[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 713

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Fri Jul 3 01:55:31 EDT 2015

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 713                                                       2015 Jul 3     Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 44 began at 1020 UTC Jun 11 with Commander Gennadiy Padalka
and flight engineers Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly.

On May 27 the SSRMS arm was used to move the PMM Leonardo storage module from
the Unity (Node 1) nadir port to the Tranquility (Node 3) forward port.
Unberthing was at 0946 UTC and berthing was complete at 1308 UTC. This is part
of a major reconfiguration of the station to support future commercial crew
and cargo spaceships.

Tranquility now has the Cupola at the nadir port, PMA-3 at the aft port, and 
Leonardo at the forward port. The zenith port is vacant.
Here 'aft' and 'forward' are relative to the ISS,
a convention I find confusing as Node 3 is at 90 degrees to the other nodes,
so corresponding ports on Nodes 1 and 2 have different nomenclature.

Soyuz TMA-15 undocked on Jun 11 at 1020 UTC with Anton Shkaplerov in command
and Terry Virts, Samantha Cristoforetti as flight engineers. 
The spacecraft landed at 1343 UTC in Kazakhstan.

Dragon CRS-7 was launched on Jun 28, but the Falcon 9 failed close to the end of stage 1 burn
and was destroyed. Initial indications are that an overpressure in the second stage during
second stage initialization 2 min 19s after launch, at 45 km altitude, caused it to blow apart.

CRS-7 was lost in the Atlantic, with its cargo which included 8 Flock 1f cubesats,
the IDA-1 docking adapter, spacesuit EMU 3017, and the second NORS oyxgen recharge
tank (the first one fried on Orb-3 last year).

Progress M-28M was launched successfuly on Jul 3, carrying critical supplies
for the ISS. Docking is scheduled for Jul 5. This launch used the older Soyuz-U rocket
instead of the newer Soyuz-2-1a which ran into problems on the Progress M-27M launch.
Progress M-28M is ISS flight 60P, spacecraft factory no. 428.


Ariane 5 launched two communication satellites on May 27. DirecTV-15 is a 6205 kg Eurostar
3000 for DirecTV; SKYM-1 is an Orbital Geostar-2 with a mass of 3182 kg for Sky Mexico,
a joint venture of DirecTV and Mexico's Televisa. By Jul 2 both satellites were
in geostationary, at 66.8W and 78.8W respectively.


The X-37B has been found by hobbyist observers in a 309 x 322 km x 38.0 deg orbit.
The ULTRASAT cubesats are in 355 x 700 km x 55.0 deg orbits.

AV-054 Cubesats

The LightSail-1 cubesat went into safemode a few days after launch
but rebooted on May 30. Its solar panels were deployed on Jun 3 and the solar
sail was unfurled on Jun 7 at 1947 UTC. The satellite reentered on Jun 14.

There were of course 10 cubesats on the AV-054 launch, not 9 - I listed them all
individually but then ran out of fingers somehow when totalling them.


On Jun 5 Russia launched the Kobal't-M No. 565 spy satellite, given the
codename Kosmos-2505. The initial orbit of 177 x 285 km x 81.4 deg was
boosted on Jun 8 and 13 to 203 x 264 km. The Kobal't-M is the latest
version of the 1970s era Yantar' spy satellite series and returns its
main section, with film and camera, to Earth at the end of its flight.
It also carries two small ejectable film canisters which can return some
data to Earth during the mission.


On Jun 23 Russia launched the Persona-1 No. 3 spy satellite. The
Persona-1 satellites are built by TsSKB-Progress (Samara) and carry
electro-optical imaging cameras. According to a report by Anatoly Zak, this third
vehicle will return its data via an optical communications link to an
unidentified GEO satellite. The satellite manuevered from elliptical
to circular orbit on Jun 28.


Arianespace's Vega VV05 mission placed the European Space Agency's Sentinel 2A
visible/IR Earth observing satellite in a 787 x 788 km sun-synchronous orbit
on Jun 23. The visible camera has 10 metre resolution and a 290 km swath.
The Vega is an Italian-build small launch vheicle with three solid stages
and a liquid fourth stage, the AVUM.

