[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 697
jcm at planet4589.org
Sat May 17 10:59:35 EDT 2014
Jonathan's Space Report
No. 697 2014 May 17 Somerville, MA
International Space Station
Expedition 39 continued in early May with commander Koichi Wakata and flight engineers
Tyurin, Mastracchio, Skvortsov, Artem'ev and Swanson. On May 13 the Ex 39 crew
of Tyurin, Mastracchio and Wakata transferred to Soyuz TMA-11M leaving the ISS under
the control of Ex-40 commander Steve Swanson and FEs Arteme'v and Skvortsov. ISS
is in a 413 x 417 km x 51.7 deg orbit.
Dragon CRS-3 completed its rendezvous with the ISS on Apr 20 and was
grappled by the SSRMS robot arm at 1114 UTC. The arm berthed Dragon on
the Harmony module's nadir CBM port at 1402 UTC, with the process
completed at 1406 UTC. The SSRMS Canadarm-2 robot arm and the SPDM
Dextre robot manipulator were used to remove two pieces of cargo from
the unpressurized Dragon trunk. HDEV, the high definition Earth viewing
video package, was installed on the ESA Columbus module EPF-SDN attach
point on Apr 30. OPALS, a laser communications package, was installed on
Express Logistics Carrier 1 on the P3 truss segment on May 7.
Soyuz TMA-11M undocked from the Rassvet module at 2236 UTC on May 13 and
made the deorbit burn at 0105 UTC May 14. Landing in Kazakhstan came at
0158:30 UTC on May 14.
A Proton vehicle launched from Baykonur on May 15 had a third stage
failure and reentered over China. Debris was found north of Harbin, in
Heilongjiang province. The communications satellite payload, Ekspress
AM-4R, had been built to replace a satellite lost in an earlier Proton
failure; it used an Astrium Eurostar 3000 bus and was intended for
the Russian domestic operator Kosmicheskaya Svyaz. The payload section
reentered without separating from the third stage; orbit achieved
was around -1600 x 160 km.
The third launch of Europe's Vega light launch vehicle successfully
placed the Kazakh DZZ-HR imaging satellite in a 737 x 741 km x 98.6
deg, 1014 LTDN sun-synchronous orbit on Apr 30. DZZ-HR was renamed
KazEOSat-1 after launch; it was built by Airbus Defense and Space (Toulouse),
is based on the Astrosat bus and has an imager with 1 metre resolution.
All four objects from the Luch/Kazsat launch are now being tracked. On May 15
Luch-5V was in a 35689 x 35739 km x 4.8 deg orbit drifting east over 94.1E at 0.9 deg/day;
Kazsat-3 was in a 35884 x 35988 km x 0.2 deg orbit drifting west over 67.4E at 1.9 deg/day.
The Briz stage is in a 35593 x 40606 km x 1.1 deg orbit
and the DTB tank is in a 364 x 35732 km x 47.8 deg orbit.
A timer problem on Kicksat means that the deployment of the Sprite
subsatellites was reset to May 16. Unfortunately, Kicksat was destroyed
when it reentered on May 14. The last orbital data on May 13 showed it
in a 159 x 174 km x 51.6 deg orbit.
Kobal't-M and missing Kosmos satellites
A Kobal't-M spy satellite, serial number 564, was launched from Plesetsk
on May 6 into a 176 x 284 km x 81.4 deg orbit. It is the 9th launch of
an 11F695M Kobal't-M film-return satellite and the first to use the
Soyuz-2-1A rocket instead of the older Soyuz-U. By May 17 the satellite
was in a 207 x 248 km x 81.4 deg orbit.
TASS reports that its cover name is Kosmos-2495, which suggests that we
have missed three Kosmos series launches. Bob Christy (zarya.info) has
discovered a so-far-unreleased UN registration document from Russia.
This document reports that the Dec 2013 Rokot launch, which placed three
Rodnik/Strela class communications satellites in orbit as
Kosmos-2488/2489/2490, also placed a fourth payload in orbit,
Kosmos-2491. This fourth Russian Ministry of Defense payload was not
previously announced. It probably corresponds to the object tracked as
2013-076E, SSN 39497, which has a 0.4 sq m radar cross section. Two
previous Strela class launches on Rokot have carried small additional
Yubilyeniy scientific payloads of similar RCS; it seems likely that the
mystery payload is comparable, and may repreresent a Russian military
small satellite testbed. We may have to wait for further launches in the
series for a pattern to become clear.
The Glonass-M satellite launched in March 2014 is reported as Kosmos-2491 and Kosmos-2494
in different official Russian sources, suggesting a degree of administrative
confusion within the Russian establishment. The two other recently launched
Russian Defense Ministry payloads are the two calibration satellites which
the above-mentioned registration document calls SKRL 756 (same name for each satellite).
