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Jonathan's Space Report No. 744 draft 2018 Jan 15 Somerville, MA --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JSR 743 is now permalinked at http://planet4589.org/space/jsr/back/news.743 The 2017 annual summary report at http://planet4589.org/space/papers/space17.pdf has been updated to Rev 2, correcting mistakes in the payload mass figures in table 5. International Space Station --------------------------- Expedition 54 continues with ISS Commander Aleskandr Misurkin and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei, Joe Acaba, Anton Shkaplerov, Scott Tingle and Norishige Kanai. On Dec 29 the Dextre and Canadarm-2 robot arms were used to move the TSIS solar instrument from the Dragon trunk to Express Logistics Carrier 3. On Jan 1-2 they moved the Space Debris Sensor to the Columbus External Payload Facility. On Jan 3 and 4 the Rapidscat instrument and the Rapidscat Nadir Adapter were moved from the Columbus EPF to the Dragon trunk for disposal. Dragon CRS-13 was recovered safely on Jan 13. The Canadarm-2 unberthed Dragon at 2249 UTC Jan 12 and released it at 0958 UTC Jan 13. Release was performed remotely by ground control for the first time. Dragon made three small separation burns between 1002 and 1012 UTC and then a 10 minute deorbit burn starting at 1443 UTC. The trunk was jettisoned at about 1501 UTC and reentry interface was reached at about 1514 UTC (I'd welcome a more accurate entry timeline if anyone has one). Capsule C108 splashed down at 1537 UTC near 30.1N 123.0W completing its second trip to space. The CRS-13 trunk, with Rapidscat, burned up at around 1514 UTC over the Pacific. What's Up With Zuma? --------------------- The first orbital launch of the year was carried out by SpaceX on Jan XX with a secret payload called ZUMA, to be sent to low Earth orbit inclined at 50 degrees. SpaceX's contract was with the Northrop Grumman company, which was probably also the spacecraft prime contractor, and fronted for the ultimate user which is an unknown US government agency (probably the NRO, but it's always possible a new secret three-letter-agency has arrived on the scene). According to industry sources prior to launch, Northrop Grumman is known to have provided its own payload adapter instead of using the standard Falcon 9 one. A payload adapter connects the spacecraft to the final stage of the rocket and performs the actual separation of spacecraft from rocket once orbit is achieved. (Don't confuse this with the payload fairing or nosecone, which protects the spacecraft from the atmosphere). This function is normally the responsibility of the launch provider, but it is reasonable to infer that in this case payload separation was the responsibility of Northrop Grumman or of the US government customer, rather than of SpaceX. Falcon 9 mission 48 was launched from Cape Canaveral's Pad 40 and used first stage B1043, which returned to the Cape to land at landing zone LZ1. Mission events after payload fairing separation are secret, but SpaceX later reported that the Falcon 9 did its job correctly. The second stage was expected to separate from the payload and perform a deorbit burn after about 1.5 orbits, destroying itself over the Indian Ocean. Consistent with this, a rocket burn was seen at the appropriate time by observers in Sudan. For a successful mission I would have expected two entries in the US satellite catalog: the payload, given the bland cover name USA 280 and the international designation 2018-001A, and the rocket, which would get 2018-001B despite its short stay in orbit (the normal rule is that you get cataloged if you stay up more than one complete orbit). In the event, only one catalog entry appeared, that for USA 280. The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources on Capitol Hill, that the mission was a failure - the spacecraft failed to separate from the upper stage and was destroyed on reentry. This scenario, if true, is consistent with the available data, including the claim that SpaceX does not think it is at fault (although a full failure investigation could always find something subtle that could change that). It would imply that the combined Zuma/Falcon Stage 2 completed its 1.5 orbits - consistent with it getting a single catalog entry - and that the second stage then was deorbited with the expensive payload still attached. Industry insiders have suggested that multiple attempts would have been made to separate the payload. It is possible that the deorbit burn was not aborted