Status Report

Jonathan’s Space Report No. 442 29 Dec 2000

By SpaceRef Editor
December 29, 2000
Filed under ,

The last issue of the (Gregorian) millennium… Happy New Year to all.
I have updated a number of the launch log files on the web site.

Shuttle and Stations


Progress M1-4 redocked to Zarya’s nadir port on Dec 26 at 1054 UTC.
The redocking testing out a fix to software that caused problems
in the vehicle’s first docking attempt on Nov 18. Expedition One
Pilot Yuriy Gidzenko completed the docking manually using
the remote control TORU system. (Gidzenko is designated “Soyuz
Commander” by the US, but “Pilot” in the most recent Energia press

The next Shuttle flight is STS-98. Atlantis will deliver the Destiny lab
module to the Station. Rollout of STS-98 to the pad is being delayed
because some wiring in the SRBs needs repair. During the STS-97 launch,
the SRB separation system had problems when one explosive separation
cartridge failed to fire; a backup system successfully separated the

Current Launches


Six small communications satellites were destroyed in a launch failure
on Dec 27. The 11K68 Tsiklon-3 rocket took off from Plesetsk, but the
S5M third stage failed and the vehicle crashed a few thousand km
downrange near Wrangel Island. The payload is believed to have been
three Strela-3 military commsats and three Gonets D-1 sats, the civilian
version of Strela-3. These small cylindrical satellites were designed by
NPO PM and are built by AO Polyot; they were intended for a 1400 km
circular orbit inclined at 83 degrees. Launch time was 1856 UTC
according to Interfax. The 11K68 is based on the R-36 (NATO designation
SS-9) two-stage ICBM, with the added S5M stage. It first flew in 1977
and is built by Yuzhmash in the Ukraine. If this launch followed the
profile of the successful Koronas-I launch of 1994 (the only one I have
details on), the S5M stage would have separated from the 11S692 second
stage 4.5min after launch and begun its first burn at around 5min 20s.
The impact zone in the East Siberian Sea suggests that the failure
happened during the first burn, at an altitude between 170 and 200 km,
rather than a second burn failure in which the vehicle would have
completed one orbit. The last launch failure of a Tsiklon-3 was in 1994.
This was the fourth launch failure of the year, following a Zenit-3SL,
a Mu-V, and a Kosmos-3M.

Arianespace launched the 8th Ariane 5G on Dec 20. Flight V138 (508)
carried two communications satellites to geostationary transfer orbit.
The upper payload, Astra 2D, is a Boeing 376HP spin-stabilized satellite, with
a dry mass of around 700 kg. It is owned by the Luxembourg-based company
SES and will broadcast to the British Isles. Astra 2D was in
a 292 x 35835 km x 2.2 deg transfer orbit on Dec 22; no new element
sets have been released since, and it may have fired its Star 30 solid
apogee kick motor.

Underneath the SYLDA 5 adapter Ariane V138 carried GE 8, a C-band TV and
data distribution satellite for GE Americom. It is jointly owne by AT&T
Alascom for Alaskan communications, and is also called Aurora III.
Americom and Alascom were originally both RCA subsidiaries, and in the
satellite communications game Alascom has continued to use the Americom
network; GE operates the satellite.

Americom/Alascom satellite

    Americom name  Alascom name   Type            Operating dates
RCA Satcom 5 Aurora I RCA Adv Satcom 1982-1991
GE Satcom C-5 Aurora II GE 3000 1991-2000+
GE 8 Aurora III LMMS A2100A 2000-

GE 8 is a Lockheed Martin A2100A with a launch mass of 2015 kg and
a dry mass of 919 kg. It has 24 C-band transponders. By Dec 26
GE 8 had reached an 18656 x 35760 km x 0.4 deg orbit on its way to GEO.

Ariane V138’s EPS upper stage carried an ASAP5 small payload attachment
ring with a special camera system and the LDREX experimental antenna for
Japan’s NASDA space agency. LDREX was a 6-m diameter antenna which deployed
40 minutes after launch, to test the deployment mechanism for the larger
antenna to be used on the ETS-8 satellite. After the test the antenna was
jettisoned. LDREX has not yet been separately cataloged, and NASDA
does not seem to have issued any comment on the success of the deployment.

China launched the second Beidou navigation satellite on Dec 20.
The CZ-3A rocket was launched from Xichang at 1620 UTC and entered
parking orbit at 1630 UTC. A second burn of the third stage put
Beidou in geostationary transfer orbit at around 1642 UTC. The
Beidou satellite is based on the DFH-3 comsat and has a mass of
around 2200 kg including its FY-25 solid apogee motor.
On Dec 25 Beidou was in a 190 x 41870 km x 25.0 deg transfer orbit.

Telemetry has been received from AMSAT-Oscar-40 after two weeks of
silence, confirming that the recently launched amateur radio satellite
is still functioning.

Major Suborbital Launches 2000

I don’t normally include suborbital launches in my newsletter because it’s
so hard to get comprehensive information. However here is an attempt
to summarize the larger suborbital vehicles launched this year. Only one
launch by the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces is known, but there
were probably many more. Apogees with question marks reflect typical
apogees of that type of rocket.

