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Jonathan's Space Report
No. 781                                                         2020 Jul 27   Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 63 continues.

The EP-9 pallet was temporarily restowed on the MBS on Jul 6. It was presumably
unberthed again with the SSRMS on around Jul 15 prior to EVA-67, and it was restowed
again on Jul 22.

On Jul 7 the Dextre robot arm was used to exchange a failed RPCM electronics box
on the P3 truss (in the P32B/A slot) with a replacement one in the CTC-5 supply
box on the ELC-3 pallet.

On Jul 13 the Kibo RMS removed the Nanoracks NRCSD-18 deployer from the Kibo airlock.
NRCSD-18 ejected the DemMi cubesat at 13:40:25 UTC and the TechEdSat cubesat at 16:55:25 UTC.
DeMi (the Deformable Mirror experiment) is a 6U cubesat for DARPA and Aurora Flight Sciences.
TechEdSat-10 is a 1x6U cubesat for NASA/Ames and San Jose State U to test controlled reentry

On Jul 16 astronauts Behnken and Cassidy carried out spacewalk EVA-67.
The airlock was depressurized at 1107 UTC and the hatch open at 1109; the hatch was closed
at 1707 UTC and the airlock repressurized at 1710 UTC.
 The astronauts moved batteries between the JAXA EP9 external pallet and the 3B side of the
IEA on the S6 truss segment. 
  At 1222 UTC, NiH battery 0086 was removed from S6/3B slot 1 and installed in EP9 slot Z at 1234 UTC.
  At 1243 UTC, Li-ion battery 0027 was removed from EP9 slot F and installed in S6/3B slot 1 at 1254 UTC.
  At 1308 UTC, NiH battery 0088 was removed from S6/3B slot 2 and installed in EP9 slot F at 1323 UTC.
  At 1320 UTC, Adapter plate (unknown serial) was removed from EP9 slot F and installed in S6/3B slot 2 at 1327 UTC.
  At 1343 UTC, NiH battery 0084 was removed from S6/3B slot 3 and installed on the adapter plane in S6/3B slot 2 at 1345 UTC.
  At 1355 UTC, Li-ion battery (unknown serial, but probably 0028 - unfortunately NASA PAO talked over the astronauts'
   readout of the serial number) was removed from EP9 slot E and installed in S6/3B slot 3 at 1405 UTC.
  At 1415 UTC, NiH battery 0085 was removed from S6/3B slot 4 and installed in EP9 slot E at 1432 UTC.
  At 1429 UTC, Adapter plate (unknown serial) was removed from EP9 slot E and installed in S6/3B slot 4 at 1439 UTC.
  At 1500 UTC, NiH battery 0094 was removed from S6/3B slot 6 and installed on the adapter plate in S6/3B slot 4 at 1509 UTC.
  At 1517 UTC, Li-ion battery 0029 was removed from EP9 slot C and installed in S6/3B slot 6 at 1528 UTC.
  At 1542 UTC, NiH battery 0095 was removed from S6/3B slot 5 and installed in EP9 slot C at 1601 UTC.
  At 1558 UTC, Adapter plate (unknown serial) was removed fron EP9 slot C and installed in S6/3B slot 5 at 1606 UTC.

There remains one further Li-ion battery to be installed: Li-ion battery
0016 (?) failed on 2019 Mar 22, only 3 days after being installed in
P4/4A slot 5. The failed battery was removed on 2019 Apr 3 and discarded
on the EP7 aboard the departing HTV-8. Retired NiH batteries 0072 and
0069 were pulled from storage on adapter plate P4/4A slot 6 and from EP7
disposal slot Y and put back in service at the P4/4A slot 5 and 6
locations on 2019 Apr 5-11. These batteries are to be replaced at P4/4A
slot 5/6 with a new Li-ion battery  (unknown serial) and adapter plate
launched on Dragon SpX-19 and  stored on ESP-3 on 2019 Dec 5.

On Jul 21 Behnken and Cassidy carried out spacewalk US EVA-68. During
this spacewalk, the astronauts installed the RiTS (Robotic Tool Stowage)
unit on the Mobile Base System. RiTS is a protective housing for the two
RELL leak locator units RELL 2 and 3, which were installed in it on Jul
19. It was launched to ISS on Dragon SpX-19 last year. The crew also
went to the Tranquility module and worked on its axial CBM  (Common
Berthing Mechanism) port where the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock will
eventually be installed. They removed the PMA-3 fabric cover from it and
returned the cover to the airlock. They also removed three debris
shields (ACBM Shield 2, 3, and 4) and tied them down on the module near
the CBM. The shields were installed on the ACBM during a Mar 2017
spacewalk; at that time ACBM Shield 1 came loose and floated away, to
reenter on 2017 Oct 23. The PMA-3 thermal cover was launched on STS-135
in 2011; it was installed on the PMA-3 docking unit in Jul 2011 during
STS-135 EVA-1 and moved from PMA-3 to the ACBM during a Mar 2017 spacewalk
(US EVA-41).

