Status Report

Jonathan’s Space Report No. 574 2006 Dec 11

By SpaceRef Editor
December 11, 2006
Filed under ,

Shuttle and Station

A spacewalk and a Shuttle launch highlighted the past month in the International Space Station program.

The Expedition 14 crew of Mike Lopez-Alegria, Mikhail Tyurin and Tomas Reiter continues work aboard the International Space Station. On Nov 22-23 Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin made a spacewalk from the Pirs airlock module. They used spacesuits Orlan M-25 and M-27 respectively, according to Andrey Krasil’nikov, who also provided some of the times below. The airlock was depressurized by 2346 UTC on Nov 22, but the crew had problems opening the outer hatch; this was finally accomplished at 0017 UTC on Nov 23. At 0057 UTC, Tyurin launched a 3-gram spherical passive satellite for the Element 21 Golf Company of Canada, with the help of a swing from a golf club. The astronauts moved to the aft end of Zvezda. They inspected but failed to free a stuck antenna on the Progress M-58 cargo ship, and then relocated the WAL2 antenna on Zvezda which is to be used for docking of the European ATV cargo ship. At around 0330 UTC they jettisoned two small cleaning towels. Moving forward to the Zvezda PKhO compartment they installed the BTN-M1 neutron flux experiment; at 0528 they jettisoned three soft thermal covers with masses of less than 1 kg. The astronauts returned to Pirs and closed the hatch at 0555 UTC, repressurizing the airlock at 0559 UTC for a depressurized duration of 6 hours 13 min.

Space Shuttle OV-103 Discovery was launched at 0147 on Dec 10 on mission STS-116, Station flight 12A.1, using solid rocket boosters RSRM-95 and external tank ET-123. Target orbit was 58 x 220 km x 51.6 deg; the OMS-2 burn at 0225 UTC raised this to 225 x 250 km. By Dec 11 at 1000 UTC it was in a 298 x 347 km orbit closing in on ISS; Discovery docked with the Station at 2212 UTC on Dec 11.

Discovery will dock with Station and install the P5 truss. During a series of spacewalks, the crew will retract the port P6 solar array wing (SAW-4B) and activate the truss electrical and cooling system. They will also stow debris protection panels on the Station for installation on the Zvezda module. After undocking, Discovery will deploy five small satellites from launchers on the ICC cargo carrier in the payload bay. Astronaut Sunita Williams will replace Thomas Reiter on the long-stay Expedition 14 crew.

Below I give my usual estimated cargo manifest for the mission; thanks especially to Kim Campbell from Spacehab for proving some good numbers.

 Location       Cargo                            Mass
 Bay 1-2        Orbiter Docking System           1800 kg?
 Bay 3          Tunnel Adapter                    112 kg
 Bay 4-5        Spacehab Logistics Module        5399 kg
 Bay 5P?        APC with SPDU                      20 kg?
 Bay 7-8        Truss segment P5                 1860 kg
 Bay 11-12      Integrated Cargo Carrier          839 kg  ) tot 2492 kg
                STP-H2, FRAM                     1398 kg  )
                Service Module Debris Panels      100 kg? )
                RAFT-1                              4 kg  )
                MARScom                             3 kg  )
                MEPSI 2A/2B                         3 kg  )
                ANDE launch cylinder               20 kg? )
                ANDE-MAA                           50 kg  )
                ANDE-FCAL                          75 kg  )
 Sill           OBSS 202                          450 kg? 
 Sill           RMS  303                          390 kg  
 Total                                          12523 kg

Ave Atque Vale

The Mars Global Surveyor probe has fallen silent after 10 years in space, the longest operating Mars probe in history. MGS was launched in 1996 Nov, entered Mars orbit in 1997 Sep, and after an extended aerobraking phase began its primary mission in 1999 Mar. The last definite signals from MGS were received at around 0h UTC on Nov 3; the spacecraft’s solar array mechanism appears to have run into problems.

