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The Space Report ("JSR") is issued about twice a month. It describes all space launches, including both piloted missions and automated satellites. Back issues are available online. To receive the JSR each week by direct email, subscribe at Feel free to reproduce the JSR as long as you're not doing it for profit. If you are doing so regularly, please inform Jonathan by email. Comments, suggestions, and corrections are encouraged. See here for translations to other languages.

You can mail Jonathan McDowell at planet4589 at gmail dot com.

See also:

JSR STOP PRESS - the draft of NEXT week's JSR, updated throughout the week.

GEOSTATIONARY SATELLITE LOG with a catalog of all known satellites ever in the geosynchronous ring and their reasonably current positions.

LAUNCH LOG - My best attempt at a complete listing of all satellite launch attempts.

Jonathan's Space Home Page - with links to lots of other space data not available elsewhere.

SATELLITE CATALOG - My version of the Space Command satellite catalog, providing a cross reference between catalog number and international designation. Corrections are welcome.

Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 707                                                     2014 Dec 31     Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 42 continues with commander Barry Wilmore, FE-1 Aleksandr
Samokutyaev, FE-2 Elena Serova, FE-3 Anton Shkaplerov, FE-4 Samantha
Cristoforetti, and FE-5 Terry Virts. Soyuz TMA-14M is docked at Poisk;
Soyuz TMA-15M is docked at Rassvet; Progress M-25M is docked at Pirs;
ATV-5 Georges Lemaitre is docked at Zvezda. Dragon CRS-5 (SC7) is being
prepared for launch at Cape Canaveral.

Venus Express and Venus Climate Orbiter

The European Space Agency's Venus Express probe has concluded its
mission. The probe was launched on 2005 Nov 9 and entered Venus orbit on
2006 Apr 11. On Nov 28 the probe, in a 328 x 63095 km x 89.9 deg polar
elliptical orbit around the planet, ran out of propellant and lost
attitude control, resulting in loss of contact with Earth (some
fragments of telemetry were intermittently received afterwards). With no
further orbit raising burns, the probe's pericenter height will drop and
the probe will burn up in the Venusian atmosphere early in 2015.

Meanwhile, the ISAS team at Japan's JAXA space agency has high hopes for
its delayed Venus mission in 2015. The Akatsuki spacecraft (Venus
Climate Orbiter, Planet-C) was launched on 2010 May 20 into a 0.72 x
1.07 AU x 2.0 deg heliocentric orbit which took it to a Venus encounter
on 2010 Dec 6. However the probe's main bipropellant engine failed to
complete the orbit insertion burn, and Akatsuki flew on past Venus.
During 2011 Oct the engine's oxidizer supply was dumped to reduce mass,
and the smaller monopropellant hydrazine reaction control thrusters were
used to tweak the probe's post-flyby solar orbit to set up a late 2015
re-encounter with Venus. The probe is now in a 0.611 x 0.722 AU x 3.5
deg orbit around the Sun compared to Venus' 0.72 x 0.73 AU x 3.4 deg
(the inclination is reported relative to the ecliptic plane of the
Earth's orbit). It is therefore the innermost of any of humanity's
currently active artificial planets; only the Messenger probe in orbit
around Mercury is closer to the Sun. Mariner 10 and Helios 1 and 2, in
the 1970s, also ventured into sub-Cytherean space. Akatsuki will reach
perhelion on Feb 11 and again on Aug 28 before beginning the approach to
Venus. The ISAS team have not yet finalized the new orbit insertion plan
- trying to slow down enough to be captured by Venus while using only
the RCS thrusters will be an impressive trick, and I wish them the best
of luck in trying to pull it off. Akatsuki's unexpected stay in
solar orbit has let it focus on non-Venusian science for the time being -
scientists have used its radio signals to Earth to probe
the solar wind, revealing acoustic waves in the outer solar corona up
to 20 solar radii (Miyamoto et al. 2014, Astrophysical J. 797, 51).

Note: thanks to C. Hirose of JAXA/ISAS for Akatsuki orbital data.

