[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 644

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Fri Jul 22 19:54:33 EDT 2011

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 644                                       2011 Jul 22  Somerville, MA, USA

Shuttle and Station

The Space Shuttle flight program is over. 
 - 5 atmospheric glide flights by orbiter OV-101 Enterprise
 - 5 space-qualified orbiters: 
      OV-102 Columbia     1981-2003
      OV-099 Challenger   1983-1986
      OV-103 Discovery    1984-2011
      OV-104 Atlantis     1985-2011
      OV-105 Endeavour    1992-2011
 - 134 orbital launches (plus 1 launch failure)
 - 133 atmospheric entries with hypersonic flight to  
       runway landings at the three sites Kennedy, Edwards, White Sands
       (plus one failed entry)
 - 818 seats to orbit for 347 people from 18 countries
 - The mass of the Orbiter with cargo was around 100-120 tonnes on each mission
 - 77 large and 44 small satellites deployed in orbit, total mass 231 tonnes
 - 24 major Space Station components launched, total mass 232 tonnes
 - 46 dockings with Mir and ISS
 - 31 satellite rendezvous/retrieval/captures
 - 45 pressurized cargo bay modules (Spacelab, Spacehab and MPLM)
 - 87 unpressurized cargo bay carriers (Pallet, MPESS etc.)

Orbiter OV-104 Atlantis soared into space on Jul 8 from on pad 39A at
Kennedy Space Center,  beginning the final Space Shuttle flight. Launch
had been planned for 1526 UTC but was delayed with a brief hold at the
T-31 second mark because of a sensor failure in the launch tower arm
that lets excess liquid oxygen drain from the tank. After this issue was
resolved, launch occurred successfully at 1529:04 UTC.

Atlantis reached a 57 x 227 km orbit; the External Tank separated
and the Orbiter coasted to apogee, firing the OMS engines to raise
the orbit to 155 x 230 km. On Jun 10 at 1507 UTC orbiter OV-104 Atlantis
docked with Pressurized Mating Adapter 2 (PMA-2) on the end of the
Harmony module at the International Space Station. On this mission,
only four astronauts were aboard instead of the usual six to eight, 
to make it easier to return them on Soyuz ships if anything goes wrong.
Commander Chris Ferguson, pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists
MS-1 Sandra Magnus and MS-2 Rex Walheim joined the Expedition 28 crew
of Commander Andrey Borisenko and flight engineers FE-1 Aleksandr
Samokutyaev, FE-3 Ron Garan, FE-4 Sergey Volkov, FE-5 Satoshi Furukawa
and FE-6 Mike Fossum. The Expedition 28 crew have dual roles on the Russian
ferry ships, with Samokutyaev as komandir (commander) of Soyuz TMA-21 with
Borisenko and Garan as bortinzhener (flight engineer) BI-1 and BI-2,
and Volkov as komandir of Soyuz TMA-02M with Fossum and Furukawa
as BI-1 and BI-2.

Atlantis was carrying the Raffaello MultiPurpose Logistics Module, which is
stuffed with six Resupply Stowage Racks, eight Resupply Stowage
Platforms, two ISS Stowage Platforms, and one Zero-G Stowage Rack, all
carrying supplies for the Station. Also in the cargo bay was the LMC
carrier with the Robotic Refuelling Mission box, which will be
transferred to the Station, and an attachment plate for the failed Pump
Module S/N 02 removed from the truss in February and then stashed
on the ELC-2 platform. During the mission the failed PM was bolted on the LMC and
brought back to Earth for analysis. Also in the payload bay was the tiny
Aerospace Corporation Picosat Solar Cell Experiment satellite which was
be ejected after undocking. 

PSSC-2 carries small rocket motors (total propellant around 0.08 kg,
four ammonium perchlorate motors with 40 Ns impulse each), and a few
weeks after deployment they will be fired to raise PSSC-2's orbit to
counteract decay and test ground tracking capabilities. PSSC-2 will also
demonstrate its advanced solar panel technology. PSSC-1, which did not
have its own propulsion, was deployed on STS-126 and remained in orbit
for 80 days.