The Progress MS-15 cargo ship was launched from Baykonur at 1426 UTC on
Jul 23 and docked with the ISS Pirs module at 1745 UTC, 3hr 19min later.

Apstar 6D

China's CALT launched the Apstar 6D communication satellite on Jul 9 into geotransfer orbit.
Apstar 6D is a 5500 kg DFH-4E model built by CAST/Beijing. Earlier Apstar satellites were
owned by Asia Pacific Satellite/Hong Kong, but this one is owned by the affiliate Asia
Pacific Satellite/Shenzhen.

By Jul 20 Apstar 6D was on station at 134.5 deg East in GEO. Catalog number 45864 was originally
apparently reserved for the CZ-3B third stage, but ultimately the stage was not cataloged.
It may have reentered at first perigee.


EXPACE launched the first Kuaizhou 11 vehicle from Jiuquan on Jul 10,
but it failed to reach orbit. The failure came sometime after the start
of second stage burn and is rumoured to be an explosion during third
stage burn. The rocket carried imaging payloads for two Chinese
companies. KZ-11 is a 2.2-metre diameter light launch vehicle possibly
based on the DF-31/DF-41 missile. 


A Northrop Grumman Minotaur IV was launched from Launch Area 0B at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS)
on Wallops Island on Jul 15. It placed four secret National Reconnaissance Office satellites in orbit.

UAE Mars probe

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Launch Services launched H2A No. F42,
an H2A 202 model, from Tanegashima on Jul 19. After a coast in a 255 x
255 km x 30 deg parking orbit the second stage boosted itself to an
escape hyperbola with energy C3 = 13.3 km2/s2 and released Misabar
Al'amal (Hope Probe), the UAE Mars probe. The Al'amal probe is owned by
the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) in Dubai and was bult by
Colorado University's Lab for Atmospheric and Space Physics (CU-LASP). 

Al'amal carries a camera as well as IR and UV spectrometers, developed
in collaboration with CU-LASP and Arizona State U. The probe left the Earth's
Hill sphere and entered a 1.02 x 1.63AU x 2.2 deg heliocentric orbit on Jul 24.

The probe has a dry mass of 550 kg and carries 800 kg of hydrazine. Its
six 120N main thrusters are scheduled to perform a Mars orbit insertion
burn in Feb 2021.


On Jul 20 SpaceX launched a communications satellite, ANASIS II, for the
Korean defence agency ADD. The satellite is an Airbus Defense and Space
Eurostar 3000.  ANASIS I was Koreasat 5, launched in 2006. The Falcon 9
first stage landed safely on the JRTI droneship. By Jul 24 ANASIS II was
in a 25382 x 43312 km x 3.1 deg transfer orbit.

Tianwen 1

China's first Mars probe was launched on Jul 23 from Wenchang in Hainan
at 0441 UTC Jul 23. The CZ-5 rocket entered a 30 degree inclination
parking orbit and then made a second burn from 0508 to 0517 UTC to reach
escape velocity with C3 = 12.05 km2/s2. The probe and the second stage
left Earth's gravitational sphere on Jul 27 and entered a 1.02 x
1.60 AU x 1.1 deg solar orbit.

The Tianwen 1 orbiter is about 4.0m high with estimated dry mass 1645 kg
plus 1530 kg of propellant. Attached to it is a 1745 kg entry vehicle,
containing a 1285 kg lander with a 7.5 kN throttlable engine, on top of
which is a 240 kg, 0.8 x 2.0m rover. The orbiter will enter Mars orbit
attached to the entry vehicle and will perform its deorbit burn. The
lander will descend on aeroshell, parachuts and then its rocket engine.


