[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 682

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Tue Jul 16 17:53:29 EDT 2013

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 682                                                    2013 Jul 16, Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 36 is underway. The crew are commander Pavel Vinogradov, 
Flight Engineers FE-2 Alexandr Misurkin, FE-3 Chris Cassidy, FE-4
Yurchikin, FE-5 Parmitano and FE-6 Nyberg. Ferry ship Soyuz TMA-08M is
at Poisk and TMA-09M at Rassvet. Cargo ship Progress M-18M is at the
Pirs module and ATV-4 is at the Zvezda module.

Astronauts Cassidy and Parmitano made spacewalk US EVA-22 on Jul 9 from the Quest
airlock, using EMU suits 3010 and 3011 respectively (thanks to A. Krasilnikov for
data). The airlock was depressurized at 1200 UTC and repressurized at 1809 UTC.
The astronauts repaired one of the two S-band space-to-ground communications
systems by replacing its SGTRC electronics box with a spare that had been stored
inside the Station for some time. Then they retrieved the two parts of the MISSE-8
exposure experiment, the PEC `suitcase' and the ORMATE-III installation, and 
installed the two Radiator Grapple Bars delivered by the last Dragon cargo
ship. The RGB package had been stored on the Mobile Base System; the two bars
were moved to the base of the thermal radiators on the port and starboard 
truss sections. A `Y-bypass jumper' was wired into the Z1 truss to allow
aspects of the station's power system to be rerouted remotely without requiring
a future spacewalk. Finally, a multi-layer-insulation (MLI) cover was wrapped over
the old PMA-2 docking port, formerly used by visiting Shuttles, to protect it
for future use. 

Cassidy and Parmitano made another spacewalk, US EVA-23, on Jul 16. It
was planned to last over six hours but was cut short when water started
leaking into Parmitano's helmet. The airlock was depressurizd at about
1154 UTC with hatch open at 1156 UTC. Cassidy and Parmitano completed
their first tasks involving external cabling, when at 1242 UTC Parmitano
reported water in his helmet. The problem  got worse, and EVA work was
paused at 1254 UTC; at 1306 UTC the decision was made to come back
 There are two ways to do this, 'terminate', which involves tidying up
and returning at a normal pace, and 'abort', which would involve leaving
things in a mess, skipping some of the normal checks, and doing a fast
repressurization. Mission Control elected to go with the more leisurely
method. Parmitano was inside the airlock by 1312 UTC, with Cassidy in by
1321 UTC and the hatch closed at 1326 UTC. At this stage there was so
much water in Parmitano's helmet that he could neither see airlock
switches nor communicate with the ground, and concern for his safety
increased. Airlock repressurization began at 1329 UTC and the internal
hatch was opened at 1337 UTC, followed by `expedited suit doffing', with
astronauts Nyberg and Yurchikin removing Parmitano's helmet and mopping
up the water with towels.

NASA's public affairs commentator, during this process, repeatedly
claimed that the crew were not in danger. Let's recall that you're
falling through vacuum at 27000 kph,  300 km above a planetary
atmosphere, with only a few layers of fabric between you and certain
death, in an environment awash with sharp-edge hazards and thermal
challenges, and  with a scant few hours of air supply even if the
equipment in your suit works just fine. Now you're suddenly blind,
unable to communicate, and trying to breathe water. To quote Arthur Dent
as penned by Douglas Adams, "this must be some new meaning of the word
<safe> that I wasn't previously aware of." Kudos is due to the professionalism
of the astronauts and the ground team in working through this emergency
calmly and effectively - although I might have argued for the faster

Parmitano's suit, EMU 3011, was first flown on STS-96 in 1999; after two previous
tours as a Station suit in 2002-2006 and 2008-2009, it was relaunched on STS-132
in May 2010 and has been on board the ISS since then. Cassidy's suit has been
in space since 2009. There are two other US EMU suits and three Russian Orlan
suits on the station.

Proton failure

The dramatic failure of a Proton-M rocket launched from Baykonur on Jul
2  came seconds after launch when it went off course and powered itself
downwards into the steppe. By a few seconds after launch the rocket was
unstable in pitch and then began swinging to one side and then the
other; by 17 seconds the vehicle was flying horizontally and then
heading downwards. The payload section disintegrated at about T+24s and
broke off due to aerodynamic forces seconds before the rocket impacted
the ground and exploded at around T+32s, under 2 km from the blockhouse
and near the Rokot/Strela silos at area 175.  Reports indicate that
no-one was injured in the accident. Preliminary investigations suggested
that the launch occurred 0.4 seconds early (or at least one of the pad
cable connections separated), when the engines were not yet at full
thrust, but later reports claim instead that the problem was with
angular velocity sensors being physically installed upside-down, fooling
the  rocket's flight control system and causing the unstable flight.

