[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 731

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Tue Nov 1 23:46:18 EDT 2016

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 731                                                      2016 Nov  2    Somerville, MA
Apologies for the long gap between reports, caused by pressure of work follwing (gasp)
an actual vacation. 

International Space Station

Expedition 50 began at 0035 UTC Oct 30 following a change of
command ceremony at 1937 UTC Oct 28.

The Nanoracks NRCSD-9 dispenser was extracted from Kibo's airlock on Sep 14
and eight Flock 2e-Prime cubesats for Planet were deployed. These were the final
payloads from a batch delivered aboard Cygnus OA-6.

On Oct 17 an Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship, the SS Alan Poindexter, was
launched on mission OA-5. The launch was the first flight of the Antares
230 rocket, featuring a first stage with two Energomash RD-181 engines
replacing the Kuznetsov/Aerojet AJ-26 engines used on earlier Antares
missions (which were implicated in the Oct 2014 Antares 130 failure),
and a second stage with the Castor 30XL solid motor. The Castor 30XL was
on the previous Antares launch but didn't get a chance to fire because
of the first stage failure, so this was its first real test. In the
event the rocket performed above specification and the mission reached a
higher-than-planned 209 x 351 km orbit. OA-5 reached the ISS on Oct 23;
it was grappled by the SSRMS at 1128 UTC and berthed to the nadir port
of the Unity module at 1453 UTC.

Cygnus OA-5 carries 2345 kg of pressurized cargo, and the external
Nanoracks deployer with four Spire Global Lemur-2 cubesats.

Oct 19 saw the launch of Soyuz MS-02 with astronauts Sergey Ryzhikov,
Andrey Borisenko and Shane Kimbrough. They docked with the Poisk module
at 0952 UTC Oct 21. On Oct 30 at 0035 UTC Ivanishin, Onishi and Rubins
undocked from Rassvet in Soyuz MS-01; they landed in Kazakhstan at 0358


The ESA Rosetta spacecraft, following close flyovers of the nucleus of comet 67P
in the 2 to 10 km range during September, made a deorbit burn at 2050 UTC Sep 29
and touched down on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 1039 UTC Sep 30 at a velocity
of 0.9m/s. The spacecraft would have been unable to communicate from the nucleus
surface even if it had survived and the mission was declared complete after the
corresponding light travel time delay with loss of signal in Darmstadt at 1119 UTC.

Rosetta was launched on 2004 Mar 2 by Ariane L518 into a 0.88 x 1.09 AU
x 0.4 deg  solar orbit. It made a 1955 km Earth flyby on 2005 Mar 4, a
250 km Mars flyby on 2007 Feb 25, and a 5301 km Earth flyby on 2007 Nov
13 which left it in a 0.91 x 2.26 AU x 7.7 deg solar orbit. Following an
800 km flyby of asteroid (2867) Steins on 2008 Sep 5 and a 3162 km flyby
of (21) Lutetia on 2010 Jul 10, it made rendezvous with
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 2014 Aug  6 and ejected the Philae lander
from a range of 22 km on 2014 Nov 12.  Rosetta remained within 500 km of
the 67P nucleus following its rendezvous except for a far excursion
trajectory from 2015 Sep 23 to Oct 20 when it receded to a maximum
distance of 1490 km and an anti-sunward excursion from 2016 Mar 28 to
2016 Apr 3, at a maximum distance of around 1000 km. 


The ExoMars spacecraft entered the Martian gravitational Hill sphere
at 0110 UTC Oct 16, and at 1442 UTC Oct 16 split into the separate
TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) and EDM (Entry-Descent-Landing Demonstrator Module)
vehicles. TGO made an insertion burn on Oct 19 from 1304 to 1523 UTC,
entering a 4-day-period, 346 x 95228 km x 9.7 orbit deg around Mars.

The EDM, named Schiaparelli, approached on a 62 x -13982 km x 8.2 deg
hyperbola and entered the Martian atmosphere at 1442 UTC at a speed
of 5.86 km/s and an angle of -11.9 degrees. 

During descent,  data was relayed to Mars orbiting spacecraft for later
retransmission as well as sent on a live link picked up by the GMRT
radio telescope near Pune, India.

Schiaparelli survived the entry and deployed its parachute 4 minutes
later at an altitude of 11 km. The heatshield was jettisoned 30 seconds
later, and at 1447 UTC the parachute and attached backshell were
separated at an altitude of 1.3 km over the Meridiani Planum landing
site at 6.11W 2.07S.

It now appears that the parachute/backshell separated 15 seconds earlier
than expected, for unknown reasons. Further, the thrusters fired
for only 3 seconds, and the lander transitioned to landing mode
while still well above the surface. A free fall of 19 seconds ensued,
followed by a high speed (hundreds of km/hr) impact.
At this point, unsurprisingly, communications from the lander ceased.

