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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. 721                                                       2016 Jan 18  Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 46 continues aboard ISS with Scott Kelly, Mikhail
Kornienko, Sergey Volkov, Yuriy Malenchenko, Tim Kopra and Tim Peake.

On Dec 17 the Mobile Transporter (the truck that the SSRMS Canadarm-2
robot arm rides on) got stuck just after leaving worksite 4, one of the
stations on the truss railway. The MT has two CETA carts attached to it,
and the brakes on one CETA were accidentally engaged - probably left in
the wrong position on an earlier spacewalk. Since a stuck MT is
considered a safety issue for dockings, astronauts Kelly and Kopra made
a spacewalk on Dec 21 to release the brake. They also completed some
left-over cabling tasks. The Quest airlock was depressurized at about
1238 UTC and repressurized at 1601 UTC. Kelly and Kopra used EMU suits
3010 and 3011. The MT is now working fine.

The Progress M-28M cargo ship undocked from Pirs at 0735 UTC Dec 19 and was
deorbited over the South Pacific, with debris impact at 1128 UTC.

On Dec 21 Russia launched the first Progress-MS cargo ship. Progress-MS is similar
to previous Progress ships but with improved onboard systems. It docked with
the Pirs module at 1027 UTC Dec 23.

On Jan 15 astronauts Kopra and Peake made a spacewalk from the Quest
airlock in EMU suits 3011 and 3008. They replaced the Sequential Shunt
Unit (SSU) electronics box at the base of the 1B solar array on the S6
truss segment. The replacement SSU was launched on STS-96 in 1999 and
had been stored since then inside Unity and then PMA-3 until being
unpacked in December for the spacewalk. The old SSU failed on Nov 13,
shutting down power to the 1B solar array (one of eight on ISS). Full
power has now been restored. The astronauts also continued cabling work
for the IDA docking adapter and relocated a vent on the Tranquility
module. The spacewalk was cut short when Kopra's suit developed a small
water leak which accumulated in his helmet; this was the same suit that
had a more serious leak during Luca Parmitano's spacewalk in Jul 2013,
but it's not clear if the two problems are related. Kopra and Peake
depressurized Quest at about 1243 UTC and ventured outside at 1300 UTC,
returning with hatch closure at 1727 UTC and repressurization at 1731
UTC. Peake, who is a European Space Agency astronaut sponsored by the
UK, made the first UK-flagged spacewalk,  and the first spacewalk by a
British citizen who is not also a dual-nationality US citizen.


Two more European Galileo FOC-class navigation satellites were launched on Dec 17.
The Soyuz rocket and Fregat stage delivered them to the target orbits. 

    GalileoSat 11  = FOC FM8 = GSAT0208 = Adriana
    GalileoSat 12  = FOC FM9 = GSAT0209 = Liene

Falcon 9

On Dec 22 SpaceX launched their first Falcon 9 since the CRS-7 failure.
Core F9-021 was also the first 'full thrust' Falcon 9 with improved performance.
The primary payload was a cluster of Orbcomm OG2 comm satellites. The 11 OG2s
and one non-separating mass simulator were mounted on the circumference of
a dispenser consisting of three ESPA rings attached to the second stage.
After the satellites were deployed, the second stage was deorbited.

The first stage shut down at an altitude of around 80 km and a velocity
of 1.65 km/s (Earth-relative), just before stages 1 and 2 separated.
The stage reached an apogee of around 200 km before beginning a boostback
burn to kill its eastward velocity and send it back towards Florida.
Following a third, reentry, burn the stage landed back at Cape Canaveral's
Landing Zone 1 (former pad 13). The fully controlled vertical landing came
at 0139 UTC Dec 22.

On the US West Coast, another Falcon 9 was launched on Jan 17 with the
Jason-3 satellite. This was vehicle F9-019, the last version 1.1 core;
it took off southbound from Space Launch Complex 4-East at Vandenberg AFB
at 1842 UTC, entered a 175 x 1321 km x 66 deg transfer orbit at 1851
UTC, and circularized the orbit at apogee with spacecraft separation at
1938 UTC. The second stage was then deorbited with a burn at around 1945
UTC lowering perigee into the atmosphere, leading to a reentry around
2030 UTC over the northeastern Pacific. Meanwhile the first stage
completed a boostback burn and flew down to the center of the target on
the ASDS ship "Just Read The Instructions" in the Pacific at about 1852
UTC. However, on landing one of the deployed legs failed to lock in
place and the vehicle toppled and was destroyed.

