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Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 696 draft                                          2014 Mar 28    Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 39 continues with commander Koichi Wakata and flight engineers
Tyurin, Mastracchio, Skvortsov, Artem'ev and Swanson.

The Progress M-22M cargo ship undocked from the Pirs module at 1358 UTC Apr 7;
it remains in orbit for Radar-Progress ionospheric studies. Progress M-23M
was launched on Apr 9 and docked with Pirs at 2114 UTC.

On Apr 11 the EXT-2 MDM computer in the S0 truss failed; the unit is
needed as a backup for SSRMS operations, although it appears
its absence will not delay the Dragon launch.

Insat 3E

Space News reports that India's Insat 3E communications satellite has failed.
Orbital data also shows that Insat 3E began to slowly drift off station in late March.


Launch of the 6th satellite in the Shi Jian 11 constellation occurred on Mar 30.
The satellite was placed in a 687 x 704 km x 98.3 deg, 0902LTDN sun-synchronous orbit,
replacing SJ11-01. The SJ11 satellites are rumoured to carry infrared sensors of some


A ULA/Lockheed Martin Atlas V model 401, flight AV-044, took off from Vandenberg's
Space Launch Complex 3-East on Apr 3 to place the penultimate US Air Force Defense Meteorological 
Satellite Program payload in orbit. The DMSP Block 5D-3 S-19 spacecraft was built
by RCA/East Windsor, New Jersey and transferred to Lockheed Martin/Sunnyvale after closure
of the former facility. It is the 19th of the Block 5D subseries to be launched, and as such
has the flight name Block 5D-3 F-19. It is also the 53rd DMSP satellite produced.
DMSP 50 (Block 5D-3 S-16) will be the final launch, to be designated F-20. The last-produced,
DMSP 54 (Block 5D-3 S-20) was launched as F-16 in 2003.

ULA has confirmed that the AV-044 Centaur stage reignited to go into heliocentric
orbit, like that for the previous DMSP launch. Two debris objects, 2014-015C and D,
were cataloged in 844 x 848 km x 98.9 deg orbits. The DMSP satellite's solar array
did not completely deploy, but the satellite is expected to enter service nonetheless.


The first satellite in the European Commission's Sentinel/Copernicus Earth observing
program is now in orbit. ESA will operate the Sentinel-1A C-band radar satellite.
The Soyuz-2-1A (ST-A) flew to a -3147 x 668 km x 91.1 deg orbit and fell in the Canadian
Arctic at around 2127 UTC. The Fregat upper stage, which separated near the Soyuz apogee,
completed its first burn at 2122 UTC to deliver Sentinel to a 684 x 689 km x 98.2 deg orbit.
Sentinel separated from Fregat at 2126 UTC; the Fregat ignited again at 2203 UTC
and entered a -250 x 708 km x 102.8 deg orbit which dumped it in the South Atlantic
around 2236 UTC.

Sentinel-1A's C-band SAR is 13.3 x 0.8m in size. The satellite has a mass of 2157 kg,
only a quarter the mass of its predecessor Envisat which carried a wider array
of instruments; in the Sentinel program there will be a series of smaller, more
specialized satellites.

At 0514 UTC on Apr 5, Sentinel made a maneuver to avoid a very close
pass by NASA's defunct ACRIMSAT satellite, which failed on Dec 14 after
suffering battery issues, ending its 14 year record of measuring the
solar output. The Space Debris Office at ESOC, the European Space
Operations Center in Darmstadt (http://www.esa.int/debris) noticed the
possible close approach after recieving the first post-launch orbital
data for the satellite and, after exchanges with NASA and the USAF
JSpOC space operations center, worked the plan for an avoidance burn
with the ESOC flight dynamics group. Debris avoidance burns are
moderately normal, but doing one during spacecraft checkout in the first
days after launch is not, and required a major replanning effort as
described in the ESA blog


Kagawa University's STARS-II satellite has been renamed Gennai
after the Japanese polymath Hiraga Gennai (1728-1780). Based on
the orbital decay rate, the Kagawa team believes that the 300m tether has
been deployed.


