Jonathan's Space Report
Back to Jonathan's Home Page

Jonathan's Space Report - Latest Issue

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. 756 draft                                                 2018 Nov  6   Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 57 continues aboard the ISS with astronauts Gerst, 
Prokop'ev, and Aunon-Chancellor. The Kounotori 7 cargo ship remains at
the ISS. It is scheduled to depart without its EP pallet, and the
battery replacement spacewalks will occur no earlier than December.

The Surrey RemDeb  (RemoveDebris) spacecraft ejected its second cubesat
subsatellite, DebrisSat-2, at 0615 UTC on Oct 28. RemDeb then observed
DebrisSat-2 with its laser ranging instrument, a test of so-called
Vision-Based Navigation (VBN) that could be used by an active debris
removal mission to approach its target.

The next Soyuz crew is scheduled for launch on Dec 3.


The BepiColombo space probe was launched on Oct 20 from Kourou directly
into Earth hyperbolic escape orbit. 

BepiColombo consists of two payloads, the ESA Mercury Planetary Orbiter
(MPO) and the JAXA 'Mio' Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO), together
with two other modules, the MTM (Mercury Transfer Module, with electric
propulsion) and the MOSIF (MMO Sunshield and Interface).

MTM has 560 kg of xenon for its ion engine; it will be jettisoned just
before Mercury orbit capture, in Dec 2025. The remaining three pieces
will separate once they are in Mercury orbit. MTM will make a Mercury
flyby and end up in solar orbit; by 2025 my orbit code may be good
enough to figure out what the post-encounter orbit for it will be.

MPO carries camers, spectrometers, a laser altimeter and an
accelerometer among its experiments. MMO has particles, fields and dust
instruments as well as an imager to map exospheric sodium atoms.

Here are some summary details of BC's voyage based on the prelaunch
trajectory; of course, actual details will change a little.

  Date UTC
  2018 Oct 20 0145  Launch to 170 x -78605 km x 5.5 deg Earth escape hyperbola
  2018 Oct 24 1640  Depart Earth Hill sphere, 0.887 x 1.166 AU x 0.7 deg solar orbit
  2019 Feb          In solar orbit,           0.889 x 1.196 AU x 0.8 deg
  2020 Apr 10 2112  Earth flyby                                  12563 x  -76447 km x 159.6 deg hyperbola
  2020 Apr 15 0040  In solar orbit            0.626 x 1.012 AU x 1.7 deg
  2020 Oct 15 0603  Venus flyby                                  10746 x  -33207 km x 152.4 deg hyperbola  
  2020 Oct 16 1644  In solar orbit            0.520 x 0.832 AU x 3.1 deg
  2020 Aug 10 2013  Venus flyby                                    746 x  -23004 km x 12.6 deg hyperbola
  2020 Aug 12 0629  In solar orbit            0.335 x 0.731 AU x 6.5 deg
  2021 Oct  2 0537  Mercury-1 flyby                                200 x -6101 km x 25.3 deg hyperbola
  2021 Oct  2 1500? In solar orbit            0.322 x 0.696 AU x 6.7 deg
  2022 Jun 23 1250  Mercury-2 flyby                                200 x -6191 km x 18.6 deg hyperbola
  2022 Jun 23 2230? In solar orbit            0.304 x 0.631 AU x 7.0 deg
  2023 Jun 20 0219  Mercury-3 flyby                                200 x -8425 km x 21.8 deg hyperbola
  2023 Jun 20 1600? In solar orbit            0.309 x 0.596 AU x 5.9 deg
  2024 Sep  5 0752  Mercury-4 flyby                                200 x -10801 km x 79.7 deg hyperbola
  2024 Sep  6 0100? In solar orbit            0.306 x 0.468 AU x 4.3 deg
  2024 Dec  2 0109  Mercury-5 flyby                              40000 x -51105 km x 89.5 deg hyperbola
  2024 Dec  2 1830? In solar orbit            0.307 x 0.466 AU x 4.4 deg
  2025 Jan  9 0356  Mercury-6 flyby                                340 x -18193 km x 91.9 deg hyperbola
  2025 Jan 10 1600? In solar orbit            0.312 x 0.459 AU x 7.0 deg
  2025 Oct?         Mercury Transfer Module jettison
  2025 Oct 26       Enter Mercury Hill sphere, WSB orbit capture
  2025 Oct 27       Mercury orbit                                178000 x 434000 x 6.4 deg ellipse
  2025?             Lower orbit                                  400 x 11820 km ellipse?
  2025?             Eject Mio-MMO from MPO/MOSIF
  2025?             Eject MOSIF from MPO
  2025-2026?        MPO lower orbit                              400 x 1500 km ellipse?

