Jonathan's Space Report No. 588 2007 Nov 24

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2007

Shuttle and Station

Astronauts Parazynski and Wheelock made a spacewalk out to the port end of the Station truss to repair the SAW-4B solar array on Nov 3. The Quest airlock was depressurized at 1000 UTC with hatch opening at 1002 UTC. By 1203 UTC Parazynski was moved to the vicinity of the solar array tear, standing on the end of the OBSS boom, which was grappled by the Canadarm-2 sitting at worksite 8 on the truss. He installed five 'cuff-link' straps to strengthen the solar array and prevent further tearing; the array was then fully extended by 1523 UTC, ensuring an adequate electrical power supply for the Station in the near term, pending repairs to the starboard truss' Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ). The airlock hatch was closed at 1712 UTC and repressurization was at 1722 UTC. On this spacewalk, Wheelock used spacesuit EMU 3003 as before, but due to problems with Parazynski's EMU 3004, he used EMU 3006 instead.

EMU 3006 was also used by Yuri Malenchenko for EVA-5, which was delayed until after Discovery's departure. Quest was depressurized at about 0952 UTC on Nov 9, with hatch open at 0953 UTC. Malenchenko, together with ISS Commander Peggy Whitson in EMU 3018, disconnected cables from the PMA-3 docking adapter to prepare it for unberthing, and electrically activated the power-data grapple fixture (PDGF) on the Harmony module. They returned to the airlock and closed the hatch at 1646 UTC, with repressurization at 1649 UTC.

Discovery undocked from the Station at 1032 UTC on Nov 5. After a flyaround, they departed with a second sep burn at 1214 UTC. The deorbit burn was at 1658 UTC on Nov 7, with landing at Kennedy Space Center runway 33 at 1801 UTC to complete the mission.

Whitson and Malenchenko remain aboard the station with astronaut Dan Tani as the current Expedition 16 crew. On Nov 12 the PMA-2 docking port was unbolted from the Destiny module and attached to the end of Harmony. On Nov 14, the PMA-2/Harmony combination was detached from the side of the Unity module and installed on the end of Destiny. On Nov 20 Tani and Whitson made a spacewalk to connect a cooling loop from the truss to Destiny, and make connections between Destiny and Harmony. On Nov 24 they made another spacewalk (in progress at this writing) to connect a second cooling loop, and inspect the truss rotary joint. At the end of these operations, PMA-2 is again ready to serve as a Shuttle docking port, and Harmony lies between PMA-2 and Destiny ready to have its side docking ports used for further modules, the first of which will be Europe's Columbus.

SAR-Lupe 3

Germany's third SAR-Lupe radar satellite was launched on Nov 1 at 0051 UTC; it separated from the Russian Kosmos-3M final stage rocket at 0120 UTC into a 465 x 493 km x 98.2 deg orbit. The final stage carries a small Automatic Identification System package for OHB/Bremen, to test a system for monitoring of shipping traffic.


China's Chang'e-1 moon probe increased its Earth orbital apogee to 120000 km on Oct 29 at 1001 UTC, and again to 380000 km at 0915 UTC on Oct 31. It entered a 210 x 8600 km lunar orbit at 0337 UTC on Nov 5. The orbit inclination is polar, but I haven't seen a precise number for it.

DSP 23

The second Delta 4 Heavy launch on Nov 11 put the DSP (Defense Support Program) Flight 23 early warning satellite in orbit. DSP satellites, built by Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, feature an infrared telescope for detection of missile launches. The Delta entered a 217 x 1576 km x 29 deg orbit at SECO-1 12 min after launch; an hour later the second Delta second stage burn went to 919 x 36325 km x 26.6 deg (these are prelaunch estimates of the orbit); a third burn at 0800 UTC put the satellite in circular geosynchronous orbit.

The first Delta 4H launch in Dec 2004, with a demonstration satellite, suffered from early cutoff of the Common Booster Core stages, and the SECO-1 orbit was lower than planned (the apogee was around 105 km; I still have not seen a value for the perigee achieved - I hope readers will let me know if they have relevant data) and two nanosatellites reentered immediately. The Delta 4H recovered and put the demonstration satellite in a near-synchronous orbit with a 10 degree inclination, running out of fuel in the process; this delayed further Delta 4H launches. On the new launch on Nov 11 Boeing reports indicate that everything went well, and independent observers have seen the Centaur in a geosynchronous orbit with a 3 degree inclination, as expected.

Yaogan 3

China launched the Yaogan 3 radar satellite on Nov 11 using a new variant of the Chang Zheng (Long March) rocket. The CZ-4C is like the CZ-4B but includes a restart capability in the upper stage. It also has a new interstage adapter between the first and second stages. Yaogan 1 is in a 628 x 628 km x 97.8 deg orbit, and Yaogan 2 is in a 629 x 656 km x 97.9 deg orbit; the Yaogan 1 CZ-4B third stage was placed in a 451 x 619 km x 97.8 deg orbit. Yaogan 3 is in a 613 x 623 km orbit, and the third stage is in a 456 x 612 km x 97.9 deg orbit.


Europe's Rosetta probe flew past Earth at 2057 UTC on Nov 13, 5301 km above 63 46S 74 35W. The close flyby, with an eccentricity of 3.6, changes Rosetta's ecliptic solar orbit from 0.78 x 1.59 AU x 1.9 deg to 0.91 x 2.26 AU x 7.7 deg, setting it on course for a flyby of minor planet (2867) Steins in Sep 2008.


