not specifically recall the conversation, he says that he talked frequently to Majors during that period.31
On April 9, 1993, Majors wrote a memorandum to Leedle on "License Requirements for Long March Fairing Discussions," in which he summarized informal discussions with the State Department regarding the Optus B2 launch failure investigation.32 The text read:
Majors' memorandum to Leedle was also sent to Herron and Smolker. Additionally, copies of the memorandum were forwarded to the following Hughes executives: CEO Steven Dorfman, P. C. Dougherty, M. J. Houterman, W. D. Merritt and J. S. Perkins.
Majors' office served as the Washington liaison between Hughes corporate offices and the State Department on licensing issues. His primary contact on satellite issues at the State Department licensing office was Kenneth Peoples.33
Peoples had issued State Department export license number 483414 to Hughes for the export of the Aussat B (later Optus B) satellite. He says that the license defined authorized activities, and that any activity not specifically authorized by a license is prohibited.34
Peoples advises that rockets are on the Munitions List and that a fairing, the nosecone that protects the satellite, is a part of a rocket.35 Peoples does not specifically recall speaking to Majors about the fairing, but he describes the recommendation in Majors' memorandum as "excellent advice." The fact that rocket information was on the Munitions List in 1993 was well-known, he says, and Peoples has difficulty accepting that Hughes officials would not have been aware at that time that a license would be needed to convey to the PRC information related to rockets.36
Mere unlicensed discussion of technical data with foreign nationals is sufficient to constitute a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, in Peoples' opinion. In addition to the license restrictions, Hughes was prohibited from transferring technology to the PRC by provisions of the U.S./PRC nation-to-nation agreement on technology transfer.37
Stephen Cunningham, who led the Optus B2 launch failure investigation, had also been the Program Manager for the Optus B1, which was launched in the PRC in August 1992. He is familiar with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and the Munitions List. Cunningham agrees that Hughes needed prior, separate approval from the State Department to provide any technical assistance that might assist the PRC in enhancing the performance of its Long March rockets.38
Around the time of Majors' April 9, 1993 memorandum, Cunningham recalls "specific discussions with [Defense Technology Security Administration monitor Lt. Col.] Al Coates regarding whether the fairing we are talking about had any relevance to ballistic missiles, and we did not receive a specific answer from Al Coates, but he said he would go find out from his sources." 39
Cunningham says that Hughes hypothesized that the fairing on a commercial satellite had no relevance to ballistic missiles:
On April 19, 1993, ten days after the Majors memorandum, a senior level staff meeting took place at Hughes to discuss how to deal with the fairing issue. Officials at the highest levels of Hughes, including possibly Vice President Cromer, attended the meeting, which was held to discuss a planned trip to the PRC regarding both the Optus B2 failure and the future launch by the PRC of Optus B3, the satellite that was to replace the destroyed Optus B2.41
Cunningham's participation in the trip to the PRC was in connection with his duties to discuss and resolve issues related to the Optus B2 failure. While on the same trip, his colleague Peter Herron was involved in negotiations regarding the Optus B3.42
By April 1993, Cunningham says, "We strongly believed that the fairing caused the problem . . . We believed that the fairing had to be modified in order to get insurance to launch." 43
Herron had prepared view graph slides, outlining the issues and alternatives for senior management to consider at the strategy meeting. One of the slides used in the briefing stated the following:
Hughes' Director of Launch Service Acquisition, John S. Perkins, was responsible for the negotiation of the Optus B3 launch services contract with the PRC. In that role, he had contact with the team investigating the Optus B2 failure. Although he was not part of the Optus B2 failure investigation team, he was in the PRC conducting Optus B3 negotiations while the failure investigation was proceeding.45
Perkins recalls being aware during the failure investigation that some Hughes engineers thought that the fairing on the Long March 2E rocket may have failed. He recalls that there were discussions within the company that Hughes would require the PRC to improve the fairing, and that without improvements to the fairing, the Optus B3 would not be launched.46 Perkins says that the negotiations for an agreement to announce the conclusion of the Optus B2 failure investigations took several weeks of "wordsmithing to subtly try to imply the other party was at fault, without being at fault, to point the finger at us or to point the finger at the Chinese." 47
The negotiations for Optus B3 were difficult, because the PRC would not acknowledge any fault in the Optus B2 failure. It is Perkins' belief that the Defense Technology Security Administration eventually approved some discussions with the PRC about fairing improvements.48
Perkins also participated in discussions with the PRC that led to a written agreement that took the following form:
Perkins describes this agreement as an agreement not to publicly blame the fairing as the cause of the failure. Perkins says of the agreement:
Hughes' intermediary in the PRC was Bansang "Bill" W. Lee, who worked in the Hughes Beijing office from 1991 until around October 1994 as a salaried employee.50 As Hughes' chief representative in Beijing, he had three duties: marketing Hughes satellites in the PRC; serving as a liaison between various Hughes organizations and the PRC; and providing logistics support for all Hughes visitors to the PRC.51
Although Bansang Lee was not actually a member of the Optus B2 failure investigation team, he was present at meetings in the PRC and was involved in the negotiations that led to the May 12 agreement between Hughes and China Great Wall Industry Corporation not to blame each other for the launch failure. He was also involved in negotiations for the Optus B3 launch.52
Lee's major involvement in the failure investigation was crafting an acceptable public explanation as to the cause of the failure. The PRC would not accept that the Long March 2E rocket was at fault, and Hughes was almost certain that the satellite had not caused the failure. Lee says that in the May 12, 1993 agreement each side stated: "I have no objection to your position . . . and you have no objection to my position. Basically, the conclusion is no conclusion." 53
Lee says that his involvement in efforts between April and October 1993 was generally along the lines of persuading each side not to point fingers at the other. He says that he was not directly involved in attempts by Hughes to convince the PRC that the fairing was the problem, although he was aware that a number of people within Hughes believed that. He was also aware of at least one, Harold Rosen, who did not hold that belief.54
Lee further says that in the negotiations, during which Lee served as Hughes CEO Dorfman's liaison to PRC Minister Liu Jiyuan,55 Minister Liu confirmed Hughes' understanding that once a suitable agreement had been signed, the PRC would be willing to consider making modifications to the Long March 2E rocket before the next launch.56
In addition, Lee says that Hughes "is not saying how to fix it, but wording [sic] requirement that they have to finally fix it." Lee says he was aware that a number of Hughes engineers, particularly Al Wittmann, believed that the fairing had indeed failed.57
In June 1993, Hughes Chief Technologist Al Wittmann wrote a paper analyzing how he thought the fairing had failed, and how the fairing could be improved to prevent a similar failure in the forthcoming Optus B3 launch. The paper sought permission within Hughes to communicate the results of his analysis to the PRC. Wittmann says he discussed the recommendations in his paper with Peter Herron, who was coordinating the launch failure investigation with the PRC; Hughes Vice President Donald Cromer; and Stephen Cunningham, who was heading up the launch failure investigation.58
Wittmann recommended that Hughes not launch the Optus B3 on the Long March 2E rocket unless the PRC made improvements to the fairing. He says that 70 to 80 percent of the Hughes team members agreed with him, and that Cromer, Cunningham, and Herron supported his view that the Optus B3 should not be launched without changes to the fairing.59
When Wittmann discussed his paper with Herron, Herron responded by telling Wittmann that, unless the fairing recommendations in the paper were simplified considerably, he was not willing to ask the U.S. Government for approval to share it with the PRC. Wittmann says Cunningham had also asked him to revise the paper for the same reason. 60
Hughes CEO Dorfman also recalls discussions with Wittmann about the fairing:
Additionally, Hughes Vice President Cromer recalls the following discussion with Wittmann about the fairing:
Hughes launch failure investigators Herron and Cunningham subsequently prepared a group of viewgraph slides that simplified the contents of Wittmann's paper. Herron, who was responsible for coordinating with the PRC, then submitted these to Defense Technology Security Administration monitor Al Coates for approval. Coates' signature approving the transfer of this information to the PRC appears on a facsimile transmittal sheet, dated June 25, 1993.