 Date         Vehicle             Mission       Site               Apogee/km
2000 Jan 19 Minuteman 2 MSLS IFT-4 Vandenberg LC03 1600
2000 Jan 19 Minuteman 2 PLV PLV/EKV Meck 230
2000 Feb 25 Black Brant XII NASA 40.08UE Poker Flat Pad 4? 1000?
2000 Feb 26 Black Brant XII GEODESIC Poker Flat Pad 3? 1000
2000 Mar 8 Peacekeeper GT29PA Vandenberg LF05 1600?
2000 Apr 30 Trident D-5 – SSBN 742, ER ?
2000 Apr 30 Trident D-5 – SSBN 742, ER ?
2000 May 24 Minuteman 3 PRP FTM-02 Vandenberg LF09 1600?
2000 May 28 Minuteman 2 TLV-1 Vandenberg LF06 1600?
2000 Jun 9 Minuteman 3 GT172GM Vandenberg LF09 1600?
2000 Jul 8 Minuteman 2 MSLS IFT-5 Vandenberg LF03 1600?
2000 Jul 8 Minuteman 2 PLV PLV/EKV Meck 230?
2000 Sep 21 Trident D-5 – HMS Vengeance, ER ?
2000 Sep 28 Minuteman 3 GT173GM Vandenberg LF04 1600?
2000 Sep 28 Minuteman 3 GT174GM Vandenberg LF09 1600?
2000 Nov 1 UR-100NUTTKh – Baykonur ?
2000 Dec 4 SS-520 SS-520-2 Svalrak 1000
2000 Dec 16 DF-31 – Taiyuan ?

Smaller, intermediate altitude rockets:

 2000 Feb 12  Black Brant IX      NASA 36.186UG White Sands         350?
2000 Feb 26 Black Brant IX NASA 36.162DG White Sands 350?
2000 Mar 27 Skylark 7 TEXUS 37 Esrange 243
2000 Apr 2 Skylark 7 TEXUS 38 Esrange 240?
2000 May 6 Black Brant IX NASA 36.183UG White Sands 350?
2000 Jul 6 Black Brant IX NASA 36.166UM White Sands 350?
2000 Jul 7 Terrier Oriole – Wallops Island 368
2000 Jul 17 Black Brant VIII NASA 27.143UE White Sands 300?
2000 Jul 26 Black Brant IX NASA 36.185GS White Sands LC36 350?
2000 Aug 5 Black Brant IX NASA 36.189UG White Sands 406
2000 Sep 5 Black Brant IX NASA 36.151US White Sands 350?
2000 Sep 21 Shahab 3 – Shahpur? ?
2000 Oct 26 Black Brant VC NASA 21.126CE White Sands 275?

Table of Recent Launches


Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.
Nov 10 1714 GPS SVN 41 Delta 7925 Canaveral SLC17A Navsat 71A
Nov 16 0107 PAS 1R ) Ariane 5G Kourou ELA3 Commsat 72A
AMSAT-Oscar-40) Commsat 72B
STRV-1c ) Tech 72C
STRV-1d ) Tech 72D
Nov 16 0132 Progress M1-4 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1 Cargo 73A
Nov 20 2300 QuickBird 1 Kosmos-3M Plesetsk LC132 Imaging 74A
Nov 21 1824 EO-1 ) Delta 7320 Vandenberg SLC2W Imaging 75A
SAC-C ) Imaging 75B
Munin ) Science 75C
Nov 21 2356 Anik F-1 Ariane 44L Kourou ELA2 Commsat 76A
Nov 30 1959 Sirius 3 Proton-K/DM3 Baykonur LC81L Commsat 77A
Dec 1 0306 Endeavour) Space Shuttle Kennedy LC39 Spaceship 78A
ITS P6 ) Station seg.
Dec 5 1232 EROS A1 Start-1 Svobodniy Imaging 79A
Dec 6 0247 USA 155 Atlas 2AS Canaveral SLC36A Commsat? 80A
Dec 20 0026 Astra 2D ) Ariane 5G Kourou ELA3 Commsat 81A
GE 8 ) Commsat 81B
LDREX ) Tech 81C
Dec 20 1620 Beidou CZ-3A Xichang LC2 Navsat 82A
Dec 27 1856 Gonets D-1 ) Tsiklon-3 Plesetsk LC32 Commsat F03
Gonets D-1 )
Gonets D-1 )
Strela-3 )
Strela-3 )
Strela-3 )

Current Shuttle Processing Status


Orbiters               Location   Mission    Launch Due   

OV-102 Columbia Palmdale OMDP
OV-103 Discovery OPF Bay 1 STS-102 2001 Mar 1 ISS 5A.1
OV-104 Atlantis VAB Bay 3 STS-98 2001 Jan 21? ISS 5A
OV-105 Endeavour OPF Bay 2 STS-100 2001 Apr 19 ISS 6A

| Jonathan McDowell | phone : (617) 495-7176 |
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SpaceRef staff editor.