Parker Solar Probe

As of Oct 23 Parker Solar Probe became closer to the Sun than Mercury
and had picked up speed to 50.3 km/s (heliocentric; 181,000 km/hr). 
On Oct 30 it broke the speed record of 68.6 km/s set by Helios 2 in
1976 and at perihelion Nov 6 at 0330 TDB (0328 UTC) it set a new speed record of
95.33 km/s and closeness-to-Sun record of 0.165 AU (24.8 million km).

Relative to Earth (which you should not care about, but I know some of
you do) Parker broke the Helios 2 record of 98.9 km/s early on Nov
5 and set a new record of 109.9 km/s on Nov 7 around 1900 UTC.


On Oct 15 Hayabusa-2 made a descent to only 22 metres above Ryugu
in a touchdown rehearsal named TD1-R1-A.

The next touchdown rehearsal is TD1-R3, was on Oct 25.
Target Marker B, a 0.1m, 0.3 kg ball (one of five carried) was
ejected from a height of 20 metres at 0237 UTC and landed on the surface.

Operations will be suspended for a couple of months in Nov-Dec while
Ryugu is behind the Sun as seen from Earth.


NASA's OSIRIS-REX asteroid probe continues its approach to asteroid
Bennu. On Oct 15 the AAM-2 burn changed the probe's speed by 141 m/s and
reduced  its Bennu-relative velocity to 5.2 m/s. On Oct 17 the 1.1 kg,
0.4 x 0.4m TAGSAM sampler head cover plate was ejected into solar orbit.
Current heliocentric orbit is 0.896 x 1.355 AU x 6.0 deg. On Oct 18 the
probe was 5500 km from Bennu, but by Nov 6 it was only 170 km out. It
was expected to arrive in Bennu's circa-35-km gravitational sphere of
influence on Nov 30.

New Horizons

New Horizons, which flew past Pluto in 2015, is now 42.8AU from the Sun
and 70 million km from the Kuiper Belt object (486958) 2014 MU69 "Ultima
Thule", which it will fly past on 2019 Jan 1. The object's Hill sphere
is probably about 79000 km in radius and the probe will take 3 hours
to fly through it.


5-metre asteroidlet ZU1CE58 passed through perigee 2018 Oct 19 at 1446 UTC,
only 7274 km above the Earth, on a hyperbolic 7274 x -25650 km x 20.6
deg orbit.


China's Haiyang er hao 02 xing (HY-2B) oceanographic satellite was launched
on Oct 24.

A small secondary satellite was launched along with HY-2B, called 'Tangguo Guan'
(`Candy can'). It is owned by the online retailer AliBaba and will apparently send
promotional messages to shoppers' mobile phones. Mass of Tangguo Guan has
variously been reported as 20 and 29 kg. It apparently remains attached to
the CZ-4B third stage, which lowered its orbit immediately after deploying HY-2B.

Another secondary payload is China Aerospace's SPP (Space Proving Platform),
one of whose experiments is ManWei Tech's DSB-01 which carries the DNA
of eight Chinese people, described as the beginning of a program to explore technologies
for interstellar migration. One of the Chinese news reports
on this project shows an artist's impression of a 1U cubesat, but it's not yet
entirely clear if SPP is really a cubesat or just another payload attached to the third

Soyuz return to flight

A Soyuz-2-1B rocket was launched from Plesetsk on Oct 25, marking the Soyuz family's
return to flight after the Soyuz MS-10 failure.

The payload was Lotos-S No. 804, a signals intelligence payload (probably
to be given the cover name Kosmos-2528). It was launched to a 245 x 900 km x 67.1
deg orbit, which it circularized at 2027 UTC Oct 26 to 900 x 910 km.

