Jonathan's Space Report No. 681 2013 July 1

Status Report From: Jonathan's Space Report
Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013

International Space Station

Expedition 36 is continuing. The crew are commander Pavel Vinogradov, Flight Engineers FE-2 Alexandr Misurkin, FE-3 Chris Cassidy, FE-4 Yurchikin, FE-5 Parmitano and FE-6 Nyberg. Ferry ship Soyuz TMA-08M is at Poisk and TMA-09M at Rassvet. Cargo ship Progress M-18M is at the Pirs module and ATV-4 is at the Zvezda module.

The European cargo ship ATV 'Albert Einstein' docked with ISS on Jun 15 at 1407 UTC and its thrusters were used to raise the ISS orbit on Jun 19. Progress M-19M was deorbited over the Pacific Ocean at about 1252 UTC on Jun 19, with debris impacting the ocean at around 1339 UTC.

On Jun 24 astronauts Yurchikin and Misurkin carried out spacewalk VKD-33 in spacesuits Orlan-MK No. 5 and 6. The Pirs airlock was depressurized at around 1314 UTC and the hatch was opened at 1332 UTC. The astronauts replaced the SP RRZh No. 2 flow control panel on the Zarya module's thermal control system, installed the Indikator-MKS atmosphere sensor on the Poisk module, and retrieved the Vinoslivost panel 2 exposure experiment and the Foton-Gamma instrument, bringing them inside Pirs toegether with the old SP RRZh. The airlock hatch was closed at 2006 UTC and the airlock was repressurized at 2009 UTC.

The SP RRZh No. 2 has a mass of 51 kg and Indikator-MKS is about 15 kg;
both were delivered by Progress M-19M in April.

Shenzhou 10

China's Shenzhou 10 spaceship was launched on Jun 11, carrying three astronauts. It docked with the Tiangong-1 spacelab on Jun 13 at 0511 UTC. The crew of Shenzhou 10 were Maj-Gen Nie Haisheng, commander; LtCol Zhang Xiaoguan, operator; Maj. Wang Yaping, experiment officer.

On Jun 23 the SZ-10 crew carried out a redocking exercise. They undocked Shenzhou 10 from Tiangong at 0026 UTC and redocked with it at 0200 UTC, On Jun 24 SZ-10 undocked again for the final time, made a flyaround of the TG-1 lab and then prepared to return to Earth. The deorbit burn was at about 2323 UTC Jun 25. The spaceship landed in China at 0007 UTC Jun 26, at 111.36E 42.33N according to commenters on the forum.


Russia's Resurs-P No. 1 civilian imaging satellite was launched on Jun 25 aboard a Soyuz-2-1B from Baykonur into a 250 x 451 km x 97.3 deg orbit. On Jun 29 the satellite raised its orbit to 458 x 472 km. Built by TsSKB-Progress of Samara, and based on the Yantar' spy satellites, the satellite carries a Geoton-L1 telescope with a 1-meter resolution multispectral imager and a 25m resolution hyperspectral imager.


The first four O3b satellites were launched just two hours later by another Soyuz-2-1B, this time with a Fregat-MT upper stage, from the Centre Spatiale Guyanais. This VS05 launch was carried out by Arianespace which imports the Soyuz rocket from TsSKB-Progress.

The O3b satellites carry Ka-band communications payloads with steerable antennas and will provide broadband internet capacity to the developing world. The O3b company, named after `the other 3 billion' (of people in the world without connectivity) has its headquarters in Jersey (in the Channel Islands) and so I assume the satellites will be registered by the UK. The four satellites, built by Thales Alenia/Roma using a similar design to Globalstar, were deployed into equatorial medium Earth orbit.

The Soyuz reached an -1167 x 192 km x 5.3 deg orbit; three Fregat burns reached 153 x 227 km x 5 deg, 242 x 7875 km x 3.2 deg, and a 7820 x 7840 km x 0.05 deg orbit. The first two satellites, SC2 and SC4, were deployed at 2128 UTC; a small Fregat spacing burn at 2144 UTC was followed by deployment of SC1 and SC3. The Fregat-MT (serial no. 1041) then made a final set of burns to lower its orbit away from the new constellation, ending up in a 7658 x 7688 km x 0.1 deg orbit (the Arianespace press kit shows a higher orbit, but this is a mistake).

According to Stefan Barensky of 'Air et Cosmos', the four spacecraft
have the production designations PFM, FM2, FM4 and FM5.
(FM is Flight Model, PFM is Proto Flight Model).


NASA's IRIS satellite, part of the Explorer mission program, was launched on Jun 28. IRIS, the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, will obtain high resolution (0.3 arcseconds) high cadence (1 second intervals) imaging and spectra of the Sun with its 20-cm telescope. The focal plane has three CCDs covering two far-UV bands (1332-1358A, 1380-1406A) and one near-UV band (2785-2835A). A fourth CCD provides images in similar UV bands. The project is led by Alan Title of Lockheed/Palo Alto and science lead Bart De Pontieu, with mission control at NASA-Ames; Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is a partner in the project and built the telescope. (SAO also built the telescopes for the TRACE and SDO/AIA solar observatories).

Orbital's L-1011 aircraft took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 0131 UTC on Jun 28 and flew out to the standard drop location at 123.0W 36.0N over the Pacific. The Pegasus XL vehicle was dropped at 0227:46 UTC according to NASA commentator G. Diller; the first stage ignited 5 seconds later. The third stage ignited 8min 58s after drop to place IRIS in orbit; the spacecraft separated 4 min later in a 616 x 663 km x 97.9 deg orbit. First light is scheduled for July 17.

