[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 712

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Thu May 21 14:35:03 EDT 2015

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 712                                                     2015 May 21     Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 43 continues under the command of Terry Virts, with FE-1
Anton Shkaplerov and FE-2 Samantha Cristoforetti joined by FE-3 Gennadiy
Padalka, FE-4 Mikhail Kornienko and FE-5 Scott Kelly after the TMA-16M
(flight 42S) docking. 

Dragon CRS-6 arrived at ISS on Apr 17. The SSRMS arm grappled CRS-6 at 1055 UTC
and berthed it on the Harmony module at 1329 UTC. The cargo ship was unberthed
again around 0929 UTC May 21, released at 1104 UTC and splashed down in the
Pacific at 1642 UTC May 21.

Among the cubesats on CRS-6 that will be deployed from the Kibo module
is Booz Allen Hamilton's Centennial-1. So far I've had no useful
response to my query to BAH about which of the company's many locations
built the satellite - do any of my readers know? Indications are that
the satellite may have been built at BAH's Herndon, Virginia operation
with program management at the Dayton, Ohio location.

Progress M-26M's engines were used to move the ISS out of the path of
some space debris on Apr 23 and (following a malfunction on May 16) made
an orbit reboost on May 18.  The Progress M-25M cargo ship undocked from
the Pirs module at 0641 UTC Apr 25 and was deorbited on Apr 26, with
debris falling in the South Pacific at 1300 UTC.

Progress M-27 was launched on Apr 28; however, the Soyuz-2-1a third
stage did not shut down correctly and damaged the spacecraft during
separation. 44 debris objects were tracked, 20 of them being cataloged
(all  reentered by May 7). Limited telemetry was obtained from the
Progress, but Russian mission control was unable to control the
spacecraft, which was found to be spinning. The damaged spacecraft
reentered over the South Pacific off the SW coast of Chile at 0220 UTC
May 8. I am scoring the launch as 0.30 success (orbit reached but fatal
payload separation problem).


Ariane 5 launched two communication satellites on Apr 26. Thor 7, a
Loral 1300 satellite, will provide broadcast services for Norway's
Telenor, including a Ka-band payload dedicated to maritime and Antarctic
communications. Sicral 2 provides secure communications for the Italian
and French armed forces. Both satellites have raised their orbits to GEO; there is
no tracking data for Sicral available. Sicral is a Thales/Telespazio Spacebus
4000 satellite.

SpaceX Turkmen launch

A SpaceX Falcon 9 placed a communications satellite in geostationary
transfer orbit on Apr 27. The satellite has the baroque name of
TurkmenAlem52E/MonacoSat, which requires some unpacking. The satellite
was built by Thales Alenia Space in Cannes and is a Spacebus 4000C2
model with a 4700 kg launch mass. It is owned by the Turkmenistan
National Space Agency and the Turkmen Ministry of Communications, which
will operate 26 Ku-band transponders, and will be stationed at the 52E
position - hence the first component of the name. The GEO orbital slot
is assigned to Monaco and its GEO telecom operator Space Systems
International; Monaco has a further 12 Ku-band transponders on the
satellite for the MonacoSat portion of the payload, which will be
operated by the SES company on its behalf.


Mexsat-1, a Boeing 702-GEM satellite for the Mexican SCT (communications ministry), was
lost on May 16 when the Proton launch vehicle suffered another failure.
Malfunction of the third stage vernier engine 8 minutes into flight led to a premature
shutdown and impact of stage 3, Briz-M and payload in the Chita region between
Lake Baikal and the Chinese border.


On May 20 an Atlas V orbited an X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle into an unknown orbit,
probably around 400 km and 40 deg inclination like previous missions.
There are two X-37Bs and for the first time the USAF has not announced which
of them is flying the mission. In contrast there is somewhat more openness than
before about the payload, which includes an AFRL ion engine test and a NASA
materials exposure experiment.