 STS-135 Cargo Bay Manifest
 External Airlock/ODS            1800? kg
 EMU spacesuits 3015, 3006        260?
 RMS arm 301                      410?
 Orbiter Boom Sensor System       382?
 MPLM-2 Rafaello                11556
 SPDU                              17?
 ROEU 755 umbilical for MPLM       78?
  Lightweight MPESS Carrier      1050?
  Robotic Refuelling Mission      300?
 Picosat Launcher                  22
  PSSC-2/MTV satellite              4
 Total                          15879 kg

Astronauts Fossum and Garan made a spacewalk from the Quest airlock on
Jul 12 using suits EMU 3010 and 3009; the airlock was depressurized
below 0.7 psi at 1320 UTC and repressurized at 1953 UTC. The failed Pump
Module S/N 02 was retrieved from ELC-2 and put on the LMC in the cargo
bay, and the RRM experiment was moved from LMC to the EOTP location on
the Station's Dextre robot arm. A small experiment called ORMatE-III,
launched to ISS on STS-134 as part of the MISSE-8 project, was removed
from the airlock and installed on ELC-2 next to the main MISSE-8 PEC
exposure experiment, and the spare PMA-3 docking port was wrapped in 
a thermal protection cover to prevent it overheating.

Atlantis undocked from ISS on Jul 19 at 0628 UTC and on Jul 20
it deployed the small 4 kg Picosat Solar Cell Testbed satellite.
At 0849 UTC on Jul 21 the OMS engines were fired to lower the orbit
to 46 x 389 km. Atlantis entered the atmosphere at 0925 UTC and
touched down on Runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at 0957 UTC,
bringing to an end the final Shuttle flight.

Expedition 28 continues with Borisenko, Samkutyaev, Garan, Volkov,
Furukawa, and Fossum aboard ISS. The next US astronaut to fly in space
is scheduled to be Dan Burbank, Flight Engineer-2 on the Soyuz TMA-22
mission slated for lauch in September 2011. Meanwhile, the SpaceX
'Dragon Rider' program under former astronaut Garrett Reisman is modifying
their Dragon cargo craft to be the next US-built spaceship to carry a crew.


China has launched a new satellite, Shi Jian shi yihao 03 xing
(Shi Jian 11 satellite 3, denoted SJ-11-03 by many Western sources).
SJ-11-1 was launched on 2009 Nov 12; SJ-11-2 has not been launched.
It is thought that the SJ-11 satellites are followons to the Shiyan
Weixing 2 satellite which tested infrared sensors. It has further
been speculated (in a posting on nasaspaceflight.com) that the vehicles
may be missile early warning satellites; this is certainly possible
but seems a bit of a leap to me, although a military infrared
surveillance mission of some kind does appear plausible.

SJ-11-03 was launched into a 690 x 703 km x 98.2 deg orbit together
with its final stage rocket. As usual with CZ-2C launches, four
stage-2 separation-motor covers were jettisoned into elliptical 
orbits, in this case around 700 x (800 - 955) km.


China also launched the TianLian yihao 02 xing (TL-1 satellite 02),
a data relay satellite which will be used to support the forthcoming
Shenzhou/Tiangong docking mission. The CZ-3C third stage put the
payload in a 198 x 42217 km x 18.0 deg supersynchronous transfer orbit.
By Jul 19 the satellite was in geostationary orbit over the Pacific.


The second batch of six second-generation Globalstar low-orbit
communications satellite was launched from Baykonur on Jul 13
into a 920 x 932 km x 52.0 deg parking orbit. 


Iran's Rasad-1 satellite reentered on July 6 after three weeks in
orbit. The initial 243 x 292 km orbit had decayed to 186 x 197 km by
July 4.


India's 1410-kg GSAT-12 communications satellite was launched into
subsynchronous transfer orbit on Jul 15 by the enhanced XL version of
the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). PSLV's more powerful sibling
GSLV (Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle) is still grounded
following launch failures, so GSAT-12 will use some of its own onboard
propellant to make it up to geostationary atltitude.


International Launch Services launched the SES-3 and Kazsat-2 satellites
on a Khrunichev Proton-M/Briz-M on Jul 15. Ascent is underway at this

SES-3, for SES World Skies (Princeton, NJ) and SES Engineering
(Luxembourg), is an Orbital Star-2.4E with a fuelled mass of 3112 kg,
using a Japanese IHI BT-4 apogee thruster. It carries a C/Ku band
communications payload. Kazsat-2 is a Ku-band communications satellite
based on Khrunichev's Yakhta bus and is owned by Kazakhstan's National
Center for Space Communications (RTsKS).

