[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 720

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Wed Dec 16 23:41:27 EST 2015

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 720                                                       2015 Dec 16  Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 45 continued until undocking of Soyuz TMA-17M on Dec 11, when
Expedition 46 began.

United Launch Alliance launched Atlas V flight AV-061 on Dec 6 carrying
the Cygnus OA-4 cargo ship mission. Following the Antares failure last
year, Cygnus payloads were temporarily moved to Atlas. The OA-4 Cygnus,
called 'SS Deke Slayton II', is the first Cygnus with the enhanced
(stretched) EPCM pressurized cargo module, and the first with a service
module carrying the circular UltraFlex solar arrays originally designed
for NASA's Orion. This was the first time an Atlas launched a payload
towards the ISS.

The AV-061 Centaur reached a 234 x 237 km orbit at 2203 UTC, released
Cygnus 3 min later, and performed a 10s deorbit burn at 2232 UTC for
disposal of the Centaur in the ocean south of Australia at about 132E

The Deke Slayton II reached the ISS on Dec 9, with SSRMS grapple at 1119
UTC and berthing on Harmony at 1426 UTC. Aboart the Cygnus is the small
NovaWurks SIMPL satellite, 12 Flock 2e cubesats from Planet Labs, and
the CADRE, STMSat-1, MinXSS-1, Nodes 1 and Nodes 2 cubesats.
Mass of ISS after the OA-4 arrival is 418 metric tons.

The Soyuz TMA-17M crew of Kononenko, Yui and Lindgren landed
on Dec 11. Soyuz TMA-17M undocked from Rassvet at 0949 UTC, made its
deorbit burn at 1219 UTC, and landed in Kazakhstan at about 1312 UTC.

Soyuz TMA-19M, with crewmembers Yuriy Malenchenko, Tim
Kopra, and Tim Peake, was launched on Dec 15. Volkov, Kelly
and Kornienko remain on the station during the changeover.

TMA-19M began its flyaround of ISS at 1700 UTC Dec 15. Final approach to
the Rassvet module began 1708 UTC under computer control but was aborted
at 1716 UTC at a distance of around 30m; after backing off, Malenchenko
resumed approach manually at 1729 UTC and docked at 1733 UTC.

Now that the UK has begun financial support for the ESA human
spaceflight program, Tim Peake's mission - named 'Principia' - is
considered the first 'official' British human spaceflight mission. The
first British citizen to leave Earth was Helen Sharman, who flew the
commercial, mainly Soviet-funded, Project Juno mission in 1991 aboard
Soyuz TM-12 to Mir, landing on Soyuz TM-11.

Other British citizens who have flown in space include Mike Foale, Piers
Sellers, Nick Patrick and Richard Garriott, who have dual US citizenship
and who were all born in England,  and Mark Shuttleworth, who is a South
African-born dual UK citizen. American astronaut Greg H. Johnson was
born in England too, but I'm not sure if he is a also British citizen.

LISA Pathfinder

LISA Pathfinder (LPF, originally SMART-2) was launched by Vega VV06 on
Dec 3. The gravitational-physics technology development spacecraft will
test the LISA Technology Package (LTP), containing an inertial sensor
measuring the motion of two Gravitational Reference Sensors 0.38m apart
each containing 46mm, 2 kg, Au-Pt cubes. Their relative motion can be
measured to one millionth of a micron. LTP will reduce risk for the
proposed eLISA gravitational wave search mission which will have mass
sensors 2 billion times further apart than LTP, using a triad of
spacecraft spaced a million km apart from each other. A NASA-provided
Disturbance Reduction System (originally the Space Technology 7 mission)
will use ion thrusters to move the spacecraft to follow the motion of
the test masses. By measuring the path of the test masses with only 
gravitational forces acting on them, the local curvature of spacetime
can be determined with unprecedented precision. The mission is intended
to understand the major sources of errors in the measurement, to prepare
for eLISA.

