[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 675

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Fri Mar 1 21:22:45 EST 2013

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 675                                            2013 Mar  2     Somerville, MA USA

International Space Station

Expedition 34 is underway with commander Kevin Ford and flight engineers
FE-1 Oleg Novitskiy, FE-2 Yevgeniy Tarelkin, FE-4 Roman Romanenko, FE-5
Chris Hadfield, and FE-6 Tom Marshburn. Ferry ship Soyuz TMA-06M is
docked at the Poisk module; Soyuz TMA-07M is at Rassvet; cargo ship
Progress M-17M is at the Zvezda aft port.

The Progress M-18M cargo ship was launched on Feb 11 at 1441 UTC and
docked with the Pirs module at 2034 UTC the same day.

Dragon CRS-2

Falcon 9 flight 5 was launched on Mar 1 and delivered the Dragon CRS-2
cargo ship to a 199 x 323 x 51.7 deg orbit. Dragon separated from the
Falcon 9 second stage at 1519 UTC, but at 1522 UTC the solar panel
covers were not seen to eject from the side of the Dragon trunk; this is
needed to allow the solar arrays to deploy and deliver electrical power
to the spacecraft (although there is also plenty of battery power).
SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that the Dragon thruster pods weren't
initializing - apparently there was some kind of blockage or valve issue
in three out of four thruster pods. But SpaceX resolved the issue,
deployed the solar panels at about 1650 UTC, activated the thrusters,
and at around 2210 UTC an orbit raising burn was carried out
successfully to place Dragon in a 314 x 340 km x 51.7 deg orbit. A
further burn at about 0023 UTC Mar 2 raised it again to 321 x 404 km.
Rendezvous with ISS has been delayed by one day to Mar 3.

The Dragon carries 677 kg of cargo in its pressurized cabin, as well as
two 119 kg HRS Grapple Fixtures for the ISS Heat Rejection System and
100 kg of related attach packaging in the `trunk' section.

Landsat 8

The Landsat Data Continuity Mission, Landsat 8, was launched from
Vandenberg on Feb 11 into a 660 x 677 km x 98.3 deg, 1010LT
sun-synchronous orbit. Landsat 8 carries the OLI (Operational Land
Imager) and TIRS (Thermal Infrared Sensor) cameras. The satellite was
built by Orbital Sciences' Gilbert, Arizona plant using the Leostar-3
(former Spectrum Astro SA-200HP) bus and is 2787 kg at launch including
395 kg of hydrazine propellant. The mission is controlled from
NASA-Goddard with payload operations by the US Geological Survey.
The first Landsat was launched in 1972.

After separation from Landsat, the AV-035 Centaur upper stage was then
placed in heliocentric orbit. The Earth escape trajectory had a perigee
of 689 km and eccentricity of 1.16 corresponding to a C3 of 9.02


India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle placed a cluster of satellites in
orbit on Feb 25. PSLV-C20 flew in the core-alone configuration (without
strapon boosters) into a 770 x 787 km x 98.6 deg, 1805LT sun-synchronous

The top payload, SARAL, is a joint project between the French space
agency CNES and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for ocean
studies; its main payload is the Altika Ka-band altimeter. 

In the lower part of the dual launch adapter were two Canadian small
satellites, Sapphire and NEOSSat. Sapphire is a Canadian Forces
satellite for space object surveillance and missile early warning, based
on the Surrey SSTL-150 bus and with a 0.15m visible-light telescope.
NEOSSat, the Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, is a joint
Canadian Space Agency/DRDC mission to survey asteroids and space debris,
also with a 0.15m telescope. (DRDC is Defense Research and Development
Canada, part of the Canadian Dept. of National Defense).

The two 14 kg CanX-3 satellites use the UTIAS/Toronto Generic Nanosatellite Bus. UniBRITE
was built by UTIAS for the University of Vienna, Austria; BRITE/TUGSAT-1 was built
by the Technical University of Graz, Austra with help from UTIAS. The satellites each
carry a 0.03m telescope-photometer for stellar photometry and astroseismology.

AAUSAT3 is a 1U cubesat built by Aalborg University in Denmark and carries
an AIS ship tracking receiver and a GPS reciever.

STRaND-1 is a 3U cubesat, a project of Surrey Satellite and the Surrey Space Centre.
The Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator carries a Google Nexus One
smartphone as its main avionics, and features plasma thrusters and 
a water-alcohol thruster.