Lt. Col. Coates says he does not recall approving this transfer, and he doubts that he would have ever approved the disclosure of such prohibited information. He further says he did not have the authority to approve the disclosure of information that could have improved the PRC rocket. He also says that it was always clear to Hughes that no data that could improve the rocket could be transferred to the PRC.63
Generally, Coates recalls that the Defense Technology Security Administration always emphasized in briefings for Hughes employees the prohibition against improving the rocket. He says that Hughes personnel were very knowledgeable about the export control process, and that Herron undoubtedly knew of the restrictions regarding rocket improvements.64
Coates specifically recalls telling Herron that he could not discuss the design of the fairing with the PRC.65
Coates says he maintained a program file at the Defense Technology Security Administration that contained all his approvals related to the Optus B2.66 Such a file could not be found among the materials provided to the Committee by the Defense Technology Security Administration.
Hughes failed to respond to the Committee's interrogatories (which included a request for documents) regarding these approvals.
Donald Leedle, who was responsible for Hughes' technology export control, says Herron contacted him to inform him that Coates had approved communicating the information on improving the fairing to the PRC. In Leedle's deposition, the following exchange regarding improvements to the Long March 2E rocket occurred:
In Cunningham's deposition, the following exchange about improvements to the fairing took place:
Leedle says he was surprised that Herron, Hughes' Assistant Program Manager for the Optus B2 and the person responsible for coordinating the failure investigation with both the U.S. Government and the PRC, bypassed him and approached the Defense Department's Coates directly. Leedle acknowledges that the purpose of Wittmann's fairing recommendations was to prevent the rocket from failing in future launches. Leedle and Cunningham acknowledge that improvements to the rocket required a State Department license, and that, to the best of their knowledge, no such license was ever applied for.69
On July 15, 1993, Hughes CEO Dorfman wrote expressing his concerns about the cause of the Optus B2 launch failure to PRC Minister Liu Jiyuan, President of China Aerospace Corporation, in care of Hughes' Bansang Lee, stating in part:
On July 18, 1993, Bansang Lee reported to Dorfman the results of the meeting with Minister Liu at which he delivered Dorfman's letter. Lee wrote about the PRC's strong negative reaction to Hughes' statements that appeared to blame the PRC rocket for the Optus B2 failure, in violation of the May 12 agreement:
As Bansang Lee continued to negotiate, he says he thought that Hughes Chief Scientist Robert Steinhauer, who had worked closely with the PRC for almost ten years, might be able to help allay the PRC's concerns.
On August 5, 1993, Bansang Lee wrote to Hughes CEO Dorfman suggesting that Steinhauer bring the Optus B2 failure report to the PRC and meet with the chief designer of the Long March 2E rocket, Wang Dechen, to go over the findings.72
On August 15, 1993, Hughes and China Great Wall Industry Corporation issued a joint news release, reported in Space News, stating that although no design flaws were found, both companies would make improvements to their products. Space News quotes an insurance broker as saying that, "evidence points to a structural flaw in the rocket's fairing which probably imploded during launch." It also quotes a U.S. satellite underwriter as saying the companies
On August 23, 1993, Steinhauer went to the PRC and met with the designer of the Long March 2E rocket, Wang Dechen. Since 1985, Steinhauer had been Hughes' primary contact with the PRC on the use of their rockets. He also served as a consultant to the Optus B2 failure investigation team from January 1993 through October 1993, attending many of the failure investigation team meetings, and also meeting with the PRC regarding the failure investigation.
The purpose of Steinhauer's August meeting in the PRC was to try to help resolve things between the two companies. In particular, Steinhauer focused on Wang Dechen, the designer of the Long March 2E. Hughes believed that Wang Dechen was the key PRC individual who had to be turned around.
On September 14, 1993, Hughes Chief Scientist Steinhauer wrote a memorandum to Hughes Vice President Cromer suggesting a hard negotiating position with the PRC on the issue of the fairing failure. The memorandum said: ". . . Hughes should make an unequivocal statement to Minister Liu Jiyuan that Optus B3, or any other Hughes spacecraft, will not fly on the LM-2E without modifications to their launch vehicle fairing."
The memorandum also describes Wang Dechen as "digging in his heels" against the idea of a unified presentation identifying the failure cause for the insurance community. Cunningham advises that earlier in the investigation Wang Dechen had publicly stated that the rocket was not the cause of the failure.74
Hughes Vice President Donald Cromer says that it was his decision whether Hughes would launch Optus B3 on a Long March 2E rocket. His decision was that Hughes would not launch unless the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology made improvements to the fairing.75
In a September 9, 1993 message to Cromer, Bansang Lee made a number of recommendations related to future business relations between Hughes and the PRC in preparation for the Optus B3 insurance underwriters' briefing that was scheduled later in September. Bansang Lee wrote:
On September 10, 1993, Hughes Vice President Cromer asked Bansang Lee to bring Cromer's concerns to the attention of the highest levels of the PRC:
On September 15, 1993, the Hughes official coordinating the launch failure investigation with the PRC, Peter Herron, wrote to Bansang Lee about the insurance briefings. Herron asked Lee to inform the PRC that Hughes was willing to remove all information from the insurance briefing related to the Long March 2E rocket from its presentation at the insurance briefing. But Hughes would do this only if the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology presented the data that Hughes was deleting. In his letter, Herron wrote:
By late September, Hughes and the PRC had decided, pursuant to their May 1993 agreement, that Hughes would not brief the issue of the fairing to the insurers.
The PRC had earlier signaled to Hughes' Bansang Lee that it would consider making modifications to the fairing for the Optus B3 launch.79 Hughes Vice President Cromer confirms that Hughes made a decision to go forward with Optus B3 because the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology had committed itself to modifications to the Long March 2E rocket's fairing.80
On September 30, 1993, Hughes and PRC representatives met with the Optus B3 space insurance underwriters in London to discuss the conclusions and results of the Optus B2 failure investigation. Cunningham, as the head of the Hughes failure investigation, led the company's presentation.81
At the time of the insurance briefing, the Hughes final investigation report was not yet finished. Although Cunningham was the author of the Hughes Optus B2 Failure Report, he says he did not distribute the report to anyone outside of Hughes, and he does not know whether anyone else at Hughes did so.82
Cunningham says that the Hughes failure investigation report was sufficiently technical that Defense Technology Security Administration approval would have been necessary for it to be exported. He does not know whether the report was ever given to the PRC, but he doubts it was.83
Cunningham says that the U.S. insurance underwriters may have been separately briefed by Hughes about its concern that the Long March 2E fairing was defective and needed modifications. Hughes claims that the Defense Technology Security Administration was not present at the insurance briefing because it chose not to attend. Defense Department monitor Coates claims he was told by Hughes that no PRC representatives would be present at the briefing.84
Hughes Vice President Cromer testified that C. Michael Armstrong, at that time Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hughes Electronics Corporation, was generally aware of the analysis of the 1992 failure. Cromer updated Armstrong on the progress of the investigation.85
Armstrong, however, testified that although he was aware of the Optus B2 failure, he could not recall any information about a failure investigation.86
Between October 1993 and August 1994, when the Optus B3 was successfully launched, Hughes continued its efforts to have the PRC improve the Long March 2E fairing.
On October 13, 1993, Peter Herron, in his role as Program Manager for Optus B3, wrote to Bansang Lee regarding changes to the Long March 2E. Herron wrote, in part:
The Defense Department's Lt. Col. Coates says that, had he been asked, he would not have approved the transmittal of this information to the PRC. He also says that Hughes personnel knew that each separate transmission of information to the PRC required specific approval.87
On October 20, 1993, Peter Herron, Hughes' program manager for the Optus B3, wrote to Chen Shouchun, Vice President of the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, regarding Optus B3 meetings scheduled for November 1993 at Hughes. One topic of Herron's letter is ". . . discussions of ways to improve margins for the next launch. CALT [the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology] has already committed to make some changes to the LM-2E [Long March 2E rocket] in accordance with our needs."
Hughes and the PRC held design meetings in November 1993, to discuss the proposed modifications to the fairing.
The Optus B3 was licensed by the Commerce Department, not the State Department. Other than the license for the Optus B3, which was approved by the Commerce Department, Herron did not submit any Optus B3 fairing improvement documents to the U.S. Government for approval.
