[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 732

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Tue Nov 29 20:41:12 EST 2016

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 732                                                       2016 Nov 30   Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 50 continues. Soyuz MS-03 was launched on Nov 17 carrying
Oleg Novitskiy (Roskosmos), Thomas Pesquet (ESA) and Peggy Whitson (NASA).
The Soyuz docked with the Rassvet module at 2158 UTC Nov 19.

The Cygnus cargo vehicle SS Alan Poindexter (OA-5) was unberthed
from the Unity module at about 1125 UTC Nov 21 and released into space
at 1322 UTC. It raised its orbit on Nov 25 to 495 x 504 km and released
two pairs of Spire Global cubesats in the Lemur-2 series. Cygnus
was deorbited on Nov 27, reentering over the S Pacific at 2336 UTC.


The Chinese astronauts Jing and Chen completed work aboard the Tiangong-2
spacelab on Nov 17 and undocked in Shenzhou-11 at 0441 UTC. Shenzhou
11 landed near Zhurihezen in Inner Mongolia province at 0559 UTC.


The ESA investigation into the Schiaparelli crash on Mars
continues. Bad data from the IMU made the lander think it was already on the
surface while still over 4 km high, prematurely triggering the landing sequence.

According to Cyrille Vanlerberghe of Le Figaro, the actual timeline was   

UTC 2016 Oct 19
 14:42:22   E+0:00   Entry
 14:45:23   E+3:01   Parachute deployment  
 14:46:19   E+3:57   Heat shield separation
                     Radar altimeter on
 14:46:49   E+4:27   Parachute premature sep, 4.3 km
 14:46:53   E+4:31   Thrusters on,3.7 km
 14:46:56   E+4:34   Thrusters off
 14:47:26   E+5:04   Impact, 540 km/hr

Himawari 9

Japan's Himawari 9 weather satellite was launched to geotransfer orbit
by H-IIA-31 on Nov 2. By Nov 8 the satellite was on station in GEO at

Chang Zheng 5

The long awaited first launch of the CZ-5 (Long March 5) rocket took
place on Nov 3 from Wenchang Space Centre in Hainan. The CZ-5
configuration used four large liquid strapon boosters around a central 5
metre diameter core stage, with a second stage consisting of a stepped
cylinder similar in configuration to the Delta 4/H-2A second stages. On
this mission a Yuanzheng-2 third stage was also installed.

The payload was Shi Jian 17, an experimental communications technology
satellite with a secondary experiment to observe orbital debris.

After launch at 1243 UTC the CZ-5 second stage achieved a 170 km parking
orbit at 1257 UTC. At 1307 UTC the second stage made a six-minute-long
second burn to 178 x 29127 km x 19.5 deg. The YZ-2 separated at 1313 UTC
and shortly afterwards made a burn to 212 x 35802 km x 19.5 deg. YZ-2
then coasted to apogee and restarted at 1836 UTC to place itself in near
geosynchronous orbit. The SJ-17 payload separated at about 1855 UTC into
a 35886 x 38811 km x 0.8 deg orbit and drifted around the GEO arc.
On Nov 12 it entered a 35771 x 35804 km geostationary orbit over 162.9E.

Chang Zheng 11

On Nov 9 China carried out the second launch of the small solid-fuel
CZ-11 launch vehicle from Jiuquan. It carried the 240 kg Maichong Xing
Shiyan Weixing (Pulse Star Experimental Satellite) which will test the
concept of navigation using the signals from  X-ray millisecond pulsars.
These compact stars spin hundreds of times a second and the X-ray
flashes from their magnetic poles swishing past us at that high rate can
be used as a very accurate clock, the key component of a GPS-like
navigation system. The concept was developed some years ago by the NRL
team and it is hoped to use it in future US space systems.

The launch also carried four cubesat-class payloads.  The Xiaoxiang-1
from Tianyi Research Institute in Changsha is a 6U cubesat with a
precision attitude control system experiment intended for future
astronomy missions. A Lishui-1 imaging satellite was launched to begin a
commercial constellation for Zhejiang LiYi Electronic Technology Co. The
KS-1Q instrument package, attached to the CZ-11 final stage, measured
the launch vehicle environment. The CAS-2T amateur radio payload in a 1U
cubesat also remained attached to the launch vehicle.

Atlas AV-062/Worldview-4

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V, serial AV-062, placed the DigitalGlobe
WorldView-4 commercial imaging satellite in orbit on Nov 11. WV-4 was
originaly GeoEye-2 before the GeoEye/DG merger, and has a resolution of
only 0.25 metres. AV-062 reached a 600 km orbit at 1846 UTC and deployed
WV-4 at 1849 UTC.

AV-062 also carried four cubesat deployers on its Aft Bulkhead Carrier.
Two 1.5U DoD Nanosat Program satellites (probably in the Prometheus
series) were ejected at 2042 UTC. Two 1.5U cubesats for the Aerospace
Corporation, Aerocube 8C and 8D, were ejected at 2045 UTC. At 2054 UTC
the CELTEE 1U cubesat for the Air Force ResearchLab was ejected together
with a 2U tracking calibration satellite, CalPoly's Opticube.  Finally
at about 2055 UTC the 3U RAVAN satellite for APL jumped free. It carries
an experimental radiometer for Earth energy balance studies.

At 2120 UTC AV-062 made its second burn, accelerating to escape velocity
to avoid it contributing to LEO space junk. The stage departed the
Earth's gravitational sphere of influence on Nov 15 to enter
a solar orbit of 0.93 x 1.57 AU x 3.4 deg.