Zhuque-1 launch failure

The first orbital launch attempt by the private Chinese company
Landspace failed to reach orbit. The three stage solid rocket Zhuque-1
was launched from Jiuquan on Oct 27. The first two stages, believed to
be based on the DF-26 missile, operated correctly. The third stage
ignited but at 37 s into its burn, 6m 42s after launch, it lost attitude
control, and so provided little net velocity increase. As a result, the
third stage and payload reached a suborbital apogee of 337 km and fell
back to Earth, impacting west of Sumatra about 15 min after


On Oct 29 CALT/Beijing launched CZ-2C flight Y22 from Jiuquan carrying
the China-France Oceanography Satellite. The satellite carries Chinese
SCAT wind scatterometer and the CNES (France) SWIM radar altimeter
instrument. Data processing and  much of the instrument operations are
under the aegis of CNES, but the satellite itself is controlled by China
so I'll call it by its Chinese name, Zhongfa Haiying Weixing. The 700 kg
satellite is a CAST-2000 bus built at the DFH factory.

The CZ-2C also deployed a series of cubesats. Four of them were
built by the Tiangyi Research Institute (whose marketing brand is SpaceTy):

 TY1-02 is  Xiaoxiang yi hao 02 xing (XX-1 S/N 02). It carries a laser
communications payload for Hangxing Guangwang Kongjian Jishu YG
(LaserFleet) of Shenzhen. It is probably a 6U cubesat.

 TY1-03 is Xinghe ('Galaxy'), also called Tianfu Guoxing 1. The payload
is a remote sensing satellite for Guoxing Yuhang Keji YG (ADA Space) of
Tianfu New Area in Chengdu. It is probably a 6U cubesat.

 TY4-01 is Changsha Gaoxing , named after the Changsha High Tech Zone
city.  It is a 50 kg test satellite for Tianyi/SpaceTy's new '0805' bus;
it reportedly carries an amateur radio payload.

 TY4-02 is Zhaojin-1, also called Tongchuan-1. It is a 6U cubesat for
Tsinghua University with a gamma ray astronomy detector. It will also be
used by Tongchuan City to test its commercial ground station (Zhaojin
is a suburb of Tongchuan).

In addition to the Tianyi satellites:

 Tianqi 1 is the first  satellite in the 38-craft Tianqi constellation
by Beijing Guodian HiTech Technology Co. Ltd. (Beijing Guodian Gaokeji YG).
It will relay data from IoT devices. Its size is unknown.

 CubeBel-1 is a 2U cubesat from Belarus National University with
a digipeater amateur radio payload and student experiments.
 A final cubesat reported to have been deployed on this mission is a
mystery. Some reports suggested it was Hongyan-1, a China Academy of
Space Technology LEO communications platform, but this has not been


On Oct 29 JAXA launched H-IIA flight F40 from Tanegashima. The main payload
was GOSAT-2, the second Greenhouse Gases Observating Satellite, also called
Ibuki-2. The 1750 kg satellite - built by Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO) -
carries the FTS-2 Fourier transform spectrometer and the CAI-2 Cloud
and Aerosol Imager instruments which observe from the ultraviolet out to
16 microns in the infrared.

The H2A second stage made a single burn to a 590 x 595 km orbit and deployed
Ibuki-2, then ejected the Ibuki-2 payload adapter and the two-piece lower fairing.
This exposed the lower payload deck, whose satellites were deployed into the
same orbit. 

The largest secondary payload was the 330 kg Khalifasat, an imaging
satellite built by the Emirates' Rashid Space Centre in Dubai. It is a
followon to the Dubaisat 1 and 2 satellites launched in 2009 and 2013,
which were developed with South Korean help.

Diwata 2 is an imaging satellite developed by the Phillippines Dept of Science
and Technology with a mass of 56 kg.

Ten-Koh, from Kyushu Institute of Technology, is the LEO Environments Observation
Satellite, a 22 kg polyhedron design based on their earlier Shi'nen-2 probe.

Aoi, or STARS-AO, is a 1U cubesat from Shizuoka University. The STARS series
normally involves tether experiments but this mission features a 1-cm aperture
low light camera for imaging star fields.

AUTCube-2 is a 1U cubesat from the Aichi University of Technology. It
has a bright LED which is intended to make the satellite visible to
ground observers. This has the potential to annoy astronomers, since the orbit
is roughly a noon-midnight SSO and thus will be seen on the ground
during the middle of the night local time. However, it remains to be
seen how bright the satellite will actually be.

The H-2A second stage made a final depletion burn which changed its
inclination from 97.8 deg to 98.9 deg.

PROITERES 2, from the Osaka Institute of Technology, a 45 kg ion propulsion
test satellite, was not part of the launch although it was initially expected to be
and was included in the prelaunch press kit.