Steven Burke, a structural analysis engineer at Hughes and principal investigator on the Optus B2 investigation, recalls attending a number of Optus B3 design review meetings with the PRC. During the early portion of the Optus B2 failure investigation, Burke had been responsible for analyzing Optus B2 rocket telemetry data supplied by the PRC. Burke and fellow engineer Spencer Ku had determined, along with Hughes' Chief Technologist Al Wittmann, that the fairing had caused the failure.88
On May 9, 1994, Burke wrote a detailed technical paper entitled "Optus B3/LM-2E Fairing Design Review," discussing a meeting with the PRC that occurred on May 2, 1994 regarding fairing improvements to the Long March 2E needed for the upcoming Optus B3 launch. He says the meetings were both political and technical in nature: political in that the PRC was unwilling to admit fault, while from a technical perspective, they were willing to make changes.
Burke further says that as a result of the Hughes investigation, Hughes had asked the PRC to strengthen the weak parts of the fairing.89
In the paper, Burke wrote that the PRC proposed changes to what it termed the "already adequate" capabilities of the fairing. His paper continued, identifying PRC proposals for the following changes to the Long March 2E rocket's fairing:
Burke's paper went on to discuss other technical deficiencies and questioned how Hughes could get the PRC to propose truly effective changes to the Long March 2E rocket's fairing design.91
Burke recalls Peter Herron, who was now Program Manager for the Optus B3 satellite, telling him that Herron had provided documentation to the PRC suggesting changes to the Long March 2E rocket's fairing during the Optus B2 failure investigation.92
On July 30, 1994, Herron wrote to the PRC requesting additional information about the PRC changes to the fairing. Herron showed his letter to Burke, and asked for his views on the additional modifications proposed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. Burke says that he and others provided Herron with questions on the CALT proposed changes.93
On August 4, 1994, Hughes' Chief Technologist Al Wittmann wrote to Vice President Donald Cromer, stating that he believed the changes to the fairing proposed by the PRC were adequate for the upcoming Optus B3 launch.94
In August 1994, Burke says he attended a Hughes senior management meeting to review the changes made by the PRC to the fairing for the scheduled Optus B3 launch. The briefing slides for the meeting are dated August 8, 1994. By the time of this meeting, Burke says that Wang Dechen, the PRC designer for the Long March 2E rocket, had told him that the PRC had made improvements to the rocket's fairing. Burke further says that his review of the documents from the August 8 briefing show that the changes made were a combination of PRC ideas and Hughes ideas.95
According to Donald Leedle, responsible for Hughes' technology export controls, a design review in which Hughes provided information to the PRC should have required a State Department license.96
The Optus B3 was launched successfully on August 28, 1994, aboard a PRC Long March 2E rocket.
On November 18, 1993, Hughes submitted an application for export license to the Bureau of Export Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. On February 1, 1994, license number D204878 was validated. The license permitted the export of one Hughes Model HS-601 commercial communications satellite to the Asia Pacific Telecommunications Satellite Company, Ltd., Hong Kong.
The intermediate consignee was China Great Wall Industry Corporation, Beijing, PRC.
The license permitted a temporary export to China Great Wall Industry Corporation for the purpose of launch. The transaction value was $93 million.
The Commerce Department license restricted the export of detailed design, engineering, or manufacturing data to China Great Wall Industry Corporation. It further required a State Department license for activities and technical data covered by the State Department Munitions List.97
On January 26, 1995, a Long March 2E rocket, carrying the Apstar 2 satellite, manufactured by Hughes, was launched from Xichang, PRC. The Long March 2E rocket, with the satellite atop it, exploded approximately 50 seconds after liftoff.
This was the fifth flight of the Long March 2E rocket, and the second failure. The prior failure in December 1992 was of a Long March 2E rocket carrying the Optus B2 satellite, also manufactured by Hughes.
In both cases, observation of the flight data and the rocket debris indicated that an explosive force had destroyed the forward part of the rocket where the satellite and the covering fairing, which is a part of the rocket, were located.98
Because of similarities to the Optus B2 failure in 1992, Hughes engineers believed right away that the PRC rocket fairing had again failed.99 Additionally, Hughes had added instrumentation to the satellite after the Optus B2 failure. The added instrumentation helped Hughes determine the cause of the failure.100
Hughes Vice President Donald Cromer appointed a Failure Investigation Team, headed by Stephen Cunningham and Peter Herron, to look into the cause of the failure. Many of the participants on this investigative team, including structural specialists Al Wittmann and Spencer Ku, also had participated in the Optus B2 failure investigation.101
The Failure Investigation Team is described in the Apstar 2 Failure Investigation Report as follows:
The failure investigation began immediately and continued until around June 1995. The schedule on the following page was excerpted from the Apstar 2 Failure Investigation Report.103
At the outset of the investigation, Hughes officials considered that a State Department license might be needed in order to conduct the failure investigation even though the launch had been licensed by the Commerce Department.104
Soon after the failure investigation began, Hughes provided the State Department a satellite debris recovery plan for the failure. On February 3, 1995, Hughes attorney Jennifer Smolker wrote to inform the Commerce Department of the launch failure, stating that future discussions with the PRC might require a State Department license and that Hughes would submit a State Department license, if necessary.105
On February 21, 1995, Donald Leedle, Hughes' Technology Export Control Coordinator, sent a memorandum to Apstar 2 Program Manager Mike Hersman and attorney Smolker regarding the failure investigation. Leedle's memorandum stated that the Commerce Department license only authorized the transfer of certain data.106
As had been done in connection with the Optus B2 failure investigation, Leedle's memorandum stated that Hughes was initiating informal communications with the State Department to determine whether a license would be required. The memorandum also stated that Hughes was awaiting data from Herron, who was working on the failure investigation, before formally applying for any such license. Finally, Leedle wrote that he had met with Commerce Department licensing officer Gene Christiansen and learned that, except for minor satellite data, all other data to be exchanged with the PRC fell under State Department jurisdiction.107
Christiansen says that, when Hughes officials initially approached him following the Apstar 2 launch failure, they communicated to him that they only wanted to share basic "form, fit, and function" data with the PRC. Leedle recalls that in his early discussion with Christiansen regarding information requested by the PRC, Christiansen stated that with the exception of limited satellite and telemetry data, all other PRC requested data would require a State Department license.108
Despite the shift to Commerce Department in 1993 of licensing jurisdiction for certain commercial satellites, the State Department still was solely responsible in 1995 for the licensing of any technical data that could improve PRC rockets.109 Leedle, whose responsibilities at Hughes included technology export controls, acknowledges having been aware at the time that any rocket improvements required a State Department license.110
Leedle's statement is consistent with a document that Hughes' Dar Weston, a specialist in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, sent to Apstar 2 Program Manager Mike Hersman on January 3, 1994. The document described the provisions of the Apstar 1 and 2 licenses, and the restrictions in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and stated that no detailed design, production, or manufacturing data may be released. The document also stated that such information is controlled by the State Department, regardless of which agency has jurisdiction over the satellite, and that release of such information would require specific Office of Defense Trade Controls approval of a separate application.111
Leedle recalls that Hughes' Washington, D.C. representative, Joe Rougeau, made informal contact with the State Department following the Apstar 2 launch failure. He says Rougeau initiated the State Department contacts because Hughes was unsure in the early stages of the investigation whether a State Department or a Commerce Department license was needed for the investigation.112
The role of Hughes' Chief Technologist, Al Wittmann, in the Apstar 2 failure investigation was essentially the same as in the Optus B2 investigation. Wittmann, who had proposed the modifications to the Long March 2E rocket after the Optus B2 failure, says he recognized by looking at photographs of the Apstar 2 debris that changes to the Long March 2E rocket's fairing had been made by the PRC since Optus B2. He says the changes were obviously insufficient.113
Wittman said that the PRC had not implemented all the changes he had suggested for the Optus B3 launch in 1994.114 Following the Optus B2 failure, Hughes engineers recommended reinforcing the fairing. But the Select Committee learned that the PRC chose to install additional rivets instead of structural changes. The Select Committee understands that the PRC did not implement the recommended changes to reinforce the fairing prior to the Apstar 2 launch because to do so would have been an admission of fault in the Optus B2 failure.