Yaogan 25

China launched the Yaogan 25 mission from Jiuquan on Dec 10. YG-25
consists of a main satellite and two subsatellites in an 1100 km, 63 deg
orbit, and is the fifth such mission.

      Mission               Main Satellite   Launch date    Current orbit
      ---------                                            peri  apo   inc   RA of node

      Yaogan Triplet 1      Yaogan 9         2010 Mar  5   967 x 1212 x 63.4  33.7
      Yaogan Triplet 2      Yaogan 16        2012 Nov 25  1039 x 1140 x 63.4 319.8
      Yaogan Triplet 3      Yaogan 17        2013 Sep  1  1053 x 1127 x 63.4 105.5
      Yaogan Triplet 4      Yaogan 20        2014 Aug  9  1079 x 1100 x 63.4  33.9
      Yaogan Triplet 5      Yaogan 25        2014 Dec 10  1089 x 1097 x 63.4 320.2


On Dec 13 a United Launch Alliance Atlas V was sent into highly
elliptical orbit with an inclination of 63 deg. The payload is probably
a signals intelligence satellite with an attached SBIRS-HEO early
warning sensor as a secondary payload. The early stages of the launch
were observed by many people in the Los Angeles area; the Centaur
venting was seen from the UK and Ireland at about 0530 UTC. This mission
used the new RL-10C-1 upper stage engine for the first time (refurbished
from Delta IV RL-10B-2 engines replacing the RL10A-4 used previously); a
three-burn Centaur profile appears to have been used, with spacecraft
separation about 0520 UTC into a 2101 x 37748 km x 62.9 deg orbit
(according to observations of the payload by hobbyists). The Centaur is
thought to have been deorbited at 0507 UTC with reentry around 1330 UTC,
and was not cataloged; Cees Bassa's analysis of observations suggest the
post burn orbit was -140 x 36615 km x 63.9 deg.

Yamal 401

Yamal 401, a communications satellite for the Russian corporation Gazprom Space Systems,
was launched into geostationary orbit by a Proton on Dec 16. The Briz stage
reached -449 x 170 km x 51 deg at 0025 UTC, 171 x 173 km x 51.5 deg at 0031 UTC,
264 x 4996 km x 50.0 deg at 0141 UTC, and 383 x 35654 km x 47.7 deg at 0402 UTC.
The Briz DTB drop-tank was jettisoned at 0404 UTC and the Briz/Yamal coasted to
apogee, with a final burn at 0903 to 0916 UTC delivering Yamal to a 1421 minute GEO
drift orbit. The DTB is being tracked in a 402 x 35534 km x 47.6 deg orbit as 40345.

O3b Flight 3

Another quartet of O3b satellites for broadband internet distribution
was launched on Dec 18. Each satellite carries an array of 12 Ka-band
spot beam dishes and provides capacity for internet providers in the
developing world. The Soyuz ST-B (Arianespace version of the Soyuz-2-1b)
took off from the Centre Spatial Guyanais and placed the Fregat S/N
133-01 upper stage in a -1167 x 192 km x 5.3 deg suborbit at 1936 UTC
Dec 18. Fregat's first burn, from 1937 to 1941 UTC, reached a 153 x 227
km x 5.2 deg parking orbit. A second, long, burn from 1949 to 1958 UTC
put the stack in a 242 x 7875 km x 3.2 deg transfer orbit. After the
stack coasted to apogee, burn 3 at 2119 to 2124 UTC circularized the
orbit and reduced inclination to 7820 x 7840 km x 0.04 deg. O3b
spacecraft FM10 and FM11 were ejected at 2128 UTC; a small further burn
at 2143 UTC adjusted the Fregat orbit and spacecraft FM9 and FM12 were
ejected at 2149 UTC. Further Fregat burns lowered the empty stage to a
7698 x 7836 km x 0.06 deg orbit.


