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The Space Report ("JSR") is issued about twice a month. It describes all space launches, including both piloted missions and automated satellites. Back issues are available online. To receive the JSR each week by direct email, subscribe at Feel free to reproduce the JSR as long as you're not doing it for profit. If you are doing so regularly, please inform Jonathan by email. Comments, suggestions, and corrections are encouraged. See here for translations to other languages.

You can mail Jonathan McDowell at planet4589 at gmail dot com.

See also:

JSR STOP PRESS - the draft of NEXT week's JSR, updated throughout the week.

GEOSTATIONARY SATELLITE LOG with a catalog of all known satellites ever in the geosynchronous ring and their reasonably current positions.

LAUNCH LOG - My best attempt at a complete listing of all satellite launch attempts.

Jonathan's Space Home Page - with links to lots of other space data not available elsewhere.

SATELLITE CATALOG - My version of the Space Command satellite catalog, providing a cross reference between catalog number and international designation. Corrections are welcome.

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 711                                                      2015 Apr 15     Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 43 continues under the command of Terry Virts, with FE-3
Anton Shkaplerov and FE-4 Samantha Cristoforetti joined by Gennadiy
Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly after the TMA-16M (flight
42S) docking. 

Soyuz TMA-16M was launched on Mar 27, docking with the Poisk module
5h50m after launch. Soyuz TMA-15M is docked at Rassvet; Progress M-25M
is docked at Pirs and Progress M-26M at Zvezda. 

The Dragon CRS-6 supply ship was launched on Apr 14. Its Falcon 9 launch
vehicle delivered it into a 206 x 357 km orbit. The Falcon 9's first
stage was flown down to the barge 'Just Read The Instructions' in the
Atlantic but, according to tweets by Elon Musk, valve stiction caused
control problems in the final burn and the stage crash-landed.

CRS-6 carries 16 cubesats: 14 3U-size Flock-1e for Planet Labs, one
Arkyd-3R for Planetary Resources (also a 3U) and a 1U cubesat,
Centennial-1, for Booz Allen Hamilton carrying an Air Force Research Lab
imaging experiment. The cubesats will be transferred to the Kibo module
after Dragon docking and ejected into orbit via the NanoRacks deployers and
the Kibo robot arm. CRS-6 also carries a number of mice aboard the Rodent
Research 2 package, and a 20 kg microgravity-qualified Lavazza espresso machine
(I'm a little surprised any Italian astronauts agreed to fly to ISS before
installation of this essential life support equipment. For the record, I'm a tea
drinker myself.)


The European Commission's GalileoSat-7 and 8 (ESA designation Galileo
FOC FM03 and FM04) were launched on Mar 27 by a Soyuz/Fregat. This time
the launch went perfectly and delivered the satellites to a 23500 x
23580 km x 55.1 deg orbit.


South Korea's Arirang-3A (KOMPSAT-3A) imaging satellite was launched on
a Kosmotras Dnepr from a silo at the Yasniy missile base in Russia on
Mar 25 into a 522 x 540 km x 97.5 deg sun-synchronous orbit at 0130
local time descending node. The Dnepr third stage ended up in a 524 x
1440 km orbit.


The Information Gathering Satellite Optical-5 was launched on Mar 26 from Japan.
The spy satellite is operated by the Japanese government. It has been tracked
by hobbyist observers in a 500 km sun-synchronous orbit.


GPS flight IIF-9, space vehicle SVN71, nicknamed Deneb, was launched on Mar 25 by
a Delta 4 into a 12-hour-period orbit to join the navigation constellation.


The 4th Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System payload was launched on Mar 28.
The 1425 kg satellite joined its siblings IRNSS-1A and 1B in inclined synchronous orbit with an 
orbit on Apr 12 of 35699 x 35870 km x 30.5 deg. IRNSS-1C is in equatorial GEO.

Beidou daohang weixing 17

The BDW 17 satellite, first in the Beidou-3 generation of Chinese navigation satellites,
was launched on Mar 30. For the first time the CZ-3C rocket used an additional, 4th, stage,
the Yuanzheng-1 (Expedition-1). The stage uses UDMH/N2O4 storable propellants like the
Briz-M or Fregat, but has even lower thrust -  only 6.5 kN - and so will need yet longer
burn times.

The the CZ-3C third stage has been tracked in a 194 x 25307 km x 54.9
deg transfer orbit, and as of Apr 12  an object (40549) that is probably Beidou
is in a 35796 x 36781 km x 55.0 deg orbit  drifting over 120E. The YZ-1
stage has not yet been tracked; its orbit is probably a little higher
than Beidou following a depletion burn. It's possible however that YZ-1
is 40549 and it's Beidou that hasn't been found yet.


