Jonathan's Space Report No. 571 2006 Sep 22

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Saturday, September 23, 2006

Shuttle and Station

The Station now has a new set of solar arrays, and is hosting a new crew and a visiting tourist.

Atlantis docked with the Station at 1048 UTC on Sep 11. The Shuttle RMS grappled the P3/P4 solar array truss assembly and unberthed it. At 1452 UTC the Station arm grappled the P3/P4 and at 1503 UTC it was released by the Shuttle arm. P3/P4 was connected to the P1 truss at 0727 UTC on Sep 12, with the bolts tight by 0835. On Sep 12, astronauts Tanner and Stefanyshyn-Piper made the first spacewalk of the flight, EVA-1. They begain activation of the P3/P4. On Sep 13, Burbank and MacLean made EVA-2, continuing to prepare P3/P4 for use. The solar array wings were deployed on Sep 14. On Sep 15, Tanner and Stefanyshyn-Piper made their third spacewalk to complete work with P3/P4, deploying a radiator, and replacing an S-band antenna assembly elsewhere on the truss. The airlock was repressurized at 1643 UTC.

The Shuttle undocked from the Station's PMA-2 port at 1250 UTC on Sep 20. Atlantis landed safely at Kennedy Space Center's runway 33 on Sep 21 at 1021 UTC after a one-day delay due to weather and concerns over a debris object which was probably a plastic tile shim. The deorbit burn was at 0914 UTC.

The Progress M-56 cargo ship undocked from Zvezda at 0028 UTC on Sep 19. It was later deorbited over the Pacific. Progress M-57 and Soyuz TMA-8 remain docked to the Station.

Soyuz TMA-9 was launched from Baykonur on Sep 18, carrying the Expedition 14 crew of Mikhail Tyurin and Mike Lopez-Alegria, as well as spaceflight participant (tourist) Anousheh Ansari. TMA-9 docked with Station at 0521 UTC on Sep 20, linking up with the aft port of Zvezda. Ansari is well known as an advocate of spaceflight; she donated millions of dollars to fund the Ansari X-Prize won by Burt Rutan's Spaceship One.


The Japanese space agency JAXA launched its Information Gathering Satellite Optical-2 spy satellite on Sep 11. The satellite will replace IGS O-1 launched in 2003 Mar and an earlier IGS O-2 lost in a launch failure in 2003 Nov. As best I can gather from the JAXA website and the wonders of Babelfish, the replacement is being called Optical-2 and not Optical-3. The launch vehicle was an H2A - but I'm not sure which version. It is probably the light H2A 202 version with no small strapons, and the small 4S fairing. The replacement Radar-2 will be launched separately; on earlier launches the Optical and Radar satellites shared the same launch vehicle. Optical-2 is in an orbit of approximately 460 x 484 km x 97.2 deg.


China launched the Zhongxing-22A satellite from Xichang on Sep 12 into a 202 x 41817 km x 25.0 deg transfer orbit. The ZX-22A is thought to be a military communications satellite. It will replace ZX-22, launched in 2000, at the 98.0E longitude location.


Kosmos-2423, a Don-class imaging satellite for the Russian Defense Ministry, was launched from Baykonur on Sep 14 into an initial 170 x 317 km x 64.9 deg orbit.


Many thanks to my friends at Novosti Kosmonavtiki magazine for their hospitality during my visit to Moscow. Russian-reading JSR readers are encouraged to check out their magazine, the best spaceflight periodical in print.

Table of Recent Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Aug  4 2148   Hot Bird 8        Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms      32A
Aug 11 2215   JCSAT-10   )      Ariane 5ECA     Kourou ELA3      Comms       33A
              Syracuse 3B)                                       Comms       33B
Aug 22 0327   Koreasat 5        Zenit-3SL       SL Odyssey       Comms       34A
Sep  9 0700?  SJ-8              Chang Zheng 2C  Jiuquan          Micrograv.  35A
Sep  9 1515  Atlantis (STS-115) Shuttle         Kennedy LC39B    Spaceship   36A
Sep 11 0435   IGS Optical-2     H2A             Tanegashima      Imaging     37A
Sep 12 1602   Zhongxing-22A     Chang Zheng 3A  Xichang          Comms       38A
Sep 14 1341   Kosmos-2423       Soyuz-U         Baykonur LC31    Imaging     39A
Sep 18 0408   Soyuz TMA-9       Soyuz-FG        Baykonur LC1     Spaceship   40A
|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
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