The CZ-4B No. Y12 third stage, object 38259/2012-021C, reentered over
Texas at about 0915 UTC on Feb 27.  The Associated Press tells me that
local news channel KLTV reported observations of fireballs moving south
to north over Longview, Texas at that time; this is  consistent with the
object's orbit and the Space-Track reentry prediction.    

Another Iranian launch failure?

Reports on the nasaspaceflight.com forum and from the Times of Israel
allege another Safir launch vehicle failure around 2013 Feb 17. I
haven't seen any evidence yet that would indicate a failure (rather than
a postponement), beyond the fact that the expected Fajr satellite launch
has not yet appeared.

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

Feb  1 0656   Intelsat IS-27     Zenit-3SL        SL Odyssey, Pacific Comms     F01
Feb  6 1604   Globalstar M078 )  Soyuz-2-1A        Baykonur LC31/6   Comms      05A
              Globalstar M093 )                                      Comms      05B
              Globalstar M094 )                                      Comms      05C
              Globalstar M095 )                                      Comms      05D
              Globalstar M096 )                                      Comms      05E
              Globalstar M097 )                                      Comms      05F
Feb  7 2136   Amazonas 3       ) Ariane 5ECA       Kourou ELA3       Comms      06A
              Azerspace        )                                     Comms      06B
Feb 11 1441   Progress M-18M     Soyuz-U           Baykonur          Cargo      07A
Feb 11 1802   Landsat 8          Atlas V 401       Vandenberg SLC3E  Imaging    08A
Feb 25 1231   SARAL       )                                         Altimeter   09A
              Sapphire    )                                         SpSur       09C
              NEOSSat     )      PSLV-CA           Sriharikota     Astron/SpSur 09D
              UniBRITE    )                                         Astronomy   09G
              TUGSAT-1    )                                         Astronomy   09F
              AAUSAT3     )                                         Ship nav    09B
              STRaND-1    )                                          Tech       09E
Mar  1 1510   Dragon CRS-2       Falcon 9          Canaveral SLC40   Cargo      10A

Suborbital launches

Reports indicate that the Syrian Missile Command has fired a series of
Julan (Scud) missiles from the base at An Nasriyah towards Aleppo and
other rebel targets, with 6 launches around Dec 10, 4 on Dec 20 and 10
launches in the Feb 16-22 period.  Launches in the 5-10 Jan period may
have been Iranian built Fateh-110 missiles. Some of these missile
strikes have resulted in many casualties. Given the 280 km range it is
likely that the apogees of these missiles marginally exceeded the 80 km
value I use as the boundary of space. However, I will not list them
individually in the table below.

Israel tested its Arrow 3 (Hetz-3) exoatmospheric interceptor on Feb 25.

An Iranian report quoted on nasaspaceflight.com suggests that the
Iranian space monkey on the recent Pishgam mission aboard a Kavoshgar
Type C sounding rocket was actually called `Aftab' (sunrise) and not

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Jan 25?       Pishgam          Kavoshgar C      Semnan?               Life Sci     120
Jan 26 2200   EKV CTV-01       GBI              Vandenberg LF23       Test flight 1000?
Jan 27 0810   RV               BO-5/K-15        Visakhapatnam?        Test flight  300?
Jan 27 1210?  Target RV        DF-21?           Jiuquan?              Target       200?
Jan 27 1210?  Interceptor      DF-21?           Urumqi?               ABM Test     100?
Jan 29 2250   NASA 41.107GT    Terrier Imp.Ori. Wallops Island        Atmos. Sci   130?
Feb  7 0821   NASA 49.001UE    T-T Oriole N.       Poker Flat         Auroral      754
Feb 13 0910   ARAV-B Target    Terrier Oriole      Kauai              Target       150?
Feb 13 0915?  FTM-20 KV        Aegis SM-3          CG-20, Pacific     Interceptor  150?
Feb 15        NASA 41.104GT    Terrier Imp Orion   White Sands        Tech         130?
Feb           Julan RV?        Scud              An Nasriyah, Syria   Weapon        80?
Feb 25 0600?  Arrow KV         Arrow 3           Palmachim?           Interceptor  100?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |          jcm at cfa.harvard.edu       |
|                                                                         |
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