The Briz-M was placed in an initial -477 x 189 km x 48.0 deg trajectory
at 2325 UTC; it reached 133 x 273 km x 48.0 deg at 2333 UTC, 240 x 5000
km x 46.8 deg at 0039 UTC on Jul 16, jettisoned the DTB tank at 0259 UTC
in a 341 x 215235 km orbit, reached 401 x 35252 km x 45.6 deg at 0303
UTC, and coasted to apogee. A further burn completed at 0704 UTC  left
SES-3 in a 3655 x 35757 km x 24.7 deg orbit; it separated from the stack
at 0717 UTC. The Briz-M coasted for almost an hour and then jettisoned
the payload adapter that separated SES-3 from Kazsat at 0812 UTC. At
0822 the sixth Briz-M burn put Briz-M/Kazsat in a 35201 x 35767 km x 0.1
deg near-geosynchronous orbit,  and at 0840 UTC Kazsat-2 was ejected
from Briz-M. Finally, Briz-M made two depletion burns at 1046 and 1151

It appears from Khrunichev data that the final Kazsat-2 orbit was
about 324 km lower in apogee than planned and 0.1 deg higher in inclination,
but this is unlikely to pose a problem for the payload. 

The objects in orbit from the launch are therefore:
    Briz-M 99519  35000?x 36000?x  1.0? deg  
    Kazsat-2      35201 x 35767 x  0.1 deg   
    SES-3          3655 x 35757 x 24.7 deg     35A
    Adapter        3692 x 35728 x 24.7 deg     35B
    DTB tank        341 x 25235 x 45.7 deg     35C
    8S812KM stage  -477 x   189 x 48.0 deg (reentered in Pacific)


A new Boeing/El Segundo Block IIF Global Positioning System satellite,  space vehicle SVN
63, was launched on Jul 16 to become GPS IIF-2. The Delta 4 rocket made
three upper stage burns to a 185 x 400 km x 42 deg orbit, a 239 x 20418
km x 43 deg orbit, and at 1001 UTC to a 20463 x 21736 km x 54.8 deg
orbit. (Does anyone know if the IIF has a BSS- type model
number analogous to the BSS-702 communications satellites?)


The first of the long-planed Spektr series of Russian astronomical space
observatories has been launched. Spektr-R, also known as RadioAstron, is
a 3660 kg spacecraft based on the Lavochkin company's Navigator bus,
and carries a 10m diameter radio telescope observing at 92, 18, 6 and 1.35
cm wavelengths. The satellite also carries solar wind and cosmic dust
detectors, and laser corner reflectors for tracking.

The Zenit-3F/Fregat rocket entereed a 177 x 447 km x 51.4 deg orbit;
four small separation motor covers were jettisoned to 175 x 660 km. The
first Fregat upper stage burn put it in a 429 x 3703 km orbit. The
Fregat's SBB (Sbrasivaemiye baki banov) drop tank was jettisoned into
this orbit prior to a second burn which boosted the orbit to  1045 x
332728 km x 51.6 deg. RadioAstron separated from Fregat at 0606 UTC and
reached first apogee around Jul 21.


The Dawn space probe entered a bound orbit around Vesta on Jul 16.
It continues to use its ion engine to lower the orbital height, 
and by Jul 22 it was at an altitude of 5400 km.

Chandra X-ray Observatory

On Jul 6, Chandra entered its first unplanned safemode since 2000. As of
Jul 12, the spacecraft has been recovered to normal operation and the
science program has resumed. The safemode was  caused when unusually
strong gravity gradient torques coincided with the end of a slew, and
this combined with a complexity in the software confused Chandra into
incorrectly thinking that it was out of control, when in fact it was
actually pointing stably. It took a couple of days to figure out exactly
what happened, but the hardware is now fully exonerated: as it prepares
to complete 12 years in orbit Chandra is still in excellent health.

Suborbital launches

Two sounding rockets were launched from Wallops Island 15 seconds apart
on Jul 10 as part of the Daytime Dynamo experiment which studies
ionspheric activity.

Argentia's CITEDEF defense research group launched a two-stage sounding
rocket, Gradicom II, to 100km from the CELPA base in Chamical,
Argentina. CELPA was Argentina's main sounding rocket launch site from
1962-1974, but had been retired for many years. Gradicom reportedly
stands for GRAndes DImensiones COMpuestos (Large Size Composite
propellant); the main motor, tested to 40 km on 2009 Dec 17 from
Serrezuela,  is 0.32m dia 2.5m long. The new vehicle appears to have a
booster stage of the same diameter; it is 7.7m long 0.32m dia and has a
total mass of 933 kg.