Wittmann's analysis immediately focused on the fairing as the cause of the Apstar 2 launch failure. He says that, had the PRC implemented all his suggested changes to the Optus B3, the Apstar 2 would not have failed to achieve orbit.115
According to Wittmann, he and the PRC engineers viewed the fairing structure differently. The PRC viewed the nose cone portion of the fairing as a one-piece, complete hemisphere. Wittmann, on the other hand, says the nose cone was manufactured in two sections with a slit in the middle.116
On March 3, 1995, Hughes personnel met with Commerce Department licensing officer Christiansen and his supervisor, Jerry Beiter, regarding the Apstar 2 failure investigation.117
Beiter was then the Chief Technology Officer at the Commerce Department. The following Hughes employees attended the meeting: Peter Herron, co-leader of Hughes' failure investigation team; Donald Leedle, Hughes' Technology Export Control Coordinator; Pat Bowers, an assistant to the Director of International Affairs, Donald Majors; and Sara Jones, an export control officer at Hughes. Bowers was responsible primarily for dealing with the State Department on licensing issues.118 Jones was primarily responsible for coordinating licenses with the Commerce Department.119
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss proper licensing jurisdiction relating to the Apstar 2 failure investigation.
Beiter's recollection of the meeting is that the Hughes representatives wanted to learn what information they could discuss with the PRC related to the failure investigation. He says that information related to rockets was covered by State Department jurisdiction during this period. Beiter also recalls that at the meeting the Hughes representatives mainly wanted permission to raise topics with the PRC related to their satellite.120
Beiter specifically recalls advising Hughes at the meeting that any data regarding the design of the PRC rocket would require a State Department license. He also says that he has no doubt that the Hughes representatives were well aware at the time of the meeting that information related to the fairing had to be licensed by the State Department.121
At the end of the meeting, the Hughes and Commerce Department officials agreed, according to Leedle, that any data that could improve the PRC rocket would require a State Department license.122
Sara Jones, of Hughes' Washington, D.C. office, recalls attending the meeting on March 3, 1995 with Beiter and Christiansen. Jones had prepared the Apstar 2 Commerce Department application. She says she was present at the meeting because she was the Hughes Commerce Department liaison. Jones recalls that she was not conversant with the technical aspects discussed at the meeting.123
Jones says that the purpose of the meeting was to determine whether the Commerce Department was the appropriate licensing authority for the Apstar 2 failure investigation. She adds that an additional purpose was to determine whether the data Hughes wanted to transfer to the PRC should be licensed by the Commerce Department or the State Department.124
According to Jones, the meeting was mainly devoted to a discussion of the Hughes satellite as part of the failure investigation. She says that Hughes representatives were there to discuss the satellite because Hughes built the satellite.125
Jones stated that she was aware that Hughes was prohibited from advising the PRC about correcting problems related to its rockets. Jones advises that knowledge of this rocket prohibition was fairly standard information within Hughes.126
Bowers, Hughes' State Department liaison in Washington, D.C., says that any time detailed design, development, production, or manufacturing technical data was involved, a State Department license would be required, although someone had to determine whether the data was "detailed." 127
A memorandum of this meeting with Christiansen and Beiter was prepared six days later, on March 9, 1995, by the Hughes official responsible for technology export controls, Donald Leedle. Leedle, however, says that he probably drafted it with assistance from Peter Herron, one of the leaders of the Apstar 2 failure investigation, due to the technical nature of the issues discussed.128 Leedle's memorandum included no indication that Hughes officials at the meeting advised Christiansen or Beiter that they had any indication that the Long March 2E fairing had caused the Apstar 2 failure.
Hughes engineer Spencer Ku was Hughes' principal structural investigator on the Apstar 2 failure investigation.129
Ku had suggested fairing design fixes to Al Wittmann, Hughes' Chief Technologist, during the Optus B2 investigation in 1993.130
Ku says that, after arriving in the PRC to review the Apstar 2 debris in 1995, he could tell by observation that the fairing had indeed been modified since the 1992 failure.131
On April 7, 1995, Ku briefed Stephen Cunningham and Peter Herron, the co-leaders of the failure investigation, that as in the Optus B2 failure, his analysis was pointing to the fairing as the cause of the Apstar 2 failure. Ku says the changes made by the PRC in the number of rivets had not been adequate to prevent the Apstar 2 launch failure.132
On April 18, 1995, Ku wrote a memorandum to Cunningham describing how the fairing caused the Apstar 2 launch to fail.133
As in the aftermath of the 1992 failure, Hughes executives were quite concerned about the sensitivity the PRC attached to placing any blame on the rocket for the Apstar 2 accident. On April 4, 1995, Hughes Electronics Senior Vice President Gareth Chang wrote a memorandum to Hughes CEO Steven Dorfman regarding the Apstar 2 failure, stating:
As of late April 1995, Hughes had identified several problems associated with the Long March 2E fairing.
In crafting a suitable approach for the discussions, a strategy memorandum on the subject was sent on April 20, 1995. Peter Herron, in his capacity as co-leader of the Hughes failure investigation team, sent a document to Hughes Vice President Donald Cromer containing in part the following points:
On April 28, 1995, Peter Herron, Donald Leedle, and Tony Colucci of Hughes met again with Christiansen at the Commerce Department to bring him up to date on the progress of the Apstar 2 failure investigation.
A May 9, 1995 memorandum by Leedle regarding the meeting explains that Hughes had concluded its analysis of the failure and was requesting that the Commerce Department review the information regarding its conclusion prior to making the failure analysis available to the PRC.136
Notwithstanding the agreement with Christiansen in March that
the State Department had licensing jurisdiction for any technical
data regarding the rocket, Herron, Leedle, and Colucci presented
Christiansen charts outlining the inadequacies of the Long March
2E rocket's fairing design that they proposed to present to the
Leedle acknowledges being aware at the time that improvements to the PRC's rocket required a State Department license. He says, however, that he and Herron nonetheless decided to rely on Christiansen's determination of Commerce's jurisdiction to approve passage of the data.138 At the meeting, Christiansen advised that the fairing-related charts could be passed to the PRC. The charts presented to Christiansen expressed the same concerns that Hughes had expressed to the PRC in 1993 about the need for stronger rivets on the fairing. According to a Hughes official the conclusions in the charts could be helpful to the PRC, but the Defense Technology Security Administration had granted a similar approval in 1993.
The same official acknowledges that two of the fairing-related problems were not discussed with the Defense Technology Security Administration in 1993.
Hughes was still experiencing difficulty in getting the PRC to accept its findings regarding the fairing as the cause of the launch failure.
The talks between Hughes and the PRC remained at an impasse. Hughes felt that it could not afford to allow the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology to present its argument to the insurance companies and Hughes' customers, such as the PRC-controlled Asia Pacific Telecommunications Satellite consortium, without providing all of the evidence - especially when the evidence pointed to a failure of the Long March 2E rocket and not the Hughes satellite.
The PRC engineers, however, did not want to present any findings that led to the conclusion that the Long March 2E fairing was to blame for the failure. The PRC engineers feared that if this were to occur, then they would not be able to get insurance for future Long March launches.
In a May 14, 1995 trip report from Peter Herron to Hughes Vice President Cromer regarding a briefing Herron attended with Professor He of the PRC-controlled Asia Pacific Telecommunications Satellite consortium and other APT executives, Herron stated, in part:
During the Hughes efforts to overcome the reluctance of the PRC to accept responsibility for the cause of the failure, Herron sent a message to his co-leader on the Hughes failure investigation team, Stephen Cunningham, on June 28, 1995. The message indicated that two Hughes employees, Shen Jun and Bruce Elbert, had conveyed a message to COSTIND's General Shen Rongjun (Shen Jun's father) regarding the fairing as causing the Apstar 2 failure. (See also the section entitled "The Role of PLA General Shen Rongjun and His Son in APMT," in the chapter PRC Missiles and Space Forces.)
