[JSR] Jonathan's Space Report, No. 746

Jonathan McDowell jcm at planet4589.com
Thu Mar 8 23:38:47 EST 2018

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 746                                                        2018 Mar  9  Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 54 continued with ISS Commander Aleskandr Misurkin and flight
engineers Mark Vande Hei, Joe Acaba, Anton Shkaplerov, Scott Tingle and
Norishige Kanai, until the undocking of Soyuz MS-06 on Feb 27.

Progress MS-08 was launched on Feb 13, carrying 2548 kg of cargo
including the DLR ICARUS antenna which will be installed on a spacewalk.
It docked with the Zvezda module  at 1038 UTC Feb 15.

On Feb 16 astronauts Vande Hei and Kanai made US spacewalk EVA-48, in
suits 3003 and 3008, and SAFER units 15 and 13, to complete work on
refurbising the Canadarm-2 and related systems. The airlock was
depressurized about 1156 UTC and the hatch was opened at 1159 UTC. The
crew removed LEE 202 from the Mobile Base System's POA (Payload ORU
Accommodations) unit at 1306 UTC. The POA LEE is used to temporarily
stash large ISS components.  LEE 202 was returned to the airlock at 1325
UTC. Next, LEE 201 was removed from the ESP2 storage platform at 1345
UTC and attached to the POA at 1359 UTC. By 1431 UTC work on the POA LEE
installation was complete and LEE 201 became the new POA LEE. LEE 202
will be returned to Earth aboard a Dragon, and LEE 205 will be launched
on a future mission to serve as an on-orbit spare. The astronauts also
lubricated LEE 203 (SSMRS LEE A). The hatch was closed at 1750 UTC and
Quest was repressurised at 1757 UTC. 

Summary of the Canadarm LEEs: 

S/N  Pre2017    Post2018 

201  LEE B      POA LEE 
202  LEE A      Return to Earth 
203  POA LEE    LEE A 
204  ELC1 spare LEE B

Soyuz MS-06 undocked on Feb 27 at 2308 UTC and landed in Kazakhstan Feb 28 at 0231 UTC.
It returned astronauts Misurkin, Vande Hei and Acaba to Earth. Expedition 55
then began with Shkaplerov in command, Tingle and Kanai as flight engineers.


Two more CAST/Beijing-built Beidou-3 navigation satellites, Beidou 3
MEO-3 and MEO-4, were launched on Feb 12, becoming Beidou Daohang
Weixing 28 and 29.


The PAZ radar satellite, built by Airbus for Hisdesat and the Spanish
Defense Ministry, was launched on Feb 22 by Falcon 9. Two test
communications satellites for SpaceX were also aboard. No attempt was
made to recover the Falcon 9 first stage, but one half of the newly
designed fairing made a controlled reentry aimed at the recovery boat
Mr. Steven. However, the fairing missed the boat by a short distance.

PAZ was deployed at 1426 UTC; the Tintin satellites some unknown time
later. The second stage, after deploying PAZ and Tintin A/B, made an
orbit lowering burn over the Arctic at 1542 UTC, changing orbit from 495
x 516 km to 211 x 517 km. After completing a second orbit, a further
burn over Norway at 1709 UTC appears to have deorbited the stage. It
reentered as it travelled southbound over the Pacific between the
Aleutians and Midway, at about 1730 UTC. The two-stage deorbit is
unusual and has not been explained by SpaceX.

Hispasat 30W-6

On Mar 6 SpaceX carried out the 50th Falcon 9 launch, placing the Hispasat 30W-6
communications satellite into a subsynchronous transfer orbit. The 6092 kg satellite
carries a C/Ku/Ka-band communications payload for the Spanish telecom operator Hispasat,
and was built by Maxar SSL/MDA (former Loral). 

Attached to the Hispasat satellite was a small subsatellite, PODSAT, which was ejected
after orbit insertion. PODSAT is a DARPA-sponsored project built by NovaWurks in
collaboration with SSL/MDA, consisting of standardized 'satlets' like the SIMPL 
payload deployed from the ISS last year. The presence of PODSAT was not announced
prior to launch.

Ariane V241

The investigation report confirms that a single wrong number was
responsible for the incorrect orbit achieved by Ariane V241/L5101. The
inertial reference system (IRS) was aligned at the usual 90 degrees
azimuth, but for this mission - targeted at a slightly different
transfer orbit than usual - 70 degrees should have been specified. 

Owners of the Al Yah 3 satellite requested that they be deployed at 90
degrees to the flight direction. With the usual alignment, this involved
a risk of the IRS going through a coordinate zero point which would
cause potential loss of reference, so the alignment was to be offset;
but, this offset was not applied in at least some of the places

The report has not been released; the only public official statement is at


On Feb 27 Japan's MHI launched H-IIA flight 38 from Tanegashima, carrying an optical
spy satellite to sun-synchronous orbit. In Japanese the name of the satellite is
'Joho Shushu Eisei Kougaku 6 gouki', which translates as 'Information Gathering Satellite,
Optical 6 Unit'. Most English-language sources use an abbreviated form of
the translation, IGS O-6; but we don't do that for Russian satellites - it's
Soyuz MS-06, not Union MS-06. I therefore adopt an abbreviated form of the Japanese name,
JSE K-6.


