[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 633

Jonathan McDowell jcm at www.planet4589.org
Wed Oct 20 01:50:05 EDT 2010

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 633                                             2010 Oct 19 Somerville, MA


A new edition of my suborbital and orbital launch database is now online at 
It contains 66136 launches.

Shuttle and Station

Soyuz TMA-01M, Soyuz TMA-19, Progress M-05M, and Progress M-07M
are docked to the ISS. Discovery is on pad 39A preparing for the STS-133
mission. Soyuz TMA-01M was launched on Oct 7 carrying
Aleksandr Kaleri, Oleg Skripochka and Scott Kelly and docked with
the Poisk module at 0001 UTC on Oct 10.

The Expedition 24 crew  Skvortsov, Kornienko and Caldwell-Dyson
transferred to Soyuz TMA-18 on Sep 24 and prepared to undock from the
Poisk module, but the latches failed to work correctly and the landing
was cancelled; the crew returned to the Station while troubleshooting
continued. Undocking the next day was successful at 0203 UTC Sep 25; the
deorbit burn at 0431 UTC put TMA-18 on a trajectory to intersect the
Earth's atmosphere. The spaceship landed in Kazakhstan at 0523 UTC.

Expedition 25 officially began on 2010 Sep 25 at 0203 UTC. The current
station crew are commander Doug Wheelock, FE-6 Shannon Walker, FE-5
Fyodor Yurchikin, FE-1 Aleksandr Kaleri, FE-2 Oleg Skripochka and FE-3
Scott Kelly.

USA 215

Ted Molczan reported on SeeSat on Sep 22 that Bob Christy and Brad Young
have observed the USA 215 satellite, launched the previous day, in a
1057 x 1072 km x 123.0 deg orbit. By Oct 17 the satellite was in an 1102
x 1105 km x 123.0  deg orbit. The AV-025 Centaur stage has not been
cataloged and probably was deorbited shortly after deploying USA 215. 

This retrograde orbit is unusual - some previous radar satellites have been
launched into 57 degree orbits, and this is the equivalent but going westward
instead of eastward. That costs extra fuel since you are fighting the Earth's
rotation instead of gaining from it. The altitude is also rather higher
than earlier surveillance satellites.


China's second lunar probe was launched on Oct 1. On Oct 6 at around 0314 UTC it
entered a 119 x 8599 km lunar orbit (info from nasaspaceflight.com). By
Oct 9 it was in a 100 x 100 km orbit around the Moon.

Shi Jian 6 Group 4

The fourth pair of SJ-6 satellites was launched on Oct 6 into a 588 x
604 km x 97.8 deg orbit. Shijian liuhao 4 zu A xing is a small satellite
built by CAST/Beijing. Its companion,  Shijian liuhao 4 zu B xing, is a
larger satellite (perhaps 1000 kg) built by the Shanghai academy. The
satellites may have some kind of military surveillance role. 
As noted by to Igor Lissov on nasaspaceflight.com, the B xing spent
form Oct 10 to 14 in a lower 566 x 604 km orbit to adjust its orbital
position relative to A, and then moved up again to match orbits with A.

Yaogan Weixing 11

Yaogan Weixing shi yihao (YW-11) was launched from the Jiuquan space center
on Sep 22 into a 625 x 656 km x 98.0 deg sun-synchronous orbit.
Two 3.5 kg subsatellites build by Zhejiang University were also deployed.
The Xinhua news agency refers to them as two "Pixing 1A" satellites.
According to china.org.cn, the Zheda Pixing 1A (or ZDPS-1A) satellites
carry cameras for Earth imaging.


The first Space-Based Surveillance Satellite, SBSS, was launched on Sep
26 from Vandenberg into a 631 x 633 km x 97.8 deg orbit. This was also
the first four-stage Minotaur IV launch (a three stage Minotaur IV Lite
put HTV-2a on a suborbital flight path on Apr 22). SBSS will track
satellites and space debris, supplementing the ground-based tracking
network. It was developed following the success of the experimental SBV
sensor on the MSX satellite in the 1990s. The satellite was built by
Ball Aerospace, with overall mission development by Boeing/Huntington


On Sep 30, Russia launched a new Oko early warning satellite into 
elliptical orbit on a Molniya-M rocket. After an orbit raising
burn on Oct 11 the payload is in a 576 x 39616 km x 62.8 deg orbit.