My hypothesis is that these two satellites will be renamed Kosmos-2492 and Kosmos-2493
for official purposes. We then have in the record the following sequences
Launch Internal military name Original public designation New pub. des.
Dec 25 Rodnik-S (8?) Kosmos-2488 Kosmos-2488
Rodnik-S (9?) Kosmos-2489 Kosmos-2489
Rodnik-S (10?) Kosmos-2490 Kosmos-2490
[Yubilyeniy-class] [None] Kosmos-2491
Dec 28 SKRL-756 No. 1 SKRL-756 Kosmos-2492?
SKRL-756 No. 2 SKRL-756 Kosmos-2493?
Mar 23 Uragan-M No. 754 Kosmos-2491, Glonass-M Kosmos-2494
May 6 Kobal't-M No. 564 Kosmos-2495
The Kosmos series nomenclature was introduced in 1962 to obfuscate the
missions of Soviet military satellites; analogous approaches were taken
by the US. I have had the impression for the past few years that the
system is breaking down, with bulletins from organs such as TASS and
Novosti sometimes issuing inconsistent names for the same satellite -
probably reflecting a bureaucratic change which has decentralized
control of such press releases in some way.
I thank Bob Christy, Claude Lafleur, Geoff Richards and @cosmic_penguin for
useful Twitter and email discussions on this issue.
The sixth GPS Block IIF satellite, space vehicle number (SVN) 67, nicknamed Rigel,
was launched from Cape Canaveral on May 17. For the first time on a GPS/Delta 4
flight, the profile had only two instead of three upper stage burns:
the Delta 4 second stage skipped the low circular parking orbit phase
and directly entered a 198 x 20387 km x 52.7 deg transfer orbit at 0018 UTC.
The second stage 2 burn at 0306 UTC led to the deployment of GPS SVN 67
in a 20460 x 20476 km x 55.0 deg orbit.
Two major space companies, Orbital Sciences and ATK, have announced that
they plan to merge. Orbital Sciences was the first successful 'new
space' company of the first wave (1980s) while ATK is the successor
corporation to the largest and oldest solid rocket makers (Hercules and
Thiokol). Between them they already include a lot of space history -
here is a list of their ancestor company space/missile-related
operating locations: (please send corrections)
Salt Lake City/Magna-Bacchus, Utah
Hercules Powder Company 1912-1995
Thiokol Chemical Co. 1929-1947
Thiokol Propulsion (Elkton) 1947-1982 (Star solid motors, TE series)
Morton Thiokol Inc. 1982-1989
Thiokol Corp. 1989-1998
Cordant Technologies, Thiokol Prp. 1998-2000
Alcoa Industrial, Thiokol Prp. 2000-2001
ATK (Elkton) 2001-2014
Cumberland/Rocket Center, West Virginia
Alleghany Ballistic Laboratories 1944-1945 (ABL, under NRDC and GWU)
Alleghany Ballistic Laboratories 1945-1995 (ABL, under US Navy and Hercules Powder Co.)
ATK Tactical Systems ABL 1995-2014?
Thiokol Propulsion (HSV) 1949-2001 (TX series)
Thiokol Longhorn Division 1952-1971
Brigham City/Promontory, Utah
Thiokol Wasatch Division 1957-2001 (TU series, USAF Plant 78; Shuttle SRBs)
ATK (Promontory) 2001-2014
Salt Lake City, Utah (I think this was a separate component?)
Cordant Technologies, Thiokol Prp. 1998-2000
Alcoa Industrial Group/Thiokol 2000-2001
Ronkonkoma, New York
GASL Inc. 1956-2000
Allied Aerospace/GASL Inc. 2000-2003 (X-43)
ATK GASL 2003-2014?
MicroCraft Inc. 1958-2001
MicroCraft Inc./Allied Aerosp. 2001-2003
ATK Propulsion/Controls 2003-2011
MicroCraft Inc. 2011- (independent again)
Space Data Corp. 1963-1988 (Sounding rockets)
Orbital Sciences Corp. 1988-2014 (Launch vehicles)
Fairchild-Hiller Space Systems 1964-1971 (Occasional satellites)
Fairchild Space and Electronics 1971-1994
Orbital Sciences Corp. 1994-2000? (Small satellites)
AEC/Able Engineering 1975-2004
Swales Aerospace 1978-2007
ATK Space Division 2007-2014
Defense Systems Inc (DSI) 1984?-1992 (Small satellites)
CTA Space Systems Inc 1992-1997
Orbital Sciences Corp 1997-2000
Orbital Sciences Corp. 1986-1993
Spectrum Astro 1988-2004 (Satellites)
General Dynamics C4 Systems 2004-2010
Orbital Sciences Corp. 2010-2014
Thiokol Corp. 1989-1998 (headquarters only?)