Jason-3 is the fourth in a series of French/US satellites carrying the
Poseidon altimeter to measure sea surface height across the world, an
important parameter in climate change studies. The satellites also carry
microwave radiometers. The first Poseidon satellite was the
TOPEX/Poseidon research experiment  which operated from 1992 to 2006.
This was followed on by the progressively more operational Jason series;
Jason-1 in 2001-2013, and the still operational Jason-2 launched in
2008. The 550 kg satellite is built by Thales Alenia (Cannes) using the
Proteus bus and owned by the French space agency CNES. Lead agencies for
the overall Jason-3 program are the US weather agency NOAA and the
European weather satellite group EUMETSAT, taking over from CNES and JPL
who led the earlier missions.


Russia launched the Ekspress-AMU1 satellite on Dec 24. Ekspress-AMU1,
built by Astrium using the Eurostar 3000 bus, has 61 Ku-band
transponders and 10 Ka transponders. The  multi-beam Ka antennas use a
new feed array developed  by Airbus Defense and Space.

Gao Fen 4

China's Gao Fen 4 high resolution imaging satellite was launched into
geotransfer orbit on Dec 28. GF-4 has a 50-metre-resolution imager.


The first Belarussian communications satellite, Belintersat 1, was launched on Jan 15.
The satellite is a Chinese-built DFH-4 with a mass of 5200 kg, and it rode a
Chinese CZ-3B to geotransfer orbit. Belintersat is a state-sponsored private
company and will provide services to Belarus and central Europe.

2015 Orbital Launches

There were 87 orbital launch attempts. Three launches (2 US, 1 Russian)
failed to reach orbit. Two Russian launches reached the correct orbit
but had failures at payload separation. Of the 84 launches reaching
orbit, one (Vega VV04) did not receive an international designation.
These 84 launches included
 - 25 Russian (14 Soyuz, 7 Proton, 2 Rokot, 1 Zenit, 1 Dnepr)
 - 19 Chinese (16 CZ2/3/4, 1 CZ6, 1 CZ11)
 - 18 US  (9 Atlas 5, 6 Falcon 9, 2 Delta 4, 1 Delta 2)
  - 9 European (Ariane, Vega)
  - 5 Indian 
  - 4 Japanese
  - 1 Iranian
  - 3 Russian/European Soyuz-ST launches from French Guiana.

I remain uncertain whether I should count the Soyuz-from-French-Guiana missions
as Russian, European, or joint. They are owned by Arianespace but the vehicle
is fully Russian and I believe most of the launch crew are.

Even neglecting these, Russia remains the leader in number of orbital launches;
China continues strengthening its record.

