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Jonathan's Space Report
No. 685 draft                                               2013 Aug 26, Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 36 is underway. The crew are commander Pavel Vinogradov, 
Flight Engineers FE-2 Alexandr Misurkin, FE-3 Chris Cassidy, FE-4
Yurchikin, FE-5 Parmitano and FE-6 Nyberg. Ferry ship Soyuz TMA-08M is
at Poisk and TMA-09M at Rassvet. Cargo ship ATV-4 is at the Zvezda module
and HTV-4 is at Harmony nadir.

On Aug 25 two of the NASA payload packages on the HTV-4 EP pallet were
due moved to their storage sites using the SSRMS robot arm. The Main Bus
Switching Unit (MBSU) is now on External Stowage Platform 2, and the
Utility Transfer Assembly is on Express Logistics Carrier 4. The final
package, USAF/USN Space Test Program H4, was moved to ELC1 on Aug
27. The old STP-H3 payload was to be moved from ELC3 to the EP pallet
on Aug 28.

NRO L-65

A Delta 4 Heavy took off from Vandenberg AFB's Space Launch Complex 6 on
Aug 28, carrying a secret payload for the National Reconnaissance
Office. The payload is thought to be an imaging spy satellite of the
EIS/Enhanced CRYSTAL type (The recent leak of NRO budget documents refer
to a new Evolved Enhanced CRYSTAL program, but funding for this began in FY2012
which is a little recent for this launch to be part of it.)
The satellite entered a 254 x 999 km x 97.9 deg low polar sun-synchronous orbit,
with 0948 LT descending node, according to Ted Molczan's analysis of
hobbyist observations.

Despite the secrecy of the launch, both payload and Delta rocket 
were spotted by European observers Cees Bassa and Bjorn Gimle on the
first orbit. The launch was designated NROL-65; the payload will
probably get the on-orbit cover name USA 245. The Delta rocket was
not seen on the second orbit, as expected - it was deorbited
over the Pacific around 2005 UTC.

NRO Satellites

Leaked budget documents obtained by the Washington Post, and a longer
version published on cryptome.org, reveal the codenames of some NRO satellites:
  Low orbit imaging
    EECS Evolved Enhanced CRYSTAL System 
    EIS  Enhanced Imagery System (funding winding down?)
  Low orbit Radar
    TOPAZ 1 to 5; future TOPAZ Block 2
  High altitude (GEO and Molniya orbit) SIGINT satellites
    NEMESIS 2, ORION 7 and 8, RAVEN 5/6
  Low altitude SIGINT
    INTRUDER 5/6, 7/8, 11/12
  The SDS communications satellites:  QUASAR R/S 17 to 23
The hardest one to parse here is EIS - previous analysts have linked
this program to the 8X improvements to the CRYSTAL program. Given the
funding levels it seems likely that EIS is just the name for the
Enhanced CRYSTAL satellites (KH-11 derivatives) currently flying.

TOPAZ is presumably the new name for what was called LACROSSE and the 5 satellites
are 1988-106B, 1991-017A, 1997-064A, 2000-047A and 2005-016A (USA 34, 69, 133, 152 and 182).
The only thing is that USA 34/TOPAZ 1(?) is thought to have
been deorbited in 1997 so one might have expected the line to say TOPAZ 2 to 5 - but
perhaps they are funding ongoing data reduction or just contrasting the group with their
proposed Block 2 replacements.  

We also thought that ONYX was a name for the low orbit radar satellites; but elsewhere in the
document it talks about 'deorbiting the baseline ONYX satellite', which is odd if elsewhere
the same satellite is called TOPAZ. So, there are still mysteries.

ORION has previously been rumoured as the new name for the RHYOLITE/MAGNUM
series of GEO SIGINT satellites. The numbering indicates that
the first four satellites from 1970-78 are not included, and the second
and third generation are ORION 1 to 8: 1985-10B, 1989-90B, 1995-22A,
1998-29A, 2003-41A, 2009-01A,2010-22A, 2012-34A (USA 8, 48, 110, 139,
171, 202, 223 and 237).

QUASAR was known as the name for the SDS communications relay satellites
(R/S presumably is short for Relay Satellite). I only have 18
satellites in the SDS series whereas the funding profiles suggest
that at least 19 have been launched. Perhaps the four SLDCOM satellites
launched in 1990-1996 were considered part of the QUASAR series, or 
one satellite has been misidentified. The 18 satellites believed to be
QUASAR are 1976-50A, 1976-80A, 1978-21A, 1980-100A, 1983-78A, 1985-14A,
1987-15A, 1989-61B, 1990-97B, 1992-86B, 1996-38A, 1998-05A, 2000-80A,
2001-46A, 2004-34A, 2007-60A, 2011-11A, 2012-33A.

The NEMESIS, RAVEN and INTRUDER names are new. NEMESIS 2
had half a billion in funding in FY11 but nothing in FY12. It may be the
second of the elliptical orbit SIGINT satellites which replaced TRUMPET:
2006-27A and 2008-10A, but that seems excessive funding for a satellite
3 years after launch. The rocket that launched a 2004 NRO QUASAR communications
satellite was nicknamed Nemesis, but I believe this to be a coincidence.

