- Status Report
- Feb 6, 2023
Jonathan’s Space Report No. 492 2003 Jan 13
Apologies for the non-appearance of JSR during the past month; I’ve been
busy with other things but I now hope to resume normal irregular service.
Shuttle and Station
At 2005 UTC on Dec 2 Endeavour undocked from the Station with the
Expedition 5 crew aboard. Shortly afterwards, at 2205, the US Air Force MEPSI
experiment was launched from a canister in the payload bay. MEPSI is
pair of 1 kg picosatellites connected by a tether and is a prototype for
a miniature inspector satellite.
After several days of bad weather delays, Endeavour landed on KSC runway
33 at 1937:12 UTC on Dec 7.
The next Shuttle launch is STS-107, a research mission using orbiter
OV-102 Columbia. The mission was delayed from last year; here I repeat
the payload details from JSR 483. Masses are guesswork.
STS-107 payload bay manifest
Mass (kg) Bay 1 Tunnel Adapter 500? Bay 2-3 Tunnel 800? Bay 4-7 Spacehab RDM 8000? Bay 10 FREESTAR MPESS 2000? Keel 11 OARE 53 Bay 12-13 EDO pallet 3200? ------ Total 14553?
The Spacehab Research Double Module is making its first flight. It
carries a selection of microgravity experiments including the
Combustion Module 2 racks, the Vapor Compression Distillation rack which
is a prototype for a Station water recycling system, a centrifuge, a
refrigerator/freezer, and three Animal Enclosure Modules carrying a
total of 13 rats. Educational experiments include an ant colony,
spiders, bees and Medaka fish. The RDM is pressurized and connected to
the cabin by the Tunnel and the Tunnel Adapter (which has a hatch that
could be used for emergency spacewalks).
The FREESTAR (Fast Reaction Experiments Enabling Science Technology
Applications and Research) is a Hitchhiker science payload managed by
NASA-Goddard. FREESTAR uses an MPESS cross-bay bridge and is a followon
to the USMP series. It carries the Critical Viscosity of Xenon
experiment, as well as an ozone spectrometer, a detector to study solar
radiation output, and an Israeli experiment with UV and IR cameras to
study dust and aerosols in the atmosphere in the Mediterraean and the
Sahara. An Israeli astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, will be flying on the
The OARE is an acceleration measuring package installed in the bottom of
the payload bay. The EDO (Extended Duration Orbiter) pallet contains
hydrogen and oxygen tanks used to generate electricity for the long
The Astra 1K satellite was deorbited on Dec 10 over the Pacific. The
satellite had been stranded in low orbit after an upper stage failure.
The first Ariane 5ECA launch, V517, ended in failure on Dec 11 when the
first stage Vulcain 2 engine nozzle failed three minutes after launch
because of a leak in the cooling system. The vehicle reached an apogee
of about 140 km and then fell back towards the Atlantic, destroyed by
range safety seven minutes after launch.
The Ariane 5ECA uses slightly enhanced EAP solid boosters, a stretched
EPC first stage with a new Vulcain 2 engine, and an entirely new ESC-A
upper stage. The ESC-A is a derivative of the Ariane 4 upper stage but
with the liquid hydrogen tank from the Ariane 5G first stage. It uses
the HM7 engine.
The payloads aboard the Ariane 5ECA were Stentor and Hot Bird 7. Hot
Bird 7 was a 3300 kg Eurostar 2000+ satellite for Eutelsat with a
Ka-band communications payload. Stentor was an experimental French
communications technology satellite using the Alcatel Spacebus 3000 bus
with Eurostar 3000 components. It carried an S400 liquid apogee engine
as well as SEP and Fakel electric xenon thrusters; the communications
payload included Ku-band and EHF transponders. Mass was 2210 kg.
TDRS J was launched on Dec 5 by Lockheed Martin Atlas IIA flight AC-144.
It became TDRS 10 on reaching operational orbit. The TDRS satellites
provide data relay services for NASA; TDRS 10 is the last of three
Boeing 601 class satellites which supersede the original TRW TDRS
series. Mass is 1514 kg dry, 3189 full.
The Japanese NASDA space agency’s Midori-2 (ADEOS II) earth observing
satellite was launched on Dec 14 from Tanegashima on an H-2A-202 with a
type 5S fairing. This was the first sun-synchronous launch of the H-2A,
which launched southbound and made a single burn of the second stage to
reach an 804 x 806 km x 98.7 deg orbit. ADEOS-II carries a microwave
radiometer, imagers, a sea wind speed sensor, and other remote sensing
Secondary payloads ejected from the H-2A second stage were WEOS (Whale
Earth Observing Satellite) for the Chiba Insitute of Technology, FedSat
for Australia, and Mu-Lab-Sat for NASDA. WEOS relays data from
transmitters attached to whales; the 58 kg Fedsat carries a
magnetometer, a GPS navigation experiment, a UHF/Ka band communications
experiment, and an experimental computer. The 54 kg Mu-Lab-Sat
(Micro-Lab-Sat) tested the separation mechanism for the Selene moon
Arianespace launched the penultimate Ariane 44L with the NSS-6 satellite
for New Skies (the commercial Intelsat spinoff) on Dec 17. NSS-6 is a
Lockheed Martin A2100AX with a launch mass of 4575 kg and a Ku and Ka
band communications payload. The satellite reached geostationary
orbit in late December.
