Jonathan's Space Report No. 565 2006 Jun 17

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Saturday, June 17, 2006


The Expedition 13 crew made a spacewalk on Jun 1. Vinogradov wore spacesuit Orlan-M No. 25 and Williams wore Orlan-M No. 26. The Pirs module was depressurized by 2226 UTC and the hatch was opened at 2248 UTC, with the astronauts outside by 2300 UTC. On the Zvezda module, the crew installed a vent valve for the Elektron oxygen system, cleared an obstruction on the WAL-2 antenna, and retrieved the Kromka and Biorisk experiments. On the station truss, they replaced a camera on the Mobile Base System. The astronauts returned to Pirs at 0510 UTC, closed the hatch at 0519 UTC and repressurized the airlock at 0521 UTC, for a duration of 6h 55m (depress/repress) or 6h 31m (hatch open/close). There were two pieces of debris released during the spacewalk, a cleaning towel jettisoned by Vinogradov at 0136 UTC and an APFR adapter which came loose from the Strela boom at 0238 UTC.

Meanwhile, Space Shuttle orbiter 103 (Discovery) is on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center being prepared for a July 1 launch on mission STS-121.


The GOES N (Goestationary Operational Environmental Satellite) weather satellite was launched on May 24 by a Boeing Delta 4M+(4,2) from Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft entered a 6656 x 35173 km x 12.0 deg transfer orbit. This was the fifth Delta 4 launch. By Jun 1, GOES N was in a 33570 x 35168 km x 0.3 deg orbit approaching the geosynchronous belt.

The GOES satellites are operated by NOAA, the US weather bureau. GOES N carries weather imager and sounder instruments, a space environment monitor, and a soft X-ray solar imaging telescope. Mass is 1543 kg empty, 3209 kg fuelled; the bus is based on the Boeing 601 and uses the R-4D liquid apogee engine. It joins GOES 10 (operating as GOES-WEST), GOES 12 (operating as GOES-EAST) and GOES 11 (standby, will replace GOES-10 on Jun 27). GOES N will become GOES 13 when it becomes operational.


COMPASS-2 (KOMPAS-2), an earthquake research satellite for the Moscow-based IZMIRAN science institute, was launched on May 26 into a 399 x 494 km x 78.9 deg orbit. It marked the second launch into orbit from a submarine. The 80 kg satellite carries detectors for electrons, UHF/VHF waves, UV emission and radiation, a radio frequency analyser for electric field waves, and a Mayak ionospheric beacon. The satellite was developed by the Makeev KB.

The launch platform was the submarine K-84 'Ekaterinburg' in the Barents Sea. Initially the payload was tracked in the US as object 2006-19C, with 19A is probably the nose cone/third stage, which is the largest object in orbit, and 19B the conical payload capsule. On Jun 2 the 19A and 19C assignments were changed.

The Shtil' rocket, based on the R-29RM missile, has an unusual launch profile. After its undersea launch, the first two stages burn and separate. The third stage is integrated with the nose cone and the post-boost low thrust targeting engine. In the military version, several conical reentry vehicles hang pointing backwards from the nose cone. For Shtil', one of these reentry vehicles is used, containing the payload instead of a nuclear warhead. After third stage burn, the heavy stage 3 rocket engine is ejected onto a mildly suborbital trajectory (about -1500 x 400 km) and hits the Pacific Ocean about 23 minutes after launch. The rest of the third stage remains with the nose cone, which uses its post-boost engine to increase velocity by around 700 m/s and place itself in orbit. The payload capsule then separates, and itself ejects the payload. For the earlier TUBSAT launch the base of the conical payload capsule was ejected as a separate object, but for Kompas this may remain attached to the satellite.

Reports indicate that the Kompas-2 satellite is not responding to ground commands and that its mission will be abandoned. COMPASS stands for Complex Orbital Magneto-Plasma Autonomous Small Satellite; in Russian it's referred to as Kompas.

Ariane L529

Arianespace launched Flight V171 on May 27 with rocket L529, a heavy-life Ariane 5ECA model. The payloads were Satmex 6 for Satelites Mexicanos SA de CV, and Shin Satellite's Thaicom 5. Satmex 6 is a Loral 1300X satellite with a mass of 2310 kg (5456 kg when fuelled) and a hybrid C-band and Ku-band telecom payload for telecom and internet service in Mexico and the rest of North and Latin America. Thaicom 5 is an Alcatel Alenia Space Spacebus 3000A with a mass of 1220 kg (2766 kg when fully fuelled) for C/Ku-band telecom and TV transmission in the Asia-Pacific Region. It will replace Thaicom 3. The satellites were delivered to a 251 x 35688 km x 7.0 deg geostationary transfer orbit.


Russia launched the Resurs-DK civilian remote sensing satellite by Soyuz-U on Jun 15 into a 70-degree low Earth orbit. Resurs-DK No. 1 carries a one-meter-resolution-class imager and relays its data to the ground via a digital link. It is based on the Terilen/Neman class reconnaissance satellite in use since the 1980s, using the Yantar' satellite bus. Resurs-DK was built by the TsSKB-Progress company in Samara, which also designed and produced the original Yantar' satellites - although some more recent Yantar' military production models are the responsibility of the Arsenal factory in Sankt-Peterburg.

Table of Recent Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
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
May 24 2211   GOES N            Delta 4M+(4,2)  Canaveral SLC37B Weather     18A
May 26 1850   Kompas-2          Shtil'          K-84, Barents    Science     19A
May 27 2109   Satmex 6  )       Ariane 5ECA     Kourou ELA3      Comms       20A
              Thaicom 5 )                                        Comms       20B
Jun 15 0800   Resurs-DK No. 1   Soyuz-U         Baykonur LC1     Imaging     21A
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