[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 663

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Fri Jul 27 02:44:47 EDT 2012

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 663                                       2012 Jul 25    Somerville, MA USA

International Space Station

On the ISS, Expedition 32 continues with astronauts Gennadiy Padalka, Sergey
Revin, Joseph Acaba, Yuriy Malenchenko, Sunita Willams and Akihiko Hoshide.
Soyuz TMA-05M docked with the Rassvet module on Jul 17 at 0451 UTC.

Japan's HTV 3 (Kounotori 3) cargo ship was launched on Jul 21 and is
scheduled to dock with the ISS on Jul 27. HTV-3's unpressurized Exposed
Pallet carries two packages, JAXA's MCE (Multi-mission consolidated
equipment / poto kyoju jikken sochi), and NASA-Glenn's SCAN Testbed. MCE
includes a ionosphere experiment (IMAP), a lightning study sensor
(GLIMS), an inflatable membrane experiment (SIMPLE) and REXJ, a robotics
experiment. SCAN Testbed has S-band, Ka-band and L-band antennas to test
out sofware-defined-radio technologies. 

The HTV-3 pressurized module contains 8 HTV Resupply Racks with station
supplies and equipment, including two J-SSOD picosat deployers and the
MPEP adapter. Later this year, astronauts will attach the J-SSOD
packages to the MPEP and then put the MPEP in the Kibo module's small
science airlock. When the airlock is opened to space, JAXA's JEM-RMS
robot arm will grab the MPEP and stick it pointing in the desired
direction. The J-SSODs will then shoot out their contents, five small
satellites. The first J-SSOD carries RAIKO, a 2 kg double cubesat from
Wakayama University carrying an imager and a deployable 'drag-membrane'
to make the satellite reenter more quickly, and WE WISH, an 1 kg IR
imaging satellite from Meisei Electric's amateur radio club. The second
J-SSOD carries three 1 kg single-cubes, F-1 from FPT University in
Hanoi, TechEdSat from San Jose State University, and the Niwaka cubesat
from Fukuoka Institute of Technology, Kyushu.

On Jul 22 at 2026 UTC the Progress M-15M cargo vehicle undocked from Pirs;
it was to return to ISS on Jul 24 in a test of the new Kurs-NA rendezvous system.
At 0123 UTC on Jul 24 the Kurs-NA failed to start up correctly and the rendezvous
was postponed, with Progress M-15M flying past the station at a distance of 3 km.

Shenzhou 9

Bob Christy and Ted Molczan have tracked down the mystery of the extra
object, 38465/2012-032E. It seems to be one of the four second stage motor separation
covers, which for some reason was jettisoned late.

Kanopus launch

On Jul 22, Roskosmos launched a Soyuz-FG/Fregat into polar orbit
with a cluster of small satellites.

Kanopus-Vulkan-1 and BelKA-2 are Earth imaging satellites built by VNII
Elektromekhaniki, the former for Roskosmos and the latter for the
Belorussian Academy of Sciences. The satellites carry 2-meter-resolution

ExactView-1 (formerly ADS-1B) is a Surrey satellite for the Canadian company
ComDev, carrying an AIS (ship tracking) transponder. The Automatic Identifcation
System picks up VHF 162 MHz transmitters on marine vessels.

MKA-PN1 is a Russian magnetospheric research mission led by IKI (Inst. for Space Research)
using the Karat bus and the Zond-PP L-band microwave radiometer to study soil moisture
and ocean salinity.

TET-1 (TechnologieErprobungs-Trager) is a German technology satellite
built by Kayser-Threde and TUB,  carrying experimental solar cells,
electronics, a test picosat propulsion system, and an infrared camera.

The Soyuz-FG third stage was tracked in a 160 x 171 km x 95.5 deg
parking orbit; Kanopus, BelKA and TET-1 are in 505 x 510 km x 97.5 deg
orbits; ExactView and MKA are in 805 x 821 km x 99.0 deg orbits, and the
Fregat stage (S/N 1019) entered a 40 x 810 km orbit before its reentry.


China's third tracking and data relay satellite was launched on Jul 25.
Tianlian yihao 03 xing  (Tianlian-1 Satellite 03) flew to a 199 x 42513
km x 18.1 deg geostationary transfer orbit on a CZ-3C rocket.

