Status Report

Jonathan’s Space Report No. 436 17 October 2000

By SpaceRef Editor
October 17, 2000
Filed under

Shuttle and Stations


Orbiter OV-103 Discovery was launched at 2317 UTC on Oct 11 on mission
STS-92 (Space Station Flight ISS-3A). Crew are Commander Col. Brian
Duffy (USAF/NASA), Pilot Lt-Col. Pam Melroy (USAF/NASA), and Mission
Specialists Dr. Leroy Chiao (NASA), Col. William McArthur (US
Army/NASA), Dr. Jeff Wisoff (NASA), Cmdr. Michael Lopez-Alegria
(USN/NASA), and Koichi Wakata (NASDA, Japan). The RSRM-76 solid rocket
boosters separated at 2319 UTC and main engine cutoff (MECO) came at
2325 UTC. External tank ET-104 separated into a 74 x 323 km x 51.6 deg
orbit. At apogee at 0001 UTC on Oct 12, Discovery’s OMS engines fired to
raise perigee to a 158 x 322 km x 51.6 deg orbit; ET-104 reentered over
the Pacific around 0030 UTC. At Oct 12 on 0301 UTC the NC1 burn raised
the orbit to 180 x 349 km; NC3 on Oct 12 to 311 x 375 km; and the TI
burn at 1409 UTC on Oct 13 to 375 x 381 km x 51.6 deg. Discovery’s
rendezvous with the International Space Station came at 1539 UTC on Oct
13, with docking at 1745 UTC. The spaceship docked with PMA-2, the
docking port on the +Y port of the Space Station’s Unity module.
Hatch was open to PMA-2 at 2030 UTC the same day.

 STS-92 Cargo Manifest
Mass (kg)
Bay 1-2: Orbiter Docking System 1800
3 EMU spacesuits (S/N unknown) 360?
Bay 5 Port: Adapter Beam with DDCU-HP control unit 300? (guess)
Bay 5 Stbd: Adapter Beam with DDCU-HP control unit 300?
Bay 7-8: Spacelab Pallet MD003 with PMA-3 1400 (PLT)
1156 (PMA)
Bay 10-12: ISS Z1 8765
Bay 13 Adapter Beam with IMAX Cargo Bay Camera 300? (guess)
Sill: Canadarm RMS 301? 410

Total payload bay cargo: 14791 kg (est)

Z1 is the first segment of the space station truss. Z1 was built by
Boeing/Canoga Park and is 3.5 x 4.5 meters in size; it will be docked to
the +Z port on Unity. Z1 carries the control moment gyros, the S-band
antenna, and the Ku-band antenna.

PMA-3, built by Boeing/Huntington Beach, will be docked to the -Z port
opposite Z1. PMA-3 is installed on a Spacelab pallet for launch.
One document I have seen identifies this as pallet MD003; I suspect
it might be the same as pallet F003 which flew on Spacelab 2, MAPS, and TSS,
but I’d love to get confirmation of this.

On Oct 14 at 1615 UTC the Z1 segment was unberthed from the payload bay
and at around 1820 UTC it was docked to the zenith port on the Unity
module. On Oct 15 at 1420 UTC the ODS airlock was depressurized,
beginning a spacewalk by Bill McArthur and Leroy Chiao. The hatch was
probably unsealed at around 1425 UTC. The spacesuits went to battery
power at 1427 UTC, and the thermal cover on the airlock was opened at
1430 UTC. McArthur exited the airlock about 1446 UTC. The astronauts
connected cables between Z1 and Unity, relocated the SASA S-band antenna
on Z1, and deployed Z1’s SGANT Ku-band antenna. They then took the port
ETSD (EVA stowage) box from the Spacelab pallet and installed it on Z1.
The astronauts were back in the airlock around 2040 UTC and closed the
hatch at about 2050 UTC. Repressurization began at 2055 UTC for a
depress duration of about 6h 35min, a hatch open/close duration of 6h 25
min, and a NASA (battery power to repress) duration of 6h 28 min.

The second spacewalk was on Oct 16, with Jeff Wisoff and Mike Lopez-Alegria.
The airlock was depressurized about 1410 UTC, with the hatch and thermal
cover opened prior to 1413 UTC. The suits went to battery power at 1415 UTC
and Wisoff left the airlock at 1421 UTC. Wakata used the RMS arm to unberth
the PMA-3 docking unit from the SLP pallet at 1614 UTC, and docked it
to Unity at 1740 UTC. Wisoff and Lopez-Alegria first unbolted PMA-3
from the SLP and then guided Wakata through the delicate alignment
process as PMA-3 was removed from the bay and attached to the Station.
By 2109 UTC the astronauts were back in the airlock and at 2110 UTC
the thermal cover was closed, with hatch seal at 2115 UTC. Repressurization
began at 2122 UTC for a duration of 7h 12 min (depress/repress), 7h 03min
(hatch unseal/seal), or 7h 07min (NASA).

