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Jonathan's Space Report
No. 829                                                        2024 Feb 3   Somerville, MA
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Note: this issue marks 35 years since the publication of JSR issue no. 1.

International Space Station
---------------------------

Expedition 70 continues.

Cygnus NG-19 was deorbited on Jan 9. The NASA blog says reentry was 1.22pm
EDT  (1722 UTC) but presumably they mean EST, so 1822 UTC. But TLEs
suggest actually 1922 UTC for a pass over the S Pacific

Axiom Ax-3 was launched on Jan 18 using Dragon capsule C212 on its third flight.
The ship carries Lopez-Alegria (341, Axiom, CDR), Villadei (654, Italian Air Force, PLT), 
Gezeravci (676, Turkish Air Force, MS1)  and Wandt (677, European Space Agency, MS2).
Ax-3 docked with IDA-2 on ISS at 1042 UTC Jan 20.

Progress MS-24 fired its engines on Jan 27 at 1139 UTC to boost the ISS orbit by 1.2 m/s.

On Jan 30 the Northrop Grumman Cygnus mission NG-20 cargo ship, the S.S. Patricia Hilliard Robertson,
was launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Cape Canaveral. The Canadarm-2 grappled Cygnus
at 0959 UTC Feb 1 and berthed it at the Unity nadir port at 1214 UTC that day.

Chinese Space Station
----------------------

On Jan 7 the Tianzhou-6 cargo ship fired its engines to raise the station orbit with a 4.4m/s burn.

Tianzhou-6 undocked from the station (Tianhe module aft port) at 0802 UTC on Jan 12.
It was deorbited over the Pacific at 1237 UTC Jan 19. The 12U Dalian-1-Lianli cubesat was
deployed from it a day earlier, 0643 UTC Jan 18.

On Jan 16 the station used its own propulsion to raise its orbit with a roughly 3m/s burn.

The Tianzhou-7 cargo ship was launched on Jan 14 at 1427 UTC and docked with Tianhe at 1746 UTC.

Starlink launches
---------------------

Group 6-35 (23 sats) launched from Canaveral on Jan 7.
Group 7-10 (22 sats) launched from Vandenberg on Jan 14.
Group 6-37 (23 sats) launched from Canaveral on Jan 15.
Group 7-11 (22 sats) launched from Vandenberg on Jan 24.
Group 6-38 (23 sats) launched from Kennedy on Jan 29.
Group 7-12 (22 sats) launched from Vandenberg on Jan 29.

EXPACE launches
----------------

CASIC/EXPACE launched four more Tianmu-1 GNSS-RO satellites on a KZ-1A
on Jan 5 to 1740 LTDN SSO.

Vulcan
-------

The first ULA Vulcan was launched on Jan 8. V-001 used the 
VC2S model with two GEM-63XL strapons, the Vulcan core with
two BE-4 methalox engines, a Centaur V with two RL-10-C-C1 hydrogen/LOX
engines, and a standard (S) Vulcan fairing. The Centaur made one
burn to 493 x 498 km x 30.0 deg parking orbit, a second burn which
delivered Astrobotic's Peregrine lander to a translunar trajectory of
490 x 382895 km x 30.1 deg, 
and then a third burn to send the Centaur itself, with an attached
Celestis burial payload, to solar orbit.   (Peregrine also carried
a Celestis capsule).

A propulsion system leak caused an early end to the Peregrine
mission, with a landing ruled out. Peregrine reentered the Earth's atmosphere
over the Vanuatu area at 2059 UTC Jan 18.

Bill Gray calculates the ecliptic solar orbit parameters of the Centaur
as 0.88 x 1.02 AU x 0.01 deg; C3 was 4.67 km^2/s^2.



CALT launches
-------------

CALT launched a CZ-2C from Xichang on Jan 9 with the Einstein Probe
X-ray astronomy observatory. EP has a wide field 'Lobster Eye' X-ray telescope
to locate transient sources and a narrow-field Wolter I telescope
for following them up in detail.

CALT launched a CZ-2C from Xichang on Feb 2 with eleven Geely Constellation 2
satellites to be used to support autonomously-driven cars.

Orienspace
----------

Orienspace launched the first Yinli-1 solid fuel launch vehicle from the  Dongfeng Hangtiangang   
barge on Jan 11, placing three Yunyao-1 satellites in orbit. The satellites carried GNSS radio occultation
meteorology payloads.

EXPACE
------

EXPACE launched a KZ-1A with the Tianxing-1 02 satellite to low orbit on Jan 11.

