Jonathan's Space Report No. 646 2011 Sep 12

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Monday, September 12, 2011

International Space Station

Soyuz TMA-21 and Soyuz TMA-02M remain docked at the Station.
Progress M-11M undocked from Zvezda at 0938 UTC on Aug 23. After
several maneuvers to carry out the Radar-4 experiment, the vehicle
was deorbited over the Pacific at 0934 UTC on Sep 1.

The Progress M-12M cargo vessel (mission 44P) failed to reach orbit
after launch on Aug 24. 5 min 25s in to flight a clogged fluid line in
the third stage engine's gas generator caused it to shut down. The
vehicle reentered after a suborbital flight and impacted in the
Gorno-Altai region of Russia. This was the first launch failure in 135
Progress launches. The launch vehicle was a Soyuz-U, one of many rocket
variants based on the original R-7 ICBM. The failure leaves the Station
crew with sufficient supplies, but will delay the launch of the
Expedition 29 replacement crew and the Soyuz TMA-03M spaceship on a
Soyuz-FG rocket (ISS mission 28S) until the Soyuz family is
requalified. The return to Earth of the first half of the Expedition 28
crew has also been briefly delayed and is now scheduled for Sep 15-16.

Launch statistics of the Soyuz rocket family

Overall statistics are:
Soyuz-U: 21 failures in 767 launches since 1973 (97.3% success)
All Soyuz variants: 37 failures in 1209 launches since 1965 (96.9%, includes 8K78M)
All R-7 family: 99 failures in 1775 launches since 1957 (94.4%)
The previous R-7-class failure was the Molniya launch in June 2005.

The Soyuz rocket was originally designed by Korolev's OKB-1 (now Energiya)
with production at the Progress factory in Samara; later versions were
designed at Samara.

The Soyuz-U (11A511U) rocket consists of the 11S59 `packet' with the core stage
and four strapons, and the 11S510 `Blok-I' third stage. The U stands
for `unified' and it followed an original 11A511 model Soyuz and
two minor variants,
- the 11A511L used for the T2K lunar vehicle tests
- and the 11A511M used for the Orion cartographic satellite.
- a Soyuz-U2 (11A511U2) version was developed using the higher-performance
synthetic kerosene Syntin fuel, and
- the Soyuz-FG (11A511U-FG) with uprated main engines.

All of these versions are very similar; the Soyuz-U and the Soyuz-FG are
still in service. A four-stage version, the Molniya-M (8K78M), was
basically a Soyuz or Soyuz-U with a `Blok-L' upper stage. Other fourth
stages, the Ikar (used in 1999) and the Fregat (since 2000) can be added
to the Soyuz but don't change its designation, although I have included
the success or failure of Fregat in the statistics (it failed once).

Newly introduced are the Soyuz-2-1a and Soyuz-2-1b (14A14 series) with the
14S53 packet. The 1a has the same upper stage engine as the Soyuz-U while the 1b
has a new engine.

How many launches has Soyuz had? We can distinguish the following cases
which I will include in the statistics -
(C1) Orbital launch attempt, reaching the correct orbit (success)
(C2) Orbital launch attempt, success, with Soyuz stages suborbital and
additional fourth stage (Fregat, Blok L) performing orbit insertion
(C3) Suborbital launch attempt, good trajectory and payload separation (success)
(C4) Orbital launch attempt, failing to reach orbit
(C5) Orbital launch attempt, reached orbit but not the right one
(for example, fourth stage failures of the Molniya-M) or
reached orbit but no payload separation (other rocket types have
sometimes done this).
(C6) Suborbital launch attempt, failure (wrong traj. or payload didn't sep.)
(C7) Pad explosion during launch attempt - rocket destroyed,
with no liftoff, or liftoff of escape tower and spacecraft only.
(C8) Pad explosion prior to launch attempt - e.g. while fuelling
Not counted:
(C9) Pad abort (Engine ignition but no takeoff, rocket could be later reused)
(C10) Scrub (no engine ignition, rocket could be reused),
(C11) Rocket damaged or destroyed before reaching the launch pad.

Readers should note that some authors do not include failures in
categories (C7) and (C8) in the failure count, which is fair enough.
Others are not interested in categories (C3) and (C6), so I provide
the detailed breakdown to let you pick your favorite numbers.
I'm sure some of you will suggest additional categories.