because if the payload remained in orbit attached to the stage, it would present a significant debris risk (similar to the risk used to justify the antisatellite intercept of USA 193 in 2008). If it's clear the mission is a failure, it's more prudent to carry out safe disposal of the vehicle. The `decay date' (i.e. reentry date) column in the satellite catalog has been left blank, but that is standard for secret missions which have often reentered without any acknowledgement. Others have suggested a scenario in which the mission was a success and the failure rumours are a deliberate cover story as part of an attempt to conceal the spacecraft. I find this unlikely for two reasons. Firstly, the source of the rumours seem to be Congressional staffers who can influence the spy agencies' budgets, will be displeased with them at the hundreds of megabucks apparently lost, but will be even less pleased about being made patsies for a cover story - and they will find out. Secondly, my impression is these rumours have made amateur observers even more determined than usual to search for the satellite in order to clarify the situation, so it's highly unclear what such a cover story would actually achieve. Satellite observer Marco Langbroek has calculated that the Sudan observation implies an orbital altitude around 1000 km; such an orbit makes some kind of radar satellite seem the most likely mission. The Falcon 9 has about a 9000 kg capacity to this orbit, which sets an upper limit to the payload mass. A successful deorbit with unexpected extra mass attached would suggest the payload was well below that limit. Superview-1 ----------- The first Chinese launch of the year used the SAST/Shanghai CZ-2D rocket from Taiyuan space center. The third and fourth satellites in Beijing Space View's Gaojing-1 (Superview-1) high resolution imaging constellation were launched on Jan 9 into 1030 local time sun-synchronous orbit, joining the first pair launched a year earlier. On Jan 12 the satellites began adjusting their orbit slightly. Orbits as of Jan 13: (03 and 04 might be the wrong way round) Gaojing-1 01 xing 513 x 536 km x 97.6 deg Gaojing-1 02 xing 514 x 535 km x 97.6 deg Gaojing-1 03 xing 523 x 536 km x 97.6 deg Gaojing-1 04 xing 510 x 529 km x 97.6 deg Beidou ------ The CALT/Beijing CZ-3B was used for China's second launch, from Xichang. Flight Y45's third stage reached a 210 x 18546 km x 55.0 deg transfer orbit and deplyed the Yuanzheng-1 (YZ-1) Y5 upper stage, which immediately raised apogee to 22000 km. A second burn of the YZ-1 circularized the orbit to 21543 x 22194 km, after which two Beidou-3 navigation satellites were deployed. Beidou Daohang Weixing (Polaris Navigation Satellite) 26 and 27 are also designated MEO-7 and MEO-8. These two satellites were built by the Shanghai CAS Institute for Microsatellite Innovation (Zhongguo kexueyuan weixiao weixing chuangxin yanjiuyuan), unlike the MEO-1 and 2 satellites launched in November which were built by Beijing's CAST. PSLV-C40 -------- India launched the PSLV-C40 mission on Jan 12, returing the PSLV successfully to flight after a fairing separation failure last August. The primary payload was the Cartosat-2ER imaging satellite; a cluster of 30 smaller satellites was also deployed. Most of the payloads were deployed in the same orbit as Cartosat. However, the final satellite to be deployed, Microsat-TD, went to a lower orbit, taking advantange of the PSLV PS4 stage's recently added multi-burn capability. It is a 100-kg-class ISRO technology development satellite using a bus based on IMS-1 (launched in 2008). According to Gunter Krebs (space.skyrocket.de) it has a 0.8m resolution imager and has a mass around 120 kg. The other payloads are: - INS-1C, the third Indian Nanosatellite mission. With a mass of 11 kg, it carries an experimental multispectral imager. - Telesat's LEO Vantage 1 satellite for test and validation of technology for a Ka-band LEO constellation; built by Surrey Satellite, mass around 100 kg. - VividX2, a 100 kg class HD video satellite for the UK imaging company Earth-i. The satellite was built by Surrey Satellite Technologies - somewhat unsurprisingly as Earth-i headquarters is literally across the street from them (and a few miles from where I used to live as a teenager, so I know the area!). SSTL calls the satellite Carbonite-2. - ICEYE-X1, a proof of concept mission for radar imaging company ICEYE of Helsinki, using a 70 kg satellite built by York Space Systems of Denver, Colorado. - Arkyd-6A is a 6U cubesat for Planetary Resources, with