- Press Release
- Nov 28, 2022
Jonathan’s Space Report: 24th anniversary edition No. 672 2013 Jan 2
Happy perihelion to all my readers in the Earth-Moon system!
International Space Station
Expedition 34 is underway with commander Kevin Ford and flight engineers FE-1 Oleg Novitskiy and FE-2 Yevgeniy Tarelkin. Their ferry ship, Soyuz TMA-06M, is docked at the Poisk module.
Soyuz TMA-07M (spacecraft 704A, flight ISS 33S) went up on Dec 19 with crew Roman Romanenko of Russia, Chris Hadfield of Canada, and Tom Marshburn of the USA. Initial orbit was 194 x 236 km x 51.6 deg. The spaceship docked with the Rassvet module at 1409 UTC on Dec 21.
Two cargo ships are also docked: Progress M-16M at the Pirs module and Progress M-17M at the Zvezda aft port.
Hobbyists have located the US Air Force X-37B spaceplane in a 343 x 360 km x 43.5 deg orbit.
North Korean satellite
Four objects have been cataloged in orbit associated with the NK launch: the Kwangmyongsong-3 F2 satellite, the Unha-3 rocket stage and two debris pieces. Optical observations by Greg Roberts in S Africa show a 16-s periodic brightening indicating the satellite is spinning or tumbling, which is the natural state of a satellite if its size and shape. The satellite was thought to carry reaction wheels or some similar three-axis stabilization system, but this does not seem to be working at the moment. News reports describing the satellite as ‘out of control’ could be premature, as it is possible that the stabilization system is designed to be activated some time after launch. However, the failure to pick up signals at 470 MHz by independent observers in the US and UK, including a long-time member of the Kettering Group, Bob Christy of http://zarya.info, is strong circumstantial evidence that the satellite’s transmitter is not working and that the satellite is most likely dead. At this point in early January, the continuing lack of signal reports make this conclusion all the more likely.
On Jan 1 the orbits were
A (satellite) 497 x 581 km x 97.40 deg B (rocket) 496 x 589 km x 97.40 deg C (debris) 497 x 571 km x 97.45 deg D (debris) 497 x 586 km x 97.36 deg
The two GRAIL spacecraft, Ebb and Flow, completed their gravity mapping mission and impacted the lunar surface at 75.62N 26.63W at 2229 UTC on Dec 17. On Dec 6 their orbit was lowered to only 15 km above the surface for a final low-altitude data take. NASA is giving the impact region the unofficial (non-IAU) name of ‘Sally Ride Impact Site’. The name appears to apply to the general region of the impact, which consists of the two impact points several km apart and any associated secondary debris. The impact velocity was 1.7 km/s. Congratulations to MIT’s Maria Zuber on an outstanding science mission.
China’s Chang’e-2 space probe made a remarkable 3.2 km flyby of minor planet (4179) Toutatis on Dec 13 at 0830:09 UTC and returned images of the asteroid. Chang’e-2 is in a 1.02 x 1.03 AU x 0.2 deg solar orbit.
Gokturk is an earth observing satellite for the Turkish Defense Ministry. The CZ-2D rocket put it in a 669 x 689 km x 98.2 deg orbit and then made a depletion burn to a 144 x 688 km orbit. The satellite was built by Turk Havacikik ve Uzay Sanayii (Turkish Aerospace Inc) and the TUBITAK research council.
Arianespace launched two communications satellites on Dec 19. Skynet 5D is an Astrium/Paradigm satellite for UK military communications; Mexsat-Bicentenario will provide domestic Mexican communications. The satellites reached a 263 x 25821 km x 2.0 deg geostationary transfer orbit. On Jan 1 Skynet 5D was in GEO over 24E and Mexsat was over 114.8W.