India's second dedicated navigation satellite for the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite
System was launched on Apr 4.
The PSLV rocket flew southeast from Sriharikota; the third stage entered
a marginally suborbital trajectory (possibly something like -300 x 600 km) 
and reentered on the first orbit off the west coast of S America. After
a coast phase the fourth stage ignited to accelerate the vehicle to 
a 269 x 20558 km x 19.3 deg transfer orbit. IRNSS-1B will use its onboard
engine to join IRNSS-1A in circular inclined geosynchronous orbit.


Israel reportedly launched the 'Ofeq-10 (Horizon-10) satellite on Apr 9.
The Jerusalem Post reports it carries a radar imaging (SAR) payload.
Israeli news reports give a launch time of 2215 local (1915 UTC) but the
official Israeli MOD YouTube video of the launch gives a time of 1906
UTC. The US Satellite Catalog gives a 332 x 609 km x 140.9 deg orbit,
although detailed orbital elements are not available. In contrast to all
other countries which launch either to polar orbit or eastward - to take
advantage of Earth's rotation direction - Israel launches westward over
the Med to retrograde orbit, accepting a payload mass penalty as a
result. The reasons for this are, of course, obvious.


United Launch Alliance's Atlas V model 541 rocket, serial AV-045, took
off from Cape Canaveral on Apr 10 carrying the NRO Launch 67 (NROL-67)
payload. It appears likely that the Centaur stage made three
burns to deploy the USA 250 payload in geosynchronous orbit. The payload
is suspected to be a large NRO signals intelligence satellite.


The Egyptsat-2 satellite, bult by RKK Energiya using the 559GK bus, was
launched on Apr 16 by a Soyuz-U.


Cassini completed its T-100 flyby of Titan on Apr 7, passing 963 km from the 
surface at 1342 UTC. The encounter changed Cassini's orbit around Saturn
from 799000 x 2963000 km x 45.5 deg to 684000 x 3384000 km x 40.7 deg.

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

Mar 15 2308   Ekspress-AT1 )     Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC81/24  Comms        10A
              Ekspress-AT2 )                                        Comms        10B
Mar 22 2204   Astra 5B   )       Ariane 5ECA      Kourou ELA3       Comms        11A
              Amazonas 4A)                                          Comms        11B
Mar 23 2254   Glonass-M No. 54   Soyuz-2-1B       Plesetsk LC43/4   Navigation   12A
Mar 25 2117   Soyuz TMA-12M      Soyuz-FG         Baykonur LC1      Spaceship    13A
Mar 31 0258   SJ-11 06           Chang Zheng 2C   Jiuquan Pad 603  Surveillance? 14A
Apr  3 1446   DMSP 5D-3 F-19     Atlas V 401      Vandenberg SLC3E  Weather      15A
Apr  3 2102   Sentinel-1A        Soyuz-2-1A       CSG ELS           Radar        16A
Apr  4 1144   IRNSS-1B           PSLV-XL          Sriharikota FLP   Navigation   17A
Apr  9 1526   Progress M-23M     Soyuz-U          Baykonur LC1      Cargo        18A
Apr  9 1906   'Ofeq-10           Shaviyt          Palmachim         Radar        19A
Apr 10 1745   USA 250            Atlas V 541      Canaveral SLC41   Sigint       20A
Apr 16 1620   Egyptsat-2         Soyuz-U          Baykonur LC31     Imaging      21A?

Suborbital missions

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Mar  2 2119?  Hwasong RV       Hwasong 6?          Kittaeryong      Training      150?
Mar  2 2119?  Hwasong RV       Hwasong 6?          Kittaeryong      Training      150?
Mar  3 1109   GREECE           Black Brant IX      Poker Flat Pad3  Aurora        335
Mar  4 1810   Topol' RV        Topol'              Kapustin Yar     Test         1000?
Mar 23        Hyunmoo RV       Hyunmoo 2B          Taean            Test          100?
Mar 25 1735   Nodong RV        Nodong 1?           Sukchon          Test          150?
Mar 25 1742   Nodong RV        Nodong 1?           Sukchon          Test          150?

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