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Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 698 draft                                          2014 May 17   Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 40 is under way with commander Steve Swanson and FEs Arteme'v and Skvortsov. ISS
is in a 413 x 417 km x 51.7 deg orbit.

The hatch to Dragon CRS-3 was closed on May 17. Dragon was unberthed by the SSRMS Canadarm-2
at about 1200 UTC May 18 and released at 1326 UTC. The deorbit burn at 1812 to 1822 UTC
was followed by trunk separation at about 1824 UTC, atmosphere entry at 1845 UTC
and splashdown west of Baja California at 1905 UTC. 

Dragon's return cargo includes
EMU 3015, launched on the last Shuttle mission in 2011 - it was only used for one
spacewalk on its current flight - by Aki Hoshide on US EVA 18- and had a cooling malfunction.
However, EMU 3015 has been used for 30 spacewalks during its 16 flights in space since 1996.
Its core component, PLSS 1015, made 8 earlier flights as part of other EMUs). It has
been reported by Aviation Week that water may have leaked into the Dragon cabin after


Cassini flew past Titan at 1613 UTC on May 17 at a height of 2994 km. The flyby was designated T-101.


Atlas flight AV-046 left the USA 252 payload in an 840 x 35745 km x 20.7 deg geostationary
transfer orbit, according to hobbyist observers (satobs.org). It is expected to
enter geostationary orbit and is thought to be a QUASAR communications and data relay
satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office - either QUASAR 18 or 19, I'm not sure
because of the difficulty of distinguising early QUASAR and JUMPSEAT satellites in the 1970s.


On May 23 Russia launched three Strela-3M/Rodnik LEO messaging relay
satellites into 1480 x 1510 km x 82.4 deg orbits; they were given the
Kosmos codenames Kosmos-2496, 2497 and 2498. The Briz-M stage  ended up
in an 1151 x 1503 km orbit after its depletion burn. An additional
object, 39765/2014-028E, is suspected to be an additional small military
payload, which may be eventually given the cover name Kosmos-2499. It is probably
built by the Reshetnev company and may have a mass of around 45 kg.


Japan has launched the Advanced Land Observing Satellite 2, nicknamed Daichi-2,
into a 629 x 635 km x 97.9 deg, noon/midnight sun-synchronous orbit. The 2120 kg Daichi-2
carries the PALSAR-2 radar imager.

The second stage of the H-II rocket also deployed four small Japanese
satellites: SOCRATES for the Japanese comms research lab NICT, with a
laser communications experiment; UNIFORM-1 for Wakayama University,
carrying a 10-12 micron IR microbolometer array for wildfire monitoring;
RISING-2 (or Raijin-2?), a Tohoku University mission for studies of
lightning with visible and mid-IR imagers and a VLF receiver; and
SPROUT, a 7 kg Nihon University experiment to deploy a 1.5m inflatable
triangular membrane. SOCRATES, UNIFORM and RISING-2 have masses of
around 50 kg.

Eutelsat 3B

The Sea Launch project returned to flight with launch of Eutelsat 3B on May 26.
Zenit-2S No. SL37 and upper stage Blok DM-SL No. 36L made up the Zenit-3SL
launch vehicle which took off from the Sea Launch Odyssey platform in the Pacific
at 154W 0N. 

Eutelsat 3B is an Airbus/Toulouse Eurostar 3000 satellite with C, Ku and
Ka band comms payloads for the Paris-based company Eutelsat S.A.
(Eutelsat was originally the European Telecom Satellite Organization, privatized in 2001;
the Toulouse factory was formerly MATRA Espace (1968-89), Matra Marconi Space (1989-2000)
and Astrium-F (2000-2013)).

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

May  6 1349   Kosmos-2495        Soyuz-2-1A       Plesetsk LC43/4   Imaging      25A
May 15 2142   Ekpress AM-4R      Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC200/39 Comms        F01
May 17 0003   GPS SVN 67         Delta 4M+(4,2)   Canaveral SLC37B  Nav          26A
May 22 1309   USA 252            Atlas V 401      Canaveral SLC41   Comms?       27A
May 23 0528   Kosmos-2496  )     Rokot            Plesetsk LC133/3  Comms        28A
              Kosmos-2497  )                                        Comms        28B
              Kosmos-2498  )                                        Comms        28C
              Unknown?     )                                        Tech?        28E
May 24 0305   Daichi-2  )        H-IIA 202        Tanegashima Y1    Radar        29A
              Raijin-2? )                                           Science      29
              UNIFORM-1 )                                           IR imaging   29
              SOCRATES  )                                           Laser Com    29
              SPROUT    )                                           Tech         29
May 26 2110   EUTELSAT 3B        Zenit-3SL        SL Odyssey, Pacific Comms      30A

Suborbital missions

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

May  3 0800   NASA 36.235US    Black Brant IX      White Sands      UV Astron     278 
May  8        Topol' RV        Topol'              Plesetsk         Exercise     1000?
May  8        Shtil' RV        Shtil'            K-114, Barents     Exercise     1000?
May  8        Volna RV         Volna             K-223, Okhotsk     Exercise     1000?
May 20 1708   Topol'-E RV      Topol'              Kapustin Yar     Test         1000?
May 21 0535   Aegis KV         SM-3-IB             Kauai AAMDTC     Test          150?

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