In part, Herron's message stated:
The next day Cromer wrote the following letter to Hughes Electronics President Michael Armstrong, Senior Vice President Gareth Chang, and Hughes CEO Dorfman:
By July 1995, Hughes had definitively concluded that the failure of the Long March 2E rocket on the Apstar 2 launch was caused by the rocket's fairing. Specifically, Hughes determined that the aerodynamic forces from the velocity of the rocket, combined with the winds aloft and high wind shear, ripped the fairing apart.
PRC Minister Liu Jiyuan, Director of China Aerospace Corporation, reacted emotionally to statements by Hughes indicating that the Long March 2E fairing was the cause of the failure. Minister Liu, who is influential in awarding communications satellite contracts in the PRC, said that China Aerospace Corporation would never do business with Hughes again.
On July 19, 1995, an analyst from the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Intelligence visited the Hughes facility in El Segundo, California, known as the "High Bay," which is an assembly and testing facility for communications satellites.142 The CIA analyst was researching a draft National Intelligence Estimate relating to the impact of technology transfers on the PRC's military capabilities.143
The CIA analyst recalls that during a tour of the High Bay, he had an opportunity to talk to a Hughes engineer about the Apstar 2 failure investigation.
During this conversation, the CIA analyst began to be concerned that, as part of Hughes' launch failure investigation, technology that could improve the PRC's Long March rockets would inevitably be transferred to the PRC.144
In discussing the failure investigation, the CIA analyst says the Hughes engineer mentioned that Hughes has provided information to the PRC that related to methods and computer modeling to reduce rocket vibration, because vibration may have been a contributing factor to the Long March 2E failure.145
The CIA analyst says he believed that any improvements in this area would certainly assist the PRC in improving the performance of its ballistic missiles.146 When he asked the Hughes engineer whether the information that Hughes was providing to the PRC might contribute to the improvement of PRC rockets, the Hughes engineer advised that this was Hughes' intent.
But Hughes officials advised, the engineer said, that all required coordination with the Commerce Department had been undertaken.147 The CIA analyst also recalls the following regarding his discussion with the Hughes engineer about the cause of the Long March 2E rocket failure during the attempted launch of the Apstar 2 satellite:
The CIA analyst's recollection of his discussion with the Hughes engineer in 1995 seems consistent with the reports Hughes provided to the Commerce Department, which cited wind shear (aerodynamic loading) and vibrational (buffeting) factors as the cause of the Long March 2E failure.149
The reports Hughes provided to the PRC after approval by the Commerce Department's Christiansen stated in part:
Regarding the potential transfer of technology, the CIA analyst recalls the following:
The CIA analyst recalled this about his conversation with the Hughes engineer regarding the "coupled loads" analysis that Hughes had conducted with the PRC:
On July 23, 1995, Hughes and the PRC released a joint press statement regarding the Apstar 2 failure. The statement was signed by PRC Minister Liu and Hughes CEO Dorfman.
In the statement, Hughes and the PRC essentially agreed to disagree over the cause of the failure. Hughes cited high winds affecting the fairing as the most probable cause of the accident. The PRC cited a satellite and rocket interface problem. The release, the text of which follows, was signed by Dorfman and Liu:
On August 15, 1995, Peter Herron, co-leader of the Hughes failure investigation team, wrote a letter to Commerce Department licensing officer Gene Christiansen enclosing the following documents:
The cover letter mentioned that Herron and Donald Leedle, Hughes' Technology Export Control Coordinator, planned to meet with Christiansen on August 17 to discuss releasing these documents to the PRC.
The Executive Summary of the Hughes failure investigation stated:
In response, Christiansen sent a Commerce Department form to Leedle on August 24, 1995 indicating that Hughes was authorized to release the Apstar 2 reports to the PRC. The form, called a Commodity Classification Form, stated:
The Commodity Classification form also stated that the data simply documented the findings of the PRC's telemetry and utilized a logic sequence to fix the probable cause of the failure, without instructing how to redesign the fairing.156
Although Sara Jones of Hughes' Washington, D.C. office was responsible for applying for Commerce Department licenses, it was Leedle who went directly to Christiansen to obtain the Commerce Department Commodity Classification approval for the Apstar 2 report. Jones states that Leedle had not handled a Commerce Department commodity classification himself in the past.157
Christiansen acknowledges that he knew, at the time he developed the Commodity Classification approval, that data concerning PRC rockets required a State Department license.158
Christiansen also testifies that Hughes was prohibited by the Commerce Department Commodity Classification Approval from providing data to the PRC related to technical design, rocket production, or anything related to the rocket. He adds that it was also incumbent upon Hughes to limit the scope of its discussion with PRC personnel, and to determine whether a State Department license was required.159
A rocket's nose cone, which protects the satellite inside, is known as a fairing. The same nose cone, if used on a ballistic missile to protect the nuclear warhead payload, is called a shroud.
Whether the launch vehicle is a rocket or a ballistic missile, the function of the nose cone is specialized to protect the payload - satellite or nuclear warhead - from external aerodynamic loads, vibration, noise, temperature extremes, and other environments that may be encountered as the vehicle is launched and accelerates through the atmosphere.
In the case of rockets, the fairing protects the satellite. In the case of ballistic missiles, the shroud would most likely be used to protect multiple independently-targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs). (See the Technical Afterword to this chapter for a description of the similarities between the design and construction of the fairing for a rocket and a shroud for a ballistic missile.)
In 1995, Hughes argued to the Commerce Department that the fairing was part of the satellite and, therefore, Hughes' advice to the PRC regarding the fairing did not require a State Department license. A Commerce Department official, without asking any other U.S. Government agency, agreed.
The Select Committee requested that the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, CIA, and NASA provide responses to the question:
"Is the fairing part of the launch vehicle, or part of the satellite?" Their answers are summarized as follows:
Defense: "The fairing is part of the launch vehicle. It is designed and manufactured by the launch provider to encapsulate payloads (including, but not limited to, satellites). The fairing must be designed as an integral part of the launch vehicle system as its structure, in many respects, determines the success of the launch." 134
State: "The Department considers the fairing to be an integral part of the space launch vehicle. The forward end of a space launch vehicle typically has a payload fairing, which protects both the satellite and the space launch vehicle from aerodynamic loading and heating during the launch vehicle's ascent through the densest part of the atmosphere." 135
Commerce: "Fairings are regarded as part of the launch vehicle. Under U.S. implementation of multilateral controls, fairings are under the export jurisdiction of the Department of State." 136
CIA: "The CIA considers the payload fairing to be part of the space launch vehicle because the fairing is needed to fly the vehicle and satellite through the atmosphere. Furthermore, the fairings are typically designed and built by the launch vehicle provider, not the satellite manufacturer." 137
NASA: "The fairing is routinely acquired as a component of the launch vehicle service." 138
Christiansen acknowledges that he chose not to initiate any discussion or review of the matter with State Department or Defense Department officials before granting approval for Hughes to provide the fairing information and report to the PRC. The basis for this, he says, is that the Hughes information contained no design or production data. Christiansen acknowledges that his approval was a mistake, since the Hughes report represents an in-depth analysis of the design deficiencies of the fairing, and the executive summary discusses design changes that should be made to the fairing for future PRC launches.160
The PRC Long March rocket was still on the State Department Munitions list when Christiansen granted the approvals. Nonetheless, Hughes officials asked Christiansen if he would approve the materials for release, and he did.
On October 17, 1995, Hughes employees K.C. Lang and Nissen Davis prepared a trip report regarding a visit by Hughes Electronics CEO Michael Armstrong and Senior Vice President Gareth Chang to the PRC between October 9 and 12. The report stated, in part:
By December 1995, Hughes' Independent Review Team had concluded that the probable cause of the failure was the fairing's longitudinal split line design requirements, the design itself, or both. The causes of the Optus B2 failure in December 1992 and Apstar 2 failure in January 1995, they found, were identical.
Hughes and the PRC agreed on a solution to address all concerns. Hughes agreed to modify the interface adapter, and the PRC agreed to strenghten the fairing and enhance the monitoring of high altitude wind conditions.
The PRC still refused, however, to accept the findings of Hughes' Independent Review Team that the fairing was the cause of the failure.