On Jul 25 China's SAST launched a CZ-4B from Taiyuan carrying the 2650
kg Zi Yuan 3 03 xing imaging satellite. Two 50 kg-class secondary
payloads were also aboard: Tianqi-10 for IOT data relay and an X-ray
astronomy satellite. The Longxia yan X shexian tance weixing (Lobster
Eye 1, Lobster Eye X-ray Exploration Satellite) was developed by Nanjing
University and Hong Kong University. Its `lobster-eye' X-ray optics use
microchannel plates as a sort of X-ray equivalent of optical fibers to
make a very wide field image of the X-ray sky. The lobster-eye optics
concept was developed by Roger Angel and Paul Gorenstein in the 1970s
but has only recently seen use in flight, notably on one of the Bepi-Colombo

Kosmos-2543 and object 45915

Russia's Kosmos-2543 satellite continues close approaches to Kosmos-2535
in a 603 x 618 km x 97.9 deg orbit. The US government issued a statement
implying that it considered the ejection of object 45915 (possibly to be
designated Kosmos-2547) from Kosmos-2543 to constitute an antisatellite
test. The new object seems to have been ejected at 0749 UTC on Jul 15
into a 504 x 784 km orbit with a relative velocity in the 140-186 m/s
range. I've added a review of the satellites in this series and their
orbital shenanigans at

Table of Recent Orbital Launches
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission       INTL.   Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes
Jul  3 0310   GaoFen Duomo )               Chang Zheng 4B     Taiuyan   LC9    Imaging    42A S45856   631 x  649 x 98.0
              Baiyu-02     )                                                   Comms      42B S45857   631 x  649 x 98.0
Jul  4 2119   CE-SAT-1B  )                 Electron           Mahia LC1A       Imaging    F05 F01558 -5500 x  194 x 97.0
              Faraday 1  )                                                     Tech       F05 F01559 -5500 x  194 x 97.0
              Flock 4e-1 )                                                     Imaging    F05 F01560 -5500 x  194 x 97.0
              Flock 4e-2 )                                                     Imaging    F05 F01561 -5500 x  194 x 97.0
              Flock 4e-3 )                                                     Imaging    F05 F01562 -5500 x  194 x 97.0
              Flock 4e-4 )                                                     Imaging    F05 F01563 -5500 x  194 x 97.0
              Flock 4e-5 )                                                     Imaging    F05 F01564 -5500 x  194 x 97.0
Jul  4 2344   Shiyan 6-02                  Chang Zheng 2D      Jiuquan         Tech       43A S45859   685 x  707 x 98.2
Jul  6 0100   Ofeq'-16                     Shavit 2            Palmachim       Imaging    44A S45860   331 x  604 x140.9
Jul  9 1211   Apstar 6D                    Chang Zheng 3B      Xichang         Comms      45A S45863   217 x 35790x 28.4
Jul 10 0417   Jilin-1 Gaofen 02E )         Kuaizhou 11         Jiuquan         Imaging    F06 F01566 -4000?x  500?x 97?
              Centispace-1-2S    )                                             Imaging    F06 F01567 -4000?x  500?x 97?
Jul 13 1340   DeMi                                             ISS, LEO        Tech   9867RP  S45916   415 x  418 x 51.6
Jul 13 1655   TechEdSat 10                                     ISS, LEO        Tech   9867RQ  S45917   413 x  419 x 51.6
Jul 15 0749?  Kosmos-2547?                                 Kosmos-2543, LEO    Weapon? 19079E S45915   504 x  784 x 97.9
Jul 15 1346   USA 305 )                    Minotaur IV         MARS LA0B       Sigint?    46A S45873   600? x 600?x 50?
              USA 306 )                                                        Sigint?    46B S45874   600? x 600?x 50?
              USA 307 )                                                        Sigint?    46C S45875   600? x 600?x 50?
              USA 308 )                                                        Sigint?    46D S45876   600? x 600?x 50?
Jul 19 2158   Misabar Al'amal              H-2A 202            Tanegashima     Mars probe 47A S45918   242 x -72755 x 30.3
Jul 20 2130   ANASIS II                    Falcon 9            Canaveral SLC40 Comms      48A S45920   211 x  45454 x 27.4
Jul 23 0441   Tianwen-1                    Chang Zheng 5       Wenchang LC101  Mars probe 49A S45935   664 x -79065 x 30.5
Jul 23 1426   Progress M-15                Soyuz-2-1A          Baykonur LC31   Cargo      50A S45937   199 x    228 x 51.7
Jul 25 0313   Zi Yuan 3-03         )       Chang Zheng 4B      Taiyuan         Imaging    51A S45939   485 x    499 x 97.5
              Tianqi 10            )                                           Comms      51  S45940?  485 x    499 x 97.5
              Longxia yan 1        )                                          X-ray Astro 51  S45941?  485 x    499 x 97.5

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

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

Jun 12        M51 RV            M51             S617, Baie d'Audierne    Test         1200?      Atlantic Ocean

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