MRO has imaged the EDM lander's impact scar at 6.11W 2.07S. The
parachute appears to be 0.16km E 0.91km S of the lander.

Tiangong 2 and Shenzhou 11

China's second space laboratory was launched on Sep 15. Tiangong 2 has a mass
of 8600 km and was launched into a low perigee orbit by a CZ-2F rocket.
On Sep 16 at about 0904 UTC the lab raised its orbit from an initial 197 x 373 km
to 369 x 378 km x 42.8 deg; on Sep 26 the lab moved to a 381 x 389 km orbit.

The latest Chinese discussion of Tiangong 1 is more explicit than previous
reports in its confirmation that the old spacelab will reenter naturally
rather than be deorbited. Reentry will probably occur sometime in the second
half of 2017. Tiangong-1's current orbit is 358 x 380 km x 42.8 deg,
and its last orbit raising burn occurred on 2015 Dec 16.

On Oct 16 China launched Shenhzou 11 with astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong;
two days later, at 1924 UTC Oct 18, it docked with Tiangong-2 to begin what
is planned as a month-long mission.

On Oct 22 at 2331 UTC TG-2 ejected a 47 kg 'bansui weixing' (subsatellite) which
will remain in formation with TG-2 to image the complex.

Meanwhile the first CZ-5 launch vehicle has been rolled out to the pad on the
island of Hainan, with launch expected in the coming days.

Vega VV07

Arianespace's Vega rocket made its 7th flight from Kourou on Sep 16.
The AVUM upper stage made two burns to deploy TerraBella's SkySat 4 to 7
in a 500 km orbit at 0224 UTC, and then two further burns to put PeruSAT-1 in
a 677 km orbit at 0326 UTC. The AVUM made a final burn to deorbit itself
in the Indian Ocean west of Sumatra.


India's PSLV-C35 vehicle was launched on Sep 26 with a cluster of small satellites.
For the first time, the PS4 final stage made multiple burns to deliver payloads
to different orbits. Its first burn reached a 718 x 732 km orbit at 0358 UTC,
and ISRO's SCATSAT ocean wind speed scatterometer mission was deployed at 0359.
At 0504 and 0554 UTC two more burns reached a 661 x 704 km orbit and the DLA
dual launch adapter was ejected, followed by deployment of the remaining payloads:
  PRATHAM from IIT Bombay, with an ionospheric science instrument;
  PISAT from PES University, Bangalore, with an 80m resolution imager;
  CanX-7 from UTIAS/Toronto, with a deployable deorbit sail;
  Pathfinder 1 from Black Sky Global (Seattle) with a 1 meter imager;
  and three imaging satellites for the Algerian space agency ASAL:
    ALSAT-1B built by Surrey; ALSAT-2B built by Airbus/Toulouse; and ALSAT-1N,
     a cubesat built by Algerian engineers in Surrey and integrated in Algeria.


Intelsat's IS-33e communications satellite, a Boeing BSS-702MP model, has
suffered a failure of its main Leros apogee thruster in geotransfer orbit.
Orbit raising was delayed until late September; by Oct 18
the satellite was in a 31428 x 35927 km x 0.1 deg orbit.

Ariane L585
Ariane vehicle L585 was launched Oct 5 on mission VA231, placing
two communications sats in geotransfer orbit: Sky Muster II for
the Australian NBN broadcaster, and GSAT-18 for the Indian Space
Research Organization.


Communications with the STEREO-B science craft in solar orbit had been
lost on 2014 Oct 1 for unknown reasons; by 2016 it was assumed the
mission had been lost, but on Aug 21 the big DSS-14 dish at Goldstone
picked up a signal from it. This was great news for the heliophysics
community, but attempts to recover full communications with the tumbling
and underpowered spacecraft have met with mixed success, and as of Oct
11 recovery attempts were scaled back until STEREO-B drifts into a more
favorable attitude and orbital position.