Moreover, the international insurance community expressed some skepticism regarding the PRC's claim that it had corrected the problem with the fairing. This was because the PRC stated that its repairs were completed in summer 1995, well before the final failure analysis was completed.
On January 26, 1995, the day of the Apstar 2 launch failure, U.S. Air Force Major Victor J. Villhard prepared a report stating that there were no technology safeguards in place for the Apstar 2 failure investigation.162 He also stated that, since Apstar 2 had been exported under a Commerce Department license, no U.S. Government monitoring to prevent technology transfer had been required.
The memorandum outlined the possible technology gains for the PRC that could result from the lack of guidelines.163
Mark N. Rochlin was a Defense Technology Security Administration monitor for Motorola Iridium launches in the PRC in 1995. On May 31, 1995, he wrote a memorandum for the record in which he described incidents of technology transfer that he observed in Beijing in March and April 1995.164 The memorandum stated:
Col Alexandrow, DTSA [Defense Technology
Rochlin says that, during the meeting in Beijing, he was told that Loral had been approached by Hughes to participate in the Apstar 2 failure investigation.166 Rochlin says that it was apparent to him from the comments of Loral's Nick Yen that Hughes had already transferred significant technical information to the PRC in the Apstar 2 investigation and Loral was concerned about the technical areas Hughes was getting into, because he knew that only a Commerce Department license was in effect for the Apstar 2.167
Rochlin also says that Gao Rufei of China Great Wall Industry Corporation had mentioned the coupled loads analysis on Apstar 2. Based on the nature of the information Gao discussed, Rochlin believed that a State Department license was required.
Rochlin says he told a Loral representative and a representative of China Great Wall Industry Corporation that he believed that Hughes had already acted outside the scope of its Commerce Department license. He reminded both representatives that they should adhere to the U.S./PRC government-to-government agreements, and that they were personally liable for violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.168
Rochlin says he retired from the Army several days after writing the memorandum, so he does not know whether the Defense Technology Security Administration took any action based on it. However, he says he did discuss the incidents and the information in the memorandum with the agency's Director, David Tarbell, and the Deputy Director, Peter Sullivan. He further recalls giving a copy of the memorandum to Michael Maloof, who was the Defense Technology Security Agency point of contact for coordination with enforcement agencies, to whom Rochlin believed such information might be referred for investigation.169
On December 7, 1998, the Department of Defense completed an initial assessment of the January 1995 Apstar 2 launch failure. The assessment was based on the Hughes Apstar 2 reports that had been provided to the Defense Department by the Commerce Department in June 1998.170
The Defense Department assessment concludes that the technical information provided to the PRC by the Hughes Apstar 2 failure analysis can be applied to either PRC rockets or ballistic missiles. The Defense Department considers that the assistance rendered to the PRC by Hughes in the 1995 Apstar 2 failure investigation was a "defense service," and clearly beyond the scope of the export jurisdiction of the Commerce Department.171
According to the Defense Department, "the conclusions outlined in the Hughes/Apstar materials provided to the PRC (and reviewed by the Defense Department for this assessment) were sufficiently specific to inform the PRC of the kinds of launch vehicle design or operational changes that would make the Long March 2E (and perhaps other launch vehicles as well) more reliable," 172 and could assist the PRC military in development of a more reliable fairing for use with ballistic missiles.173
Of these sub-teams, the last three most clearly involved rocket design considerations.
The following account of the activities of these three sub-teams is taken directly from the report of the Hughes Failure Investigation Team.
Coupled Loads: This sub-team reviewed all of the coupled loads analysis information that was available for the Long March 2E rocket/HS-601 satellite combination. They compared the flight data from the satellite accelerometers that have flown on the Long March, the Atlas, and the Ariane. They traveled to Beijing to work beside the CALT engineers to review and participate in the Coupled Loads Analysis methodology. They expanded the standard satellite dynamic model (normally good to 75 Hz) to be valid up to 100 Hz.
Structures: The structures sub-team analyzed the strength requirements and capabilities of the satellite, the interstage, and the rocket's fairing. They performed stress analysis and buckling analysis on the primary structure elements based on detailed knowledge of the satellite and on design information supplied by CALT. They analytically determined the strength requirements and capabilities of the rivets in the fairing zipper. They analytically determined the deformation characteristics and the strength of the dome structure. They analyzed the capabilities of the satellite and rocket clamp bands.174
Aerodynamics: The aerodynamics sub-team was formed in order to understand the forces applied to the fairing which, in turn, are transmitted to the satellite. This team used the expertise of the Hughes Missile Systems Group to determine the flow field around the fairing, the pressure distribution, and the resulting forces and moments on the fairing and launch vehicle. This team also reviewed the NASA SF8001 guidelines that classify the Long March 2E fairing configuration as "separated, unstable." The guideline strongly recommends a comprehensive wind tunnel test program.175
The Defense Department believes it is likely that the Failure Investigation Team's seven sub-teams provided some of the principal interfaces between Hughes and the PRC in the preparation of individual analytical pieces of the decision tree approach to defining the likely root cause of the failure. In one case, for example, Hughes reported that a sub-team worked "beside" PRC engineers "to review and participate in coupled loads analysis methodology" (quotation in original).176
Each of these sub-teams carried out technical efforts that involved identifying the causes of failure of the Long March 2E fairing, and may have contributed directly to redesign of the fairing to bring its structure up to adequate levels of strength. Moreover, there is indication in the Hughes report on the launch failure that not only the results of Hughes team and sub-team work, but also the methods and know-how based on experience in the areas of airload determination and structural analysis and design, may have been imparted to the PRC.
At a minimum, it appears evident from the Hughes Failure Investigation Team report that the PRC member of the International Oversight Team could have had access to all of it. Indeed, such access is guaranteed by the International Oversight Team's charter. The statement in the report that the Coupled Loads Analysis sub-team "traveled to China to work beside the CALT engineers to work and participate in the Coupled Loads Analysis methodology" indicates a much more focused channel for possible technical information exchange with the PRC.
The conclusion reached by the Hughes Failure Investigation Team was that the initial failure of the Long March 2E launch of the Apstar 2 occurred in the rocket fairing. This failure was caused by the aerodynamic forces, buffeting, and aeroelastic (that is, interactions between structural dynamics and airloads) effects that are encountered as the rocket enters the transonic phase of flight. These effects were accentuated by the winds aloft and wind shear that were high on the day of the launch.
The Hughes Failure Investigation Team also noted the importance of the fact that the 1992 failure of the Long March 2E carrying the Optus B2 satellite occurred under the same (winter) wind conditions that prevailed at the time of the 1995 Apstar 2 launch failure of the same PRC rocket. The Hughes team pointed out that the three successful Long March 2E launches all took place when such wind conditions did not prevail.
It was further concluded on the basis of structural analyses that the fairing failed either in the rivets of the fairing zipper or in the fiberglass nose dome. Hughes engineers actually made a detailed stress analysis of the redesign of the rivets in the fairing zipper.
Damage to National Security
From the Sharing of Coupled Loads Analysis
This analysis is based on a finite element model, a mathematical representation of the specified grid points that define the physical body of the satellite. Finite element analysis is the analysis of structural stress about the satellite body grid points.
Coupled loads analysis combines the satellite and rocket models for loads analysis. Information contained in the Hughes/Apstar materials indicates that, based on that analysis, Hughes learned that the PRC coupled loads analysis was deficient.
As with satellites and rockets, coupled loads analysis and finite element analysis are applied in the design and testing of missiles to the interaction of the components of a missile and warhead during launch.
The Defense Department believes it is reasonable to infer that, during the close collaboration between Hughes and PRC engineers, Hughes imparted to the PRC sufficient know-how to correct the overall deficiencies in their approach to coupled loads analysis and the PRC's finite elements model.177
Much of the work during the investigation appears to have been done in the PRC in close collaboration with PRC experts. Hughes clearly was concerned about the serious flaws in PRC modeling and analysis of aerodynamic loads on the Long March rocket's fairing. According to the Hughes/Apstar materials, among the lessons Hughes said it learned was that it cannot rely exclusively on the PRC to perform coupled loads analysis.