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

Dec  3 0404   LISA Pathfinder     Vega               Kourou ZLV       Astron/Tech    70A   S41043    En route SEL1
Dec  5 1409   Kosmos-2511  )      Soyuz-2-1V         Plesetsk LC43/4  Imaging        71A   S41098    685 x   694 x  98.2 
              Kosmos-2512  )                                          Calibration    71B   S41099    684 x   693 x  98.2 0600LT SSO
Dec  6 2144   Deke Slayton II     Atlas V 401        Canaveral SLC41  Cargo          72A   S41101    404 x   418 x  51.6 Docked ISS
Dec  9 1646   Zhongxing 1C        Chang Zheng 3B     Xichang          Comms          73A   S41103  35777 x 35796 x   0.1
Dec 11 1345   Elektro-L No. 2     Zenit-3SLBF        Baykonur LC45/1  Weather        74A   S41105  35680 x 35813 x   0.1 GEO drift
Dec 13 0019   Kosmos-2513         Proton-M/Briz-M    Baykonur LC81/24 Comms          75A   S41121    401 x 35657 x  48.6
Dec 15 1103   Soyuz TMA-19M       Soyuz-FG           Baykonur LC1     Spaceship      76A   S41124    404 x   418 x  51.6 Docked ISS
Dec 16 1230   TeLEOS-1    )                                           Imaging        77D   S41169    534 x   549 x  15.0
              VELOX-C1    )                                           Weather(RO)    77A   S41166    533 x   549 x  15.0
              Kent Ridge 1)       PSLV-CA            Sriharikota LP1  Imaging        77B   S41167    533 x   549 x  15.0
              VELOX-II    )                                           Tech           77F   S41171    536 x   549 x  15.0
              Galassia    )                                           Sci/Tech       77E   S41170    528 x   548 x  15.0
              Athenoxat-1 )                                           Imaging        77C   S41168    531 x   548 x  15.0
Dec 17 0012   Wukong              Chang Zheng 2D     Jiuquan          Astron         78A   S41173    487 x   504 x  97.3
Dec 17 1151   GalileoSat-11 )     Soyuz-ST-B         CSG ELS          Navigation     79A   S41174  23511 x 23568 x  55.0
              GalileoSat-12 )                                         Navigation     79B   S41175  23552 x 23617 x  55.0
Dec 21 0844   Progress MS         Soyuz-2-1A         Baykonur LC31    Cargo          80A   S41177    270 x   279 x  51.6
Dec 22 0129   Orbcomm FM105 )     Falcon 9 FT        Canaveral SLC40  Comms          81C   S41181    613 x   657 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM108 )                                         Comms          81J   S41187    614 x   658 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM110 )                                         Comms          81D   S41182    614 x   657 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM112 )                                         Comms          81F   S41184    614 x   657 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM113 )                                         Comms          81G   S41185    613 x   657 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM114 )                                         Comms          81A   S41178    613 x   655 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM115 )                                         Comms          81H   S41186    612 x   654 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM116 )                                         Comms          81L   S41189    613 x   656 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM117 )                                         Comms          81K   S41188    614 x   656 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM118 )                                         Comms          81E   S41183    613 x   654 x  47.0
              Orbcomm FM119 )                                         Comms          81B   S41180    613 x   654 x  47.0
Dec 24 2131   Ekspress-AMU1       Proton-M/Briz-M   Baykonur LC200/39 Comms          82A   S41191   4323 x 35760 x  22.4
Dec 28 1604   Gao Fen 4           Chang Zheng 3B    Xichang LC2       Imaging        83A   S41194    205 x 35806 x  23.0
Jan 15 1657   Belintersat-1       Chang Zheng 3B    Xichang LC3       Comms          01A   S41238    193 x 41730 x  26.4
Jan 17 1842   Jason-3             Falcon 9 v1.1     Vandenberg SLC4E  Climate        02A   S41240   1295 x  1320 x  66.0

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

Japan's JAXA launched an S-310 sounding rocket on Jan 15 to study plasma heating in the ionosphere.

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

Dec  1 0500   MASER 13         VSB-30              Kiruna, Sweden        Microgravity  270?      ESRANGE B Zone, Sweden
Dec  5 0600   DXL-2            Black Brant 9       White Sands           X-ray Astron  238       White Sands
Dec  8        CTV-02           SM-3 Block IIA      San Nicolas I, Calif. Test          100?      Point Mugu Sea Range
Dec 10 0612   Target           Silver Sparrow  F-15D, Med. Sea           Target        150?      Intercepted
Dec 10 0615   Arrow 3 KV       Arrow 3             Palmachim, Israel     Interceptor   150?      Intercept 
Dec 10        FTO-O2E1a Target SRALT?          C-17, Pacific Ocean       Target        300?      Intercepted
Dec 10        Aegis KV         SM-3 Block IB       Kauai                 Interceptor   150?      Intercept 
Dec 10 1355   PAC-3 Target     Juno                Ft. Wingate, NM       Target        100?      White Sands
Dec 11        Shaheen RV       Shaheen III         Somniani?,Pakistan    Test          500?      Arabian Sea
Dec 12        RV x 4?          Sineva          K-51, Barents Sea         Test         1000?      Kura, Kamchatka
Dec 13 0432   RENU 2           Black Brant XIIA    Andoya, Norway        Auroral       447       Andoya range
Dec 15        Shaheen RV       Shaheen IA          Somniani?,Pakistan    Test          100?      Arabian Sea
Dec 18 0652   FORTIS 3         Black Brant IX      White Sands           UV Astron     282       White Sands
Dec 24 1755   Topol'-E RV?     Topol'              Kapustin Yar          Reentry test 1000?      Sary Shagan
Jan 15 0300   S-310-44         S-310               Uchinoura             Ionosphere    161       Pacific Ocean

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