A Rokot launch vehicle placed three 225-kg Gonets-M message relay satellites
in a 1500 km polar orbit on Mar 31. Gonets-M is the civilian version of the
military Strela-3/Rodnik system. As with other recent Gonets and Strela launches,
an additional military payload was carried. For the first time, this payload
was ejected from the Briz-KM upper stage after its depletion burn, and so
ended up in a lower perigee orbit than the Gonets trio. The payload, Kosmos-2504,
began small orbit maneuvers on Apr 9.


The Cassini probe made a 2275 km flyby of Titan at 1430 UTC Mar 16. The probe is
now in a 276000 x 3164000 km x 0.3 deg equatorial Saturn orbit.


Dawn entered the Ceres Hill sphere (where Ceres gravity wins out over the Sun's,
mumble mumble caveat equivocate...) on Jan 26 and flew past Ceres at a
distance of 38600 km on Feb 23. Slowing down as it arced out, it became
bound to Ceres on Mar 6 at a distance of 60000 km. Initial orbit was
38000 km pericereal height (or peridemeter as Marc Rayman would prefer)
at an inclination of 34 deg to the Ceres equator. Dawn reached an
apocereal height of 75850 km on Mar 19 and slowly reapproached Ceres as
the ion drive twisted the orbital inclination to a pure polar orbit of
15900 x 62900 km x 90.0 deg by Apr 13. The next predicted pericereal
pass is at 15970 km on Apr 18. The bright spots seen in early Dawn
images of Ceres remain mysterious at this writing.

Debunking PASCAL-B

Following on from the previous issue's discussion of the Zwicky Pellets,
by popular demand (i.e. one guy who asked) this time I tackle the internet
story that goes 'we launched a manhole cover into solar orbit'. 

On 1957 Aug 27 at 2235 UTC, at area U3d of the Nevada Test Site
( the PASCAL-B
Pu-fission/HE device was detonated with a yield of 0.3 kT. The test was
carried out in an underground shaft sealed  with a 900 kg, 1.2 m dia
0.1m thick steel cap. According to test scientist Bob Brownlee,
calculations showed that the cap left the silo travelling vertically at
about 60 km/s, much higher than Earth escape velocity. Although Brownlee
did not claim the cap would actually escape Earth, the story has been
exaggerated to claim the cap might be in solar orbit.  

However, a simple calculation shows that even ignoring ablation, heat
transfer and gravity, the effects of atmospheric drag in the lower
atmosphere would slow the cap below escape velocity before it reached 2
km altitude (and then essentially stop it well within the atmosphere).
So, PASCAL-B did not reach space. I encourage readers with expertise in
ablation hydro or supernova shocks to perform the relevant calculations,
but I assume the cap was shredded and melted so that no macroscopic
debris fell back to the ground. The initial kinetic energy of the cap
was 3 terajoules. If you convert all that energy to thermal and share it
among 900 kg of Fe atoms (ignoring the fact that we heat the air too) I
get a temperature of about 20 million K. That's certainly an
overestimate but indicates that plenty of energy is available to
vaporise the material.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission       INTL.   Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes
                                                                                                      km      km   deg