Damage to National Security
From Providing the PRC
The conclusions included:
There were also concerns about certain Long March rocket interfaces (such as the design of the clamp separation band) and inadequate vent area in the rocket's fairing.178
The Defense Department found that, over the course of about five months in early 1995, Hughes conducted a broad and in-depth investigation that involved significant and detailed technical interchanges between Hughes and PRC experts.179 These interactions specifically addressed a full range of possible causes for the failure that included a comprehensive analysis of the Hughes satellite and the PRC rocket fairing and flight loads.
The investigation's conclusions that were provided to the PRC were very specific and identified the need for modifications in the Long March rocket fairing design and in PRC launch operations.180
The PRC made several changes to the Long March 2E fairing in 1995 to address possible failure causes, including:
Further, the PRC modified the Long March 2E guidance system by adding a wind-bias trajectory compensation to limit the Long March 2E's angle of attack.
All of the above changes by the PRC directly addressed Hughes' recommendations conveyed to the PRC in the course of the failure investigation.
The Defense Department assessment concluded that:
Other Information Learned
By the PRC, and Defense Department Reaction
The joint investigation also provided the PRC with insight into U.S. diagnostic techniques for assessing defects in rocket and satellite design.
The Defense Department concluded that there was no evidence of any limits on the Apstar 2 investigation imposed by the Commerce Department or any other U.S. Government agency. As a consequence, the PRC and Hughes engaged in technical exchanges, such as those concerning coupled loads analysis and finite elements analysis, that would allow the PRC to gain specific insight into specific rocket design, operational problems, and corrective actions.181
In addition, the Defense Department report stated that
The Defense Department assessment also noted that its findings and conclusions are "necessarily preliminary in nature," given the incompleteness of the information available. For example, the Defense Department assessment properly noted the assistance a Hughes "subteam" provided in coupled loads analysis, but also that "the precise nature of the analyses performed and the composition of skills of the team members cannot be ascertained from the Hughes/Apstar materials reviewed by the Defense Department." 183
The State Department very recently completed its assessment of the assistance provided by Hughes to the PRC. The text of the State assessment is reproduced on the following pages:
Washington, D.C. 20520
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED
SUBJECT: Review of APSTAR II/Long March 2E Failure Investigation Data
We have completed our review of the documents associated with the APSTAR II/Long March 2E launch failure, and offer the following analysis for your review.
The launch failure investigation began in January 1995 immediately following the failed launch of the Chinese LM-2E space launch vehicle (SLV) with the Hughes Space and Communications (HSC) designed APSTAR II communications satellite payload onboard. The investigation involved the formation of several groups of technical experts by both the Chinese and Hughes. Additionally, both parties contracted an independent investigation team of private consultants and space industry experts. Throughout the course of the investigation, Chinese and Hughes personnel engaged in an extensive exchange of technical data and analyses. There were no US Government monitors overseeing these activities.
After a thorough review of the data provided to the Office of Defense Trade Controls (DTC), this office has concluded that:
Our review of the APSTAR II failure investigation centered upon documentation provided by Hughes Space and Communications to DTC. The data included memoranda, faxes, technical reports, etc. Thus, our final assessment is based on solely upon the exchange of written information between Hughes personnel and their Chinese counterparts. Accordingly, we have categorized our analysis by the kinds of work Hughes performed for the Chinese.
ANOMALY ANALYSIS/ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION
The differences between Hughes Space and Communications
and Chinese approaches to conducting the accident investigation
were substantial. The Hughes teams followed an in-depth and exacting
Telemetry (TLM) analysis helps re-create the events leading to an anomaly - one of the most critical elements of any accident investigation. Through-out the course of this investigation, Hughes Space and Communications provided detailed explanations of its TLM analyses and identified probable errors in Chinese analyses.
COUPLED LOADS ANALYSIS
The Hughes Space and Communications coupled loads analysis (CLA) team "spent extended time in Beijing with the CALT CLA team to understand and validate CLA methodology." In the course of these exchanges, Hughes shared modeling and calculation data, made comparisons to Western standards, and identified areas of concern in the Chinese CLA modeling processes. Both Hughes and the Independent Oversight Team (IOT), hired by Hughes and the Chinese, found discrepancies in Chinese CLA. Indeed, the Independent Spacecraft Review Team provided a telling insight into Chinese CLA efforts by stating, "there was definite confusion in understanding the static and dynamic envelopes for the complete stack assembly."
Hughes uncovered design and/or manufacturing flaws in the
payload fairing, and determined that they directly contributed
to the failure of two Chinese space launch vehicles. Additionally,
Hughes identified possible
Hughes made recommendations for improvements to Chinese testing methodologies and verified results of Chinese tests of hardware.
In October 1995, following the conclusion of their joint investigation with Hughes, Chinese technical experts publicly made a series of commitments to their insurers to improve their spacelift program. In each case, the Chinese had previously (through June 1995) concluded that no problems existed. Hughes, on the other hand, insisted from the outset of the investigation that there were problems, and provided the technical analyses to support their claims.
Hughes assistance directly supported the Chinese space program in the areas of anomaly analysis/accident investigation, telemetry analysis, coupled loads analysis, hardware design and manufacturing, testing, and weather analysis. Moreover, the assistance provided by Hughes is likely to improve the standing of the Chinese in the commercial launch market, as they make improvements in spacelift reliability and performance.
Hughes personnel knew the Chinese had problems in their space program. The Failure Investigation Team concluded that the Chinese launch failure hypothesis (provided independently from and prior to the Hughes failure report) failed to identify several key anomalies with the launch vehicle. Thus, we conclude Chinese anomaly analysis was not up to Western standards.
Comparing the APSTAR II failure to the January 1995 [actually February 1996] failure of a Long March-3B (INTELSAT payload) reveals similarities between the two cases. In both instances, the investigation teams identified common themes with regard to Chinese deficiencies in launchoperations, anomaly analysis, modeling and simulation, manufacturing, and quality control, etc. However, we conclude the APSTAR II investigation provided more detailed assistance to the Chinese than the more general support provided during the Long March 3B investigation. The two investigation reports, centering on different variants of the Long March vehicle family, offer strong evidence that the Chinese spacelift program suffers from poor reliability. The reports reveal that U.S. contractors knew where the Chinese program suffered from inadequacies. Moreover, the contractors often corrected errors in incomplete or incorrect analysis or filled in gaps where the Chinese simply lacked the technical knowledge.
Essentially, the APSTAR II failure investigation (and to some extent, the investigation of the Long March 3B) served as a tutorial for the Chinese, allowing them to improve on areas in which their spacelift program was weak. The Lessons Learned section of the Independent Spacecraft Review Team final report also offers commentary on the serious concerns HSC [Hughes] had with China's spacelift program: "HSC should never compromise on doing a coupled loads analysis. If politics, government constraints or vendor issues do not permit the analysis then it is our recommendation that this is not a suitable launch."
The impact and extent of any damage to U.S. national security
as a result of the Hughes accident investigation into the APSTAR
II launch failure is difficult to quantify. However, we believe
the assistance provided by Hughes to China will prove to be significant
to the degree it contributes to the increased reliability of
their launch vehicles. The recent record of Chinese space launches
in fact shows an improvement in reliability. The longer term
effect of increased launch reliability will be to improve the
rate of successful deployment of Chinese satellites and, in turn,
to facilitate China's access to space for commercial and military
(end of memo)
A senior technical consultant to the Select Committee, Dr. Alexander Flax, concluded that although the configuration of ballistic missile fairings (or shrouds) may be substantially different from the fairings employed on rockets, the methods for determining quasi-steady as well as vibratory and acoustic noise-generated flight loads would be the same.
The vibration spectrum of resonant frequencies varies as the launch trajectory is traversed. This complex of changing resonant conditions must be analyzed in relation to the changing aerodynamic, acoustic, buffeting, and wind shear forces that come into play along the launch trajectory. The resulting loads are resisted by the intricate structure of the fairing, and getting the distribution of loads and stresses right is not a simple task.