After releasing the X-37B the Centaur AV-054 rocket stage reignited to
reach a 355 x 700 km x 55-57 deg orbit and at around 1700 UTC released a
set of 9 cubesats. Centaur then made a third burn to deorbit itself over
the Indian Ocean. Detailed orbital data for this mission are not yet

The 9 cubesats are:
 The USS Langley, a 3U cubesat from the US Naval Academy (UNSA) testing out an IP link
  to the satellite's computer which hosts a Unix webserver.
 ParkinsonSat-1 is a 1.5U cubesat from USNA hosting the USN SCP/ODTML buoy communications payload
  and an amateur radio payload.
 BRICSAT-P is another USNA 1.5U cubesat, built in collaboration with George Washington Univ.,
  testing an electric micropropulsion system. 
 Aerocube-8A and 8B, from the Aerospace Corporation, are two 1.5U cubesats testing an ion-electrospray
  propulsion system and carbon nanotube materials.
 GEARRS-2, the second 3U Globalstar Risk Reduction satellite from startup Near Space Launch (a Taylor U. spinoff)
  with AFRL to demo cubesat data relay via the Globalstar system.
 O/C-1 to O/C-3, three 3U Optical Cubesats sponsored by NRO and 
   built by Cal Poly as targets for space surveillance calibration. It's unclear who the owners of the satellite are.
 LightSail-A, the Planetary Society's 3U cubesat with a solar sail deployment experiment.


The Cassini probe made a 2721 km flyby of Titan at 2252 UTC May 7. The probe is
now in a 188700 x 2428000 km x 0.4 deg equatorial Saturn orbit.

Erratum: last issue's entry should have read:
The Cassini probe made a 2275 km flyby of Titan at 1430 UTC Mar 16. The probe is
now in a 276000 x 3164000 km x 0.3 deg equatorial Saturn orbit.


The Japanese PROCYON mission's plan to perform an Earth swingby followed by flyby of 
asteroid 2000 DP107 has been abandoned following malfunction of its ion engine.
The probe, in solar orbit, may continue to make scientific measurements with its
ultraviolet camera. Procyon was originally in a 0.9 x 1.1 AU x 6.8 deg solar orbit
but I'm not sure how much this was changed by its 3 months of ion engine operation.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission       INTL.   Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes
                                                                                                      km      km   deg

Apr 14 2010   Dragon CRS-6        Falcon 9 v1.1     Canaveral SLC40  Cargo           21A   S40588    205 x    360 x  51.6
Apr 26 2000   Thor 7   )          Ariane 5 ECA      Kourou ELA3      Comms           22A   S40613  35778 x  35795 x   0.0 GEO 11.7W
              Sicral 2 )                                             Comms           22B   S40614  35780?x  35800?x   0.0 GEO?
Apr 27 2303   TurkmenAlem52E/     Falcon 9 v1.1     Canaveral SLC40  Comms           23A   S40617  35784 x  35788 x   0.1 GEO 52.0E
Apr 28 0709   Progress M-27M      Soyuz-2-1a        Baykonur LC31    Cargo           24A   S40619    186 x    258 x  51.6
May 16 0547   Mexsat-1            Proton-M/Briz-M   Baykonur LC200/39 Comms          F01   F01446  -2000?x    160 x  50.5?
May 20 1505   X-37B OTV-4    )    Atlas V 501       Canaveral SLC40   Tech           25A   S40651    400?x    400?x  40.0?
              USS Langley    )                                        Tech           25B   S40652    350?x    700?x  55?
              PSat-1         )                                        Comms          25D   S40654    350?x    700?x  55?
              BRICSat-P      )                                        Tech           25E   S40655    350?x    700?x  55?
              GEARRS-2       )                                        Comms          25G   S40657    350?x    700?x  55?
              Aerocube-8a    )                                        Tech           25J   S40659    350?x    700?x  55?
              Aerocube-8b    )                                        Tech           25K   S40660    350?x    700?x  55?
	      O/C-1          )                                        Calibration    25C   S40653    350?x    700?x  55?
	      O/C-2          )                                        Calibration    25F   S40656    350?x    700?x  55?
	      O/C-3          )                                        Calibration    25H   S40658    350?x    700?x  55?
              LightSail-A    )                                        Tech           25L   S40661    350?x    700?x  55?

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

North Korea launched a ballistic missile from submerged platform, apparently on May 8.
The missile is thought to be derived from the Soviet R-27 and may be the same
as the missile known as 'Musudan' that has been tested in the past. However, South Korean
reports suggest the flight was a low altitude test only and did not reach space.

On May 2, NASA flight 36.292UH carried the University of Iowa's OGRESS,
a new X-ray grating spectrograph instrument, on a suborbital test flight
to observe the Cyg Loop supernova remnant.

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

Apr 15        RV               Ghauri              Tilla?           Test          400?
Apr 16 0422   Agni RV          Agni III            Chandipur        Test          350?
Apr 18 1101   NASA 46.008UO    Terrier Imp.Malemute Wallops         Education     174?
May  2 0830   NASA 36.292UH    Black Brant IX      White Sands      XR Astron     272

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