The GOES-S weather satellite (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite S,
for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) was launched by a United
Launch Alliance Atlas V into a high-perigee geotransfer orbit of 8240 x 35290 km 
transfer orbit, raised to 16930 x 35285 km by Mar 8.


The mysterious Demosat-2 cubesat orbited on the January PSLV launch has been identified
as a testbed for Astranis, a San Francisco based startup which plans to provide
broadband connectivity to the developing world using geostationary satellites.
The SpaceBee satellites carried on the same launch are still unidentified.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission       INTL.   Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes
Feb  1 0207   Kanopus V-3         )   Soyuz-2-1A/Fregat Vostochniy       Imaging      14A   S43180   500 x   511 x 97.5 2323LT
              Kanopus V-4         )                                      Imaging      14B   S43181   500 x   510 x 97.5 2323LT
              S-NET 1             )                                      Comms        14    S43182?  571 x   589 x 97.7
              S-NET 2             )                                      Comms        14    S43183?  571 x   589 x 97.7
              S-NET 3             )                                      Comms        14    S43184?  571 x   589 x 97.7
              S-NET 4             )                                      Comms        14    S43185?  571 x   589 x 97.7
              Lemur-2-Kadi        )                                      AIS/Weather  14    S43186?  570? x  590?x 97.7?
              Lemur-2-TheNickMolo )                                      AIS/Weather  14    S43187?  570? x  590?x 97.7?
              Lemur-2-Jin-Luen    )                                      AIS/Weather  14    S43188?  570? x  590?x 97.7?
              Lemur-2-UramChanSol )                                      AIS/Weather  14    S43189?  570? x  590?x 97.7?
              D-Star One Phoenix  )                                      Tech         14    S43190?  570? x  590?x 97.7?
Feb  2 0751   Zhang Heng 1  )         Chang Zheng 2D    Jiuquan          Science      15A   S43192   489 x   509 x 97.3 1411LT
              Ada           )                                            Imaging      15    S43193?  493 x   504 x 97.2
              Maryam        )                                            Imaging      15    S43194?  488 x   508 x 97.3
              Ulloriaq      )                                            AIS/Imaging  15    S43195?  486 x   508 x 97.3
              GOMX-4B       )                                            Tech         15    S43196?  483 x   507 x 97,3
              Shaonian Xing )                                            Tech         15    S43197?  483 x   507 x 97,3
              FengMaNiu 1   )                                            Tech         15    S43199?  485 x   507 x 97.3
Feb  3 0503   Tasuki                  SS-520            Uchinoura        Comms        16A   S43201   186 x  2012 x 30.9
Feb  6 2045   Elon's Roadster         Falcon Heavy      Kennedy LC39A    Test         17A   S43205   717 x-79898 x 28.9
Feb 12 0503   Beidou DW28  )          Chang Zheng 3B/YZ1 Xichang LC2     Navigation   18A   S43207 21464 x 22170 x 55.0
              Beidou DW29  )                                             Navigation   18B   S43208 21539 x 22191 x 55.0
Feb 13 0813   Progress MS-08          Soyuz-2-1A        Baykonur LC31    Cargo        19A   S43211   189 x   223 x 51.6
Feb 22 1417   PAZ           )         Falcon 9          Vandenberg SLC4E Radar        20A   S43215   501 x   518 x 97.5 0600LT SSO 
              Tintin A      )                                            Comms        20B   S43216   500 x   517 x 97.5 0600LT SSO 
              Tintin B      )                                            Comms        20C   S43217   500 x   517 x 97.5 0600LT SSO 
Feb 27 0434   JSE K-6                 H-IIA 202         Tanegashima      Imaging      21A   S43223   500?x   500?x 97.5?
Mar  1 2202   GOES 17                 Atlas V 541       Canaveral SLC41  Weather      22A   S43226  8241 x 35286 x  9.5     
Mar  6 0533   Hispasat 30W-6 )        Falcon 9          Canaveral LC40   Comms        23A   S43228   287 x 22255 x 27.0
              PODSAT         )                                           Tech         23B   S43229   188 x 22250 x 27.0

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

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

Jan 30        Burkan RV         Burkan H-2         Yemen                 Weapon        100?      Riyadh Airport
Feb  5        Target            B-611?             Jiuquan?              Target        300?      Urumqi?
Feb  5        Interceptor       DF-21              Urumqi?               Interceptor   100?      Intercept
Feb  6 0300   Agni RV           Agni I             Kalam Island          Test          300?      Bay of Bengal         
Feb 18 2330   Arrow KV          Arrow 3            Palmachim             Test          100?      Mediterranean?
Feb 20 0308   Agni RV           Agni II            Kalam Island          Test          600?      Indian Ocean

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