Beidou 41

Beidou Daohang Weixing 41  (Beidou Navigation Satellite 41) launched at
1557 UTC Nov 1 from Xichang on a Chang Zheng 3B to 197 x 35815 km  x
28.5 deg geotransfer orbit. The CAST-built sat, first of its subtype,
will enter GEO and become satellite G1Q of the Beidou-3 system.


Another GLONASS navigation satellite was launched from Plesetsk on Nov 3
by Soyuz-2-1B/Fregat. This was the second successful Soyuz launch since
the MS-10 failure. This satellite was expected to be code-named
Kosmos-2529 after launch.

Kepler and Dawn

On Oct 30 NASA announced that the Kepler space telescope, out of
propellant, is being retired. Kepler was launched in 2009 and has
revolutionized our knowledge of exoplanets, showing that Earth-sized
objects  orbit most of the stars in the sky. Kepler is in an
Earth-trailing solar orbit, currently about 68 degrees behind us in the
vicinity of Earth-Sun L5.

The same day, NASA's Dawn space probe, orbiting the dwarf planet (1) Ceres, 
fell silent as it too ran out of propellant. Dawn was launched in 2007
and was the first mission to use ion propulsion to visit multiple worlds.
The probe orbited Vesta from Jul 2011 to Sep 2012, and Ceres from Mar 2015


The intermediate transfer orbit apogee for AEHF 4 was 32578 km, not 22578 km.
Apologies for the typo.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission       INTL.   Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes

Sep 16 2306   DebrisSat-1                               RemDeb, LEO      Tech        9867PM S43621   400 x   404 x 51.7
Sep 16 2308?  RemDeb Net                                RemDeb, LEO      Tech        9867PM A09713   Now attached to DebrisSat-1
Sep 19 1407   Beidou DW 37 )          Chang Zheng 3B/YZ-1 Xichang LC2    Navigation   72A   S43622 21533 x 22193 x 55.0
              Beidou DW 38 )                                             Navigation   72B   S43623 21545 x 22197 x 55.0
Sep 22 1752   Kounotori 7             H-IIB              Tanegashima     Cargo        73A   S43630   187 x   301 x 51.6
Sep 25 2238   Horizons 3e       )     Ariane 5ECA        Kourou ELA3     Comms        74B   S43633   280 x 35741 x  5.9
              Azerspace-2/IS-38 )                                        Comms        74A   S43632   246 x 35712 x  6.0
Sep 29 0413   Xiangrikui 1            Kuaizhou-1A        Jiuquan         Tech         75A   S43636   696 x   710 x 98.2 1030LT SSO
Oct  6 0800   STARS-Me )                                ISS, LEO         Tech        9867PN S43638?  403 x   408 x 51.6
              RSP-00   )                                                 Tech        9867PP S43639?  403 x   408 x 51.6
              SPATIUM-I)                                                 Tech        9867PQ S43640?  403 x   408 x 51.6
Oct  8 0221   SAOCOM-1A               Falcon 9          Vandenberg SLC4E Radar        76A   S43641   607 x   634 x 97.9 1800LT SSO
Oct  9 0234   Yaogan 32 01 zu )       Chang Zheng 2C/YZ-1S Jiuquan       Sigint       77A   S43642   689 x   705 x 98.3 2100LT SSO
              Yaogan 32 02 zu )                                          Sigint       77B   S43643   689 x   704 x 98.3 2100LT SSO
Oct 11 0840   Soyuz MS-10             Soyuz-FG          Baykonur LC1     Spaceship    F01   F01526 -6180?x    93 x 51.6
Oct 15 0423   Beidou DW 39 )          Chang Zheng 3B/YZ-1  Xichang       Navigation   78A   S43647 21537 x 22193 x 55.0
              Beidou DW 40 )                                             Navigation   78B   S43648 21530 x 22193 x 55.0
Oct 17 0415   AEHF 4                  Atlas V 551       Canaveral SLC41  Comms        79A   S43651  8194?x 35300 x 12.8
Oct 20 0145   BepiColombo )           Ariane 5ECA         Kourou ELA3    Probe        80A   S43653   170 x-78605 x  5.5 
              Mio         )                                              Probe        80A   A09204   170 x-78605 x  5.5 
Oct 24 2257   Hai Yang 2 02)          Chang Zheng 4B    Taiyuan          Rem.Sensing  81A   S43655   950 x   965 x 99.4 0600LT SSO
              Tangguo Guan )                                             Comms        81B   S43656   641 x   940 x 99.5
              SPP          )                                             Tech         81?  
Oct 25 0015   Kosmos-2528             Soyuz-2-1B        Plesetsk LC43/4  Sigint       82A   S43657   900 x   910 x 67.1
Oct 27 0800   Weilai                  Zhuque-1          Jiuquan          Tech         F02   F01530 -3090?x   334 x 97.6
Oct 29 0043   Zhongfa Haiyang W.)                                        Rem.Sensing  83A   S43662   510 x   523 x 97.5 0700LT SSO
              Xiaoxiang-1 02  TY1-02 )                                   Tech         83             510?x   520?x 97.5
              Xinghe          TY1-03 )                                   Imaging      83             510?x   520?x 97.5
              Changsha gaoxin TY4-01 ) Chang Zheng 2C   Jiuquan          Tech/Com     83             510?x   520?x 97.5
              Zhaojin-1       TY4-02 )                                   Astronomy    83             510?x   520?x 97.5
              Tianqi-1          )                                        Comms        83             510?x   520?x 97.5
              UNKNOWN           )                                        Tech         83             510?x   520?x 97.5
              CubeBel-1         )                                        Comms        83             510?x   520?x 97.5
Oct 29 0408   Ibuki 2       )                                            Climate      84B   S43672   597 x   617 x 97.9 1300LT SSO
              KhalifaSat    )          H2A 202          Tanegashima      Imaging      84F   S43676   592 x   612 x 97.8
              Diwata 2      )                                            Imaging      84H   S43678   587 x   599 x 97.8
              Ten-Koh       )                                            Tech         84A   S43671   600 x   619 x 97.8
              Aoi           )                                            Astronomy    84K?  S43681?  587 x   599 x 97.8
              AUTCube-2     )                                            Tech         84J?  S43679?  585 x   598 x 97.8
Oct 28 0615   DebrisSat-2                               RemDeb, LEO      Tech        9867PR S43680   399 x   404 x 51.6
Nov  1 1557   Beidou DW 41            Chang Zheng 3B    Xichang          Navigation   85A   S43683   197 x 35815 x 28.5
Nov  3 2017   Kosmos-2529             Soyuz-2-1B/Fregat Plesetsk LC43/4  Navigation   86A   S43687 19123 x 19163 x 64.8

