[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 692

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Sun Jan 5 09:40:00 EST 2014

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 692                                          2014 Jan 5  National Harbor, Maryland

International Space Station

The launch of the next Cygnus freighter was delayed to January as astronauts
on the ISS prepared for spacewalks on Dec 21 and 24 to repair the failed 
Loop A thermal control system.

US EVA-24 was carried out on Dec 21 with Rick Mastracchio in spacesuit
EMU3010 and Mike Hopkins in EMU3011 (the now-repaired suit which
malfunctioned on Luca Parmitano's spacewalk). Quest was depressurized at 1157 UTC,
with hatch open at 1159 UTC and the suits on battery power at 1201 UTC.
The astronauts went to the S1 truss segment and removed Pump Module S/N 
The hatch was closed at 1724 UTC and Quest was repressurized at 1729 UTC.

US EVA-25 followed on Dec 25, with Hopkins in EMU 3005 and Mastracchio
in EMU 3011. Mastracchio's old suit 3010 was sidelined beacuse a
misconfiguration of the sublimator  at the end of the previous spacewalk
left its status in doubt. The airlock was depressurized at 1149 UTC,
hatch open at 1152, and battery power at 1153. The astronauts went to
External Stowage Platform 3 and removed spare Pump Module serial number
0006. The SSRMS robot arm moved Hopkins and the PM to the S1 truss; it
was installed at 1456 UTC and bolted in place at 1508 UTC. The
astronauts then connected ammonia fluid lines and electrical cables. One
 ammonia line initially refused to disconnect from its previous location
and then did spill some NH3 flakes in the vicinity of the spacewalkers, 
requiring some decontamination precautions on return to the airlock. The
astronauts closed the hatch at 1904 UTC and, after a 15 minute hold to
check for contamination, repressurized the airlock slowly from 1923 to
1954 UTC.

Russian spacewalk VKD-37 began with depressurization of the Pirs airlock
around 1250 UTC Dec 27 and opening of the hatch at 1301 UTC. Oleg Kotov
in Orlan-MK No. 6 and Sergey Ryazanskiy on Orlan-MK No. 4 installed two
video cameras from the Vancouver-based company UrtheCast. After
struggling with the cabling on the medium resolution camera, the
astronauts jettisoned the UrtheCast MRC cable reel at 1646 UTC, and an
obsolete space science experiment, Vsplesk, at 1754 UTC. The new
Seismoprognoz experiment launched on Progress M-21M was installed on
Zvezda to replace Vsplesk. However, at 1816 UTC it was reported that the
UrtheCast cameras were not working correctly, and the astronauts were
ordered to dismount them and bring them back inside. The spacewalk
concluded with hatch closure at 2107 UTC and repressurization around
2109 UTC.


The European Space Agency's Gaia observatory was launched on Dec 19. The
2000 kg Gaia spacecraft will measure the three-dimensional positions and
velocities of galactic stars. The  problem of accurate stellar distances
has been a limiting factor in astrophysics with big uncertainties
leading to uncertain masses, luminosities and other physical properties
for all but the nearest stars; the Gaia catalog, when it is available
early next decade, will put the whole field of astrophysics on a firmer
footing. Gaia will spin around, with its two 1.5 x 0.5m silicon carbide
primary mirrors sweeping starlight across its gigapixel detector array.
The array has 106 CCDs each with 4500 x 1996 pixels. The SkyMapper array
of 7 x 2 CCDs and the 7 x 9 array of Astrometric Field CCDs will measure
positions; the 7 x 2 array of the Blue and Red photometer will pass the
light through blue and red filters to measure accurate brightness and
color; and the 4 x 3 array of the Radial Velocity Spectrometer CCDs will
sit behind a spectrograph and use the 8500A Ca II triplet spectral lines
to measure the Doppler shift of the brighter stars along the line of
sight. The angular separation of the two mirrors is precisely monitored,
to create an accurate latitude-longitude grid across the sky by
measuring angular distances between widely separated pairs of stars.

Gaia was launched by a Soyuz ST-B with upper stage Fregat-MT No. 1039
from Kourou-Sinnamary. The Soyuz reached a -681 x 180 km x 15.0 deg
suborbital path; the Fregat made a first burn to 175 x 175 km and then
reignited for a long burn from 0933 to 0949 UTC to propel Gaia to a 344
x 962690 km x 15.0 deg orbit, on its way to the Sun-Earth L2 point Gaia
will fire its own propulsion system of 6 10-N thrusters to raise apogee
to around 1.5 million km towards midnight; in a few weeks it will enter
a Lissajous orbit around the L2 point and begin observations. Gaia's
data will take years to process and will result in the best yet catalog
of galactic stars.