a mid-infrared imager. - Picsat, a 3U cubesat from the Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, to perform transit photometry of the exoplanet Beta Pic b. - Tyvak-61C, a 3U satellite from Tyvak Corp of California, reportedly to measure variability of luminous (but I think they probably mean bright, i.e. apparent rather than absolute magnitude) stars. I haven't heard anything about this astronomy mission and am curious to know more. - CANYVAL-X, a 3U technology experiment from Yonsei University (Seoul): Cubesat Astronomy by NASA and Yonsei using Virtual Telescope Alignment. The payload consists of 2U and 1U cubesats which will later separate and perform a formation flying test. - CNUSAIL-1 (Papillon), a 3U cubesat test of a drag sail from Chungnam National Univ., Seoul. - KAUSAT-5, a 3U cubesat with an Earth imager, from Korea Aerospace University (formerly Hankuk Aviation University, whose earlier HAUSAT-1 was lost in a 2006 launch failure). - SIGMA (KHUSAT-3), a space science 3U cubesat from Kyung Hee University, Seoul. - StepCubeLab, a 1U test satellite from Choson U., Gwangju. - Fox-1D is a 1U amateur radio satellite from AMSAT-NA. - Micromas-2A, for microwave radiometry of tropical weather, a 3U cubesat from MIT Lincoln Lab. - Landmapper BC3 (Corvus BC3), a 6U Earth imaging cubesat for AstroDigital's BC (Broad Coverage) system. The original BC3 (and BC4) failed to orbit in November; this satellite appears to have the internal name Landmapper BC-3-v2. - CICERO 7, for GeoOptics, a Tyvak-built 6U cubesat for GNSS-RO meteorology. - DemoSat-2, a 3U satellite to test a UHF radio payload, from an unknown US commercial operator. - SpaceBEE-1 to SpaceBEE-4, tiny satellites 0.10 x 0.10 x 0.025m in size, for another unknown US commercial operator, with communications payloads. - 4 SpireGlobal Lemur-2 satellites with ship tracking and GNSS-RO meteorology payloads. - 4 Planet Dove imaging satellites, Dove 1100, 1102, 1105, and 1107, forming the Flock 3P-prime group and serving as testbeds for improving the Planet constellation. As of Jan 14, objects T and U in Space-Track appear to be the PS4 stage and Microsat-TD (since they are in the lower orbit). However, it is not unlikely the catalog numbers will be shuffled. USA 281 ------- ULA launched a Delta 4 from Vandenberg on Jan 12 on behalf of the US National Reconnaissance Office. Launch NROL-47 placed the secret USA 281 satellite in a 1050 km retrograde orbit; the satellite is believed to be a TOPAZ radar imaging vehicle. The Delta 4 second stage was deorbited after payload separation and did not get a US catalog number. LKW 3 ----- China's third LKW imaging satellite was launched into a 1330 LTDN sun-synchronous orbit on Jan 13, 45 degrees from the orbital plane of LKW-1 and 2. GOES 13 ------- NOAA's GOES 13 weather satellite was launched in 2006 and has served at 75 deg W as the GOES East operational satellite since Apr 2010, returning images of Atlantic area weather. GOES 16, launched in 2016, took up GOES East duties in December; GOES 13 was moved off station on Jan 11 and is drifting east, probably to a reserve location. Swift ----- The Swift satellite, launched in 2004 to study gamma ray bursts, was renamed the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory on Jan 10 to honor the late Neil Gehrels (1952-2017), who was the mission's originator and principal investigator. Tsubame -------- The Tsubame low orbit satellite launched on Dec 23 has begun testing its propulsion system. Its apogee was lowered by 20 km in 2 burns on Jan 13 and 15, leaving it in a 456 x 608 km orbit. Initial low operational orbit is expected to be 268 x 268 km. Table of Recent Orbital Launches ---------------------------------- Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL. Catalog Perigee Apogee Incl Notes Dec 2 1043 Kosmos-2524 Soyuz-2-1B Plesetsk LC43/4 Sigint 76A S43032 245 x 900 x 67.1 Dec 3 0411 LKW-1 Chang Zheng 2D Jiuquan LC603 Imaging 77A S43034 478 x 592 x 97.5 1030LT SSO Dec 6 1924 Lemur-2-YongLin SS Cernan, LEO AIS/Weather 71E? S43041? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Lemur-2-Kevin AIS/Weather 71F? S43042? 449 x 454 x 51.6 CHEFSat Tech 71G? S43043? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Aerocube 7B Tech 71H? S43044? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Aerocube 7C Tech 71J? S43045? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Dec 6 2240 Lemur-2-BrianDavie SS Cernan, LEO AIS/Weather 71K? S43046? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Lemur-2-RomaCoste AIS/Weather 71L? S43047? 