Status Report

Jonathan’s Space Report, No 428, 10 June 2000

By SpaceRef Editor
June 10, 2000
Filed under

No 428 2000 Jun 10, Cambridge,


Note: I’ve updated the geostationary satellite and master launch list
files at

Shuttle and Stations


The ISS (International Space Station) is operating in automated mode in
a 369 x 378 km x 51.6 deg orbit. The PMA-2/Unity/PMA-1/Zarya stack
awaits the launch of the Zvezda module next month. Zvezda will dock
to the rear port on Zarya.

The Mir EO-28 crew, Sergey Zalyotin and Aleksandr Kaleri, continue to
operate the Mir complex in a 360 x 378 km x 51.6 deg orbit. The orbital
plane of Mir is currently around 120 deg away from that of ISS. Soyuz
TM-30 and Progress M1-2 are docked to the station. The EO-28 crew are
scheduled to return to Earth in Soyuz TM-30 around Jun 16.

The next few planned Shuttle launches all depend on the Zvezda launch.
If all goes well, STS-106/Atlantis will carry the ISS 2A.2b payload
consisting of the Spacehab Logistics Double Module and the Integrated
Cargo Carrier. STS-92/Discovery will carry the ISS 3A payload carrying
the ITS Z1 space station truss, the PMA-3 docking adapter and a Spacelab
Pallet with the Control Moment Gyro package. STS-97/Endeavour will carry
the ITS P6 truss and solar arrays.

Current Launches


The first successful Proton/Briz-M launch flew on Jun 6 carrying the
Gorizont No. 45L payload. The three-stage Proton-K, with a first test of
upgraded engines to be used on the Zvezda space station module launch,
was flown on a suborbital trajectory. 9 minutes after launch it
separated from the payload assembly with the model 14S43 Briz-M stage.
Earlier 4-stage Proton vehicles used the Energiya Blok-DM family of
stages; the new stage is built by Krunichev, who also build the Proton-K
core vehicle. A first flight of Proton/Briz-M failed early in launch
last year, before the Briz-M got a chance to ignite.

Briz-M ignition probably occurred around 12 minutes after launch after a
short coast. A 5 min first burn put Briz-M/Gorizont in a 200 km parking
orbit probably inclined at around 51.6 deg. One hour later a second
Briz-M burn raised apogee to 6000 km, possibly changing inclination
slightly as well. At second perigee around 4hr after launch the third
Briz-M burn put the stack in a 369 x 34988 km x 48.8 deg transfer
orbit. The Briz-M then jettisoned its empty toroidal supplementary fuel
tank and coasted to apogee. About 10 hr after launch a fourth Briz-M
burn placed Gorizont No. 45L in near-geostationary orbit. US Space
Command have cataloged the torus tank but neither the Briz-M nor the
Gorizont have yet been cataloged.

The payload, Gorizont (“Horizon”) No. 45L, is expected to be the final
launch of this series of television broadcasting satellite. It carries 6
C-band transponders as well as one L-band and one Ku-band transponder.
The previous Gorizont was launched in 1996; the new Ekspress satellites
are replacing the system. The satellites are built by NPO Prikladnoi
Mekhaniki of Zheleznogorsk for GP Kosmicheskaya Svyaz, the Russian
comsat operator.

Orbital Sciences launched its first Pegasus of the year on Jun 7.
The L-1011 Stargazer OCA carrier airplane took off from RW30/12 at
Vandenberg at 1221 UTC on Jun 7 and flew to the drop box at 36.0N 123.0W
over the Pacific. The L-1011 dropped the Pegasus XL rocket at
1319 UTC and five seconds later the first, winged, stage ignited.
Third stage separation at 1334 UTC placed the TSX-5 payload in a 403 x 1704 km
x 69.0 deg orbit.

TSX-5 is the fifth in the STEP (Space Test Experiments Program) series
of satellites. The name was changed to TSX (Tri-Service Experiments),
probably in an attempt to overcome the jinx that led to three out of
the first five missions failing.

The STEP satellites use the Orbital LEOStar bus developed by
DSI/McLean and TRW/Chantilly, both now part of Orbital.
The M1 and M4 satellites carried the optional hydrazine propulsion module.
STEP M2 was placed in a lower than planned orbit due to a fourth
stage problem. M1 and M3 failed to orbit; M4’s solar panels
failed to deploy.

