[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 687

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Wed Oct 9 02:23:37 EDT 2013

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 687                                                    2013 Oct 9, Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 37 is underway with commander Fyodor Yurchikin, FE-5 Luca
Parmitano, FE-6 Karen Nyberg, FE-1 Oleg Kotov, FE-2 Sergey Ryazanskiy
and FE-3 Michael Hopkins; the latter three were launched in Soyuz
TMA-10M on Sep 25. Ryazanskiy is the grandson of space pioneer Mikhail
Ryazanskiy, chief Soviet guidance designer of the Sputnik era  (thanks
to A. Krasil'nikov for confirming this). Soyuz TMA-10M docked with the
Poisk module 5h 46min after launch.

Ferry ship Soyuz TMA-09M is at Rassvet. Cargo ship ATV-4 is at the Zvezda module and
Progress M-20M is at the Pirs module.

On Sep 22 the Cygnus cargo ship was in a 407 x 413 km orbit preparing for a second attempt to
rendezvous with ISS. On Sep 23 orbit was raised to 417 x 421 km, and on Sep 27
lowered to 399 x 413 km to start the approach.

On Sep 29 Cygnus completed its  rendezvous with ISS, reaching a 250m
hold point at 0908 UTC and the 10 meter capture point at 1050 UTC. The
SSRMS arm captured Cygnus at 1100 UTC. The astronauts have begun
unloading the ship's cargo.


The third Fengyun-3 satellite, 'di san ke fengyun san hao', was launched
from Taiyuan Space Center on Sep 23 into an 801 x 815 km x 98.8 deg orbit
with a 1010 local time descending node.


The Kuaizhou-1 satellite was launched by China's new Kuaizhou small
quick-response launch vehicle on Sep 25. "Kuaizhou" means "fast vessel"
and might best be translated as "Clipper" or "Swift Boat". The solid
fuel vehicle is thought to be built by CASIC in collaboration with the
Harbin Institute of Technology and may be a derivative of the
DF-21 family, like the failed KT-1 launch vehicle of 2002-2003.
Development of the rocket began in 2010. Its initial orbit was 275 x 293
km x 96.7 deg, raised on Sep 27 to 299 x 306 km. The satellite payload
is operated by the State Remote Sensing Center.

Falcon 9

The first launch of the Falcon 9 v1.1, a significant upgrade of the Falcon 9 rocket,
was successful and placed the CASSIOPE payload and several small satellites in orbit.

CASSIOPE is a Canadian Space Agency satellite carrying two payloads: the CASCADE high bandwith
Ka-band communications relay package and the ePOP suite of instruments to study
the polar ionosphere. The satellite is built by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA Ltd.)
using a Bristol Aerospace spacecraft bus.

POPACS consists of a spacecraft in the form of a 3U cubesat which splits after deployment
into 4 spacer sections that release three 0.10m diameter aluminium spheres
which are to be used as passive atmospheric density calibration probes.

Cornell University's CUSat satellite carries a differential GPS
navigation system and pulsed plasma thrusters. It was originally intended to
separate into two pieces but I understand this will not now happen.

DANDE, the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer, is a payload from the University
of Colorado. The 38 kg sphere carries a particle spectrometer to measure the outer atmosphere
wind speed and direction, and a drag measurement system. It is attached to an 8 kg Lightband
adapter which will be jettisoned later.

Objects 55A to 55V have been cataloged, it will take a while to figure out which is which.
The 20 cataloged objects are in (234-444) km x (1380-1598) km x 81.0 deg orbits,
showing a scatter of 60 m/s which indicates a possible unexpected energetic event.
According to SpaceX, the debris objects are probably insulation material that
escaped from the second stage after a planned demonstration restart of the second stage
was aborted and a prolonged venting of propellant (observed from southern Africa) began.

Although more data is needed - things will become much clearer in a few weeks - 
my current guess is that CASSIOPE is 55B, Falcon 9 is 55G and all remaining tracked
objects (55A, 55C, 55E to 55V) are Falcon insulation debris; I believe DANDE, CUSAT
and POPACS have not yet been cataloged. However, on Oct 8 SpaceTrack started relabelling
the objects, so orbital data should be treated with care until things have settled down.

The Falcon 9 v1.1 stage 2 is thought to be stretched 2.5m long compared to the original
version, with an additional 15000 kg of propellant carried, lengthening the burn time
from 346s to 375s. The new Merlin 1D-vac engine has a large increase in thrust, 801 kN
compared to 342 kN for the older Merlin 1C.

Astra 2E

The Astra 2E communications satellite was launched by International Launch Services Proton
on behalf of SES. This was the first Proton launch since its dramatic July failure, and
the flight appears to have been fully successful.

The Briz-M stage was inserted to a -496 x 171 km x 51.5 deg orbit and made burns
to 174 x 175 km x 51.5 deg, 268 x 4999 km x 50.3 deg, 336 x 15157 km x 49.6 deg,
455 x 35740 km x 49.1 deg and 4177 x 45715 km x 22.9 deg where it released Astra 2E,
which is a Eurostar E3000 satellite carrying Ka-band and Ku-band transponders.
By Oct 8 Astra 2E was in GEO drift orbit at 35702 x 37533 km x 0.1 deg over 42E.