There is as much experience-based art as science in the successful application of the well-established numerical analysis and design methods available. It was the benefit of this experience and know-how that Hughes engineers could have made available to their PRC counterparts.
The Hughes engineers who worked on the failure investigation obviously believed that the PRC lacked an adequate understanding of buffeting loads. The final report of the Focus Team stated:
More explicitly, the report stated, "It is known that CALT [the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology] did not adequately take buffeting into account."
The Hughes engineers also believed the arbitrary split at the interface between satellite and rocket in the responsibilities for coupled load analyses led to errors in the analyses. The following strong view is expressed in the report:
Thus, the PRC experience and knowledge learned during the Apstar 2 failure investigation about the aerodynamic and other loading conditions and environments on rocket fairings, and the structural design process taking these conditions into account, would stand them in good stead in developing fairings (or shrouds) for ballistic missiles. Shrouds and fairings, even if differently configured, employ many common types of sub-components, including supports, rivets, domes, and explosive bolts.186
Fairings or shrouds are not common on single-warhead land-based ballistic missiles, although there are exceptions. Many submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) use fairings. While no currently deployed PRC intercontinental ballistic missiles use fairings, it is likely that the next generation of PRC intercontinental ballistic missiles or SLBMs will employ fairings or shrouds.
In 1997, the PRC was reportedly developing two intercontinental ballistic missiles, which could possibly carry multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (that is, multiple warheads on a single ballistic missile). While experts do not believe that the PRC is currently developing multiple independently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRVs) or multiple reentry vehicles (MRVs), they do agree that the PRC has the technical capability to develop missiles with MRV or MIRVs within a period of years of a decision to do so.187
If the PRC decided to deploy MRV or MIRVed missiles, it is likely that the payloads would be protected by a shroud, since only one MIRVed missile, the Russian SS-20, does not employ a shroud.
Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie, a former Little Rock, Arkansas restaurateur and friend of President Clinton, was indicted on January 28, 1998 and charged with participating in a conspiracy by, among other activities, attempting to obtain benefits by circumventing the Federal Election Campaign Act.188
In the early 1990s, Trie formed an import-export business known as Daihatu International Trading Corporation, and used that business to make frequent trips to the PRC.189 He arranged for at least eight delegations of PRC government officials and others to visit the United States.190 Trie visited the White House at least 23 times from 1993 through 1996.191
Trie, his family, and his businesses contributed a total of $220,000 to the Democratic National Committee between 1994 and 1996. During that same period, Trie and his businesses received a total of approximately $1.5 million by wire transfer from foreign sources.
In May 1996, he received $100,000 from the CP Group, shareholders in the PRC-controlled Asia Pacific Telecommunications consortium and the Apstar satellite program. Trie was also involved in extensive fundraising activities, including fundraising for the Presidential Legal Expense Trust, which later decided to return all of Trie's donations.192
Trie's political activities paved the way for his appointment to the Commission on United States/Pacific Trade and Investment Policy, which was to advise the President "on the steps the United States should take to achieve a significant opening of Japan, China and other Asian and Pacific markets to U.S. business." 193 In a March 1996 letter to the President, Trie expressed concern over U.S. intervention in the tense situation that arose from military exercises being conducted by the PRC near the coast of Taiwan.194
Justice Department officials have obtained from a search of Trie's Little Rock, Arkansas, office handwritten notes in Mandarin on stationery from the Hong Kong International Hotel. No analysis of the handwriting has been provided to the Select Committee. The note contains approximately 16 separate items. The first three items read as follows:
HUGHES U.S. GOVERNMENT
EXPORT CONTROL LICENSES
BRIBERY PROBLEM - GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL
The Select Committee attempted to contact Trie through his attorney, but Trie refused to provide the Select Committee with any information or testimony because of his upcoming trial. Similarly, the Justice Department has declined to provide the Select Committee with any further information.
Further investigation is warranted along several paths, including:
The Defense Department report also calls for further investigation
of the details of the information provided by Hughes.195
The design of a fairing is governed by a myriad of factors including its weight, contribution to overall vehicle drag, structural strength, cost, and the size and shape of satellites it is to enclose.
The relationship between fairing shape and just two of these factors - weight and drag - for a class of fairings of simple geometrical shape is shown above.
The question of whether minimum weight or minimum drag should be given greater emphasis depends on the details of the launch. If the fairing can be dropped early in the flight, low drag is more important. If satellite payload protection is needed through a large part of the launch trajectory, then the weight of the fairing becomes more significant in launch performance.
Given a specific fairing design, and a specific launch trajectory, the weight-drag tradeoff influences the altitude at which the satellite is separated from the rocket.
Cost and ease of manufacturing can also be factors in shaping fairings. The following graphic shows the evolution of fairings for the NASA Saturn rockets. The evolution was toward a single frustum/cone, and it occured on the basis of compromises of effects on vehicle performance with volume enclosed, fairing manufacturability, and cost.
Overshadowing these factors, however, is the requirement that the fairing be shaped to enclose the payload being launched. For large payloads, such as the current generation of communication satellites, the satellite containment requirement often leads to the use of hammerhead fairings (see illustration below) in which the maximum diameter of the fairing exceeds the diameter of the uppermost stage of the rocket. This type of fairing is subject to severe buffeting loads as it traverses the transonic speed region due to unstable aerodynamic flow separation and shock waves in the transonic region.
Land-based ballistic missiles with single warheads usually do not have fairings (or shrouds, as such components are more often called in missile terminology) covering the warhead. However, ballistic missiles with multiple reentry vehicles (MRVs) and multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs) usually do have shrouds, although with advanced nuclear weapon design, the density of the payload is high and the volumes to be enclosed are usually smaller than for communication satellites. Consequently, hammerhead designs do not seem to have been used for the shrouds on ballistic missile systems carrying multiple warheads.
However, it should not be assumed that single warhead missiles never use fairings, while multiple warhead missiles always use them. The U.S. Minuteman II ICBM faired its single, relatively blunt reentry vehicle in order to present a lower radar cross section at a time when a widely-deployed Soviet ABM system seemed to be in the offing. Moreover, this fairing was not shed until well into atmospheric reentry.
Another possible use of fairings would be to protect road-mobile missiles from the rigors of the environments to which they would be exposed, although covers that would be discarded before launch would be more likely.
Finally, in some cases, a shroud or partial shroud in the form of a nose cap might be used for drag reduction in the case of a blunt reentry vehicle. Again, the likelihood of hammerhead fairings being used for this purpose is not great.
In the case of the U.S. Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile, because of the limited length of the launch tubes, the shroud is blunt on launch, but a device known as an "aerospike" is extended forward from the front end to reduce drag in flight through the atmosphere.
Thus, the most likely PRC ballistic missile use of fairings would be on missiles equipped with MRVs or MIRVs, or on a submarine-launched missile. If the United States goes forward with a National Missile Defense program, the motivation to employ either MRVs or MIRVs may become compelling for the PRC. In the same vein, the incentives to employ various types of penetration aids (chaff, balloons, decoys, distributed jammers, etc.) will increase, and shrouds may be used to protect them and their deployment mechanisms.
Although the detailed configuration of ballistic missile fairings may be substantially different from the fairings used on rockets, the methods for determining quasi-steady as well as vibratory and acoustic noise-generated flight loads, and for designing the structure to resist these loads, would be the same.
Thus, the PRC experience and knowledge of the aerodynamic and other loading conditions and environments on rocket fairings, and the structural design process taking these conditions into account, would stand them in good stead in developing fairings (or shrouds) for ballistic missiles.
While the basic theories and experimental methods for determining flight loads and environmental conditions on rockets are in the public domain, the successful application of these theories and methods in design often requires know-how and engineering judgment derived from experience. Thus, for example, a recent text (Space Vehicle Mechanics, Elements of Successful Design, Peter L. Conley, Editor, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1998, pg. 589), in discussing the qualification factors to which rocket components are to be designed and tested, cites some differences between the military and NASA standards, and then goes on to say:
1 See a more detailed discussion of U.S. export controls
and licensing requirements in the chapter entitled "U.S.
Export Policy Toward the PRC."
CHAPTER 5 TEXT | CHAPTER 5 NOTES