Vega VV06 fired its three solid motors and then made the first liquid
AVUM 4th stage burn to reach a 208 x 1165 km transfer orbit at 0420 UTC.
On descent to perigee at 0545 UTC the AVUM restarted to put LPF in a 209
x 1521 km x 6.0 deg orbit. AVUM then separated and made a small
avoidance burn (not a "deorbit burn" as claimed by the press kit) to 214
x 1474 km x 6.0 deg, slightly decreasing the stage's orbital lifetime.
LPF's propulsion module (PRM), based on the Airbus-DS Eurostar 2000
communications satellite bus with an S400 main thruster and 1100 kg of
propellant, slowly raise LPF's orbit until it is en route to the
first Sun-Earth Lagrange point (SEL1) 1.5 million km noonward. The 320
kg empty PRM will be jettisoned in January, a month after the last burn,
as the 486 kg LPF enters a 0.5 x 0.8 million km Lissajous orbit around

As of Dec 12, all the ARM apogee raising burns had been carried out
and LPF was on its way to SEL1:
                           Orbit (km x km x deg)
 Dec  3 0420  AVUM-1       208 x    1165 x 6.0
 Dec  3 0545  AVUM-2       209 x    1521 x 6.0
 Dec  7 0520? ARM-1        207 x    1557 x 6.0
 Dec  7 1721  ARM-2        293 x    3394 x 6.0
 Dec  8 0731  ARM-3        443 x    7108 x 6.0
 Dec  8 2102  ARM-4        710 x   44473 x 6.0
 Dec  9 2355  ARM-5        748 x  124805 x 6.0 (no TLEs yet)
 Dec 12 0518  ARM-6        750?x 1500000 x 6.0 (no TLEs yet)
 Dec 13       Corr.1       Small 7m/s correction


China launched the ZX-1C communications satellite to geotransfer orbit
on Dec 9. The satellite is thought to be the second Fenghuo-2 military
communications satellite, joining ZX-1A launched in 2011.

Soyuz-2-1V launch

Russia carried out the second launch of the Soyuz-2-1V rocket, carrying 
the 440 kg Kanopus-ST military satellite as its primary payload.
Kanopus-ST carried optical, infrared and microwave imagers to test
technology to locate submerged submarines. A secondary payload was
KYuA-1, a 16 kg  sphere used to calibrate anti-ballistic-missile radars.

The two-stage core of Soyuz-2-1V reached a 208 x 681 km x 98.2 deg
transfer orbit. It was cataloged as 2015-071C. The Volga upper stage
(2015-071A) coasted to apogee and at about 1503 UTC made a
circularization burn to reach a 684 x 693 km sun-synchronous orbit.  The
KYuA-1 satellite (2015-071B) was successfully ejected at about 1540 UTC,
but one of several latches on the Kanopus-ST failed to open, and the
payload failed to separate.

The two payloads were given the public cover names Kosmos-2511 (Kanopus-ST/Volga)
and Kosmos-2512 (KYuA-1). 

Following the failure, at about 0200 UTC Dec 6 the Volga reignited in an
attempt to deorbit the Kanopus/Volga stack and prevent it becoming
long-lived space debris. This burn reached an orbit of 106 x 655 km.
Natural orbital decay from atmospheric drag quickly set in. On Dec 7,
with the orbit at 90 x 348 km, the spacecraft split into two pieces,
possibly but not certainly the Kanopus satelite and the Volga stage.
The two pieces reached an orbit
of 88 x 297 km on Dec 8 before reentry, with 71D coming down between
0400 and 0500 UTC and 71A reentering at 0543 UTC over the S Atlantic.


At 1345 UTC on Dec 11, just after the Soyuz TMA-17M landing elsewhere in
Kazakhstan, Russia launched a Ukrainian-built Zenit-2SB vehicle with an
NPO Lavochkin 'Fregat-SB' upper stage carrying the Elektro-L No. 2
weather satellite to GEO. The Zenit-2SB second stage reached a 164 x 539
km x 51.4 deg parking orbit at 1352 UTC. The Elektro-L/Fregat-SB
separated; after a first Fregat burn to 271 x 4277 km at 1500 UTC, the
SBB drop tank was jettisoned. A second burn at 1711 UTC put the vehicle
in geotransfer orbit, and a third burn at 2232 UTC circularized the
orbit at apogee. Fregat separated and later made a fourth burn to
graveyard orbit, leaving Elektro-L in the geosynchronous region. TLE
orbital data for this and other recently launched objects have not yet
been released.


Russia launched its second Garpun (`Harpoon') military communications satellite
on Dec 13. The Proton rocket took off from Baykonur and is expected to deliver
the satellite to geostationary orbit. Garpun No. 12L has the cover name
Kosmos-2513. Current TLEs for object 41121 are actually for the discarded
DTB propellant tank, which will probably be recataloged as 41123 once the
payload is found.