Four more European navigation satellites in the Galileo system were
launched on Nov 17. An Ariane 5ES rocket was used; the restartable EPS
upper stage placed the satellites (FM07, FM12, FM13 and FM14,
redesignated GalileoSat 15 to 18 after launch) in orbit. The 5ES model
was previously used for ATV cargo ship launches.


Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R, which will become
GOES 16 when it is operational, is the first in a new series of
Lockheed-Martin-built GOES weather satellites for NOAA. It was launched by
a ULA Atlas V on Nov 19. The satellite mass is 2857 kg dry, 5192 kg 
when full of propellant.

GOES-R carries the Advanced Baseline Imager, a new camera
similar in capabilities to those on the Japanese Himawari 8/9 series. 
Also aboard are the Geostationary Lightning Mapper, a Space Environment
suite, a Solar Ultraviolet Imager, an EUV/X-Ray Irradiance Sensor,
a Search and Rescue comm payload, and comm payloads to relay weather data.

Tianlian-1 04

The fourth in China's Tianlian-1 series of data relay satellites was
launched on Nov 22 into an elliptical geotransfer orbit. On Nov 23 at
about 1000 UTC  it raised its orbit with a burn over the Indian Ocean.
Although of Nov 29 no new US tracking data was available, I expect it to
replace Tianlian-1 01 at the 80E location.

     TL-1 01   2008 Apr    80E
     TL-1 02   2011 Jul   177E
     TL-1 03   2012 Jul    11E
     TL-1 04   2016 Nov   TBD


The Cassini probe made Titan flyby T-124 at 2357 UTC on Nov 13, at a height of
1582 km, and flyby T-125 at 2216 UTC on Nov 29 at a height of 3158 km. The
two encounters lowered the probe's Saturn orbit periapsis from 278000 km
to only 90000 km, setting on course for the 'Ring-Grazing Orbits' phase
of the mission. At its next ring plane crossing on Dec 4, Cassini
will pass 91200 km above Saturn's cloudtops; the F ring extends
from 79558 to 80344 km.

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

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
Nov  2 0620   Himawari 9            H-IIA 202         Tanegashima LP1  Weather       64A    S41836    243 x 35857  x 22.4
Nov  3 1243   Shi Jian 17           Chang Zheng 5/YZ2 Wenchang LC101   Comms/Tech    65A    S41838  35771 x 35804  x  0.8 GEO 163E
Nov  9 2342   Maichong Xing SW   )  Chang Zheng 11    Jiuquan SLS-E    Astronomy     66A    S41841    493 x   512  x 97.4
              Xiaioxiang-1       )                                     Tech          66B?   S41842    492 x   511  x 97.4
              Lishui 1-01        )                                     Imaging       66C?   S41843    491 x   511  x 97.4
              KS-1Q              )                                     Imaging       66D?   S41844    491 x   511  x 97.4
              CAS-2T             )                                     Imaging       66D?   S41844    491 x   511  x 97.4
Nov 11 1830   WorldView-4       )   Atlas V 401       Vandenberg SLC3E Imaging       67A    S41848    607 x   611  x 98.0
              Prometheus 2.1    )                                      Comms         67     S41849    572 x   585  x 98.0
              Prometheus 2.2    )                                      Comms         67     S41850    571 x   584  x 98.0
              Aerocube 8C       )                                      Tech          67     S41851    573 x   586  x 98.0
              Aerocube 8D       )                                      Tech          67     S41852    575 x   585  x 98.0
              CELTEE            )                                      Tech          67     S41853    576 x   586  x 98.0
              Opticube 4        )                                      Cal           67     S41854    576 x   585  x 98.0
              RAVAN             )                                      Tech/Sci      67     S41855    569 x   583  x 98.0
Nov 11 2314   Yunhai-1 01           Chang Zheng 2D    Jiuquan          Weather       68A    S41857    760 x   787  x 98.5
Nov 17 1306   GalileoSat-15  )      Ariane 5ES        Kourou ELA3      Nav           69A    S41859  22879 x 22906  x 54.6
              GalileoSat-16  )                                         Nav           69B    S41860  22890 x 22926  x 54.6
              GalileoSat-17  )                                         Nav           69C    S41861  22901 x 22912  x 54.6
              GalileoSat-18  )                                         Nav           69D    S41862  22898 x 22899  x 54.5
Nov 17 2020   Soyuz MS-03           Soyuz-FG          Baykonur LC1     Spaceship     70A    S41864    195 x   228  x 51.6
Nov 19 2342   GOES 16 (GOES R)      Atlas V 541       Canaveral SLC41  Weather       71A    S41866   8157 x 35269  x 10.6
Nov 22 1524   Tianlian-1 04         Chang Zheng 3C    Xichang          Data relay    72A    S41869    201 x 41776  x 17.4
Nov 25 2015   Lemur-2-Sokolsky)                     Cygnus OA-5, LEO   Weather/AIS   62C    S41871    498 x   507  x 51.6  
              Lemur-2-Xiaoqing)                                        Weather/AIS   62D    S41872    498 x   507  x 51.6  
Nov 26 0010   Lemur-2-Anubhavthakur )               Cygnus OA-5, LEO   Weather/AIS   62E    S41873    498 x   507  x 51.6  
              Lemur-2-Wingo         )                                  Weather/AIS   62F    S41874    498 x   507  x 51.6  

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

Apparently a quiet month for suborbital launches. Let me know if I missed any!

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

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              |
|                                                                         |
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