ISC Kosmotras launched a Dnepr rocket on Dec 20 from Baykonur. The Dnepr
is a refurbished Yuzhnoe R-36M2 ballistic missile. The second stage of
the Dnepr fell in the Pacific while the third stage reached orbit 11 min
after launch and deployed six satellites. The main payload on this
flight was an inert mockup of both the TransOrbital Trailblazer lunar
probe payload and its attached solid motor, probably with a total mass
of at least 200 kg and a size around 2m long. Five much smaller
satellites were also carried, each with a mass of around 10 kg: the
Saudisat 1C test satellite for King Abdulaziz City for Science and
Technology; the Latinsat-A and Latinsat-B communications relays for
Aprize Argentina, a spinoff of Virginia-based Aprize Satellite and
SpaceQuest; the Unisat-2 technology satellite from the University of
Roma/La Sapienza, and the Rubin-2 technology satellite for OHB/Carlo
Gavazzi Space. The satellites were placed in 630 x 670 km x 64.6 deg
orbits, while the Dnepr third stage ended up in a 600 x 1004 km x 64.6
A US-KS Oko early warning satellite built by NPO Lavochkin was launched
on Dec 24 by a TsSKB-Progress Molniya-M rocket with a BL upper stage.
The satellite, named Kosmos-2393 after launch, is in a 545 x 39717 km x
62.8 deg orbit.
Uragan-M satellites 791, 792 and 793 were launched on Dec 25 and named
Kosmos-2394, 2395 and 2396. The satellites form part of the GLONASS
navigation system. They were launched on a Krunichev Proton-K rocket
with an Energiya Blok DM-2 upper stage, the first use of the DM series
since the failure with Astra 1K. The Proton-K third stage and the DM
upper adapter entered a 162 x 185 km x 64.9 deg orbit at 0748 UTC; they
were not cataloged by Space Command and must have reentered rapidly. The
DM stage fired at 0840 UTC to enter a 196 x 19137 km x 64.6 deg transfer
orbit and then again at 1132 UTC to circularize the orbit at apogee. The
three Uragan-M satellites separated between 1135 and 1211 UTC. Two SOZ
ullage motors separated from the DM at the beginning of its second burn.
The Uragan-M satellites are built by PO Polyot (Omsk).
China launched Shenzhou 4 at 1640 UTC on Dec 29. This is the fourth
automated test flight of the Soyuz-like Shenzhou spaceship, and it is
expected that the next flight will carry China’s first astronauts. SZ-4
carried two dummy astronauts with equipment to monitor the life support
system. The spacecraft was placed in a 198 x 331 kmx 42.4 deg orbit,
which was raised to 330 x 337 km x 42.4 deg at 2335 UTC on Dec 29. The
orbital module separated on Jan 5 to operate independently in orbit, and
shortly afterwards at about 1026 UTC the main spacecraft fired its
deorbit engine for a landing in Inner Mongolia at 1116 UTC.
International Launch Services’ first commercial launch of the Krunichev
Proton-M/Briz-M on Dec 29 placed the Nimiq 2 satellite in orbit for
Telesat Canada. Nimiq 2 is a Lockheed Martin A2100AX satellite with
Ku-band and Ka-band communications transponders for television and
broadband data, and has a launch mass of 3600 kg.
The Proton-M is an uprated version of the standard Proton-K; the Briz-M
stage, also built by Krunichev, is used in place of the old Energiya DM
stage. The Proton-M was launched at 2316 UTC on Dec 29 and put the
Briz/Nimiq stack on a suborbital trajectory at 2326 UTC. The Briz first
burn lasted from 2327 to 2338 UTC and put it in a 213 x 213 km x 51.5
deg parking orbit. The second Briz burn was from 0016 to 0043 UTC on Dec
30 and the planned intermediate orbit was about 608 x 17142 km x 49.6
deg. At this point the DTB auxiliary propellant tank separated; it has
not been cataloged by Space Command. A third Briz burn from 0045 to 0050
UTC raised apogee to geostationary altitude, with a 946 x 35783 x 49.0
deg orbit according to Space Command elements. The fourth burn from 0551
to 0558 UTC put the combination in a 7904 x 35886 km x 16.5 deg transfer
orbit. Briz-M separated at 0610 UTC and the Nimiq satellite started
using its own liquid apogee engine to raise its orbit, reaching
geostationary altitude of 35779 x 35789 km x 0.1 deg sometime between
Jan 3 and Jan 10.
The Coriolis satellite was launched on Jan 6. Coriolis is mission P98-2
in the USAF Space Test Program, and carries two instruments which may be
used in the joint civil/military NPOESS weather satellite program. The
Naval Research Lab’s Windsat polarimetric radiometer measures microwave
radiation to study the strength and direction of ocean surface winds;
the Solar Mass Ejection Imager uses a precisely calibrated camera to
take pictures of solar eruptions which can affect the ionosphere.