Probe        Mars arrival    End of ops.     Duration at Mars

Mariner 9        1971 Nov        1972 Oct        0.9 yr
Mars-2           1971 Nov        1972 Aug        0.6 yr
Mars-3           1971 Dec        1972 Aug?       0.6 yr?
Mars-5           1974 Feb        1974 Mar        0.0 yr
Viking Orbiter 1 1976 Jun        1980 Aug        4.1 yr
Viking Lander 2  1976 Jul        1982 Nov        6.3 yr
Viking Orbiter 2 1976 Aug        1978 Jul        1.9 yr
Viking Lander 2  1976 Sep        1980 Apr        3.6 yr
Fobos-2          1989 Jan        1989 Mar        0.2 yr
Mars Pathfinder  1997 Jul        1997 Oct        0.2 yr
MGS              1997 Sep        2006 Nov        9.1 yr
Mars Odyssey     2001 Oct        Active          5.1 yr
Mars Express     2003 Dec        Active          3.0 yr
Spirit           2004 Jan        Active          2.9 yr
Opportunity      2004 Jan        Active          2.8 yr
MRO              2006 Mar        Active          0.8 yr


China launched its fourth Fengyun-2 (‘Wind and Cloud 2’) geostationary weather satellite on Dec 8 at 0053 UTC. The Chang Zheng 3A rocket put FY-2D in geostationary transfer orbit and the spacecraft made its FG-36 apogee motor burn at 1807 UTC the same day. The apogee motor was then probably ejected from the spinning satellite, which carries a visible-IR radiometer. The payload has been cataloged as 2006-53B, in a 35786 x 36478 km x 2.6 deg geosynchronous drift orbit; the final stage is in a 226 x 36221 km x 24.9 deg geostationary transfer orbit and is currently cataloged as 2006-53A, although Space Command may change these designations.


Arianespace launched Ariane 5ECA vehicle L534 from Kourou on Dec 8. This flight V174 mission carried two communications satellites. WildBlue 1 for the WildBlue Communications broadband internet company is a Loral 1300 Ka-band satellite with a dry mass of 2000 kg and a fuelled mass of 4735 kg. The lower satellite on V174 is AMC 18 for SES Americom. This smaller C-band cable TV distribution satellite is a Lockheed A2100A with a dry mass of 918 kg and launch mass of 2081 kg. The EPC core stage reached a -1282 x 233 km x 6.9 deg insertion orbit; the ESC-A upper stage then fired to put the payloads in geostationary transfer orbit of 265 x 35700 km x 2.0 deg.

Table of Recent Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Oct 13 2056   DirecTV 9S  )     Ariane 5ECA     Kourou ELA3      Comms       43
              Optus D1    )                                      Comms       43
              LDREX 2     )                                      Tech        43
Oct 19 1628   METOP A           Soyuz-2-1A      Baykonur LC31    Weather     44A
Oct 23 1340   Progress M-58     Soyuz-U         Baykonur LC1     Cargo       45A
Oct 23 2334   SJ-6-2A )         Chang Zheng 4B  Taiyuan          Sigint?     46A
              SJ-6-2B )                                          Sigint?     46B
Oct 26 0052   STEREO Ahead  )   Delta 7925-10L  Canaveral SLC17B Science     47A
              STEREO Behind )                                    Science     47B
Oct 28 1620   Xinnuo 2          Chang Zheng 3B  Xichang          Comms       48A
Oct 30 2349   XM-Blues          Zenit-3SL       SL Odyssey       Radio       49A
Nov  4 1353   DMSP 5D-3 F-17    Delta 4M        Vandenberg SLC6  Weather     50A
Nov  8 2001   Badr 4            Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms      51A
Nov 17 1912   GPS 58            Delta 7925-9.5  Canaveral SLC17A Navigation  52A
Dec  8 0053   Fengyun 2D        Chang Zheng 3A  Xichang          Weather     53B
Dec  8 2208   WildBlue 1 )      Ariane 5ECA     Kourou ELA3      Comms       54A
              AMC 18     )                                       Comms       54B
Dec 10 0147   Discovery STS-116 Shuttle         Kennedy LC39B    Spaceship   55A
|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter :   |
|  USA                               |       |
|                                                                         |
| JSR:                                 |
| Back issues:                  |
| Subscribe/unsub: mail, (un)subscribe jsr  |   

SpaceRef staff editor.