The breakdown for Soyuz in categories C1-C8 is:

|---- SUCCESS-- | ---- FAIL -----------|
C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8
Soyuz 30 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1966-76
Soyuz-L 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1970-71
Soyuz-M 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1971-76
Soyuz-U 741 5 0 20 0 0 1 0 1973-
Soyuz-U2 72 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1982-95
Molniya-M 266 1 0 2 11 0 0 0 1965-
Soyuz-FG 29 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 2001-
Soyuz-2-1a 0 6 1 0 1 0 0 0 2004-
Soyuz-2-1b 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2006-
All Soyuz 1152 18 2 23 12 0 2 0 Total: 1209

We can also consider older versions using the same core stage design.
- The original R-7 (8K71) missile was also used for satellite launch as
8K71PS (Sputnik).
- Its 8A91 variant was specifically designed for satellite use.
- The operational R-7A (8K74) missile replaced the R-7.
- The 11A59 rocket was an R-7A used for space launch.
- An 11A510 rocket used an early version of the Soyuz core packet
without an upper stage. The 11A59 and 11A510 delivered their payloads
to a suborbital trajectory and engines on the payload were used for
orbit insertion.

More widely used was the Vostok, which had a `Blok-E' upper stage and
had four closely similar variants:
- the 8K72 (8K71 missile with E stage),
- the 8K72K (with improved E stage engine),
- the 8A92 (8K74 missile with improved E stage),
- and 8A92M (variant similar to 8A92 designed in Samara).
- The 11A57 Voskhod was an 8K74 with an early version of the Soyuz's Blok-I upper stage.
- The 8K78 Molniya added a Blok-L upper stage to the 11A57. (This may seem like a
complicated tangle but experts will realize I am over-simplifying... the
classification of Molniya sub-variants is especially controversial.)

|---SUCCESS---- | ---- FAIL -----------|
C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8

R-7 (8K71) 0 0 16 0 0 10 0 0 1957-60
Sputnik 8K71PS 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1957
Sputnik 8A91 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1958

R-7A (8K74) 0 0 26 0 0 2 0 0 1959-67
11A59 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1963-64
11A510 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1965-66
Vostok 8K72 6 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 1958-60
Vostok 8K72K 11 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1950-64
Vostok 8A92 40 0 0 4 0 0 1 0 1962-67
Vostok 8A92M 92 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1964-91
Voskhod 286 0 0 13 0 0 0 0 1963-76
Molniya 8K78 20 0 0 9 11 0 0 0 1960-67
Non-Soyuz 458 4 42 37 11 12 1 1 Total: 566
Everything 1610 22 44 60 23 12 3 1 Total: 1775

There are two marginal cases of (C4) which might be counted
as (C5) (it depends what you mean by 'orbit'):
the 15 Apr 1960 launch of an E-3 probe which may have reached some
200000 km altitude, and the Oct 1979 Zenit-6 failure which happened in
the last seconds of ascent so might have had a positive perigee.

Of the 98 failures,
- 45 were in the lower `packet' stages (Blok A,B,V,G,D; including one
A/I stage separation failure),
- 24 were third stage failures (4 Blok E, 20 Blok I),
- 21 were fourth stage (20 Blok L, 1 Fregat),
- 2 were nose fairing failures and 7 are for causes which as yet
are not known in open sources, as far as I know. Note that some category
(C5) failures were due to explosions in Blok-I which did not prevent
orbit insertion but which damaged Blok-L enough that it didn't fire -
they used to be counted against Blok-L. It's hard to derive individual
stage reliabilities without resolving the 7 remaining cases.


Kosmotras launched a Dnepr rocket from the Yasniy spaceport carrying a
cluster of small satellites on Aug 17. The Dnepr emerged from its silo
at 0712 UTC and the first two stages had separated by 0716 UTC. After
coast to a 700 km apogee, at 16 min after launch the third stage
satellite-carrier separated its protective cover (`gas-dynamic shield',
gasodinamicheskiy ekran) and then the payloads were ejected
at two-second intervals.