Singaporean satellites

Six satellites for organizations based in Singapore were launched on a single
Indian PSLV rocket on Dec 15. 
  For AgilSpace, the 400 kg TeLEOS-1 satellite with a 1 meter resolution Earth
   imager. The satellite is built by Singapore Technologies Electronics,
   of which AgilSpace is a subsidiary.
  For Nanyang Technological University, the 123 kg VELOX-C1 carrying a GPS
   radio occultation payload for meteorology, and the 12 kg VELOX-II carrying
   a space communications relay experiment to demonstrate cubesat downlink via
   geostationary communications satellite. VELOX-II is a 6U cubesat - only the 4th
   to be launched worldwide in this new larger cubesat format.
  For Microsat Rapid Pte Ltd., the 3U cubesat Athenoxat-1 carrying a payload to
   image the night side of the Earth.
  For the National University of Singapore, the 78 kg Kent Ridge 1 satellite
   developed using the TUBSAT LEOS-50 bus by Berlin Space Technologies, a spinoff
   of the old TUBSAT group at Technische Universitat Berlin. KR-1 carries
   two low-resoluton hyperspectral Earth imagers and a 6-meter-resolution imager.
   A second NUS satellite is Galassia, a 2U cubesat with science payloads to
   measure the ionosphere and perform a quantum entanglement experiment.

The satellites were deployed into a roughly 520 km orbit inclined 14 deg to
the equator. In a technology development test, the PSLV 4th stage was reignited
briefly to test its ability to deliver payloads to multiple orbits. It is being
tracked in a 400 x 573 km x 14.7 deg orbit.


On Dec 17 China launched the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE), given
the postlaunch name Wukong ('Monkey King'). DAMPE is a Chinese Academy of Sciences
particle physics experiment with a bismuth-germanium oxide calorimeter, and
will study electrons, gamma rays and cosmic rays in the GeV to TeV energy range.
The satellite has a mass of 1900 kg. Orbit is thought to be 500 x 500 km x 97 deg.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches 

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission       INTL.   Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes
                                                                                                      km      km   deg

Nov  3 1625   Zhongxing 2C         Chang Zheng 3B    Xichang          Comms          63A   S41021    195 x 35832 x  27.1
Nov  4 0345   Hiakasat     )                                          Imaging        F03   F01468  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              Argus        )                                          Tech           F03   F01469  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              PrintSat     )       Super Strypi      Kauai            Tech           F03   F01470  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              Techsat-1    )                                          Tech           F03   F01471  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              STACEM       )                                          Imaging        F03   F01472  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 1       )                                          Tech           F03   F01473  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 2       )                                          Tech           F03   F01474  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 3       )                                          Tech           F03   F01475  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 4       )                                          Tech           F03   F01476  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 5       )                                          Tech           F03   F01477  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 6       )                                          Tech           F03   F01478  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 7       )                                          Tech           F03   F01479  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
              EDSN 8       )                                          Tech           F03   F01480  -6378 x    30?x  94.7
Nov  8 0706   Yaogan 28           Chang Zheng 4B     Taiyuan          Imaging        64A   S41026    459 x   482 x  97.2 1414LT SSO
Nov 10 2134   Badr 7      )       Ariane 5ECA        Kourou ELA3      Comms          65A   S41028    264 x 35717 x   4.0
              GSAT-15     )                                           Comms          65B   S41029    259 x 35751 x   4.0
Nov 17 0634   Kosmos-2510         Soyuz 2-1b/Fregat  Plesetsk LC43/4  Early Warn     66A   S41032   1625 x 38551 x  63.8 
Nov 20 1607   LaoSat 1            Chang Zheng 3B     Xichang LC2      Comms          67A   S41034    189 x 41778 x  18.4 
Nov 24 0650   Telstar 12V         H-IIA 204          Tanegashima      Comms          68A   S41036   3140 x 35637 x  19.2
Nov 26 2124   Yaogan 29           Chang Zheng 4C     Taiyuan          Radar          69A   S41038    615 x   619 x  97.8 0430LT SSO
Dec  3 0404   LISA Pathfinder     Vega               Kourou ZLV       Astron/Tech    70A   S41043    748 x124805 x   6.0 En route L1
Dec  5 1409   Kosmos-2511  )      Soyuz-2-1V         Plesetsk LC43/4  Imaging        71A   S41098    685 x   694 x  98.2 
              Kosmos-2512  )                                          Calibration    71B   S41099    684 x   693 x  98.2 0600LT SSO
Dec  6 2144   Deke Slayton II     Atlas V 401        Canaveral SLC41  Cargo          72A   S41101    404 x   418 x  51.6 Docked ISS
Dec  9 1646   Zhongxing 1C        Chang Zheng 3B     Xichang          Comms          73A   S41103    177 x 35816 x  27.1
Dec 11 1345   Elektro-L No. 2     Zenit-3SLBF        Baykonur LC45/1  Weather        74A   S41105
Dec 13 0019   Kosmos-2513         Proton-M/Briz-M    Baykonur LC81/24 Comms          75A   S41121    401 x 35657 x  48.6
Dec 15 1103   Soyuz TMA-19M       Soyuz-FG           Baykonur LC1     Spaceship      76A   S41124    404 x   418 x  51.6 Docked ISS
Dec 16 1230   TeLEOS-1    )                                           Imaging        77A?
              VELOX-C1    )                                           Weather(RO)    77B?
              Kent Ridge 1)       PSLV-CA            Sriharikota LP1  Imaging        77C?
              VELOX-II    )                                           Tech           77D?
              Galassia    )                                           Sci/Tech       77E?
              Athenoxat-1 )                                           Imaging        77F?
Dec 17 0012   Wukong              Chang Zheng 2D     Jiuquan          Astron         78A   S41173?