Note: The ESRO IIB satellite of 1968 was also given the name IRIS (International Radiation Investigation Satellite); IRIS was also the name of an Italian upper stage (Italian Research Interim Stage) for the Shuttle used once in 1992. There was also an Iris sounding rocket used in the 1960s. So, please be careful when mentioning IRIS to specify which one you are talking about!


The Russian Ministry of Defense's first Kondor satellite was launched on Jun 27 into a 496 x 501 km x 74.7 deg orbit. The Kondor system, built by NPO Mashinostroenie, is planned to use optical and radar satellites with masses of around 1000 kg, and reports indicate that this payload carries an S-band radar. According to Rui Barbosa the satellite is Kondor No. 202. The launch vehicle was the Strela, a refurbished UR-100NU missile on its second orbital launch; the APB manuevering stage also reached orbit while the missile second stage reentered on a marginal suborbital trajectory. The satellite was given the code name Kosmos-2487.


India launched its first full-scale navigation satellite on Jul 1, beginning the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. The IRNSS-1A satellite, based on the Insat I1K bus and carryign L-band and S-band navigation signals, was launched into a 282 x 20548 km x 17.9 deg subsynchronous transfer orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island and will use its liquid apogee motor to reach geostationary orbit.

The launch of IRNSS follows precusor missions in 2011 and 2012, when the Indian Space Research Organization launched GSAT-8 and GSAT-10, which carried GAGAN navigation signals as part of a `GPS augmentation' system in addition to their communications payload.


NASA's Galex ultraviolet space telescope, launched in 2003, was switched off on June 28, following a extra tenth year of observing funded by Caltech. The spacecraft remained NASA property but was loaned to the university in 2012 May so that science operations could continue after NASA funding expired - a victory for science which required, as you might imagine, much internal legal and bureaucrating wrangling before it was approved. Meanwhile, Canadian astronomers celebrated continued operations of MOST, Canada's tiny "humble space telescope", on its own tenth anniversary.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches

Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.

May 1 1606 Zhongxing-11 Chang Zheng 3B/E Xichang Comms 20A
May 7 0206 Proba-V ) Imaging 21A
VNREDSAT-1 ) Vega Kourou ZLV Imaging 21B
ESTCube-1 ) Tech 21C
May 13 1258 Kunpeng-7 Unknown (DF-31?) Xichang Magnetosphere U01
May 14 1601 Eutelsat 3D Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms 22A
May 15 2138 GPS SVN 66 Atlas V 401 Canaveral SLC41 Nav 23A
May 25 0027 WGS 5 Delta 4M+(5,4) Canaveral SLC37B Comms 24A
May 28 2031 Soyuz TMA-09M Soyuz-FG Baykonur Spaceship 25A
Jun 3 0918 SES-6 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms 26A
Jun 5 2152 ATV-4 Ariane 5ES Kourou ELA3 Cargo 27A
Jun 7 1837 Kosmos-2486 Soyuz-2-1B Plesetsk LC43/4 Imaging 28A
Jun 11 0938 Shenzhou 10 Chang Zheng 2F Jiuquan Spaceship 29A
Jun 25 1728 Resurs-P Soyuz-2-1B Baykonur LC31/6 Imaging 30A
Jun 25 1927 O3b SC1/PFM) Soyuz ST-B Kourou ELS Comms 31A
O3b SC2/FM2) Comms 31B
O3b SC3/FM4) Comms 31C
O3b SC4/FM5) Comms 31D
Jun 27 1653 Kosmos-2487 Strela Baykonur LC175 Radar 32A
Jun 28 0227 IRIS Pegasus XL L1011, Vandenberg Solar 33A
Jul 1 1811 IRNSS-1A PSLV-XL Sriharikota LP1 Navigation 34A

Suborbital launches

The RockOn 2013 student nission was launched from Wallops on Jun 20, while a set of technology experiments in NASA's Flight Opportunities Program was flown by UP Aerospace on Jun 21 from the New Mexico spaceport.

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

May 1 0738 NASA 41.100DR Terrier Imp. Orion Roi-Namur Ionosphere 189
May 7 0400 REXUS 14 Imp. Orion Kiruna Micrograv 81
May 7 0739 NASA 45.005UE Terrier Oriole Roi-Namur Atmosphere 350?
May 7 0740 NASA 46.001UE Terrier Imp.Mal. Roi-Namur Atmosphere 350?
May 9 0400 REXUS 13 Imp. Orion Kiruna Micrograv 83
May 9 0723 NASA 41.102DR Terrier Imp. Orion Roi-Namur Ionosphere 188
May 11 0500 FORTIS Black Brant IX White Sands UV Astron 280?
May 13 1258 Kunpeng-7 Unknown (DF-31?) Xichang Magnetosphere 30000?
May 17 0325 FTM-19 Target Talos-Castor? Kauai Target 300?
May 17 0330? Aegis KV SM-3-1B USS Lake Erie Interceptor 150?
May 22 1327 GT207GM Minuteman 3 Vandenberg LF04 Op. Test 1300?
Jun 6 0305 CIBER Black Brant XII Wallops I. IR Astron 577
Jun 6 1745 RV Rubezh Kapustin Yar R&D launch 1000?
Jun 20 0930 NASA 40.106UO Terrier Imp. Orion Wallops I. Education 118
Jun 21 1357 SL-7/FOP-1 SpaceLoft XL Spaceport America Tech 119

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