First to separate were AprizeSat 5 and 6, which were built by SpaceQuest
of Fairfax, Virginia for COM DEV subsidiary exactEarth, Ltd. of
Cambridge, Ontario and carry AIS (maritime Automatic Identification
System) payloads for ship location tracking. The exactEarth system also
includes the SpaceQuest-owned satellites AprizeSat 3 and 4, and a COM DEV
attached payload on ISRO's ResourceSat-2 satellite. AprizeSat 5 and 6
mass 14 kg each.

Next was the 10 kg Edusat technology satellite for the Universita di
Roma la Sapienza, and the small 86 kg SSTL-100 NigeriaSat-X
demonstration satellite, built by Surrey Satellite with participation
by Nigerian engineers.

The fifth payload was Rasat, a 95 kg Turkish Earth observation
satellite for TUBITAK UZAY, with a Korean-built imager. TUBITAK
is the Turkish science research council and UZAY is its Space Technology
Research Insitute in Ankara, formerly called BILTEN - its earlier
satellite, built by Surrey, was BILSAT-1 launched in 2003.

Sixth was Sich-2, a Ukrainian remote sensing satellite built by the Yuzhnoe
company with a mass of 175 kg. The first six payloads were launched
attached to a payload deck called `Platform A' which itself was ejected
at 0728 UTC, exposing the largest payload, NigeriaSat-2. NigeriaSat-2 is
a 268 kg Surrey SSTL-300 satellite with a 2.5m resolution imager for
Nigeria's National Space Research Development Agency; it was separated
at 0728:36 UTC. Finally, a Yuzhnoe launch vehicle engineering payload
BPA-2 is attached to the Dnepr final stage, which as usual in Dnepr
launches ended up in a higher altitude orbit.

Payload Orbit
44E AprizeSat-5 (exactEarth) 610 x 696 km x 98.3 deg
44F AprizeSat-6 (exactEarth) 627 x 697 km x 98.3 deg
44A Edusat (Roma-La Sapienza) 587 x 697 km x 98.3 deg
44C NigeriaSat-X (NASRDA) 656 x 697 km x 98.3 deg
44D Rasat (TUBITAK UZAY) 667 x 697 km x 98.3 deg
44G Sich-2 (NKAU) 685 x 702 km x 98.3 deg
44J Platform A (Kosmotras) 692 x 710 km x 98.3 deg
44B NigeriaSat-2 (NASRDA) 693 x 728 km x 98.3 deg
44H BPA-2 (Yuzhnoe) 692 x1295 km x 98.2 deg


The Russian Ekspress AM-4 communications satellite was delivered to
an incorrect orbit on Aug 18 when a Proton-M's Briz-M upper stage

The first two Briz-M burns, to 173 x 173 km, and 270 x 4998 km were
successful. The third burn, at 0052 UTC on Aug 18, seems to have gone
wrong and the DTB tank separated to a low 145 x 11340 km x 49 deg orbit;
after the fourth burn the payload ended up in a 694 x 20242 km orbit
instead of one with geosynchronous apogee. The Briz-M stage orbit was
1016 x 20900 km following a depletion burn at around 0946 UTC on Aug 18.
Russian authorities have announced that a timing error in the inertial
platform led to incorrect orientiation of the stage during the later


The fourth satellite in China's SJ-11 system, speculated by some
analysts to be an early warning constellation, was launched on Aug 18
but failed to reach orbit. At stage 2 ignition the CZ-2C rocket's
vernier engine suffered a mechanical failure.


China's Chang'e-2 space probe, which left lunar orbit on Jun 9,
arrived at the Sun-Earth L2 point on Aug 25, according to the Xinhua
news agency.


GRAIL, a NASA Discovery mission, was launched from Cape Canaveral on Sep
10. The Delta rocket reached Earth orbit at 1316 UTC and a deep space
coast trajectory at 1419 UTC. The two GRAIL spacecraft were attached to
the Delta rocket's second stage; GRAIL-A was deployed at 1428 UTC and GRAIL-B
at 1437 UTC. The spacecraft will reach the Sun-Earth L1 point 1.5 million km
from Earth and then fall back towards the Moon, reaching lunar orbit at
New Year. GRAIL-A lunar insertion is scheduled for 0100 UTC on Jan 1,
with GRAIL-B at 0200 UTC on Jan 2.