Mar  2 0125   Flock 1b-21  )                        ISS Kibo, LEO    Imaging       98-67FQ S40427    395 x    402 x  51.7
              Flock 1b-22  )                                         Imaging       98-67FR S40428    395 x    402 x  51.7
Mar  2 0350   ABS-3A           ) Falcon 9 v1.1      Canaveral SLC40  Comms           10A   S40424    358 x  63319 x  24.8
              Eutel.115 West B )                                     Comms           10B   S40425    360 x  63379 x  24.8
Mar  2 0845   Flock 1b-9   )                        ISS Kibo, LEO    Imaging       98-67FS S40429    392 x    407 x  51.6
              Flock 1b-10  )                                         Imaging       98-67FT S40430    398 x    413 x  51.6
Mar  3 0300   Flock 1d'-1  )                        ISS Kibo, LEO    Imaging       98-67FU S40451    393 x    405 x  51.6
              Flock 1d'-2  )                                         Imaging       98-67FV S40452    393 x    406 x  51.6
Mar  3 1050   Flock 1b-5   )                        ISS Kibo, LEO    Imaging       98-67FW S40453    394 x    407 x  51.6
              Flock 1b-6   )                                         Imaging       98-67FX S40454    392 x    407 x  51.6
Mar  4 0120   TechEdSat-4  )                        ISS Kibo, LEO    Tech          98-67FY S40455    393 x    402 x  51.6
              GEARRSat     )                                         Comms         98-67FZ S40456    395 x    404 x  51.6
Mar  4 0830   MicroMAS     )                        ISS Kibo, LEO    Sci           98-67GA S40457    393 x    406 x  51.6
              LambdaSat    )                                         Tech/Comms    98-67GB S40458    393 x    405 x  51.6
Mar  5 0145   Flock 1b-11  )                        ISS Kibo, LEO    Imaging       98-67GC S40459    395 x    405 x  51.6
              Flock 1b-12  )                                         Imaging       98-67GD S40460    395 x    405 x  51.6
Mar 13 0244   MMS 1 )             Atlas V 421       Canaveral SLC41  Sci             11A   S40482    559 x  70130 x  28.9
              MMS 2 )                                                Sci             11B   S40483    554 x  70159 x  28.9
              MMS 3 )                                                Sci             11C   S40484    554 x  70174 x  28.9
              MMS 4 )                                                Sci             11D   S40485    554 x  70190 x  28.9
Mar 18 2205   Ekspress AM-7       Proton-M/Briz-M   Baykonur LC200/39 Comms          12A   S40505   5406 x  35752 x  19.9
Mar 25 1836   GPS SVN 71          Delta 4M+(4,2)    Canaveral SLC37  Nav             13A   S40534  20466 x  20468 x  55.0
Mar 25 2208   Arirang-3A          Dnepr             Yasniy Sh370/13  Imaging         14A   S40536    522 x    540 x  97.5 0130LT
Mar 26 0121   IGS Optical 5       H-IIA 202         Tanegashima      Imaging         15A   S40538    511 x    515 x  97.5 1015LT
Mar 27 1942   Soyuz TMA-16M       Soyuz-FG          Baykonur LC1     Spaceship       16A   S40540    198 x    213 x  51.6
Mar 27 2146   GalileoSat-7 )      Soyuz ST-B/Fregat CSG ELS          Nav             17A   S40544  23566 x  23606 x  55.1
              GalileoSat-8 )                                         Nav             17B   S40545  23564 x  23570 x  55.1
Mar 28 1149   IRNSS-1D            PSLV-XL           Sriharikota      Nav             18A   S40547    277 x  20569 x  19.2
Mar 30 1352   Beidou DW 17        Chang Zheng 3C/YZ1 Xichang LC2     Nav             19A   S40549  35796 x  36781 x  55.0 
Mar 31 1348   Gonets-M No. 21)    Rokot             Plesetsk LC133   Comms           20A   S40552   1497 x   1508 x  82.5
              Gonets-M No. 22)                                       Comms           20B   S40553   1496 x   1507 x  82.5
              Gonets-M No. 23)                                       Comms           20C   S40554   1494 x   1506 x  82.5
              Kosmos-2504    )                                       Experimental?   20D   S40555   1172 x   1515 x  82.5      
Apr 14 2010   Dragon CRS-6        Falcon 9 v1.1     Canaveral SLC40  Cargo           21A   S40588    205 x    360 x  51.6

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

The US Air Force Global Strike Command launched two Minuteman 3 ICBMs
from Vandenberg on a regular test of the system. Tests GT214GM and
GT215GM each carried a single reentry vehicle which splashed down in the
ocean near Guam. Minuteman tests usually aim their reentry vehicle at
Kwajalein Atoll although, since 2006, occasional flights to test the
missile's maximum range have used the Guam target area instead.

Date UT     Payload/Flt Name  Launch Vehicle  Site                   Mission    Apogee/km

Mar  1 2133   RV               Hwasong 6?          Nampo, N Korea   Test          134
Mar  1 2141   RV               Hwasong 6?          Nampo, N Korea   Test          134
Mar  5 0144   WADIS 2          VS-30               Andoya           Atm.Sci       126
Mar  9        RV               Shaheen 3           Somniani?        Test          500? 
Mar 17 0915   REXUS 17         Imp. Orion          Kiruna           Micrograv      81
Mar 18 1330   REXUS 18         Imp. Orion          Kiruna           Micrograv      81
Mar 18        RV               Rubezh              Kapustin Yar     Test         1000?
Mar 23 1036   Mk 12/21 RV?     Minuteman 3         Vandenberg LF10  Test         1300?
Mar 27 1054   Mk 12/21 RV?     Minuteman 3         Vandenberg LF04  Test         1300?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |                                    |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |  twitter: @planet4589              |
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