A third EVA was underway on Oct 17.

Meanwhile, on Oct 16 Russia launched the Progress 7K-TGM No. 243 cargo
ship as Progress M-43. The ship will dock with Mir and raise its
orbit, delaying reentry to preserve the option of a new MirCorp-financed
flight next year.

Current Launches


HETE-2 astronomical satellite


The HETE-2 gamma ray burst satellite was succesfully launched by a
Pegasus over the Pacific near Kwajalein. This was the first orbital
launch from USAKA (US Army Kwajalein Atoll) in the Pacific Ocean.
Kwajalein, a circular lagoon, is the aim point for Western Range ICBM
launches; the US Air Force fires ICBMs at Kwaj and the US Army sits on
Kwaj and fires back with experimental anti-missiles. The main launch
site is on Meck Island on the north side of the atoll.

The Orbital Sciences Corp. L-1011 Stargazer aircraft took off from
Bucholz Army Airfield (PKWA) Runway 06/24 (at 08 42.9N 167 43.6E) on
Kwajalein Island at the southeast end of the atoll at 0440 UTC on Oct 9.
The Stargazer flew to the drop zone at 7.65N 167.7E and at 0538 UTC
dropped the Pegasus launch vehicle at an altitude of 11.9 km. The model
used was the Standard Pegasus rather than the newer XL model (strictly,
it was a Hybrid Pegasus with some XL components). Five seconds after
drop the first, winged, stage ignited and after 10 minutes the third
stage cutoff to leave HETE-2 in orbit at 0550 UTC.

The second High Energy Transient Explorer was built to replace the first
HETE, which failed to operate because of a Pegasus adapter failure
during launch in Nov 1996. The satellite was built by MIT using leftover
parts from HETE. MIT operates the satellite; the program is managed by
NASA GSFC as an Explorer mission of opportunity. HETE’s main instrument
is FREGATE, the French Gamma Telescope, a hard X-ray spectrometer
operating in the 6 to 400 keV energy range. This gamma ray burst
detector, together with a Wide Field X-ray Monitor hard X-ray coded mask
telescope, is used to trigger searches with the two Soft X-ray Imagers
which have 33-arcsecond spatial resolution. This will let astronomers
get precise locations for gamma-ray bursts, allowing detailed followup
with optical instruments. The satellite is in a 595 x 636 km x 2.0 deg
equatorial orbit, and sends data to a network of small ground terminals
spaced around the equator.

Kosmos-2372 military imaging satellite:


Kosmos-2372 was launched from Baykonur’s Area 45 on Sep 25 by a
two-stage 11K77 Zenit-2. According to a report by Anatoly Zak, the new
spacecraft’s real code name is Yenisey (which is the name of one of the
great rivers in Russia). Observers speculate that Yenisey is an improved
version of the Orlets spy satellite launched as Kosmos-2290 in 1994. On
Oct 16 Kosmos-2372 was in a 201 x 313 km x 64.8 deg orbit.

Kosmos-2373 military/civilian mapping satellite


Kosmos-2373 was launched on Sep 29 into a 193 x 267 km x 70.4 deg orbit.
The satellite is the 20th Kometa (Yantar’-1KFT) mapping payload using
the Yantar’ bus with a Zenit-type recovery sphere. It is announced as a
dual civil-military geodetic mission. After a day it raised its orbit to
211 x 285 km x 70.4 deg. The first Kometa was launched in Feb 1981 as
Kosmos-1246; the previous flight was Kosmos-2349 in Feb 1998.

Dnepr multiple small satellite launch


The second Dnepr launch vehicle made a successful flight on Sep 26 from
Baykonur, placing five small satellites in a 640 x 644 km x 64.6 deg
orbit. The Dnepr is a refurbished R-36M2 (15A18 or 15A18M) ballistic
missile with two main stages and a post-boost stage used to target
reentry vehicles. The satellites are Tiungsat-1, Megsat-1,
Unisat, and Saudisat 1A/1B.

Malaysia’s Tiungsat-1 is a 50 kg Surrey Uosat-class earth imaging
satellite with 80-meter resolution, built by Surrey Satellite and
Astronautic Technology SB for the BKSA (Bahagian Kajian Sains Angkasa,
the Space Science Studies Div. under the Ministry of Science, Technology
and Environment).

Megsat-1 is a 50 kg research satellite owned and built by MegSat Space
Division, part of the Gruppo Meggiorin companies in Brescia, Italy.
(Megsat-0 was launched in Apr 1999).