Qaem-100
--------

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami) launched the third
Qaem-100 vehicle on Jan 20. The first Qaem-100 was a suborbital test and the second one an orbital
launch failure; this third flight appears fully successful and placed the Soraya (Suraya) satellite in
a 750 km orbit. The success was announced by the Ministry of Communications and Information Tech,
but it is not clear whether the satellite is for imaging or  communications.


CAS Space
---------

CAS Space launched the third Lijian-1 (Kinetica-1) rocket from Jiuquan on Jan 23,
placing five satellites for Minospace in a 1030 LTDN sun-sync orbit.
The upper stage was not cataloged and was presumably deorbited, possibly west of Chile.

Simorgh
-------

On Jan 28 the Iranian Space Agency carried out the first successful
orbital flight of the Iranian Space Agency's Simorgh, placing three
satellites in elliptical low Earth orbit. 
The satellites' ground track passes over the Khomeini Space Center
launch site at 0007 UTC; allowing for the slower velocity of the lower
stages actual launch time is a few minutes earlier, perhaps 0004 UTC.
Bob Christy estimates 0002 UTC,  also plausible.

The main payload of the Simorgh rocket was the 32 kg
Mehda test sat carrying launch vehicle environment monitoring
and space component qualification payloads. It was built by the Iran
Space Research Center.

Also on the Simorgh launch were two 3U cubesats from Iran Electronics
Industries (Sairan):  Hatef 1 with an Internet of Things comms payload
and Kaihan 2 which carries an attitude control system and some kind of
navigation test payload.

This Simorgh variant is reported to be a two stage liquid-propellant
vehicle. It was the seventh Simorgh launch following a suborbital test
and five  orbital launch failures. The 3rd flight in 2019 was reported
to have three stages, so there is some uncertainty about the rocket's
configuration on previous flights.

Electron 43
-----------

Rocket Lab launched an Electron from Mahia on Jan 31 placing four 16U Spire Lemur
satellites in a 540 km sun-sync orbit with 1857 local time orbital plane.
The satellites carry a space surveillance (i.e. satellite cataloging and tracking)
optical imaging payload.


SLIM
----

Japan's SLIM lunar lander technology mission achieved a lunar soft
landing near Shioli (13S 25E) on Jan 19. SLIM was launched along with
XRISM on H2A-47 from Tanegashima on 2023 Sep 8. The H2A upper stage
delivered SLIM to a highly elliptical 341 x 98613 km x 30.3 deg Earth
orbit. SLIM's own propulsion put it on a translunar trajectory on Sep
30, and it made a lunar flyby on Oct 4. Apogee on Nov 5 was at 1.37
million km from Earth; SLIM then fell back towards the Moon for a `weak
capture' in early December and a full lunar orbit insertion on Dec 25 to
an elliptical orbit of 682 x 3929 km x 89.8 deg. A series of burns on
Jan 14, Jan 17 and Jan 19 lowered the orbit to 15 x 600 km.   The main
descent began at 1500 UTC 2024 Jan 19, with touchdown near Shioli at
1519:52 UTC. JPL gives the location as 25.2249E, 13.2955S; A. Phillips
estimates 22.2508E 13.3154S from the released images.
The tiny LEV-1 and LEV-2 robots were ejected at 1.8m altitude to land
on the surface beside SLIM; both returned data.

After landing, the solar panels on SLIM were not providing electricity.
It was able to return some data while the batteries lasted, but fell silent
at 1757 UTC (LEV-1 transmitted until 1710 UTC).
With improving solar illumination, SLIM started to transmit again on Jan 28,
but fell silent again upon lunar nightfall on Jan 31.

The main goal of the mission was to test the landing technology
and that seems to have been a success; the accuracy achieved will be evaluated
in the coming weeks.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches
 ----------------------------------