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

Thanks to Thomas Schiller for updating me on some of the sounding rocket launches.

The NASA 49.003UE Oriole IV flight launched from Andoya on Nov 30 did
not reach its target altitude; the reason for this is not yet known. (My
figure of 100 km achieved is a placeholder guess.)

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

Nov  1 0305   SRALT RV         SRALT         C-17, Pacific SE Wake I     Target        300?      Wake Island
Nov  1 0307?  THAAD KV         THAAD               Wake Island           Interceptor   100?      (Pacific)
Nov  1 0310?  eMRBM RV         eMRBM         C-17, Pacific SE Wake I     Target        300?      Wake Island
Nov  1 0312?  THAAD KV         THAAD               Wake Island           Interceptor   100?      (Pacific)
Nov  6 1501   FOP-4            SpaceLoft XL        Spaceport America, NM Microgravity  120       White Sands
Nov  8 0200   USN Mk 5 RV (x14?) Trident II  SSBN 737, Pt Mugu           Test         1000?      Kwajalein?
Nov  9 0415   Agni RV          Agni IV             Abdul Kalam Island    Test          600       Indian Ocean
Nov  9 2000?  USN Mk 5 RV (x14?) Trident II  SSBN 737, Pt Mugu           Test         1000?      Kwajalein?
Nov 14        RV               Bulava        K-551 V.Monomakh, White Sea Test         1000?      Kura, Kamchatka
Nov 14        RV               Bulava        K-551 V.Monomakh, White Sea Test         1000?      Kura, Kamchatka
Nov 17 1212   Topol'-E RV      Topol'              Kapustin Yar          Reentry test 1000?      Sary Shagan
Nov 18        Interceptor KV   Nudol'              Sary Shagan?          Test          200?      ?
Nov 21        Ghadr RV         Ghadr-1             Semnan?               Test          150?      Arabian Sea?
Nov 23 1721   New Shepard CC   New Shepard         West Texas Site       Test          101       West Texas Site
Nov 25 0417   PICTURE-B        Black Brant 9       White Sands           Astronomy     217       White Sands
Nov 30 0725   CAPER            Oriole IV           Andoya, Norway        Auroral       100?      Andoya, Norway
Dec  1 0500   MASER 13         VSB-30              Kiruna, Sweden        Microgravity  270?      ESRANGE B Zone, Sweden
Dec  5 0445?  DXL-2            Black Brant 9       White Sands           X-ray Astron  224?      White Sands
Dec  8        CTV-02           SM-3 Block IIA      San Nicolas I, Calif. Test          100?      Point Mugu Sea Range
Dec 10 0612   Target           Silver Sparrow  F-15D, Med. Sea           Target        150?      Intercepted
Dec 10 0615   Arrow 3 KV       Arrow 3             Palmachim, Israel     Interceptor   150?      Intercept 
Dec 10        FTO-O2E1a Target SRALT?          C-17, Pacific Ocean       Target        300?      Intercepted
Dec 10        Aegis KV         SM-3 Block IB       Kauai                 Interceptor   150?      Intercept 
Dec 10 1355   PAC-3 Target     Juno                Ft. Wingate, NM       Target        100?      White Sands
Dec 11        Shaheen RV       Shaheen III         Somniani?,Pakistan    Test          500?      Arabian Sea
Dec 12        RV x 4?          Sineva          K-51, Barents Sea         Test         1000?      Kura, Kamchatka
Dec 15        Shaheen RV       Shaheen IA          Somniani?,Pakistan    Test          100?      Arabian Sea

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