Unisat is a 10 kg experimental satellite developed by the GAUSS (Gruppo
di Astrodinamica dell’ Universita degli Studi “la Sapienza”) in Roma.
Unisat was financed by ASI and MURST (Ministero dell’Universtia e della
Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica). It carries NiMH batteries, a
magnetometer, and a payload consisting of a space debris sensor and a

Saudisat 1A and 1B are 10 kg satellites developed by the Saudi Institute
for Space Research at KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Tech),
Riyadh, carrying simple amateur store-forward communications payloads.

GE-1A communications satellite


GE Americom’s GE-1A satellite was launched by International Launch
Services/Krunichev Proton-K on Oct 1. The Proton entered a 200 km
parking orbit, and the Blok DM3 upper stage made two burns to deliver
GE-1A to a 7394 x 35823 km x 15.9 deg transfer orbit. The satellite is a
Lockheed Martin/Sunnyvale A2100AX model Ku-band communications
satellite which will provide broadcast services for eastern Asia. Dry
mass is 1601 kg. By Oct 16 the satellite was on station at 108E.

N-SAT/Superbird communications satellite


Arianespace launched mission V133, an Ariane 42L model, on Oct 6.
Payload was another A2100AX satellite, N-SAT-110, also known as
Superbird 5. N-SAT-110 is jointly owned by SCC (Space Communications
Corp of Tokyo) and JSat (Japan Satellite Systems); SCC controls the
vehicle on orbit. Dry mass is 1669 kg; the satellite carries 24 Ku-band
transponders. By Oct 15 N-SAT-110 was in a 35610 x 35752 km x 0.1 deg
orbit drifting past 109E.

GLONASS navigation satellites


Three Uragan (“Hurricane”) navigation satellites for the GLONASS system
were launched on Oct 13. Uragan spacecraft No. 83, No. 87 and No. 88
were launched on a Krunichev Proton-K with a Blok DM-2 upper stage into
a 160 km x 64.8 deg parking orbit. The Blok DM-2 made two burns to a
19120 x 19120 km x 64.8 deg orbit and deployed the three satellites
about four hours after launch. The satellites will probably be named
Kosmos-2374 to Kosmos-2376, but I don’t have confirmation of this yet.
The Uragan satellites, built by AKO Polyot of Omsk, are analogs
of the USAF Navstar Global Positioning System.



I said last issue that GE 5 had not been launched, even though I was
present to see it go up! Oops. It is an Alcatel Spacebus 2000. Thanks to
Thierry Vallee for catching me on that one. Also, David Gendre points
out that ST-1 is an Astrium Eurostar 2000+.

Table of Recent Launches


Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.

Sep 1 0325 ZY-2 Chang Zheng 4B Taiyuan Imaging 50A
Sep 5 0943 Sirius 2 Proton-K/DM3 Baykonur LC81L Commsat 51A
Sep 6 2233 Eutelsat W1 Ariane 44P Kourou ELA2 Commsat 52A
Sep 8 1245 Atlantis Space Shuttle Kennedy LC39B Spaceship 53A
Sep 14 2254 Astra 2B ) Ariane 5 Kourou ELA3 Commsat 54A
GE 7 ) Commsat 54B
Sep 21 1022 NOAA 16 Titan 23G Vandenberg SLC4W Weather 55A
Sep 25 1010 Kosmos-2372 Zenit-2 Baykonur LC45 Imaging 56A
Sep 26 1005 Tiungsat-1 ) Dnepr Baykonur LC109 Imaging 57A
MegSat-1 ) Science 57B
UniSat ) Science 57C
SaudiSat 1A ) Commsat 57D
SaudiSat 1B ) Commsat 57E
Sep 29 0930 Kosmos-2373 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC31 Imaging 58A
Oct 1 2200 GE-1A Proton-K/DM3 Baykonur LC81L Commsat 59A
Oct 6 2300 N-SAT-110 Ariane 42L Kourou ELA2 Commsat 60A
Oct 9 0538 HETE-2 Pegasus Kwajalein RW06/24 Astronomy 61A
Oct 11 2317 Discovery Space Shuttle Kennedy LC39A Spaceship 62A
Oct 13 1412 Kosmos-2374 ) Proton-K/DM-2 Baykonur Navsat 63A
Kosmos-2375 ) Navsat 63B
Kosmos-2376 ) Navsat 63C
Oct 16 2127 Progress M-43 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1 Cargo 64A

Current Shuttle Processing Status


Orbiters               Location   Mission    Launch Due   

OV-102 Columbia Palmdale OMDP
OV-103 Discovery ISS PMA-2 STS-92 2000 Oct ISS 3A
OV-104 Atlantis OPF Bay 3 STS-98 2001 Feb? ISS 5A
OV-105 Endeavour OPF Bay 2 STS-97 2000 Nov? ISS 4A

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SpaceRef staff editor.