Suborbital flights

On Aug 27 the Russian Navy launched several reentry vehicles aboard a
Bulava missile from a submarine in the White Sea to impact in the
Pacific Ocean. A Topol' missile was flown from Plesetsk to Kamchatka
on Sep 3. Meanwhile, the first test flight of the Block IB version of
the SM-3 missile interceptor failed to hit its target on Sep 1.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.
Jul 6 0428 SJ-11-3 Chang Zheng 2C Jiuquan Unknown 30A
Jul 8 1529 Atlantis STS-135 Space Shuttle Kennedy LC39A Spaceship 31A
Jul 11 1541 TianLian 1-02 Chang Zheng 3C Xichang Data rel. 32A
Jul 13 0227 Globalstar M083 ) Soyuz-2-1A/Fregat Baykonur LC31 Comms 33A
Globalstar M088 ) Comms 33B
Globalstar M091 ) Comms 33C
Globalstar M085 ) Comms 33D
Globalstar M081 ) Comms 33E
Globalstar M089 ) Comms 33F
Jul 15 1118 GSAT-12 PSLV-XL Sriharikota Comms 34A
Jul 15 2316 SES-3 ) Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms 35A
Kazsat-2) Comms 35B
Jul 16 0641 GPS SVN 63 Delta 4M+(4,2) Canaveral LC37B Nav 36A
Jul 18 0231 Spektr-R Zenit-3F/Fregat Baykonur LC45/1 Astronomy 37A
Jul 20 0749 PSSC-2 Atlantis,LEO Tech 31B
Jul 26 2144 Beidou DW9 Chang Zheng 3A Xichang Nav 38A
Jul 29 0742 SJ11-02 Chang Zheng 2C Jiuquan Unknown 39A
Aug 3 1843 Radioskaf-V - EVA, ISS Comms 98-67CK
Aug 5 1625 Juno Atlas 551 Canaveral SLC41 Probe 40A
Aug 6 2252 Astra 1N ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3 Comms 41A
BSAT 3c ) Comms 41B
Aug 10 1615 Paksat 1R Chang Zheng 3B Xichang Comms 42A
Aug 15 2257 Haiyang 2 Chang Zheng 4B Taiyuan LC2 Rem.Sens. 43A
Aug 17 0712 NigeriaSat-X) Tech 44C
NigeriaSat-2) Imaging 44B
Edusat ) Tech 44A
Sich-2 ) Dnepr Yasniy Rem.Sens. 44G
Rasat ) Imaging 44D
AprizeSat-5 ) Comms/AIS 44E
AprizeSat-6 ) Comms/AIS 44F
BPA-2 ) Tech 44H
Aug 17 2125 Ekspress AM-4 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur Comms 45A
Aug 18 0928 SJ11-04 Chang Zheng 2C Jiuquan Unknown F02
Aug 24 1300 Progress M-12M Soyuz-U Baykonur Cargo F03
Sep 10 1308 GRAIL-A ) Delta 7920H Canaveral SLC17B Lunar 46A
GRAIL-B ) Lunar 46B

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

Date UT Payload/Flt Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission Apogee/km

Jul 8 1404 SRALT SR-19 C-17, Point Mugu Target 200?
Jul 10 1400 NASA 21.140GE Black Brant V Wallops I LA2 Ionosphere 158?
Jul 10 1400 NASA 41.090GE Terrier Orion Wallops I LA2 Ionosphere 158?
Jul 11 1535? Gradicom Gradicom 2 Chamical Test 100
Jul 21 1158 NASA 41.092GO Terrier Orion Wallops I Edu 160?
Jul 27 1001 GT205 RV Minuteman III Vandenberg LF04 Test 1300?
Jul 27 RV x 4? Sineva K-84, Barents Sea Test 1000?
Aug 11 1445 HTV-2b Minotaur 4 Lite Vandenberg SLC8 Test 100?
Aug 27 0320 RV x 6? Bulava K-535, White Sea Test 1000?
Sep 1 1343 ARAV? Terrier Oriole? Kauai Target 150?
Sep 1 1344 Aegis KV SM-3 Block 1B CG-70, Kauai Interceptor 150?
Sep 3 0946 RV Topol' Plesetsk Test 1000?

| Jonathan McDowell | phone : (617) 495-7176 |
| Somerville MA 02143 | inter : planet4589 at gmail |
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