Sirius XM-5

International Launch Services put another digital radio satellite 
in orbit for Sirius XM on Oct 14 aboard a Proton-M/Briz-M.
There are now four satellites in orbit from the original Sirius
system (Sirius 1-3 in inclined orbit and Sirius 5 in geostationary)
and five in the XM system (former XM Radio 1 to 4, now presumably to be
known as Sirius XM 1 to 4).


The first six Globalstar-2 satellites were launched on Oct 19 by a
Russian Soyuz-2-1a/Fregat vehicle from Baykonur into a 912 x 924 km x
52.0 deg orbit. The Globalstar system provides mobile communications
from a low orbit constellation. 72 first-generation Globalstar
satellites, built by Loral, were launched between 1998 and 2007, and 44
of those are currently in the operational Globalstar orbit of 1411 x
1415 km x 52.0 deg.  48 of the new satellites are being built by


The Jun 24 RockOn flight, NASA 41.088UO, was launched either at 1117 UTC
or 1217 UTC, not 1000 UTC as stated in an earlier JSR. (The NASA Blue Book
reports 1117 UTC, but the Wallops twitter feed seems to indicate 0817EDT=1217UTC.)

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Sep  2 0053   Kosmos-2464 )       Proton-M/DM-2    Baykonur LC81/24 Navigation 41A
              Kosmos-2465 )                                         Navigation 41B
              Kosmos-2466 )                                         Navigation 41C
Sep  4 1614   Zhongxing 6A        Chang Zheng 3B   Xichang          Comms      42A
Sep  8 0330   Kosmos-2467 )       Rokot/Briz-KM    Plesetsk         Comms      43A
              Gonets-M    )                                         Comms      43B
              Kosmos-2468 )                                         Comms      43C
Sep 10 1022   Progress M-07M      Soyuz-U          Baykonur LC31    Cargo      44A
Sep 11 1117   Michibiki           H-IIA 202        Tanegashima      Nav/Comm   45A
Sep 21 0403   USA 215             Atlas V 501      Vandenberg SLC3E Radar?     46A
Sep 22 0242   Yaogan Weixing 11)  Chang Zheng 2D   Jiuquan          Imaging?   47A
              Zheda Pixing 1A-1?)                                   Tech       47B?
              Zheda Pixing 1A-2?)                                   Tech       47C?
Sep 26 0441   SBSS                Minotaur IV      Vandenberg SLC8  Tracking   48A
Sep 30 1701   Kosmos-2469         Molniya-M        Plesetsk         Early Warn 49A
Oct  1 1100   Chang'e 2           Chang Zheng 3C   Xichang          Lunar probe 50A
Oct  6 0049   SJ-6/4A   )         Chang Zheng 4B   Taiyuan          ?          51A
              SJ-6/4B   )                                           ?          51B
Oct  7 2310   Soyuz TMA-01M       Soyuz-FG         Baykonur LC1     Spaceship  52A
Oct 14 1853   Sirius XM-5         Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC81/24 Radio      53A
Oct 19 1710   Globalstar-2 FM2? ) Soyuz-2-1a/Fregat Baykonur LC31   Comms      54A
              Globalstar-2 FM3? )                                   Comms      54B
              Globalstar-2 FM4? )                                   Comms      54C
              Globalstar-2 FM5? )                                   Comms      54D
              Globalstar-2 FM6? )                                   Comms      54E
              Globalstar-2 FM7? )                                   Comms      54F

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Sep  1        RV              Scud?            Point Mugu?     Target      100?
Sep 17 1003   GT202GM         Minuteman 3      Vandenberg LF09 Op test    1300?
Sep 21 1307   NASA 41.082NP   Terrier Orion    Wallops I.      Tech        130?
Oct  7 0310   RV x 3?         Bulava          TK-208, White Sea R&D       1000?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : jcm at www.planet4589.org    |
|  USA                               |          jcm at cfa.harvard.edu       |
|                                                                         |
| JSR: http://www.planet4589.org/jsr.html                                 |
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