The second Kondor radar imaging satellite built by NPO Mashinostroenie
(Moscow/Reutov)  was launched into a 498 x 501 km x 74.7 deg orbit on
Dec 19 aboard a Strela launch vehicle, which is a refurbished UR-100NU
ballistic missile launched from a silo. This satellite, Kondor-E No. 2,
is the export version of the spacecraft and has reportedly been sold to
an unnamed foreign customer, reportedly the Defense Intelligence
organization of the South African National Defense Force. The South
African government refuses to confirm or deny this, raising the question
of who will register this satellite with the UN.  The balance of
currently available evidence seems to be that South Africa is the
actual, if secret, legal owner of the satellite. It is possible that for
international regulatory purposes the satellite will be given the
Kosmos-2502 code name and will be registered by Russia. In my own
satellite catalogs, however, I now have separate fields for 'UN state of
registry' and 'actual owner state' and propose to count this as a South
African satellite for statistical purposes pending further evidence one
way or the other.


The Khrunichev Angara-A5's first stage consists of four strapon URM-1 rockets, 
powered by RD-191 engines, clustered around the second stage, another
URM-1 acting as the vehicle core. After launch at 0557:25 UTC Dec 23 the
strapon URM-1 boosters separated at 0600:55 UTC at an altitude of 82 km;
the core URM-1 shut down and separated at 0602:55 UTC at an altitude of
148 km, reentering downrange near Tomsk. The nose fairing was jettisoned
10 seconds later. The third stage is a URM-2, powered by the RD-0124A
engine; it reached a marginally suborbital trajectory and, after
separating from the upper composite section, reentered in the Philippine
Sea at a range of 2320 km from the launch site. Meanwhile, the fourth
stage, a standard Briz-M  (S/N 88801) propelled the stack into a 250 km,
63 deg parking orbit with a burn starting at 0611 UTC. After coasting to
the equator, two perigee burns at 0703 and 0926 UTC boosted the apogee
to 5000 km and 35800 km respectively, reducing inclination to 60.6 deg.
The Briz-M's additional propellant tank (DTB), now empty, was jettisoned
into a 433 x 35808 km x 60.6 deg orbit and cataloged as 40355.  The
payload on this flight was a dummy satellite called the IPM (acronym
unknown, but probably meaning something  like Test Payload Model). The
stack coasted to apogee and at 1444 UTC began the 4th burn to enter
circular geosynchronous orbit. At 1457 UTC the Briz sent a simulated
separation command, but the payload  remained attached to the stage as
intended. After a few more hours, two burns of the Briz stage's SOZ
auxiliary engines moved the stack to a graveyard orbit a few hundred km
above GEO. This was the first GEO mission ever launched from Plesetsk.

Note: As of Dec 31, neither for the Angara payload nor for the Yamal-401
satellite were any US TLE tracking data available; only the
transfer-orbit DTB tanks from these missions had public orbital data.


Russia launched a military satellite on Dec 25 with a Soyuz-2-1b from
Plesetsk. The satellite entered a 240 x 899 km x  67.1 deg orbit. 
Unusually, Russian press reports and official announcements did not give
any name for the satellite, not even a Kosmos codename. I think this is
the first time this has happened since the launch of a Soviet satellite on 
1963 Jan 4 (there were also two secret Soviet launches in 1966 that were
not acknowledged at all).

The satellite is believed to be the second Lotos-S signals intelligence
satellite, Lotos-S No. 802. The Lotos-S satellites have a payload
similar to the old Tselina-2, but using a Yantar-type spacecraft bus
from TsSKB-Progress instead of the Tselina-2's Okean class bus from the
Ukranian Yuzhnoe organization. The spacecraft circularized its orbit to
899 x 909km on Dec 26, joining Lotos-S No. 801 which is in a 903 x 907 
km x 67 deg orbit.

Resurs-P No. 2

On Dec 26 Russia launched another Soyuz-2-1b, this time from Baykonur,
carrying the 6392 kg Resurs-P 47KS No. 2 civil imaging spacecraft. The
main payload is the Geoton-L1 imager with 0.5m aperture and 38 km swath,
1.0 m panchromatic and 3 to 4m color resolution. Geoton-L1 has 7
passbands and a 216-channel hyperspectral imager. The KShMSA wide field
multispectral camera is also part of the Resurs-P primary payload; an
AIS ship tracking receiver from OAO RKS and Lomonosov Federal State
Univ.'s Nuklon cosmic ray detector are secondary payloads. Nuklon
detects cosmic ray nuclei with atomic number 1 to 30 in the 1 to 1000
TeV energy range. Resurs-P went into a 190 x 428 km initial orbit
that was raised to its operational height of 330 x 471 km on Dec 29.