Mars Express

On Dec 29 at 0709 UTC, ESA's Mars Express spacecraft made a flyby 45 km
from the surface of Phobos (58 km from its center). Mars Express is in a
318 x 10518 km x 86.9 deg Martian polar orbit; congratulations to its
friendly operations team which has just celebrated ten years around the

Tupac Katari

Bolivia's first communications satellite was launched on Dec 20. Tupac
Katari is named after the historical Bolivian leader Julian Apasa Nina
(Tupac Katari, 1750-1781). The Tupac Katari satellite was built by
China's CAST using a DFH-4 bus and has a mass at launch of 5100 kg. It
was launched from Xichang on a CALT Chang Zheng (Long March) 3BE into a
200 x 43890 km x 24.8 deg geostationary transfer orbit, and will be
controlled by Chinese-trained Bolivian engineers at the Amachuma ground


A Rokot launch vehicle took off from Plesetsk early on Dec 25 carrying
three Rodnik low orbit communications satellites for the Russian
military into a 1480 x 1509 km x 82.5 deg orbit. They are expected to
get the codenames Kosmos-2488 to Kosmos-2490. The Briz-KM upper stage
successfully deployed the satellites and made its depletion burn
to an 1150 x 1500 km orbit, in contrast to the previous Rodnik launch
in January.


Russia's new Ekspress AM-5 communications satellite was launched from Baykonur
on Dec 26. AM-5 uses a Reshetnev Ekspress-2000 bus with C, Ku, Ka and L-band
communications payloads developed in collaboration with the Canadian company MDA.
The launch vehicle was a Proton-M with a Briz-M upper stage (serial numbers
93541 and 99543, according to Rui Barbosa's Em Orbita site zenite.nu).
The Briz-M made four burns to deliver Ekspress AM-5 to a sub-geostationary
orbit of around 33800 x 37800 km x 0.18 deg according to a posting on
the Novosti Kosmonavtiki forum; US tracking has not yet picked it up.
It will use its on-board electric propulsion system (ion drive)
to complete the trek to GEO.


Russia ended the year with the first launch of a new rocket, the
Soyuz-2-1V. This new, lighter version of the Soyuz is a major redesign,
abandoning the four side-mounted conical strapon boosters that were the
R-7 family's trademark since the ICBM and Sputnik launches in 1957. The
core stage's lower section has been slightly enlarged in diameter and a
new propulsion system used - the main engine is the NK-33A based on the
NK-33 first developed (but never used) for the N-1 moon rocket in the
1970s. (An Americanized version of the NK-33, the Aerojet AJ-26, is the
main engine for Orbital's new Antares rocket). The Soyuz-2-1V second
stage is the same Blok-I stage as the existing Soyuz-2-1B, with an
RD-0124 engine. This first flight carries the optional Volga third
stage, a low-thrust orbit positioning bus derived from a spy satellite
propulsion system.

The inaugural launch of the Soyuz-2-1V on Dec 28 carried the Aist
satellite and two SKRL-756 calibration spheres. These were deployed from
a long cylindrical adapter attached to the Volga stage into a 599 x 625
km x 82.4 deg orbit. The Volga stage with its adapter was expected to be
deorbited over the South Pacific. The Soyuz second stage was left in a
259 x 594 km x 82.4 deg orbit.


India launched its Geostationary Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
on Jan 5, placing the GSAT-14 satellite in geostationary transfer

Orbital launch statistics 2013

Russia 33 (+2 fail), USA 19, China 14(+1 fail), Europe 5, Japan 3, India
3, South Korea 1 - for a total of 78 to orbit + 3 failures to orbit
(some of the 78 also failed to reach their intended orbits). I am
counting Soyuz-at-Kourou and the Sea Launch failure as Russian. The
story of recent years has been the strong rise of China as a launching
state; but this year the noticeable thing is the return of Russia to a
dominance of the launching statistics not seen since the fall of the
USSR. This includes nine Proton launches (all but two for non-Russian
customers) and 15 Soyuz launches including two from Kourou and 8 ISS-related ones.