449 x 454 x 51.6 PropCube Fauna Tech 71M? S43048? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Asgardia 1 Tech 71N? S43049? 449 x 454 x 51.6 ISARA Tech 71P? S43050? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Dec 7 0200 Lemur-2-RocketJonah SS Cernan, LEO AIS/Weather 71Q? S43051? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Lemur-2-Liu-Poh-Chun AIS/Weather 71R? S43052? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Lemur-2-McCullagh AIS/Weather 71S? S43053? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Lemur-2-Dunlop AIS/Weather 71T? S43054? 449 x 454 x 51.6 Dec 10 1640 Alcomsat 1 Chang Zheng 3B Xichang LC2 Comms 78A S43039 180 x 41795 x 26.4 Dec 12 1836 GalileoSat 19 ) Ariane 5ES Kourou ELA3 Navigation 79A S43055 22818 x 22922 x 57.0 GalileoSat 20 ) Navigation 79B S43056 22906 x 23046 x 57.0 GalileoSat 21 ) Navigation 79C S43057 22905 x 23172 x 57.2 GalileoSat 22 ) Navigation 79D S43058 22903 x 22911 x 56.9 Dec 15 1536 Dragon CRS-13 Falcon 9 Canaveral LC40 Cargo 80A S43060 204 x 356 x 51.6 Dec 17 0721 Soyuz MS-07 Soyuz-FG Baykonur LC1 Spaceship 81A S43063 185 x 238 x 51.6 Dec 23 0126 Shikisai ) H2A 202 Tanegashima Imaging 82A S43065 790 x 793 x 98.7 1015LT SSO Tsubame ) Tech 82B S43066 470 x 655 x 98.7 Dec 23 0127 Iridium SV116 Falcon 9 Vandenberg SLC4E Comms 83C S43072 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV130 Comms 83D S43073 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV131 Comms 83K S43079 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV134 Comms 83F S43075 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV135 Comms 83A S43070 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV137 Comms 83G S43076 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV138 Comms 83B S43071 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV141 Comms 83H S43077 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV151 Comms 83E S43074 609 x 626 x 86.7 Iridium SV153 Comms 83J S43078 609 x 626 x 86.7 Dec 23 0414 LKW-2 Chang Zheng 2D Jiuquan Imaging 84A S43080 492 x 511 x 97.5 1033 LT SSO Dec 25 1944 Yaogan-30 03 zu 01 xing) Chang Zheng 2C Xichang Sigint 85A S43081 589 x 604 x 35.0 Yaogan-30 03 zu 02 xing) Sigint 85B S43082 589 x 604 x 35.0 Yaogan-30 03 zu 03 xing) Sigint 85C S43083 589 x 604 x 35.0 Dec 26 1900 Angosat Zenit-3F Baykonur LC45 Comms 86A S43087 35962 x 36118 x 0.1 Jan 8 0100 Zuma (USA 280) Falcon 9 Canaveral LC40 Radar? 01A S43098 1000?x 1000?x 50.0 Jan 9 0324 Gaojing-1 03 ) Chang Zheng 2D Taiyuan Imaging 02A S43099 523 x 536 x 97.6 Gaojing-1 04 ) Imaging 02B S43100 510 x 529 x 97.6 Jan 11 2318 Beidou DW 26 ) Chang Zheng 3B Xichang Navigation 03A S43107 21538 x 22194 x 55.0 Beidou DW 27 ) Navigation 03B S43108 21543 x 22194 x 55.0 Jan 12 0359 Cartosat 2ER ) PSLV-XL Satish Dhawan FLP Imaging 04 INS-1C ) Imaging 04 Microsat-TD ) Imaging 04T? LEO Vantage 1 ) Comms 04 ICEYE-X1 ) Radar 04 VividX2 ) Imaging 04 Arkyd-6A ) Imaging 04 CICERO 7 ) Weather 04 Landmapper-BC3 ) Imaging 04 PICSAT ) Astronomy 04 Tyvak-61C ) Astronomy 04 CANYVAL-X1/X2 ) Tech 04 CNUSail-1 ) Tech 04 STEP Cube Lab ) Tech 04 KAUSAT-5 ) Imaging 04 KHUSAT-3 ) Tech 04 Fox-1D ) Comms 04 Micromas-2A ) Science 04 DemoSat-2 ) Comms 04 SpaceBEE-1 ) Comms 04 SpaceBEE-2 ) Comms 04 SpaceBEE-3 ) Comms 04 SpaceBEE-4 ) Comms 04 Lemur-2-PW ) AIS/Weather 04 Lemur-2-DaveWilson) AIS/Weather 04 Lemur-2-McCafferty) AIS/Weather 04 Lemur-2-BrownCow ) AIS/Weather 04 Flock 3p'-1 ) Imaging 04 Flock 3p'-2 ) Imaging 04 Flock 3p'-3 ) Imaging 04 Flock 3p'-4 ) Imaging 04 Jan 12 2211 USA 281 Delta 4M+(5,2) Vandenberg SLC6 Radar 05A S43145 1052 x 1053 x106.0 Jan 13 0710 Ludi Kancha Weixing 3 Chang Zheng 2D Jiuquan Imaging 06A S43146 496 x 506 x 97.3 Table of Recent Suborbital Launches ----------------------------------- Date UT Payload/Flt Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission Apogee/km Target Dec 12 1659 New Shepard CC2 New Shepard West Texas Test 99 West Texas Dec 19 RV/Warhead Burkan 2H Sa'dah Weapon 150? Riyadh Dec 26 0330? RV Topol'-E? Kapustin Yar Test 1000? Balkhash? .-------------------------------------------------------------------------. | Jonathan McDowell | | | Somerville MA 02143 | inter : planet4589 at gmail | | USA | twitter: @planet4589 | | | | JSR: http://www.planet4589.org/jsr.html | | Back issues: http://www.planet4589.org/space/jsr/back | | Subscribe/unsub: http://www.planet4589.org/mailman/listinfo/jsr | '-------------------------------------------------------------------------'
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