Yaogan 26

China launched Yaogan 26 on Dec 27 into a 485 x 491 km x 97.4 deg, 1030
LT sun-synchronous orbit. The profile is similar to the Yaogan 5 series
of imaging satellites, but the rocket used a larger nose fairing, so
this is likely an upgrade.

Astra 2G

The final Proton launch of the year put the Astra 2G communications satellite in geotransfer orbit
on behalf of SES of Luxembourg. Astra 2G is a 6002 kg Eurostar 3000 satellite built by Airbus/Toulouse
and carries Ku and Ka-band telecom payloads for European and W African service.

Fengyun 2-08

New Year's Eve began with the launch of the 8th FY-2 weather satellite for China's National Satellite
Monitoring Centre. The satellite will be placed in GEO using a solid apogee motor which will then
be ejected.

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

Dec  3 0422   Hayabusa-2    )    H-IIA 202         Tanegashima Y1    Space probe    76A    S40319    245 x -50912 x  29.9
              Shin'en-2     )                                        Comms tech     76B    S40320    245 x -50912 x  29.9
              DESPATCH      )                                        Art satellite  76C    S40321    245 x -50912 x  29.9
              PROCYON       )                                        Space probe    76D    S40322    245 x -50912 x  29.9
              MASCOT        )                                                        76    A08308   Attached to S40319
              Minerva II-1a )                                                        76    A08305   Attached to S40319
              Minerva II-1b )                                                        76    A08306   Attached to S40319
              Minerva II-2  )                                                        76    A08307   Attached to S40319
              SCI           )                                                        76    A08309   Attached to S40319
              DCAM-3        )                                                        76    A08310   Attached to S40319
              Target Marker 1)                                                       76    A08311   Attached to S40319
              Target Marker 2)                                                       76    A08312   Attached to S40319
              Target Marker 3)                                                       76    A08313   Attached to S40319
              Target Marker 4)                                                       76    A08314   Attached to S40319
              Target Marker 5)                                                       76    A08315   Attached to S40319
Dec  5 1205   Orion EFT-1        Delta 4H           Canaveral SLC37B Spaceship test  77A   S40329    -37 x   5809 x  28.8 
Dec  6 2040   DirecTV-14 )       Ariane 5ECA        Kourou ELA3      Comms           78B   S40333   6443 x  35792 x   3.1 
              GSAT-16    )                                           Comms           78A   S40332  15998 x  35774 x   1.1 
Dec  7 0326   CBERS 4            Chang Zheng 4B     Taiyuan LC9      Imaging         79A   S40336    742 x    751 x  98.5 1030LT SSO
Dec 10 1933   Yaogan 25          ) Chang Zheng 4C   Jiuquan          Sigint          80A   S40338   1089 x   1097 x  63.4
              Yaogan 25 fu xing 1)                                   Sigint          80B   S40339   1091 x   1097 x  63.4
              Yaogan 25 fu xing 2)                                   Sigint          80C   S40340   1090 x   1098 x  63.4
Dec 13 0319   USA 259            Atlas V 541        Vandenberg SLC3E Sigint          81A   S40344   2101 x  37748 x  62.9
Dec 15 0016   Yamal 401          Proton-M/Briz-M    Baykonur LC81/24 Comms           82     GEO drift, no current data
Dec 18 1837   O3b FM9  )         Soyuz ST-B         CSG ELS          Comms           83D   S40348   7835 x   7844 x   0.0
              O3b FM10 )                                             Comms           83A   S40349   7832 x   7837 x   0.0
              O3b FM11 )                                             Comms           83B   S40350   7816 x   7839 x   0.0
              O3b FM12 )                                             Comms           83C   S40351   7826 x   7836 x   0.0
Dec 19 0443   Kondor-E No. 2     Strela             Baykonur LC175   Radar Imager    84A   S40353    498 x    501 x  74.7
Dec 23 0557   IPM                Angara A5          Plesetsk LC35/1  Vehicle test    85      GEO graveyard, no data yet
Dec 25 0301   Lotos-S No. 802    Soyuz-2-1B         Plesetsk LC43/4  Sigint          86A   S40358    900 x    910 x  67.1
Dec 26 1855   Resurs-P No. 2     Soyuz-2-1B         Baykonur LC31/6  Imaging         87A   S40360    330 x    471 x  97.3 1150LT
Dec 27 0322   Yaogan 26          Chang Zheng 4B     Taiyuan LC9      Imaging         88A   S40362    485 x    491 x  97.4 1030LT
Dec 27 2137   Astra 2G           Proton             Baykonur LC200/39 Comms          89A   S40364   8281 x  37530 x  14.2
Dec 31 0102   Fengyun 2-08       Chang Zheng 3A     Xichang LC2       Weather        90A   S40367    326 x  37202 x  24.6