Landsat Anniversary

In late July we had a number of well-known astronautical anniversaries -
Jul 20 saw the 43rd  anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing and the
36th anniversary of the Viking 1 Mars landing. GSFC's Michelle Thaller
reminds me that a less well-known date came on Jul 23 with the 40th
anniversary  of the first Landsat launch, marking the beginning of
civilian high(ish) resolution Earth imaging.

US civilian Earth imaging programs were developed by NASA's Goddard
Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland (with the exception of some
hand-held camera imaging on human spaceflight missions). The Vanguard 2
photocells in 1959 were followed by the Tiros weather satellites in
1960, returning weather imaging with a few km spatial resolution. Tiros
was the operational weather satellite system; NASA-Goddard's Nimbus
satellites, built by General Electric/Valley Forge, were the
research-and-development system testing out advanced sensors (Nimbus 3
had 1.6km visible resolution and multiple infrared channels). 
Meanwhile, secret NRO satellites were returing imagery with sub-meter

A drive in the late 1960s towards practical applications of space
technology and an increased awareness of ecological issues led to the
first moderately-high resolution civilian imaging program, the Earth
Resources Technology Satellite. ERTS was based on GE's Nimbus satellite
bus. ERTS 1's three-channel vidicon camera and 4-channel visible/near-IR
multispectral scanner had a resolution of 80 meters. It was the first
civilian imaging satellite to be targeted on ground features - crop
monitoring, geological surveys, mapping - rather than meteorology.
Following the launch of ERTS 2 in 1975, ERTS was renamed Landsat.
Landsat 4 and 5 switched to the multi-mission bus also used for Solar
Max and EUVE; Landsat 6 and 7 used a derivative of the Tiros-N bus used
for NOAA and USAF polar weather satellites. 

Unsuccessful attempts to commercialize Landsat in the 1990s led first to
the system's transfer to the NOAA weather bureau (in 1983) and then to
the formation of EOSAT (later Space Imaging), which took over operations
of Landsat 4 and Landsat 5 in 1985 (ownership remained with NOAA until
1998, when the US Geological Survey took over). In 2001 these satellites
were returned to USGS while Landsat 7, with 15-meter resolution,  was
developed by GSFC and turned over to USGS for operations. The Landsat
Data Continuity Mission is scheduled for launch in early 2013.

   ERTS/Landsat satellites

Prelaunch    Postlaunch    Type      Mass/kg  Launch date        End of life date
  Name          Name
 ERTS A       ERTS 1       Nimbus      891    1972 Jul 23        1978 Jan 26
 ERTS B       Landsat 2    Nimbus      953    1975 Jan 22        1983 Jul 27
 Landsat C    Landsat 3    Nimbus      900    1978 Mar  5        1983 Sep  7
 Landsat D    Landsat 4    MMS        1938    1982 Jul 16        2001 Jun 15
 Landsat D'   Landsat 5    MMS        1938    1984 Mar  1        -
 Landsat 6    Landsat 6    Tiros-N    1866    1993 Oct  5        1993 Oct  5  (launch failure)
 Landsat 7    Landsat 7    Tiros-N    2101    1999 Apr 15        -
 LDCM         -            Leostar-3  3085    2013 (planned)

2012 Orbital launch summary to date

40 launches: 
Russia China USA  Europe Japan India Iran N Korea
  12    10   9     4      2     1     1    1(fail)

Suborbital launches

Some of the subarcsecond solar images from the Hi-C rocket have
been released at http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/hic.html

NASA-Langley's IRVE-3 mission (NASA flight 39.011NR) tested an
inflatable reentry vehicle on a suborbital flight from Wallops.
Inflatable reentry technology was attempted by the Russian Lavochkin
company as early as 2000, with mixed results. The 426 kg IRVE-3 payload
deployed a 3-meter conical inflatable heat shield and successfully
reentered, but attempts to locate the payload after splashdown in the
Atlantic were not successful. The IRVE reentry conditions are less
extreme than the IRDT flights (and they always quote Mach number at some
unspecified altitude so I'm not sure of the velocity numbers I quote