Coriolis is a Spectrum Astro SA-200HP spacecraft with a mass of 745 kg
plus 82 kg of hydrazine propellant.
Coriolos was launched aboard Titan II G-4 from Vandenberg at 1419 UTC on
Jan 6. The Titan second stage main engine shut down at 1424 UTC in a 219
x 824 km orbit; small thrusters on the second stage fired near apogee at
1514 UTC to raise the orbit to 278 x 827 km, and Coriolis then
separated. By Jan 11 its own propulsion system had raised the orbit to
489 x 849 km x 98.7 deg.
NASA’s ICESAT satellite was launched on Jan 13 by a Boeing Delta 7320-10.
The two-stage Delta entered a 185 x 597 km x 94.0 deg transfer orbit
11 min after launch, and then circularized the orbit 1 hr after
launch to 586 x 594 km x 94.0 deg. ICESAT separated, followed by
the RH-DPAF adapter cone, and finally the CHIPSat astronomy satellite.
ICESAT is part of NASA’s Earth science program and was orginally EOS
Laser ALT-1. It carries the GLAS Geoscience Laser Altimeter System, a
1-meter telescope with a laser for lidar observations of the Earth and
in particular the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets. ICESAT is a Ball
BCP-2000 spacecraft with a mass of 300 kg.
CHIPSat is a NASA University Explorer (UNEX) mission, led by UC Berkeley
and carrying the Cosmic Hot Interstellar Plasma instrument.
CHIPS has a 5 x 26 degree feild of view and will obtain spectra of
the diffuse EUV background in the 90-260 Angstrom range. One of the
key goals is to find out which spectral lines dominate the emission
from hot gas in the solar neighbourhood. CHIPSat was built by SpaceDev
and has a mass of 60 kg.
Leon van Speybroeck
I am sad to report the death on Dec 25 of Leon van Speybroeck, the
scientist who designed the remarkable X-ray telescopes aboard the
Einstein and Chandra observatories. Leon, who had the office just across
the corridor from me, was a key figure in the development of X-ray
astronomy, perhaps not as famous as he should have been because of his
gentle, self-effacing modesty. He had just won the Rossi Prize, and was
to speak at the January AAS meeting in Seattle, but unexpectedly fell
ill in early December. He’s a big loss to astronomy, a very smart guy,
and one of the nicest people I’ve known.
Table of Recent Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL. DES.
Nov 20 2239 Eutelsat W5 Delta 4M+(4,2) Canaveral SLC37B Comms 51A Nov 24 0049 Endeavour ) Shuttle Kennedy LC39A Spaceship 52A P1 ) Station module Nov 25 2304 Astra 1K Proton-K Baykonur LC81/23 Comms 53A Nov 28 0607 AlSAT-1 ) Kosmos-3M Plesetsk LC132/1 Imaging 54A Mozhaets ) Technology 54B Rubin-3-DSI ) Technology 54C Dec 2 2205 MEPSI - Endeavour, LEO Technology 52B Dec 5 0242 TDRS 10 Atlas IIA Canaveral SLC36 Comms 55A Dec 11 2221 Stentor ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3 Comms F03 Hot Bird 7 ) Comms F03 Dec 14 0131 Midori 2 ) H2A-202 Tanegashima Rem.Sensing 56A WEOS ) Rem.Sensing 56C FedSat ) Technology 56B MuLabSat ) Technology 56D Dec 17 2304 NSS 6 Ariane 44L Kourou ELA2 Comms 57A Dec 20 1700 Trailblazer ) Dnepr Baykonur LC109 Dummy 58E Latinsat A ) Comms 58H Latinsat B ) Comms 58B Saudisat 1C ) Comms 58C Unisat-2 ) Technology 58D Rubin-2 ) Technology 58A Dec 24 1220 Kosmos-2393 Molniya-M Plesetsk LC16/2 Early warn 59A Dec 25 0737 Kosmos-2394 ) Proton-K/DM-2 Baykonur LC81/23 Navigation 60A Kosmos-2395 ) 60B Kosmos-2396 ) 60C Dec 29 1640 Shenzhou 4 Chang Zheng 2F Taiyuan Spaceship 61A Dec 29 2316 Nimiq 2 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC81/24 Comms 62A Jan 6 1419 Coriolis Titan II Vandenberg SLC4W Environment 01A Jan 13 0045 ICESAT ) Delta 7320-10 Vandenberg SLC2W Environment 02A CHIPSat ) Astronomy 02B
Current Shuttle Processing Status
Orbiters Location Mission Launch Due
OV-102 Columbia LC39A STS-107 2003 Jan 16 Spacehab OV-103 Discovery OPF Maintenance OV-104 Atlantis OPF STS-114 2003 Mar 1 ISS ULF1 OV-105 Endeavour OPF STS-115 2003 May 23 ISS 12A
.-------------------------------------------------------------------------. | Jonathan McDowell | phone : (617) 495-7176 | | Harvard-Smithsonian Center for | |
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