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Jonathan's Space Report No. 525 2004 May 9

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Monday, May 10, 2004

EDITORIAL APOLOGY: Because of a security hole someone managed to spam the JSR mailing list last week. If you have received spam coming from planet4589.org, I apologize. I'm investigating and have taken action to prevent a recurrence. The spammer does not actually have your email addresses, but merely caused a message to be sent to the list. - Jonathan McDowell

The Soyuz TMA-3 spaceship landed in Kazakhstan on Apr 30, returning the Expedition 8 and ESA DELTA crews to Earth. Mike Foale, Aleksandr Kaleri and Andre Kuipers entered TMA-3 from the Station's Pirs module and closed the hatches at 1747 UTC on Apr 29. They undocked from Pirs at 2052 UTC and fired their deorbit engines at 2320 UTC. The 115 m/s burn near apogee lasted 4min 23s and lowered the orbit from 354 x 371 km to about -32 x 369 km. The orbital and propulsion modules were jettisoned at 2345 UTC, and the descent module landed near 50N 67E at 0012 UTC on Apr 30. Soyuz TMA-4 is docked to the Station and Gennadiy Padalka and Michael Fincke are continuing aboard with Expedition 9.

Russia launched the Ekspress AM-11 satellite on Apr 26. Launch was Apr 26 2037 UTC (as confirmed from element sets). Ekspress AM-11 has a launch mass of 2542 kg; built by NPO PM, it has a payload from the French company Alcatel with Ku and C band communications transponders. The Krunichev Proton-K rocket, serial 410-08, put the Energiya Blok DM 11S861-01 (serial no. 14L) upper stage into parking orbit. The DM made two burns to reach geostationary orbit and separated at 0310 UTC on Apr 27. (Russian sources refer to the upper stage as a Blok DM-01, although the 11S861-01 has previously been designated Blok DM-2M.)

After 34 years without any tracking data, the distant Earth satellite Vela 3A (Vela 5, 1965-058A) has been rediscovered. Rob McNaught observed the object, and after preliminary identification as a Vela satellite by Tony Beresford and others, Mike McCants clinched the ID as Vela 3A with a detailed orbit propagation. The satellite was launched in 1965 into a 106451 x 115635 km x 35.4 deg orbit. It was last seen in 1970 in a 84051 x 138704 km x 31.8 deg orbit, and is now in a 52730 x 172338 km x 38.9 deg orbit. In the meantime, numerical integration shows its inclination has varied between 13 and 73 degrees due to solar perturbations.

Boeing Sea Launch orbited the DirecTV-7S satellite on May 4. The 5483 kg Loral-1300 communications satellite was placed in equatorial geostationary transfer orbit with a single direct-ascent burn of the Zenit-3SL's Blok DM-SL third stage. Usually the Zenit-3SL enters parking orbit and makes a second burn to GTO, but the large mass of DirectTV-7S required the direct-ascent approach. The Zenit-3SL rocket has two lower stages made by the Ukrainian Yuzhnoe company and the upper DM-SL stage made by Energiya; it is launched from a floating platform on the equator.

Table of Recent Launches

Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.

DES. Apr 16 0045 Superbird 6 Atlas IIAS Canaveral SLC36A Comms 11A Apr 18 1559 Shiyan 1 ) CZ-2C Xichang Imaging 12A Naxing 1 ) Tech 12 Apr 19 0319 Soyuz TMA-4 Soyuz-FG Baykonur LC1 Spaceship 13A Apr 20 1657 Gravity Probe B Delta 7920 Vandenberg SLC2W Science 14A Apr 26 2037 Ekspress AM-11 Proton-K/DM-01 Baykonur LC200/39 Comms 15A May 4 1242 DirecTV-7S Zenit-3SL Odyssey, Pacific Comms 16A

.-------------------------------------------------------------------------. |  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : jcm@host.planet4589.org   |
|  USA                               |          jcm@cfa.harvard.edu       |
|       |
| JSR: http://www.planet4589.org/jsr.html 

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