Jonathan's Space Report No. 564 2006 May 4

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2006


The cargo ship Progress M-56 docked with Zvezda on Apr 26 at 1741 UTC, joining Progress M-55 and the Soyuz TMA-8 ferry ship at the Station. Meanwhile, Discovery has been moved to the VAB in preparation for launch from Kennedy Space Center on July 1.


The Yaogan 1 remote sensing satellite was launched by CZ-4B rocket from China's Taiyuan space center on Apr 26. The satellite was built by the Shanghai SAST group, which also builds the Feng Yun weather satellites. Yaogan 1 entered a 601 x 621 km x 97.8 deg initial orbit; from Apr 29 to May 1 it raised its orbit to 628 x 629 km x 97.8 deg. The CZ-4B third stage ended up in a 451 x 624 km orbit after a depletion burn.


Russia launched an imaging reconnaissance satellite on May 3 under the code name Kosmos-2420. Kosmos-2420 was placed in a 168 x 338 km x 67 degree orbit after launch from Plesetsk. It is probably the second Kobal't-M satellite, built by the Arsenal factory. Kobal't-M carries small film recovery capsules and one large reentry vehicle with the camera and more film.


Cassini made another flyby of Titan at 2058 UTC on Apr 30, at an altitude of 1855 km and an inertial velocity of 5.84 km/s.


The NASA Cloudsat satellite and the Calipso satellite, a joint CNES (France) and NASA project, were launched on a Delta rocket on Apr 28. The Delta stage entered a 173 x 684 km x 98.1 deg transfer orbit and then a 687 x 689 km x 98.2 deg deployment orbit. After deploying the two payloads, Delta depleted its remaining fuel and ended up in a 206 x 624 km x 102.8 deg disposal orbit.

Calipso carries a 1-meter lidar telescope to study clouds and aerosols, and an imaging IR radiometer. The NASA part of the project is considered to be an ESSP (Earth System System Pathfinder) mission. Cloudsat is another ESSP mission, and carries a 94 GHz cloud profiling radar. Both satellites are in the A-train polar constellation, in the same orbit as the large Aqua and Aura satellites.

Table of Recent Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Mar 11 2233   Hotbird 7A )      Ariane 5 ECA    Kourou ELA3      Comms       07A
              Spainsat   )
Mar 22 1403   ST5-FWD )         Pegasus XL      L1011,WTR        Tech        08A
              ST5-MID )                                                      08B
              ST5-AFT )                                                      08C
Mar 24 2230   Falconsat-2       Falcon 1        Omelek           Tech        F01
Mar 30 0230   Soyuz TMA-8       Soyuz-FG        Baykonur LC1     Spaceship   09A
Apr 12 2330   JCSAT-9           Zenit-3SL       Odyssey, POR     Comms       10A
Apr 15 0140   Formosat-3 FM1 )  Minotaur        Vandenberg SLC8  Science     11A
              Formosat-3 FM2 )                                   Science     11B
              Formosat-3 FM3 )                                   Science     11C
              Formosat-3 FM4 )                                   Science     11D
              Formosat-3 FM5 )                                   Science     11E
              Formosat-3 FM6 )                                   Science     11F
Apr 20 2027   Astra 1KR         Atlas V 411     Canaveral SLC41  Comms       12A
Apr 24 1603   Progress M-56     Soyuz-U         Baykonur LC1     Cargo       13A
Apr 25 1647   EROS B            Start-1         Svobodniy        Imaging     14A
Apr 26 2248   Yaogan 1          CZ-4B           Taiyuan          Imaging?    15A
Apr 28 1002   Cloudsat )        Delta 7420      Vandenberg SLC2W Rem.Sensing 16
              Calipso  )                                         Rem.Sensing 16
May  3 1738   Kosmos-2420       Soyuz-U         Plesetsk LC16    Imaging     17A
|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
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