[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 714

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.org
Sat Jul 25 03:08:16 EDT 2015

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 714                                                    2015 Jul 25     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. Progress M-28M
was launched successfully on Jul 3, carrying critical supplies for the
ISS. It docked with the Pirs module at 0711 UTC Jul 5. Soyuz TMA-17M was
launched on Jul 22 and docked with the Rassvet module 6h 32min after
launch carrying Oleg Kononeko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren. The ISS is
currently in a 400 x 402 km orbit.

New Horizons at Pluto

33 AU from the Sun, the NASA/APL New Horizons spacecraft flew through
the Pluto/Charon system at a relative velocity of 13.7 km/s on Jul 14,
revealing a binary iceworld with young (lightly cratered) surfaces
indicating recent and complex geology. Discoveries so far include an
atmospheric haze and nitrogen-ice glaciers.  NH will continue to return
data from the encounter for the rest of this year.

The Hill sphere of the Pluto/Charon system, where (loosely speaking) the
gravity of the system significantly affects the probe's trajectory,  has a radius of 8
million km. Within the sphere we can consider NH as being on a hyperbolic orbit
around the Pluto/Charon barycenter rather than being in a solar hyperbolic orbit.

The system consists of two worlds (gravitationally dominated spherical
objects), Pluto and Charon, separated by 19570 km.
Pluto has a radius of 1186 km and a mass of 13 million teratonnes; its full designation
is (134340) Pluto, marking it formally as a numbered minor planet (asteroid).
Charon has a radius of 604 km radius and a mass of 1.5 million teratonnes.
(I like the teratonne, or 1 million million metric tons, as a convenient
mass unit for small solar system objects. The Earth has a mass of 6 billion teratonnes).
The Pluto/Charon center of gravity is in open space between the two. 
In addition, several small worldlets orbit the Pluto/Charon binary:

           Pluto/Charon moon system
    Name                Size (approx radius)       Orbit radius    Mass (teratonne)

    Styx (Pluto V)      10 km?                     42656 km         30?
    Nix (Pluto II)      19 km                      48694 km        200?
    Kerberos (Pluto IV) 15 km                      57783 km        150?
    Hydra (Pluto III)   25 km                      64738 km        420

The timeline of the encounter, subject to revision, was as follows: (all times UTC)
  Jul  7 1840  Enter Pluto/Charon Hill Sphere
  Jul 14 0405  Within 1 Earth-Moon distance of Pluto inbound 
  Jul 14 1036  Within orbit of outermost moon (65000 km from barycenter)
  Jul 14 1115  Passed 22209 km from Nix
  Jul 14 1151  Pluto closest approach at about 12800 km above surface
               Approach hyperbola inclination 57 deg to Pluto equator
  Jul 14 1153  Closest approach to Pluto/Charon barycenter at 15423 km  
  Jul 14 1202  Passed 77680 km from Hydra
  Jul 14 1205  Charon closest approach at 28873 km above surface
  Jul 14 1215  Passed 69006 km from Kerberos
  Jul 14 1230  Passed 39139 km from Styx
  Jul 14 1309  Outside orbit of outermost moon (65000 km from barycenter)
  Jul 14 1935  More than 1 Earth-Moon distance from Pluto, outbound
  Jul 21 0600  Leave Pluto/Charon Hill Sphere outbound to Kuiper Belt and solar escape
               Solar hyperbola perihelion 2.25 AU, ecliptic inclination 2.4 deg, e = 1.40
New Horizons is now heading further out in the Kuiper Belt. The probe
will be sent on (barring any really crazy funding decision) to make a
course correction late in 2015 to enable an encounter with another
Kuiper Belt object in 2019; two targets are under consideration, 2014
MU69 (`PT1') at 43 AU from the Sun, and 2014 PN70 (`PT3') at 44 AU from
the Sun. Both are probably small objects in the 25-50 km size range, so
more like the Plutonian small moons than Pluto or Charon.

Meanwhile the inert Star 48B third stage motor from the New Horizons
launch is following a little way behind, and should (silently) pass
around 200 million km from the Pluto/Charon system on Oct 9.


The third generation Disaster Monitoring Constellation was deployed on
an Indian PSLV-XL rocket on Jul 10. DMC Imaging International is a
Surrey Satellite spinoff company which operates the DMC imaging
satellites in collaboration with several developing countries; the
satellites have the capability to return prompt imaging of areas in
those countries affected by natural disasters. DMC3 consists of three
450 kg satellites. Also on the launch was a 91 kg Surrey Satellite
Technology (Astrium SSTL) experimental imaging satellite, CBNT-1 (CBNT
is an internal abbreviation whose meaning SSTL has declined to disclose)
and a 7 kg cubesat from the Surrey Space Centre.

Surrey Space Center remains affiliated with the University of Surrey in Guildford while
SSTL is its industrial spinoff generated after the commercialization of the UoSat platform
in the mid-1980s.


Between Jul 13 and Jul 16 the NanoRacks team supported the Kibo RMS
based deployment of the cubesats delivered on CRS-6: 14 3U cubsats for
PlanetLabs, the 3U Arkyd-3R from Planetary Resources, and the 1U
Centennial-1 from Booz Allen. Arkyd-3R tests software and systems for
future Arkyd satellites. Centennial-1 will be used as a space
surveillance target by the USAF.