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

The suborbital launches table includes known flights above 80 km.

Sandia Labs recently announced that they have begun a new sounding rocket program 
for technology tests called HOT SHOT. HOT SHOT 1 was launched on a Terrier Malemute
from Kauai on May 23 and reached an apogee of 360 km.

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

Sep 17 1409   FOP-5?/Celestis   SpaceLoft XL       Spaceport America     Tech          114       Spaceport America, NM
Sep 27 1215   NAMMO Nucleus     Nucleus            Andoya U3             Test          107       Norwegian Sea
Oct  1 0000?  Warhead           Zulfiqar           Kermanshah?,Iran      Weapon        200?      Syria
Oct  1 0000?  Warhead           Zulfiqar           Kermanshah?,Iran      Weapon        200?      Syria
Oct  1 0000?  Warhead           Qiam-1             Kermanshah?,Iran      Weapon        200?      Syria
Oct  1 0000?  Warhead           Qiam-1             Kermanshah?,Iran      Weapon        200?      Syria
Oct  8        Ghauri RV         Ghauri             Somniani?             Training      400?      Arabian Sea?
Oct 11 1100?  RV                DF-11?             Jiuquan               Test          500?      Urumqi?
Oct 11        RV x 4?           Sineva?           Sub, Barents Sea       Exercise      1000?     Kura
Oct 11        RV x 4?           Sineva?           Sub, Barents Sea       Exercise      1000?     Kura
Oct 11        RV x 4?           Volna?            Sub, Sea of Okhotsk    Exercise      1000?     Chiza
Oct 11        RV x 4?           Volna?            Sub, Sea of Okhotsk    Exercise      1000?     Chiza
Oct 26        FTM-45 Target     UNKNOWN            Kauai                 Target        150?      Pacific
Oct 26        FTM-45 KV         Aegis SM-3-IIA    DDG-113, Kauai         Interceptor   150?      FTM-45 intercept

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |                                    |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |  twitter: @planet4589              |
|                                                                         |
| JSR:                                 |
| Back issues:                  |
| Subscribe/unsub:         |

Jonathan's Space Home Page

Jonathan's Home Page