Ariane 5ECA vehicle L538, on flight V179, placed two communications satellites in geostationary transfer orbit on Nov 14. The EPC stage reached a -1065 x 168 km suborbital trajectory, with the ESC-A upper stage continuing to GTO in a single burn. The upper satellite is Skynet 5B, an Astrium Eurostar E3000 satellite owned by EADS' Paradigm company, which provides communications services at SHF and UHF to the UK Ministry of Defence. The lower satellite is Star One C1 (formerly Brasilsat C1), a joint project between a group of S American countries led by Brazil's Embratel telecoms organization. Star One is the name of the Embratel subsidiary that operates the Brasilsat system. The satellite is a Thales Alenia Spacebus 3000B3 spacecraft. The satellites spent an extended period in transfer orbit. Object A (32293) is now being tracked over the western Atlantic, suggesting it may be Star One.

Sirius 4

The Sirius 4 satellite for SES Sirius AB (the former Nordiska Satellit AB) was launched aboard a Krunichev Proton-M on Nov 17. The satellite carries Ku-band and Ka-band communications payloads for Nordic, Baltic and East European communications. SES Sirius' Sirius 2 and Sirius 3 are colocated in GEO at 5 deg E; Sirius 1 was retired in 2003. The SES Sirius satellites are not to be confused with the Sirius digital radio satellites owned by Sirius Satellite Radio.

NSAB/SES Sirius satellites and Sirius Radio satellites:

  Owner         Name        Type             Launch         Orbit (km x km x deg)

  NSAB          Tele-X      Spacebus 300    1989 Apr  2     36076 x 36112 x 9.1
  NSAB          Sirius 1    HS-376          1993 (see note) 36049 x 36137 x 7.3
  NSAB          Sirius 2    Spacebus 3000B  1997 Nov 12     35782 x 35790 x 0.0
  NSAB          Sirius 3    HS-376HP        1998 Oct  5     35780 x 35793 x 0.1
  SES Sirius    Sirius 4    A2100AX         2007 Nov 17     12676 x 35751 x 10.0

  Sirius Radio  Sirius 1    LS-1300         2000 Jun 30     24587 x 46990 x 62.1
  Sirius Radio  Sirius 2    LS-1300         2000 Sep  5     24504 x 47066 x 63.6
  Sirius Radio  Sirius 3    LS-1300         2000 Nov 30     24580 x 46989 x 64.0
  Sirius Radio  Sirius 4    LS-1300         Ground spare, will not be launched
  Sirius Radio  Sirius 5    LS-1300         Launch expected 2008

Note: NSAB Sirius 1 is the former British Satellite Broadcasting BSB 1, launched in 1989, and was bought in orbit by NSAB in 1993 Dec.

The Proton-M reached a -942 x 164 km x 51.5 deg suborbital trajectory. The first three Briz-M upper stage burns reached 173 x 173 km, 258 x 5000 km and 385 x 35681 km x 49.1 deg. At this point, the DTB fuel tank was jettisoned. A final Briz burn at 0730 UTC on Nov 18 put Sirius 4 in a 6916 x 35478 km x 17.4 deg high-perigee geostationary transfer orbit. By Nov 21 the satellite's own Leros propulsion system had raised its orbit to 12676 x 35751 km x 10.0 deg on the way to GEO.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Oct  5 2202   Intelsat IS-11 )  Ariane 5GS       Kourou ELA3      Comms      44B
              Optus D-2      )                                    Comms      44A
Oct 10 1322   Soyuz TMA-11      Soyuz-FG         Baykonur LC1     Spaceship  45A
Oct 11 0022   WGS SV-1          Atlas V 421      Canaveral SLC41  Comms      46A
Oct 17 1223   Navstar GPS 55    Delta 7925       Canaveral SLC17A Navigation 47A
Oct 20 2012   Globalstar FM66)  Soyuz-FG/Fregat  Baykonur LC31    Comms      48C
              Globalstar FM67)                                    Comms      48A
              Globalstar FM68)                                    Comms      48D
              Globalstar FM70)                                    Comms      48B
Oct 23 0439   Kosmos-2430       Molniya          Plesetsk LC16/2  Early Warn 49A
Oct 23 1538   Discovery   )     Shuttle          Kennedy LC39A    Spaceship  50A
              Harmony     )                                       Module     50
Oct 24 1005   Chang'e-1         Chang Zheng 3A   Xichang         Lunar probe 51A
Oct 26 0735   Kosmos-2431  )    Proton-K/DM2     Baykonur LC81    Navigation 52A
              Kosmos-2432  )                                      Navigation 52B
              Kosmos-2433  )                                      Navigation 52C
Nov  1 0051   SAR-Lupe 3 )      Kosmos-3M        Plesetsk LC132/1 Radar      53A
              AIS        )                                                   53B
Nov 11 0150   DSP 23            Delta 4H         Canaveral SLC37B Early Warn 54A
Nov 11 2248   Yaogan 3          Chang Zheng 4C   Taiyuan          Radar      55A
Nov 14 2206   Skynet 5B   )     Ariane 5ECA      Kourou ELA3      Comms      56B?
              Star One C1 )                                                  56A?
Nov 17 2239   Sirius 4          Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC200/39 Comms     57A
|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
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