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Jonathan's Space Report
No. 669 draft                                        2012 Oct 8  Somerville, MA USA

International Space Station

Expedition 33 continues with commander Suni Williams, FE-4 Yuriy Malenchenko
and FE-6 Aki Hoshide.

SpaceX's Dragon CRS-1 cargo ship reached the ISS on Oct 10 and was
captured by the SSRMS arm at 1056 UTC. Berthing at the Harmony
module was completed at 1303 UTC.

The five cubesats ejected from the JEM on Oct 4 have been cataloged as
1998-067CN to 1998-067CS; Mike Rupprecht DK3WN has identified three of them
so far using their radio signals. Of course they                             
really should be 2012-038 objects but USSTRATCOM, who the World Data
Center at GSFC delegated the naming process to, has elected to label all
ISS-associated objects with the Zarya module's launch number.

The Orbcomm OG2-1 satellite reentered at 0619 UTC on Oct 10 after 2 days
in space, probably over the NE Pacific west of Vancouver. An Orbcomm
press release states that they were able to test out the satellite's
systems before the reentry. The Falcon 9 second stage has also
reentered, and the three debris objects will probably come down in the
next day or two.


The IOV 3 and 4 validation satellites for the European Galileo navigation
system were orbited by a Soyuz/Fregat from the Centre Spatial Guyanais
on Oct 12. The two satellites have been given the nicknames David and
Sif in honor of two young competition winners, Mr. David Markarjanc
(b.2001) of the Czech Republic and Ms. Sif Skov Christensen (b.2002) of

The Fregat-MT No. 1031 upper stage inserted the stack in a 202 x 23248 km x 56.0 deg
transfer orbit; after a second burn at 2149 UTC the two satellites were
ejected into circular orbit. The Soyuz-ST-B (Soyuz-2-1b) third stage
was on a suborbital trajectory and reentered over the Atlantic at about 1832 UTC.


On Oct 14 China launched two technology satellites, SJ-9A and SJ-9B (Shi
Jian jiu hao A/B weixing) using a CZ-2C launch vehicle with an SMA solid
motor upper stage. The CZ-2C second stage ended up in a 260 x 674 km x
98.0 deg transfer orbit; the satellites are in a 623 x 650 km x 98.0
deg, 1029LTDN sun-synchronous orbit together with a small dual payload
adapter. The SMA stage seems to have made a pair of depletion burns to a
363 x 607 km x 98.1 deg disposal orbit. Two of the four second stage
motor separation covers have so far been cataloged, in 260 x 890 km

The SJ-9 satellites carry technical experiments and will perform formation flying


Intelsat's IS-23 satellite, an Orbital Star-2.4 model, was launched on
Oct 14 by a Proton/Briz-M from Baykonur.  The satellite will provide Ku
and C band communications services for the Americas, Europe and Africa
from 53W. This is the first Star-2 class satellite to be directly
inserted into geosynchronous orbit by its launch vehicle rather than
using liquid apogee burns from transfer orbit.

At this writing the spacecraft and its Briz-M upper stage are in transfer
orbit, with one more burn to go.

Launch Vehicle Statistics

The practice, of which I and others have long been guilty, of evaluating launch
vehicle reliability based on a simple pass/fail value for each launch is rather a
blunt instrument, as the recent Falcon 9 launch shows.

I have revised my launch tables (http://planet4589.org/space/lvdb/) 
to include an attempt at reasonably objective fractional success values for marginal cases. 
For pass/fail purposes I consider a score of 0.75 or less to be a failure; one could argue for 
lowering that boundary a little bit.