The payload second consisted of the Blok DM-03 No. 2L upper stage carrying
three Uragan-M (Glonass-M) navigation satellites, nos. 48, 49 and 50.
The previous Proton-M/DM-03/Glonass launch, in 2010, also failed, but less

(Anatoliy Zak at russianspaceweb.com provides excellent and detailed analysis).


China launched `Shijian shiyi hao 05 xing',  another Shi Jian 11
satellite, on Jul 15. It is the 5th in a series of what are suspected to
be infrared-telescope-equipped missile early warning satellites, and
replaces the 4th spacecraft which was lost in a launch failure. Two
objects have been cataloged; A, the final stage rocket, in a 684 x 749
km x 98.1 deg orbit and B, the payload, in a 680 x 703 km x 98.1 deg
orbit; the designations will be switched when the US JSPOC realizes which
is which. The constellation's current status, including the local time
of descending node (LTDN) of the sun-synchronous orbits, is:

    Satellite   Launch date   Orbit                    LTDN 
                                                      (launch) (now)
    SJ-11 01    2009 Nov 12   685 x 702 km x 98.1 deg  09:00  09:02
    SJ-11 03    2011 Jul  6   687 x 702 km x 98.2 deg  10:45  10:50
    SJ-11 02    2011 Jul 29   685 x 703 km x 98.2 deg  14:00  13.47
    SJ-11 04    2011 Aug 18   Launch failure           15:44 (planned)
    SJ-11 05    2013 Jul 15   688 x 704 km x 98.1 deg  15:44  15:44


The third stage of the PSLV-XL for this mission was marginally orbital
and reentered off the coast of South America. Orbit was somewhere between -22 x 190 km
and +60 x 190 km.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission    INTL.  

Jun  3 0918   SES-6              Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC200/39 Comms       26A
Jun  5 2152   ATV-4              Ariane 5ES       Kourou ELA3       Cargo       27A
Jun  7 1837   Kosmos-2486        Soyuz-2-1B       Plesetsk LC43/4   Imaging     28A
Jun 11 0938   Shenzhou 10        Chang Zheng 2F   Jiuquan           Spaceship   29A
Jun 25 1728   Resurs-P           Soyuz-2-1B       Baykonur LC31/6   Imaging     30A
Jun 25 1927   O3b SC1/PFM)       Soyuz ST-B       Kourou ELS        Comms       31A
              O3b SC2/FM2)                                          Comms       31B
              O3b SC3/FM4)                                          Comms       31C
              O3b SC4/FM5)                                          Comms       31D
Jun 27 1653   Kosmos-2487        Strela           Baykonur LC175    Radar       32A
Jun 28 0227   IRIS               Pegasus XL       L1011, Vandenberg Solar       33A
Jul  1 1811   IRNSS-1A           PSLV-XL          Sriharikota LP1   Navigation  34A
Jul  2 0238   Glonass-M No. 48 ) Proton-M/DM-03   Baykonur LC81/24  Navigation  F02
              Glonass-M No. 49 )                                    Navigation  F02
              Glonass-M No. 50 )                                    Navigation  F02
Jul 15 0927   SJ-11-05           Chang Zheng 2C   Jiuquan           Early Warn  35A

Suborbital launches

NASA's Daytime Dynamo experiment was carried out on Jul 4, with two
rockets launched into the ionosphere. A Missile Defence Agency test on
Jul 5 was a failure; a GBI rocket (using Pegasus stages) carrying a
kinetic kill vehicle (EKV), launched from Vandenberg AFB in California,
did not intercept the target launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the
Pacific; it's not yet officially public whether this was a problem with the EKV or the
rocket, although the website missiledefenseadvocacy.org is reporting that the
GBI rocket's third stage failed to separate (presumably, from the EKV, although
they might mean from the second stage).

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Jun  6 0305   CIBER            Black Brant XII     Wallops I.        IR Astron    577
Jun  6 1745   RV               Rubezh              Kapustin Yar      R&D launch  1000?
Jun 20 0930   NASA 40.106UO    Terrier Imp. Orion  Wallops I.        Education    118
Jun 21 1357   SL-7/FOP-1       SpaceLoft XL        Spaceport America Tech         119
Jul  4 1431   NASA 21.140GE    Black Brant V       Wallops I.        Ionosphere   135?
Jul  4 1431   NASA 41.090GE    Terrier Imp. Orion  Wallops I.        Ionosphere   160?
Jul  5        FTG-07 Target?   LV-2?               Kwajalein         Target      1000?
Jul  5        FTG-07 CE-I EKV  GBI                 Vandenberg        Intercept   1000?

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