The AVUM upper stage was meant to deorbit itself, according to the
Arianespace press kit, but instead ended up as space junk in a 400 x 783
km orbit from which it should reenter in a few years.

Gaofen 8

China launched a new high resolution imaging satellite on Jun 26. The previous
two Gaofen satellites, 1 and 2, were civilian operated and extensively described
before launch; GF-8 is also described as for civil use but in contrast was not discussed
prior to the launch, and may actually be used for military imaging.


On comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the Rosetta lander, Philae, awoke
from hibernation on Jun 14 and began sending data back to Earth. 
Rosetta remains in orbit around the comet.


Cassini made a 516 km altitude flyby of Dione (Saturn IV) on Jun 16 at 2012 UTC.

New Horizons

On Jun 25 New Horizons was 23 million km from Pluto, closing at 1 million km per day.
Encounter day is Jul 14.

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

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    309 x    322 x  38.0
              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?
May 27 2116   DirecTV-15  )       Ariane 5ECA        Kourou ELA3      Comms          26A   S40663    258 x  35773 x   4.4
              SKYM-1      )                                           Comms          26B   S40664    261 x  35738 x   4.4
Jun  5 1523   Kosmos-2505         Soyuz-2-1A         Plesetsk LC43/4  Imaging        27A   S40667    177 x    285 x  81.4
Jun 23 0151   Sentinel 2A         Vega               Kourou ZLV       Imaging        28A   S40697    787 x    788 x  98.7 1030LT SSO
Jun 23 1644   Kosmos-2506         Soyuz-2-1B         Plesetsk LC43/4  Imaging        29A   S40699    706 x    725 x  98.3 0840LT SSO
Jun 26 0622   Gaofen 8            Chang Zheng 4B     Taiyuan          Imaging        30A   S40701    471 x    481 x  97.3 1330LT SSO
Jun 28 1421   Dragon CRS-7        Falcon 9 v1.1      Canaveral SLC40  Cargo          F02   F01448  -6250?x     45?x  51.6
Jul  3 0455   Progress M-28M      Soyuz-U            Baykonur LC1     Cargo          31A

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

Flight NASA 36.300US, the fifth mission of the SDO EVE Calibration payload,
was launched May 21 but the rocket was destroyed about 5 km up; the payload
was recovered by parachute.

On Jun 6 Asnar Allah forces in Sa'dah, Yemen launched a Scud (possibly
North Korean model Hwasong 6) at King Khaled Air Base in Saudi Arabia.
The missile was reportedly intercepted by two US Patriot missiles. Another
Scud was launched on Jun 30.

On Jun 26 the US Missile Defense Agency launched a target missile, probably from
or near Kauai, for a test of the Aegis Ashore system. The target missile is reported
to have malfunctioned; it's not clear what the achieved apogee is and I'm not including
it in the list below.

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

Apr 15        RV               Ghauri              Tilla?,Pakistan       Test          400?
Apr 16 0422   Agni RV          Agni III            Chandipur,India       Test          350?
Apr 18 1101   NASA 46.008UO  Terrier Imp.Malemute  Wallops, Virginia     Education    174?
Apr 23 0735   TEXUS 51         VSB-30              Kiruna,Sweden         Micrograv     261
Apr 27 0455   TEXUS 52         VSB-30              Kiruna,Sweden         Micrograv     255
May  2 0830   NASA 36.292UH    Black Brant IX      White Sands,New Mex.  XR Astron     272
May 20 1037   GT212GM          Minuteman 3         Vandenberg,Calif.     Test         1300?
Jun  3        RV               Hyunmoo 2           Anhueng, S Korea      Test          150
Jun  6        Warhead          Hwasong 6?          Sa'dah, Yemen         Weapon         80?
Jun  6        CTV-01           SM-3-IIA            San Nicolas I.,Calif. Test          150?
Jun 25 1000   NASA 41.113UO    Terrier Imp.Orion   Wallops, Virginia     Education     118?
Jun 30        Warhead          Hwasong 6?          Sa'dah, Yemen         Weapon         80?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |                                    |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |  twitter: @planet4589              |
|                                                                         |
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