I am informed that the Chibis-M satellite was not in fact carried
on Progress M-11M - apologies for the error.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
May  4 1741   Meridian No. 14L  Soyuz-2-1A         Plesetsk LC43/4  Comms      18A
May  7 1810   SBIRS GEO-1       Atlas V 401        Canaveral SLC41  Early Warn 19A
May 16 1256   STS-134 Endeavour Space Shuttle      Kennedy LC39A    Spaceship  20A
May 20 1915   Telstar 14R       Proton-M           Baykonur LC200/39 Comms     21A
May 20 2038   ST-2     )        Ariane 5ECA        Kourou ELA3       Comms     22B
              GSAT-8   )                                             Comms     22A
Jun  7 2012   Soyuz TMA-02M     Soyuz-FG           Baykonur LC1      Spaceship 23A
Jun 10 1420   SAC-D/Aquarius    Delta 7320         Vandenberg SLC2W  Climate   24A
Jun 15 0915   Rasad             Safir              Semnan?           Imaging   25A
Jun 20 1613   Zhongxing-10      Chang Zheng 3BE    Xichang           Comms     26A
Jun 21 1438   Progress M-11M    Soyuz-U            Baykonur          Cargo     27A
Jun 27 1600   Kosmos-2472       Soyuz-U            Plesetsk LC16/2   Imaging   28A
Jun 30 0309   ORS-1             Minotaur 1         Wallops I. LA0B   Imaging   29A
Jul  6 0428   SJ-11-3           Chang Zheng 2C     Jiuquan           Unknown   30A
Jul  8 1529   Atlantis STS-135  Space Shuttle      Kennedy LC39A     Spaceship 31A
Jul 11 1541   TianLian 1-02     Chang Zheng 3C     Xichang           Data rel. 32A
Jul 13 0227   Globalstar M083 ) Soyuz-2-1A/Fregat  Baykonur LC31     Comms     33A  
              Globalstar M088 )                                      Comms     33B
              Globalstar M091 )                                      Comms     33C
              Globalstar M085 )                                      Comms     33D
              Globalstar M081 )                                      Comms     33E
              Globalstar M089 )                                      Comms     33F
Jul 15 1118   GSAT-12           PSLV-XL            Sriharikota       Comms     34A
Jul 15 2316   SES-3   )         Proton-M/Briz-M    Baykonur LC200/39 Comms     35A
              Kazsat-2)                                              Comms     35B
Jul 16 0641   GPS SVN 63        Delta 4M+(4,2)     Canaveral LC37B   Nav       36A
Jul 18 0231   Spektr-R          Zenit-3F/Fregat    Baykonur LC45/1   Astronomy 37A
Jul 20 0749   PSSC-2                               Atlantis,LEO      Tech      31B

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

May  6 2302   Kunpeng-1        Tianying-3C        Hainan              Ionosphere   197
May 20        4 x RV           Sineva             K-84, Barents Sea   Op. Test    1000?
May 20 1321   SL-5             SpaceLoft XL       SWRS                Edu/Burial   118
Jun 10 1116   NASA 41.096GT    Terrier Orion      Wallops I           Tech         118
Jun 22 1335   GT204 RV         Minuteman 3        Vandenberg LF10     Test        1300?
Jun 23 1017   NASA 41.095UO    Terrier Orion      Wallops I           Education    119
Jun 28        Shahab RV        Shahab 1           Semnan?             Exercise     150?
Jun 28        Shahab RV        Shahab 2           Semnan?             Exercise     150?
Jun 28        Shahab RV        Ghadr              Semnan?             Exercise     150?
Jun 28 1155   RV x 6?          Bulava             K-535, White Sea    Test        1000?
Jul  8 1404   SRALT            SR-19              C-17, Point Mugu    Target       200?
Jul 10 1400   NASA 21.140GE    Black Brant V      Wallops I LA2       Ionosphere   158?
Jul 10 1400   NASA 41.090GE    Terrier Orion      Wallops I LA2       Ionosphere   158?
Jul 11 1535?  Gradicom         Gradicom 2         Chamical            Test         100

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