The year also saw 209 payloads orbited thanks to the late surge of mass
cubesat deployments; this compares with 134 payloads launched last year.
  Countries of ownership, 2013 payloads:
    USA       87
    Russia    28
    China     18
    UK        9 (arguable, assuming formal ownership of
                 two SES satellites to SES Satellite Leasing UK.)
    ESA       7
    Germany   6
    S Korea   6
    Japan     5
    India     5
    Canada    4
    Spain     3
    Argentina, Austria, Denmark, Ecuador, 
     Netherlands, Peru, Vietnam -   2 each
    Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Estonia, France, Italy,  
     Israel, Luxembourg, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan,
     Poland, Qatar, Singapore, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine,
     South Africa:                  1 each
 These 209 payloads include 51 amateur/academic, 37 business/commercial, 74 civil, 47 defense
 (there is some overlap, of course). Six of the payloads (LADEE, MOM, Maven, Chang'e-3, Yutu, Gaia)
 are now beyond Earth orbit.

Suborbital launches

The USAF launched a Minuteman III from Vandenberg on Dec 17; Russia launched
a Yars missile from Plesetsk to Kura on Dec 24. Yars carries multiple reentry
vehicles. On Dec 27 the Russian rocket forces rounded out the year
with a reentry vehicle test on a Topol' missile launched from Kapustin
Yar to Sary-Shagan.

 -  In JSR691 I said that Yutu is the 6th wheeled vehicle on the Moon.
It is in fact the seventh - I forgot a hand cart used on the Apollo 14 mission,
the Modular Equipment Transporter. Thanks to Henry Spencer for catching the mistake.

 -  In JSR691 I gave the Kavoshgar 1 launch date as 2008 Feb, which is when it was
announced; Igor Lissov points out that the Kavoshgar web site says the launch
was in Aban 1385, which corresponds to 2006 Oct 22 to Nov 20.