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

Sep  8 1120   Insat-3DR             GSLV Mk II       Satish Dawan SLP  Weather       54A    S41752    152 x 35935 x  20.6
Sep  8 2305   OSIRIS-REx            Atlas V 411      Canaveral SLC41   Space probe   55A    S41757    203 x-40174 x  29.5 Escape
Sep 13 1348?  'Ofeq-11              Shavit           Palmachim         Imaging       56A    S41759    250? x  600? x141?
Sep 14 1525   Flock 2e'-13  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KH  S41761    401? x  409? x 51.6
              Flock 2e'-14  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KJ  S41762    401? x  409? x 51.6
Sep 14 2315   Flock 2e'-15  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KK  S41764    401? x  409? x 51.6
              Flock 2e'-16  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KL  S41763    401? x  409? x 51.6
Sep 15 0235   Flock 2e'-17  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KN  S41776    401? x  409? x 51.6
              Flock 2e'-18  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KM  S41769    401? x  409? x 51.6
Sep 15 0540   Flock 2e'-19  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KQ  S41782    401? x  409? x 51.6
              Flock 2e'-20  )                         ISS, LEO         Imaging      9867KP  S41777    401? x  409? x 51.6
Sep 15 1404   Tiangong-2            Chang Zheng 2F   Jiuquan           Space lab     57A    S41765    379  x  389  x 42.8
Sep 16 0143   PeruSAT-1      )      Vega             Kourou ELV        Imaging       58A    S41770    676  x  678  x 98.2
              SkySat-4       )                                         Imaging       58D    S41773    501  x  502  x 97.4
              SkySat-5       )                                         Imaging       58E    S41774    501  x  502  x 97.4
              SkySat-6       )                                         Imaging       58B    S41771    497  x  506  x 97.4
              SkySat-7       )                                         Imaging       58C    S41772    501  x  503  x 97.4
Sep 26 0342   ScatSat-1   )         PSLV             Satish Dhawan FLP Ocean winds   59H    S41790    717  x  733  x 98.1 0915LT SSO
              Pratham     )                                            Tech          59A    S41783    660  x  707  x 98.2 0930LT SSO
              PISAT       )                                            Tech          59B    S41784    661  x  705  x 98.2 0930LT SSO
              Pathfinder 1)                                            Imaging       59E    S41787    660  x  703  x 98.2 0930LT SSO
              CanX-7      )                                            Tech          59F    S41788    660  x  702  x 98.2 0930LT SSO
              ALSAT-1B    )                                            Imaging       59C    S41785    661  x  704  x 98.2 0930LT SSO
              ALSAT-2B    )                                            Imaging       59D    S41786    672  x  673  x 98.2 0930LT SSO
              ALSAT-Nano  )                                            Tech          59G    S41789    660  x  700  x 98.2 0930LT SSO
Oct  5 2030   Sky Muster II )       Ariane 5          Kourou ELA3      Comms         60B    S41794  35292 x 35806  x  0.1
              GSAT-18       )                                          Comms         60A    S41793  24135 x 35831  x  0.5
Oct 16 2330   Shenzhou 11           Chang Zheng 2F    Jiuquan          Spaceship     61A    S41812    378 x   389  x 42.8 Docked to TG2
Oct 17 2345   SS Alan Poindexter    Antares 230      Wallops MARS LA0A Cargo         62A    S41818    373 x   395  x 51.6
Oct 19 0805   Soyuz MS-02           Soyuz-FG          Baykonur LC31    Spaceship     63A    S41820    289 x   306  x 51.6 Docked ISS
Oct 22 2331   TG-2 bansui weixing                    TG-2, LEO         Tech          57H    S41834    374 x   384  x 42.8

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

On Oct 5 Blue Origin flew the New Shepard rocket vehicle from the West Texas launch site to an apogee
of 93.7 km and landed it nearby 7min29s after launch. On this mission the New Shepard crew capsule,
which normally separates at apogee, instead fired its pusher abort motors 45 seconds after launch
at an altitude of 4.9 km, reaching an apogee of 7.0 km and landing 4min16s after launch. Before launch
it was expected that the in-flight abort separation of the capsule would destroy the booster rocket
but in the event the rocket's flight did not appear to be affected.
This was the 5th flight of New Shepard rocket vehicle 2, and possibly
the 6th flight of the first Crew Capsule.

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

Aug 31        RV x 4?        Trident II D-5      SSBN 738, Eastern Range Test         1000?      Atlantic Ocean
Sep  5 0314   RV               Hwasong-ER?         Hwangju, N Korea      Test          100?      Sea of Japan
Sep  5 0314   RV               Hwasong-ER?         Hwangju, N Korea      Test          100?      Sea of Japan
Sep  5 0314   RV               Hwasong-ER?         Hwangju, N Korea      Test          100?      Sea of Japan
Sep  5 0910   GT219GM          Minuteman 3         Vandenberg AFB LF04   Op. test.    1300?      Kwajalein
Sep  9        RV               Topol'              Plesetsk              Test         1000?      Kura, Kamchatka
Sep 27        RV               Bulava             K-535, White Sea       Test         1000?      Kura, Kamchatka
Oct  5 1536   New Shepard      New Shepard         West Texas            Abort test     94       West Texas
Oct 12        RV               Volna              K-433, Sea of Okhotsk  Test         1000?      Chiza 
Oct 12        RV               Sineva             K-407, Barents Sea     Test         1000?      Kura
Oct 12        RV               Topol'              Plesetsk              Test         1000?      Kura
Oct 25 0858   RV               UR-100NU            Yasniy                Test         1000?      Kura

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