The GPS SVN 72 satellite was successfully launched to replenish the GPS constellation.
This was the 10th satellite in the GPS IIR series.


Arianespace launched two satellites into geotransfer on Jul 15. Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) 4 
will become Meteosat 11 once in operation with EUMETSAT, the European Meteorological Satellite Organization.
Star One C4 is a television satellite for the Brazilian operator Embratel Star One.


The WGS 7 Wideband Global Satcom military communications satellite was launched Jul 24 from Cape Canaveral
into supersynchronous geotransfer orbit. WGS satellites are managed by the USAF Space and Missile Center
and replace the older DSCS system with X-band and Ka-band communications systems.
This was the second Delta 4 launch to use the uprated RS-68A main engine.


The Kosmos-2504 satellite, launched in March as the third of a series of somewhat-mysterious
'14F153' Russian technology-development payloads, made a major orbit change on Jul 3 around 0710 UTC
from its initial 1172 x 1506 km orbit to a lower 1119 x 1451 km orbit. This is likely
to be the first move in a new rendezvous experiment of some kind. The satellite
previously completed a rendezvous with its Briz-KM rocket stage around Apr 14 and appears to have
deliberately or accidentally hit the stage, according to reports
by Anatoliy Zak at russianspaceweb.com.


Cassini made a 10953 km distant flyby of Titan (encounter T112) at 0811 UTC Jul 7.

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

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   S40713    398 x    402 x  51.6 Docked ISS
Jul 10 1628   DMC3-1     )                                            Imaging        32A   S40715    637 x    662 x  98.3 2210LT SSO
              DMC3-2     )                                            Imaging        32B   S40716    637 x    662 x  98.3 2210LT SSO
              DMC3-3     )        PSLV-XL            Sriharikota FLP  Imaging        32C   S40717    637 x    661 x  98.3 2210LT SSO
              CBNT-1     )                                            Imaging        32D   S40718    636 x    658 x  98.3 2210LT SSO
              DeOrbitSail)                                            Tech           32E   S40719    635 x    657 x  98.0 2210LT SSO
Jul 13 1640   Flock 1e-1  )                          ISS, LEO         Imaging      98-67GF S40722    395 x    401 x  51.6
              Flock 1e-2  )                                           Imaging      98-67GE S40723    394 x    401 x  51.6
Jul 14 0431   Flock 1e-3  )                          ISS, LEO         Imaging      98-67GH S40725    395 x    400 x  51.6
              Flock 1e-4  )                                           Imaging      98-67GG S40724    396 x    401 x  51.6
Jul 14 1545   Flock 1e-5  )                          ISS, LEO         Imaging      98-67GL S40728    395 x    402 x  51.6
              Flock 1e-6  )                                           Imaging      98-67GM S40729    395 x    402 x  51.6
Jul 14 2340   Flock 1e-7  )                          ISS, LEO         Imaging      98-67GJ S40726    395 x    402 x  51.6
              Flock 1e-8  )                                           Imaging      98-67GK S40727    396 x    401 x  51.6
Jul 15 0601   Flock 1e-9  )                          ISS, LEO         Imaging      98-67GN S40736    396 x    401 x  51.6
              Flock 1e-10 )                                           Imaging      98-67GP S40737    397 x    401 x  51.6
Jul 15 1315   Flock 1e-11 )                          ISS, LEO         Imaging      98-67GQ S40738    395 x    402 x  51.6
              Flock 1e-12 )                                           Imaging      98-67GR S40739    396 x    402 x  51.6
Jul 15 1536   GPS SVN 72          Atlas V 401        Canaveral SLC41  Navigation     33A   S40730  20446 x  20459 x  55.0
Jul 15 2142   Star One C4  )      Ariane 5ECA        Kourou ELA3      Comms          34B   S40733  35727 x  35791 x   0.1 GEO drift
              Meteosat 11  )                                          Weather        34A   S40732  35376 x  35636 x   3.2 GEO drift
Jul 15 2249   Flock 1e-13 )                          ISS, LEO         Imaging      98-67GS S40740    396 x    401 x  51.6
              Flock 1e-14 )                                           Imaging      98-67GT S40741    396 x    400 x  51.6
Jul 16 0641   Centennial-1)                          ISS, LEO         Calib        98-67GU S40742?   395 x    401 x  51.6
              Arkyd-3R    )                                           Tech         98-67GV S40743?   395 x    401 x  51.6
Jul 22 2012   Soyuz TMA-17M       Soyuz-FG           Baykonur LC1     Spaceship      35A   S40744    400 x    402 x  51.7 at ISS
Jul 24 0007   WGS 7               Delta 4M+(5,2)     Canaveral SLC37B Comms          36A   S40746?   437 x  66870 x  24.2

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

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 0455   MAPHEUS 5        VSB-30              Kiruna, Sweden        Micrograv     256
Jun 30        Warhead          Hwasong 6?          Sa'dah, Yemen         Weapon         80?
Jul  7 1015   NASA 36.313NP    Black Brant 9       Wallops, Virginia     Tech          350?

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