 Inflatable reentry missions:
 Mission       Launcher       Date          Location                 Velocity   Result

 IRDT          Soyuz-Fregat   2000 Feb 9    LEO to Kazakhstan         5.6 km/s  Success
 Fregat-IRDT   Soyuz-Fregat   2000 Feb 9    LEO to Kazakhstan         5.6 km/s  Vehicle lost
 IRDT-2        Volna          2002 Jul 12   Barents Sea to Kamchatka  7.3 km/s  Vehicle lost
 IRDT-2R       Volna          2005 Oct  6   Barents Sea to Kamchatka  6.9 km/s  Vehicle lost
 IRVE-1        Terrier Orion  2007 Sep  6   Wallops to Atlantic       1.3 km/s? No payload sep
 IRVE-2        Black Brant 9  2009 Aug 17   Wallops to Atlantic       1.7 km/s? Success (recovery not attempted)
 IRVE-3        Black Brant11  2012 Jul 23   Wallops to Atlantic       2.7 km/s? Success (no recovery)

The Degradation Free Spectrometers mission, NASA 36.263US, flew new
extreme ultraviolet spectrometers to study the solar output. The DFS
instruments, intended for future solar satellites, will be able to
return accurate absolute measurements over many years. The flight also
carried a copy of the SOHO SEM instrument, which has been in space since
1995, to see how much the original instrument on SOHO has degraded. The
mission is led  by Darrell Judge of the University of Southern

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Jun  1 0523   Intelsat IS-19     Zenit-3SL         Odyssey, Pacific  Comms     30A
Jun 13 1600   NuStar             Pegasus XL        L-1011,Kwajalein  Astronomy 31A
Jun 16 1037   Shenzhou 9         Chang Zheng 2F    Jiuquan           Spaceship 32A
Jun 20 1228   USA 236 (NROL-38)  Atlas 5 401       Canaveral SLC41   Comms?    33A
Jun 29 1315   USA 237 (NROL-15)  Delta 4H          Canaveral SLC37B  Sigint?   34A
Jul  5 2136   Echostar 17  )     Ariane 5ECA       Kourou ELA3       Comms     35A
              Meteosat 10  )                                         Weather   35B
Jul  9 1838   SES-5              Proton-M/Briz-M   Baykonur LC81/24  Comms     36A
Jul 15 0240   Soyuz TMA-05M      Soyuz-FG          Baykonur LC1/5    Spaceship 37A
Jul 21 0206   Kounotori 3        H-IIB             Tanegashima LP2   Cargo     38A
Jul 22 0641   Kanopus-V )                                            Imaging   39
              BelKA-2   )        Soyuz-FG/Fregat   Baykonur LC31/6   Imaging   39
              TET-1     )                                            Tech      39
              exactView-1)                                           Comms/AIS 39
              MKA-PN1    )                                           Science   39
Jul 25 1543   Tianlian-1 (03)    Chang Zheng 3C    Xichang           Comms     40A
Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Jun  7 1739   RV               Topol'             Kapustin Yar        Op Test     1000?
Jun 21 1040   NASA 41.101UO    Terrier Orion      Wallops I.          Education    117
Jun 22 1918   SHEFEX II        VS-40              Andoya              Hypersonic   177
Jun 23 1930   NASA 36.286UE    Black Brant 9      White Sands         Solar        300?
Jun 27 0915   FTM-18 Target    Castor 4B?         Kauai               Target       100?
Jun 27 0920?  FTM-18 KV        SM-3 Block IB      USS Lake Erie       Intercept    100?
Jul  3        Shahab RV        Shahab 1           ?, Iran             Exercise     100?
Jul  3        Shahab RV        Shahab 2           ?, Iran             Exercise     100?
Jul  3        Shahab RV        Shahab 3           ?, Iran             Exercise     150?
Jul  5 1850   NASA 36.284NS    Black Brant 9      White Sands         Solar        275?
Jul 11 1850   NASA 36.272NS    Black Brant 9      White Sands         Solar        268
Jul 23 1101   NASA 39.011NR    Black Brant 11     Wallops             Reentry test 458
Jul 24 1917   NASA 36.263US    Black Brant 9      White Sands         Solar        324

|  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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