 Mission   Main expt  STP Name  Launch       Life
STEP M0 TAOS P90-5 1994 Mar 13 >5 yr
STEP M2 SIDEX P91-2 1994 May 19 3 yr?
STEP M1 – P90-1 1994 Jun 27 0
STEP M3 – P92-2 1995 Jun 22 0
STEP M4 – P95-1 1997 Oct 22 0
TSX 5 STRV-2 P95-2 2000 Jun 7 Operating

TSX-5’s main section is the STRV-2 experiment module, which is sponsored
by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization in collaboration with the
UK Ministry of Defense’s DERA organization at Farnborough, to test
infrared sensors and a laser communications payload. STRV-2 will
attempt to take infrared images of UK military aircraft at perigee, and
then downlink data via laser. The mission will be controlled from
Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. STRV-2 also carries vibration isolation and
debris impact sensors. It is a followon to the STRV-1 microsatellites
launched piggyback on Ariane in Jun 1994.

The secondary payload on TSX-5 is the S97-1 CEASE device. The Compact
Environmental Anomaly Sensor, developed by AFRL (USAF Research Lab),
is a prototype sensor package to provide warning of spacecraft
charging and radiation events.

Compton Gamma Ray Observatory


The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory has been destroyed. NASA decided to
end the mission because of concerns that further gyro failures might
make it difficult to carry out a controlled deorbit. In early May, GRO
was in its 482 x 487 km x 28.5 deg operational orbit (its last orbital
reboost was in Apr 1997). The first descent burn at 0151 UTC on May 31
lowered it to a 362 x 474 km orbit. A second burn at 0236 UTC on Jun 1
put it down at 237 x 471 km. Burn 3, at 0356 to 0417 UTC on Jun 4,
lowered perigee to only 148 km. One orbit later, the final burn from
0522 to 0552 UTC on Jun 4 put GRO in its final 28 x 470 km orbit. At
0609 on the descent to perigee the spacecraft began tumbling and runaway
heating was detected; loss of contact came at 0610 UTC with impact of
debris in the Pacific southeast of Hawaii at 0618 UTC.

GRO, built by TRW/Redondo Beach and launched on Space Shuttle Atlantis
in Apr 1991, was the second of the Great Observatories program which
also includes Hubble, Chandra, and SIRTF. GRO really marked the maturity
of gamma ray astronomy as a discipline and its discoveries about gamma
ray bursts, gamma ray quasars, and galactic gamma ray sources are of
lasting importance. At this week’s American Astronomical Society meeting
in Rochester, the model of GRO at the TRW booth was quickly adorned with
a wreath. Alas, our plans to sneak in overnight and replace the model
with a tank of tropical fish and charred metal parts foundered due to
insufficient energy on the part of the conspirators.



Apologies to Energomash for a typo. The RD-180 engine is rated at 4152
kN thrust, not 412 kN!. However, Av Week’s report quotes a 3570 kN
thrust during the ascent.

Apojove of Galileo’s current orbit is only 20.7 million km, lower than I
had estimated last issue (I think I must have got Kepler’s Third the
wrong way up :-)). This puts it inside the orbits of the outermost
Jovian moons. It’s still the largest orbit Galileo has made around
Jupiter. Apojove will be on Sep 8.

Table of Recent Launches


Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission

May 3 0707 GOES 11 Atlas 2A Canaveral SLC36A Weather 22A
May 3 1325 Kosmos-2370 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1 Imaging 23A
May 8 1601 DSP 20 Titan 4B Canaveral LC40 Early Warn 24A
May 11 0148 GPS SVN 51 Delta 7925 Canaveral SLC17A Navsat 25A
May 16 0828 Simsat-1 ) Rokot Plesetsk LC133 Test 26A
Simsat-2 ) 26B
May 19 1011 Atlantis Space Shuttle Kennedy LC39A Spaceship 27A
May 24 2310 Eutelsat W4 Atlas 3A Canaveral SLC36B Comsat 28A
Jun 6 0259 Gorizont Proton/Briz-M Baykonur LC81P Comsat 29A
Jun 7 1319 TSX 5 Pegasus XL Vandenberg RW30/22 Science

Current Shuttle Processing Status


Orbiters               Location   Mission    Launch Due

OV-102 Columbia Palmdale OMDP
OV-103 Discovery OPF Bay 1 STS-92 2000 Sep? ISS 3A
OV-104 Atlantis OPF Bay 3 STS-106 2000 Aug? ISS 2A.2b
OV-105 Endeavour OPF Bay 2 STS-97 2000 Nov? ISS 4A

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SpaceRef staff editor.