Iranian Launch Failures
Discussion on nasaspaceflight.com has drawn my attention to claims by defense analyst publication IHS Jane’s that Iran had a further launch failure on or soon after Sep 22. The failure appears to have taken place on the pad, so it is hard to be sure that an orbital launch was intended. Nevertheless I will include it in my lists for the time being, to give the possible launch some visibility, until further information should come to light that affects my assessment of it.
On Dec 17 the Yamal-402 satellite was in a 35693 x 35764 km x 0.05 deg orbit drifting at 1 deg per day over the Indian Ocean at 53E, completing the recovery effort for the satellite. It had reached a lower than planned initial orbit after the failure of its Briz-M upper stage.
Orbital Launch Stats 2012
Total 78 attempts: Russia 24, China 19, US 16, France/ESA 10, India 2, Japan 2, Iran 1 + 2 fail?, North Korea 1+1 fail The Iranian launch failures, as noted above, are not confirmed. This is the first year in which the number of Chinese launches has exceeded the corresponding US total.
Table of Recent (orbital) Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL. DES. Nov 2 2104 Yamal-300K ) Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC81/24 Comms 61 Luch-5B ) Comms 61 Nov 10 2105 Star One C3 ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3 Comms 62B Eutelsat 21B ) Comms 62A Nov 14 1142 Meridian No. 16 Soyuz-2-1A/Fregat Plesetsk LC43/4 Comms 63A Nov 18 2253 Huan Jing 1C ) Chang Zheng 2C Taiyuan Radar 64A Xinyan-1 ) Tech Fengniao 1A/1B ) Tech Nov 20 1831 Echostar 16 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC39/200 Comms 65A Nov 25 0406 Yaogan Weixing 16) Chang Zheng 4C Jiuquan Sigint? 66A YW-16 Subsat 1 ) Sigint? 66B YW-16 Subsat 2 ) Sigint? 66C Nov 27 1013 Zhongxing 12 Chang Zheng 3BE Xichang LC2 Comms 67A Dec 1 0202 Pleiades 1B Soyuz ST-A/Fregat Kourou ELS Imaging 68A Dec 3 2044 Eutelsat 70B Zenit-3SL SL Odyssey Comms 69A Dec 8 1313 Yamal 402 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC39/200 Comms 70A Dec 11 1803 X-37B OTV-3 Atlas V 501 Canaveral SLC41 Spaceplane 71A Dec 12 0049 Kwangmyongsong-3 F2 Unha-3 Sohae Test 72A Dec 18 1612 Gokturk 2 Chang Zheng 2D Jiuquan Imaging 73A Dec 19 1212 Soyuz TMA-07M Soyuz-FG Baykonur LC1 Spaceship 74A Dec 19 2149 Skynet 5D ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3 Comms 75A Mexsat-Bicentenario) Comms 75B
The IMAGER payload developed by U Mass. Lowell’s Tim Cook and BU’s Meredith Danowski was launched from White Sands on Nov 21 for ultraviolet imaging of the nearby spiral galaxy M101 with a 0.5m telescope.
The DXL mission launched on Dec 13 studies soft X-ray emission from the solar wind and the local interstellar medium. The project is led by M. Galeazzi of Miami University.
Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches
Date UT Payload/Flt Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission Apogee/km Nov 2 1755 NASA 36.255US Black Brant IX White Sands Solar X 321 Nov 14 1107 Mk 21 RV? Minuteman 3 Vandenberg LF10 Op.Test 1300? Nov 21 1055 NASA 36.260UG Black Brant IX White Sands UV Astron 291 Nov 25 1120 MAPHEUS-3 Nike Imp. Orion ESRANGE, Kiruna Micrograv 145 Nov 28 Haft-5 RV Ghauri Tilla?, Pakistan Op.Test 400? Dec 8 2100 AEB VS30/O V10 VS-30/Orion Alcantara Ionosphere 428 Dec 13 0520 NASA 36.283UH Black Brant IX White Sands XR Astron 257? Dec 17 0700 S-520-28 S-520 Uchinoura Micrograv 312
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