For launches with a single payload, or multiple equal-priority payloads, I give:
 - full success                   1.00
 - orbit usable but not nominal   0.75
 - orbit but not a usable one     0.40
 - payload failed to separate     0.25  (even if good orbit)
 - orbit not reached              0.00  (or reentry after circa 1 orbit)

For missions with primary (P) and secondary (S) payloads, a rough scaling
to give the P 3 times the weight of S -
 - full success                   1.00
 - S off-nominal orbit            0.95
 - S unusable orbit               0.85
 - S failed to sep                0.75
 - P off-nominal orbit            0.55
 - P unusable orbit               0.30
 - P failed to separate           0.10

There's still some subjectivity here, and I've allowed myself to assign intermediate values,
e.g. when an orbit is only slightly off-nominal. Now obviously scores of 0.40 or less
are going to mean an unhappy customer, but I think it's still worth distinguishing from complete
failure to orbit a it usually indicates a vehicle which is 'close' to working in contrast
to some vehicles which never make it beyond first or second stage burn (I'm looking at you,
North Korea...). For Earth escape missions stranded in LEO, I've kept a 0 (complete failure) score.

Here are the proposed scores assigned so far that differ from 0.0 and 1.0:
 0.25  96-061 Pegasus
 0.40  63-021 Thor Agena; 67-032 Proton; 76-062,76-088, 80-031, 86-075,90-055 Molniya, 78-119, 95-052 Kosmos,
       84-120, 04-052 Tsiklon, 91-051 Pegasus, 95-U01 Mu-3S-II, 96-048 CZ-3, 80-043 Atlas,
       99-017, 99-023 Titan, 99-024 Delta 3, 06-006, 08-011, 11-045, 12-044 Proton/Briz, 11-005 Rokot
 0.45  04-050 Delta 4H  (primary payload medium-bad orbit, secondary failed to orbit)
 0.50  01-029 Ariane 5/V142
 0.75  97-057 PSLV, 97-066 Ariane 502, 07-027 Atlas V/NROL-30, 09-029 Soyuz/Meridian
 0.80  00-048 Delta 3, 01-015 GSLV  (somewhat off-nominal orbit)
 0.85  12-054 Falcon 9  (primary perfect, secondary unusable)

I haven't done a throrough scrub of the database, particularly the older launches - let me know
what you think. Note that I don't count PAM and IUS payloads on Shuttle as part of the launch vehicle.
There's a whole other discussion to be had about measuring each stage instead of the LV
as a whole, and measuring upper stage and apogee motor reliability - but that is not this discussion:
the question of integrated launch vehicle reliability comes up often enough to be worth doing better.

Orbital Launch Stats 2012 to Date

Total 57 attempts:
Russia 17, US 14, China 14, France/ESA 7, India 2, Japan 2, Iran 1 + 1 fail, North Korea 1 fail

(Sea Launch counted as US, Soyuz/CSG counted as France)

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Oct  4 1210   GPS SVN65          Delta 4M+(4,2)    Canaveral SLC37B  Navsat    53A
Oct  4 1437   RAIKO    )                           ISS Kibo, LEO     Tech      98-067CN
              We Wish  )                                             Tech      98-067CS
Oct  4 1544   F-1      )                           ISS Kibo, LEO     Tech      98-067CR
              Niwaka   )                                             Tech      98-067CP
              TechEdSat)                                             Tech      98-067CQ
Oct  8 0035   Dragon CRS-1 )     Falcon 9          Canaveral SLC40   Cargo     54A
              Orbcomm OG2-1)                                         Comms     54B
Oct 12 1815   Galileo IOV-3 )    Soyuz ST-B        Kourou ELS        Navsat    55A
              Galileo IOV-4 )                                        Navsat    55B
Oct 14 0325   Shi Jian 9 A )     Chang Zheng 2C    Taiyuan           Tech      56B
              Shi Jian 9 B )                                         Tech      56C
Oct 14 0837   Intelsat IS-23     Proton-M/Briz-M   Baykonur LC81/24  Comms     57A

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Oct  4 0337   RV               Prithvi 2          Chandipur           Op.Test      100?
Oct  5 0555   RV               Dhanush            Ship, Chandipur     Op.Test      100?

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |          jcm@cfa.harvard.edu       |
|                                                                         |
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