Launch summary for 2014

The 92 orbital launch attempts in 2014 (including Proton and Antares launch failures):

 Russia  36   (8 Proton, 2 Dnepr, 22 Soyuz, 2 Rokot, 1 Strela, 1 Angara )
 USA:    24   (9 Atlas 5, 1 Delta 2, 4 Delta 4, 6 Falcon 9, 3 Antares, 1 Zenit-3SL)
 China:  16   (1 Kuaizhou, 9 SBA CZ-2D/4B/4C, 6 CALT CZ-2C/3A/3C)
 Europe:  7   (6 Ariane 5, 1 Vega)
 Japan    4   (4 H2A)
 India    4   (3 PSLV, 1 GSLV)
 Israel   1   (1 Shaviyt)

Note that Sea Launch is counted as US even though the rocket stages are
from Ukraine and Russia. The 22 launches this year of Soyuz is the most
since 1993 for that vehicle. However it is far from a record - from 1975
to 1985 there were an average of 59 Soyuz launches per year.

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

NASA 52.001UE on Nov 24 was C-REX, the Cusp Region Experiment from the
University of Alaska, which released 24 subpayloads containing chemical
Ba and Sr releases to trace the magnetic field. This was the first
flight of the Black Brant XIIA, which uses a Talos-Terrier Mk 70-Black
Brant Mk 1-Nihka combination. The Terrier second stage motor replaces
the Taurus (Honest John) motor used in the older Black Brant XII.

NASA 36.295US on Dec 11 was the second flight of UC Berkeley's FOXSI hard X-ray solar telescope.

On Dec 17 ISRO flew the first GSLV-III rocket on a suborbital test
flight from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island. The
S200 solid boosters and L110 core stage, with two Vikas engines,
propelled an inert second stage to 126 km and 5.3 km/s. Second stage
separation and payload separation were also tested; the payload was the
Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment, a prototype command module
for an Indian spaceship with a mass of 3735 kg which splashed down in
the Bay of Bengal. Orbit was around -4418 x 126 km x 32.7 deg.

Israel launched a target missile over the Mediterranean on Dec 16; it's not
clear which of the Blue/Black/Sliver Sparrow family was used. Launch of the
Arrow 3 missile meant to intercept it was scrubbed.

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

Nov 24 0805   NASA 52.001UE    Black Brant XIIA    Andoya           Magnetosphere 486
Dec  2 0449   Agni RV          Agni 4              Wheeler I.       Test          300?
Dec 11 1911   NASA 36.295US    Black Brant IX      White Sands      Solar X-ray   338
Dec 13        RVs ?            DF-41?              Taiyuan          Test         1000?
Dec 16        Target           Blue Sparrow??    F-15, Med. Sea     ABM Target    100?
Dec 18 0400   CARE/LVM3-X      GSLV-3              Srikarikota SLP  Test flight   126 
Dec 26 0802   RV x 4?          Yars                Plesetsk         Test         1000?

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