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

Nov  5 0908   Mars Orbiter Spacecraft   PSLV-XL   Sriharikota       Mars probe  60A
Nov  7 0414   Soyuz TMA-11M       Soyuz-FG        Baykonur LC1      Spaceship   61A
Nov 11 2346   Raduga-1M          Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC81/24  Comms       62A
Nov 18 1828   MAVEN              Atlas V 401      Canaveral SLC41   Mars probe  63A
Nov 19 1218   PicoDragon   )                      ISS, LEO          Tech      98-067DA
              Ardusat-1    )                                        Tech      98-067DB
              Ardusat-X    )	                                    Tech      98-067DC
Nov 20 0115   STPSAT-3       )   Minotaur I       Wallops I LA0B    Tech        64A
              ORS-3          )                                      Tech        64
              TJ3Sat         )                                      Tech        64
              DragonSat      )                                      Tech        64
              COPPER         )                                      Tech        64
              ChargerSat 1   )                                      Tech        64
              SwampSat       )                                      Tech        64
              Ho'oponopono 2 )                                      Radar cal   64
              KySat-2        )                                      Tech        64
              CAPE 2         )                                      Tech        64
              Trailblazer    )                                      Tech        64
              Vermont Lunar Cubesat )                               Tech        64
              PhoneSat-2.4   )                                      Tech        64
              NPS-SCAT       )                                      Tech        64
              Black Knight 1 )                                      Tech        64
              Firefly        )                                      Science     64
              Horus/STARE-B  )                                      Space Surv. 64
              SENSE-A        )                                      Ionospheric 64
              SENSE-B        )                                      Ionospheric 64N
	      ORSES          )                                      Comms       64
              ORS Tech 1     )                                      Tech        64
              ORS Tech 2     )                                      Tech        64
              Prometheus 1A? )               	                    Comms       64
              Prometheus 1B? )               	                    Comms       64
              Prometheus 2A? )               	                    Comms       64
              Prometheus 2B? )               	                    Comms       64
              Prometheus 3A? )               	                    Comms       64
              Prometheus 3B? )               	                    Comms       64
              Prometheus 4A? )               	                    Comms       64
              Prometheus 4B? )               	                    Comms       64
Nov 20 0331   Yaogan 19          Chang Zheng 4C   Taiyuan           Imaging     65A
Nov 20 0758   TechEdSat-3p                        ISS, LEO          Tech      98-067DD
Nov 21 0710   Dubaisat-2       )                                    Imaging     66D
              SkySat-1         ) Dnepr            Yasniy            Imaging     66C
              STSat-3          )                                    Astronomy   66G
              AprizeSat-7      )                                    Comms       66A
              AprizeSat-8      )                                    Comms       66K
              WNISAT-1         )                                    Weather     66H
              Lem              )                                    Astronomy   66R
              GOMX-1           )                                    Comms       66Q
              Dove-3           )                                    Imaging     66P
              Delfi-3nXt       )                                    Tech        66N
              Triton 1         )                                    Comms/AIS   66M
              KHUSAT-1         )                                    Science     66J
              KHUSAT-2         )                                    Science     66L
	      OPTOS            )                                    Tech        66E
              Manolito         )                                    Tech        66AB
              Krysaor          )                                    Tech        66AA
              UWE-3            )                                    Tech        66Z
              VELOX-P2         )                                    Tech        66Y
              First-MOVE       )                                    Tech        66AG
              FUNcube-1        )                                    Tech        66AE
              HINCube-1        )                                    Tech        66B
              Tshepiso         )                                    Tech        66AF
              BPA-3            )                                    Tech        66AJ
              Unisat-5         )                                    Tech        66F
                Dove-4         )                                    Imaging     66
                ICUBE-1        )                                    Tech        66
                PUCPSat-1      )                                    Tech        66
                Pocket-PUCP    )                                    Tech        66
                HUMSAT-D       )                                    Tech        66
		QBScout-1      )                                    Tech        66
		BeakerSat-1    )                                    Tech        66
                $50SAT         )                                    Tech        66
                WREN           )                                    Tech        66
Nov 22 1202   SWARM-1   )        Rokot            Plesetsk          Science      67A
              SWARM-2   )                                           Science      67B
              SWARM-3   )                                           Science      67C
Nov 25 0212   Shiyan 5 Weixing   Chang Zheng 2D   Jiuquan           Tech/Sci?    68A
Nov 25 2053   Progress M-21M     Soyuz-U          Baykonur LC31     Cargo        69A
Dec  1 1730   Chang'e-3 )        Chang Zheng 3BE  Xichang           Moon probe   70A
              Yutu      )                                           Rover
Dec  3 2241   SES-8              Falcon 9 v1.1    Canaveral SLC40   Comms        71A
Dec  6 0714   TOPAZ 3?    )      Atlas V 501      Vandenberg SLC3E  Radar        72A
              Aerocube 5a )                                         Tech         72D
              Aerocube 5b )                                         Tech         72E
              SMDC-ONE 2.3)                                         Comms        72N
              SMDC-ONE 2.4)                                         Comms        72L
              Tacsat 6    )                                         Tech?        72M
              ALICE       )                                         Tech         72F
              SNAP-3      )                                         Tech?        72G
              FIREBIRD A  )                                         Sci          72B
              FIREBIRD B  )                                         Sci          72C
              MCubed-2    )                                         Tech/Imaging 72H
              IPEX        )                                         Tech         72K
              CUNYSAT 1   )                                         Sci          72J
Dec  8 1212   Inmarsat 5 F1      Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC200/39 Comms        73A
Dec  9 0326   ZY-1 No. 3         Chang Zheng 4B   Taiyuan           Imaging      F03
Dec 19 0912   Gaia               Soyuz-2-1B/Fregat CSG ELS          Astronomy    74A
Dec 20 1642   Tupac Katari 1     Chang Zheng 3BE  Xichang           Comms        75A
Dec 25 0031   Kosmos-2488 )      Rokot            Plesetsk LC133/3  Comms        76A
              Kosmos-2489 )                                         Comms        76B
              Kosmos-2490 )                                         Comms        76C
Dec 26 1049   Ekspress AM-5      Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC81/24  Comms        77A
Dec 28 1230   Aist 1        )    Soyuz-2-1V/Volga Plesetsk LC43/4   Science      78A
              SKRL-756 No. 1)                                       Radar cal    78B
              SKRL-756 No. 2)                                       Radar cal    78C
Jan  5 1048   GSAT-14            GSLV             Sriharikota SLP   Comms        01?

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Nov  3 0925   NASA 36.294UH    Black Brant IX      White Sands      X-ray Astron  280?
Nov 12 1615?  SL-8             SpaceLoft XL        Spaceport America Tech         116 
Nov 20 1140   NASA 36.296UG    Black Brant IX      White Sands      UV Astron     277
Nov 27 0350   NASA 36.261UG    Black Brant IX      White Sands      UV Astron     280?
Dec 14        Kavoshgar Pazhuhesh  Shahab-1        Semnan           Bio           120
Dec 17 1236   GT210GM          Minuteman III       Vandenberg LF04  Op. test     1300?
Dec 24 0700   Yars RV-1 )      Yars                Plesetsk         Test         1000?
              Yars RV-2 )
              Yars RV-3 )
              Yars RV-4 )
Dec 27 1730   Topol' RV        Topol'              Kapustin Yar     Test         1000?
Jan  3        Arrow KV         Arrow 3             Palmachim        Test          100?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |                                    |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |  twitter: @planet4589              |
|                                                                         |
| JSR: http://www.planet4589.org/jsr.html                                 |
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