Minneapolis/Eden Praire, Minnesota
Alliant Techsystems (ATK) 1990-
Orbital Sciences Corp. 1993-2014 (Satellites)
Wallops Island, Virginia
Orbital Sciences Corp 2011-2014 (Launch prep facilities)
Orbital spun off two related companies:
New York/Fort Lee, New Jersey
Orbcomm - Orbital spinoff 1993
Orbimage - 1992-2006
GeoEye Inc 2006-2011 (absorbed in DigitalGlobe/Herndon)
My discussion of the ISEE 3 spacecraft in JSR696 was based on the contemporary
report in Spaceflight magazine. My colleagues at the National Air and Space Museum
have retrieved the original document, which turns out to be a 'declaration of
intent' to transfer the title to the Smithsonian at a future date - such transfer
not having in fact occurred. So it appears that ISEE 3 is still the property of
In JSR 696, the PhoneSat-2.5 cubesat, a 1U experiment from
NASA-Ames which was ejected from the Falcon 9 second stage, was briefly
mentioned in the text but inadvertently omitted from the launch table.
Table of Recent (orbital) Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.
Apr 3 1446 DMSP 5D-3 F-19 Atlas V 401 Vandenberg SLC3E Weather 15A
Apr 3 2102 Sentinel-1A Soyuz-2-1A CSG ELS Radar 16A
Apr 4 1144 IRNSS-1B PSLV-XL Sriharikota FLP Navigation 17A
Apr 9 1526 Progress M-23M Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1 Cargo 18A
Apr 9 1906 'Ofeq-10 Shaviyt Palmachim Radar 19A
Apr 10 1745 USA 250 Atlas V 541 Canaveral SLC41 Sigint 20A
Apr 16 1620 Egyptsat-2 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC31 Imaging 21A
Apr 18 1925 Dragon CRS-3 ) Falcon 9 v1.1 Canaveral SLC40 Cargo 22A
SporeSat ) Bio 22B
TSat ) Tech 22C
All-Star ) Sci 22D
PhoneSat-2.5 ) Tech 22E
Kicksat ) Tech 22F
Sprite (00,01) ) Tech 22F
Sprite (206,207) ) Tech 22
Apr 28 0425 Luch-5V ) Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC81/24 Comms 23A
Kazsat-3 ) Comms 23B
Apr 30 0138 KazEOSat-1 Vega Kourou ELV Imaging 24A
May 6 1349 Kosmos-2495 Soyuz-2-1A Plesetsk LC43/4 Imaging 25A
May 15 2142 Ekpress AM-4R Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms F01
May 17 0003 GPS SVN 67 Delta 4M+(4,2) Canaveral SLC37B Nav 26A
A sounding rocket launched from Kapustin Yar on Mar 26 failed and landed
near a village in an unplanned area of western Kazakhstan; launches within Kazakhstan
have been suspended pending the accident investigation. The MN-300/MR-30 sounding
rocket system has a nominal apogee of 300 km, and given the range achieved probably
attained a comparable height this time despite the failure.
India's DRDO carried out a ballistic missile intercept test on Apr 27. The two-stage
target, launched from a ship, may be based on the Prithvi-3/Dhanush missile.
Russia carried out a large scale military exercise on May 8, including
the launch of a Topol' missile from Plesetsk to Kura, an R-29RM Shtil'
missile from the Northern Fleet submarine K-114 Tula in the Barents Sea,
also to Kura, and an R-29R Volna missile from the Pacific Fleet
submarine K-223 Podolsk in the Sea of Okhotsk to the Chiza test range.
According to Pavel Podvig (russianforces.org) a 53T6 endoatmospheric ABM
interceptor was also launched from Sary Shagan against an unidentified
NASA launched the University of Arizona HYPE (Hydrogen Polarimetric
Explorer) suborbital payload from White Sands on May 3 to measure the
polarized line profile of ultraviolet Lyman-alpha emission from the
Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches
Date UT Payload/Flt Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission Apogee/km
Mar 26 2225 MR-30 MN-300 Kapustin Yar Met/Ionos? 300?
Apr 14 0640 Yars RV x 4? Yars Plesetsk Test 1000?
Apr 27 0337 SLTGT-02 Prithvi 3? INS, Bay of Bengal Target 150?
Apr 27 0340? PDV Prithvi 2? Chandipur Interceptor 120
May 3 0800 NASA 36.235US Black Brant IX White Sands UV Astron 278
May 8 Topol' RV Topol' Plesetsk Exercise 1000?
May 8 Shtil' RV Shtil' K-114, Barents Exercise 1000?
May 8 Volna RV Volna K-223, Okhotsk Exercise 1000?
| Jonathan McDowell | |
| Somerville MA 02143 | inter : planet4589 at gmail |
| USA | twitter: @planet4589 |
| JSR: http://www.planet4589.org/jsr.html |
| Back issues: http://www.planet4589.org/space/jsr/back |
| Subscribe/unsub: http://www.planet4589.org/mailman/listinfo/jsr |
More information about the JSR