No funding is shown for RAVEN 5/6 in any of the years so it's a bit odd that
the line item is there at all. Perhaps they are old satellites
continuing to operate on minimal funding. One candidate for RAVEN is
what was previously thought to be codenamed TRUMPET, the elliptical
orbit SIGINT satellites 1994-26A, 1995-34A, 1997-68A, but then we are missing
3 in the series. Perhaps 2006-27A and 2008-10A are also RAVEN, still leaving
one missing and leaving the mystery of what NEMESIS might have been.
Even if NEMESIS 2 was an expensive development program that got cancelled,
it implies a completed NEMESIS 1.

INTRUDER must be the NOSS naval satellite system. INTRUDER 5/6
and 7/8 are apparently in orbit with funding for INTRUDER 11/12
zeroed out and no mention of INTRUDER 9/10. There have been 19
launches in the NOSS series since 1976, with block changes
in 1990 and 2001. If we assume the INTRUDER name applies to the 1990 launch
onwards, INTRUDER 1 to 10 would be 1990-50, 1991-76, 1993 failure,
1996-29, and 2001-40, 2003-54, 2005-04, 2007-27, 2011-14, and 2012-48. 
(Note: INTRUDER was rumoured previously to be a GEO SIGINT satellite).

What's missing? There doesn't seem to be an obvious entry for USA
215/NROL-41 and USA 234/NROL-25, believed to be a pair of new generation
LEO radar satellites.


An Ariane 5ECA placed two communications satellites in a 238 x 35777 km
x 3.5 deg geostationary transfer orbit on Aug 29. GSAT-7, also known as
Insat-4F, will provide communications for the Indian Navy. Eutelsat-25B,
also called Es'hail 1, is jointly owned by Eutelsat SA of Paris and
Es'hailsat. Es'hailsat is a spinoff of ictQATAR, the Qatari Supreme
Council of Information and Communications Technology. The satellite's
name means Canopus (the star Alpha Car).

The EPC 570 core stage flew a -969 x 161 km x 6.5 deg trajectory
across the Atlantic and reentered; the ESC-A upper stage made a single burn
to the lower inclination transfer orbit. The flight used launch vehicle L570
and the mission was designated VA215.


The first launch of Japan's Epsilon rocket was halted in the
last seconds of the countdown on Aug 27.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission    INTL.  

Jul  1 1811   IRNSS-1A           PSLV-XL          Sriharikota LP1   Navigation  34A
Jul  2 0238   Glonass-M No. 48 ) Proton-M/DM-03   Baykonur LC81/24  Navigation  F02
              Glonass-M No. 49 )                                    Navigation  F02
              Glonass-M No. 50 )                                    Navigation  F02
Jul 15 0927   SJ-11-05           Chang Zheng 2C   Jiuquan           Early Warn  35A
Jul 19 1300   MUOS 2             Atlas V 551      Canaveral SLC41   Comms       36A
Jul 19 2337   Shi Jian 15 )      Chang Zheng 4C   Taiyuan           Tech        37C
              Shiyan 7    )                                         Surveill.   37A
              Chuangxin 3 )                                         Tech        37B
Jul 25 1954   Alphasat )         Ariane 5ECA      Kourou ELA3       Comms       38A
              Insat 3D )                                            Comms       38B
Jul 27 2045   Progress M-20M     Soyuz-U          Baykonur LC31     Cargo       39A
Aug  3 1948   Konoutori 4        H-IIB            Tanegashima LP2   Cargo       40A
Aug  8 0029   WGS 6              Delta 4M+(5,4)   Canaveral SLC37   Comms       41A
Aug 22 1439   Arirang-5          Dnepr            Yasniy Sh370/13   Imaging     42A
Aug 28 1803   USA 245?           Delta 4H         Vandenberg SLC6   Imaging     43A
Aug 29 2030   Es'hail 1  )       Ariane 5ECA      Kourou ELA3       Comms       44
              GSAT-7     )                                          Comms       44

Suborbital launches

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Jul  4 1431   NASA 21.140GE    Black Brant V       Wallops I.        Ionosphere   135?
Jul  4 1431   NASA 41.090GE    Terrier Imp. Orion  Wallops I.        Ionosphere   160?
Jul  5 1829?  FTG-07 Target?   LV-2?               Kwajalein         Target      1000?
Jul  5 1835   FTG-07 CE-I EKV  GBI                 Vandenberg        Intercept   1000?
Jul 12        Jericho RV       Jericho III         Palmachim         R&D test     300?
Jul 15 0553   MAPHEUS 4        VS-30               ESRANGE,Kiruna    Micrograv    151
Jul 20 0200   S-310-42         S-310               Uchinoura         Atmos sci    139
Jul 20 0257   S-520-27         S-520               Uchinoura         Atmos sci    316
Aug  8 1810   NASA 36.239DS    Black Brant IX      White Sands       Solar UV     280
Aug 12 0345   Prithvi RV       Prithvi II          Chandipur         Training     100?
Aug 13 1000   Rocksat-X        Terrier Imp. Mal.   Wallops I         Education    151
Aug 15        PAC-3 Target     Juno?               Ft Wingate?       Target       100?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |          jcm@cfa.harvard.edu       |
|                                                                         |
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