Date UT       Name			     Launch Vehicle	 Site		 Mission  INTL.  Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl	 Notes
Jan  1 0340   XPoSAT                            PSLV-DL                  Satish Dhawan FLP Astron   01A   638 x 653 x 6.0
              POEM-3                                                                       Tech     01B   342 x 353 x 9.7
Jan  3 0344   Starlink Group 7-9                Falcon 9                  Vandenberg SLC4E Comms    02    335 x 344 x 53.2
Jan  3 2304   Ovzon-3                           Falcon 9                  Canaveral LC40   Comms    03A   266 x 47367 x 26.8
Jan  5 1120   Tianmu 1-15                       Kuaizhou-1A               Jiuquan          Meteo    04A   517 x 531 x 97.5
              Tianmu 1-16                                                                  Meteo    04B   516 x 530 x 97.5
              Tianmu 1-17                                                                  Meteo    04C   516 x 529 x 97.5
              Tianmu 1-18                                                                  Meteo    04D   514 x 529 x 97.5
Jan  7 2235   Starlink Group 6-35               Falcon 9                  Canaveral LC40   Comms    05    285 x 288 x 43.0
Jan  8 0718   Peregrine Mission 1               Vulcan VC2S               Canaveral SLC41  Probe    06A   548 x 393476 x 29.7
              Celestis                                                                     Burial   06B   740 x -184090 x 27.0
Jan  9 0703   Einstein Tanzhen                  Chang Zheng 2C            Xichang          Astron   07A   580 x 596 x 29.0
Jan 11 0352   Tianxing-1 02                     Kuaizhou-1A               Jiuquan          Imaging? 08A   290 x 349 x 95.1
Jan 11 0530   Yunyao-1 18                       Yinli-1                DFHT, South China Sea Meteo  09A   478 x 498 x 50.0
              Yunyao-1 19                                                                    Meteo  09B   478 x 498 x 50.0
              Yunyao-1 20                                                                    Meteo  09C   478 x 498 x 50.0
Jan 12 0444   IGS O8                            H-2A                      Tanegashima      Imaging  10A   450?x450? x 97?
Jan 14 0859   Starlink Group 7-10               Falcon 9                  Vandenberg SLC4E Comms    11    285 x 294 x 53.2
Jan 15 0152   Starlink Group 6-37               Falcon 9                  Canaveral LC40   Comms    12    283 x 290 x 43.0
Jan 17 1427   Tianzhou-7                        Chang Zheng 7             Wenchang LC201   Cargo    13A   376 x 385 x 41.5
Jan 18 0643   Dalian-1 Lianli                                           TZ-6, LEO          Tech    23063C 370 x 383 x 41.5
Jan 18 2149   Axiom Ax-3                        Falcon 9                  Kennedy LC39A    Spaceship 14A  211 x 296 x 51.6
Jan 20 0628   Soraya                            Qaem-100                  Shahroud         Comms?   15A   744 x 760 x 64.5
Jan 23 0403   Taijing-1 03                      Lijian-1                  Jiuquan          Imaging  16    524 x 542 x 97.5
              Taijing-2 02                                                                 Imaging  16
              Taijing-2 04                                                                 Imaging  16
              Taijing-3 02                                                                 Imaging  16
              Taijing-4 03                                                                 Radar    16
Jan 24 0035   Starlink Group 7-11               Falcon 9                  Vandenberg SLC4E Comms    17    285 x 296 x 53.2
Jan 28 0004?  Mehda                             Simorgh                   Khomeini SC      Tech     18A   456 x 1117 x 58.7
              Hatef 1                                                                      Comms    18B?
              Kaihan 2                                                                     Tech     18C?
Jan 29 0110   Starlink Group 6-38               Falcon 9                  Kennedy LC39A    Comms    19    283 x 291 x 43.0
Jan 29 0557   Starlink Group 7-12               Falcon 9                  Vandenberg SLC4E Comms    20    285 x 294 x 53.2
Jan 30 1707   S.S. Patricia Robertson           Falcon 9                  Canaveral LC40   Cargo    21A   242 x 251 x 51.7
Jan 31 0634   Lemur / Northstar Skylark 1       Electron                  Mahia LC1B       SpSurv   22A   520 x 540 x 97.5
Feb  2 2337   Geely Xingguo 02 zu 01 xing       Chang Zheng 2C            Xichang          Nav      23A   595 x 605 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 02 xing                                                  Nav      23B   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 03 xing                                                  Nav      23C   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 04 xing                                                  Nav      23D   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 05 xing                                                  Nav      23E   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 06 xing                                                  Nav      23F   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 07 xing                                                  Nav      23G   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 08 xing                                                  Nav      23H   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 09 xing                                                  Nav      23J   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 10 xing                                                  Nav      23K   594 x 607 x 50.0
              Geely Xingguo 02 zu 11 xing                                                  Nav      23L   594 x 607 x 50.0

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches 
-----------------------------------

Virgin Galactic flight Galactic 06 occurred on Jan 26, carrying two crew (Sturckow, Pecile)
and four passengers (Borozdina, Vaughn, Haider, Kornswiet). Drop from White Knight 2 was at 1742:05 UT.
Apogee 88.8 km. Exact landing time not avalable


Dec 19 1642   NS-24             New Shepard         West Texas           Micrograv     107       West Texas
Jan 26 1742   Galactic 06       Spaceship Two       Spaceport America    Tourist        89       Spaceport America

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