LADEE is in a 1460 x 375352 km x 38.6 deg Earth orbit. It passes its
third and final Earth perigee of 1453 km altitude at 1056 UTC on Oct 1;
on Oct 6 at 1802 UTC it entered the lunar gravitational sphere of
influence. The orbit insertion burn at 1057 UTC on Oct 6, which placed
LADEE in a 24-hour-period 269 x 15772 km selenocentric orbit inclined
157 deg to the lunar equator. The LOI-2 burn is scheduled for 1038 UTC
Oct 9 to lower the orbit to 247 x 2177 km. A further burn on Oct 12 at
1040 UTC will circularize the orbit at 248 x 251 km.


The Juno mission completed has its first orbit of the Sun, heading out to the inner
asteroid belt at 2.2AU and back for a 552 km flyby of Earth at 1922 UTC Oct 9, which sends
it out again into a 0.98 x 5.44 AU x 4.5 deg solar orbit on its way to Jupiter orbit insertion.

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

Sep  1 1916   Yaogan 17     )    Chang Zheng 4C   Jiuquan LC603     SIGINT      46A
              YW-17 subsat 1)                                       SIGINT      46B
              YW-17 subsat 2)                                       SIGINT      46C
Sep  7 0327   LADEE              Minotaur V       Wallops I. LA0B   Lunar probe 47A
Sep 11 2323   Gonets-M No. 14 )  Rokot            Plesetsk LC133/3  Comms       48A
              Gonets-M No. 16 )                                     Comms       48B
              Gonets-M No. 17 )                                     Comms       48C
Sep 14 0500   Hisaki             Epsilon          Uchinoura         Astronomy   49A
Sep 18 0810   AEHF 3             Atlas V 531      Canaveral SLC41   Comms       50A
Sep 18 1458   Cygnus Demo        Antares 110      Wallops I. LA0A   Cargo       51A
Sep 23 0307   Fengyun-3 3        Chang Zheng 4C   Taiyuan LC9       Weather     52A
Sep 25 0437   Kuaizhou-1         Kuaizhou         Jiuquan           Imaging?    53A
Sep 25 2058   Soyuz TMA-10M      Soyuz-FG         Baykonur LC1	    Spaceship   54A
Sep 29 1600   Cassiope   )       Falcon 9 v1.1    Vandenberg SLC4E  Comm/Sci    55B?
              POPACS 1   )                                          Sci         55
              POPACS 2   )                                          Sci         55
              POPACS 3   )                                          Sci         55
              DANDE      )                                          Sci         55
              CUSat 1    )                                          Tech        55
              CUSat 2    )                                          Tech        55
Sep 29 2138   Astra 2E           Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC200/39 Comms       56A

Suborbital launches

The announcement by the US Navy of Trident missile tests in the Atlantic on Sep 10 and
12 confirms the suggestion in the previous issue that the Sep 10 observations
of reentering objects from the Canary Islands were indeed Trident reentry vehicles.

The Aegis missiles launched on Sep 19 were stated to have reached a record altitude
for the type, in excess of the 250 km achieved in the 2008 USA 193 antisatellite test.
As a guess for now, I'm entering the altitude as "300 km?" in my records. (Many apogees
I quote for suborbital flights are educated estimates, as indicated by the question marks.
If you have better numbers, feel free to let me know.)

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Sep  3 0616   Radar target     Silver Sparrow      F-15, Med. Sea    Target       150?
Sep  6 0520   Bulava RV        Bulava            K-550, White Sea    Test         100?
Sep 10        MBRV?            Unknown             Wake Island       Target       300?
Sep 10        MBRV?            eMRBM               C-17, Pacific     Target       300?
Sep 10        Aegis KV         SM-3              USS Decatur,Pacific Interceptor  150?
Sep 10        THAAD KV         THAAD               Meck Island       Interceptor  100?
Sep 10        THAAD KV         THAAD               Meck Island       Interceptor  100?
Sep 10 2110?  USN RV           Trident D-5       SSBN, Atlantic O.   Test        1000?
Sep 10 2110?  USN RV           Trident D-5       SSBN, Atlantic O.   Test        1000?
Sep 12        USN RV           Trident D-5       SSBN, Atlantic O.   Test        1000?
Sep 12        USN RV           Trident D-5       SSBN, Atlantic O.   Test        1000?
Sep 15 0920   Agni RV          Agni V              Wheeler I. IC4    Test         800?
Sep 19 0030   Target           ARAV-C++            Kauai             Target       150?
Sep 19 0032?  Aegis KV         SM-3-1B           USS Lake Erie       Interceptor  300?
Sep 19 0032?  Aegis KV         SM-3-1B           USS Lake Erie       Interceptor  300?
Sep 22 1001   Mk 21 RV?        Minuteman 3         Vandenberg LF10   Op. test    1300?
Sep 26 1033   Mk 21 RV?        Minuteman 3         Vandenberg LF09   Op. test    1300?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |                                    |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |  twitter: @planet4589              |
|                                                                         |
| JSR: http://www.planet4589.org/jsr.html                                 |
| Back issues:  http://www.planet4589.org/space/jsr/back                  |
| Subscribe/unsub: http://www.planet4589.org/mailman/listinfo/jsr         |

More information about the JSR mailing list