Status Report

Jonathan’s Space Report No. 596 2008 May 27, Somerville, MA

By SpaceRef Editor
May 27, 2008
Filed under ,
Jonathan’s Space Report No. 596 2008 May 27, Somerville, MA

Shuttle and Station

Aboard the International Space Station, astronauts Sergey Volkov, Oleg Kononenko and Garrett Reisman continue the EO-17 expedition. The Soyuz TMA-12 ferry craft is docked to the Pirs module, and the Jules Verne cargo ship is at the Zvezda port.

Progress M-64 was launched on May 14 and docked with Zarya on May 16.


The second European Galileo navigation system test satellite left the launch pad on Apr 26 at 2216 UTC on a Soyuz-FG/Fregat.

The spacecraft was built for ESA and European Satellite Navigation Industries by Astrium using a Thales Proteus spacecraft bus; the satellite was integrated by Thales in its Rome factory (which I believe is the former Selenia Spazio plant?). GIOVE B has a mass of 530 kg.

The Soyuz-FG placed Giove/Fregat in a suborbital path; the first Fregat burn placed the stack in a 170 km parking orbit. At 0201 UTC on Apr 27 Giove B reached a 23118 x 23246 km orbit inclined 56 deg.


The Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle flight C9 placed the Cartosat-2A imaging satlelite in a 620 x 661 km x 97.9 deg polar orbit on Apr 28, together with a cluster of small satellites. The Indian Mini Satellite 1 is a small imaging satellite with a mass of around 60 kg. The other payloads were nanosatellites with masses from 1 to 7 kg: Cute-1.7/APD-II for the Tokyo Institute of Technology; AAUSat-II for the University of Aalborg (Denmark); Can X-2 for UTIAS (the University of Toronto Institiute of Aerospace Studies); Compass-1 for the Fachhochschule Aachen (Germany); Delfi-C3 for the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands); SEEDS 2 for Nihon University (Tokyo); and Can X-6, a collaboration between UTIAS and Com Dev International. Can X-6 carries a payload for relaying identification beacon data from shipping. Rubin-8-AIS remains attached to the PSLV final stage and is also for locating ships.

AAUSat-II carries a gamma ray burst detector for the Danish National Space Center.

Amos 3

The Israeli Amos 3 communications satellite was launched on Apr 28 by Zenit-3SLB from Baykonur. The Blok DM-SLB made three burns to a low parking orbit, a 180 x 39064 km x 48.8 deg transfer orbit, and a 34225 x 39368 km x 0.7 deg near-geosynchronous orbit where it deployed Amos 3. This deployment orbit is claimed by the Amos operators to be slightly different from the target one, although Land Launch, which operates the Zenit-3SLB, denies the launch vehicle was at fault. I am counting the launch as a success. By May 12 Amos 3 was in a 35762 x 35928 km x 0.1 deg orbit drifting at 0.8 deg W per day.

AMC 14

The AMC 14 satellite has been moved to a 16846 x 35605 km x 19.5 deg transfer orbit and is now expected to be moved to an inclined geosynchronous orbit.

Galaxy 18

A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL was launched from the Odyssey platform in the Pacific and put Intelsat’s Galaxy 18 satellite in transfer orbit. By May 22 it was in a 9423 x 35609 km x 0.1 deg orbit.


Antonio Elias of Orbital very kindly provided me with some details of the C/NOFS launch, via the forum.

The L-1011 aircraft took off from Kwaj at 1604:00 UTC on Apr 16, and dropped the Pegasus at 1702:48. Ignition of stage 1 followed, as normal, 5 seconds later. The drop point was 10.5229N 167.7562E (geodetic), which is a little to the north of the HETE-2 drop point.

C/NOFS is currently in a 405 x 851 km x 13.0 deg orbit.


The Mars Phoenix probe landed on Mars at 2338:24 UTC on May 25. Landing site was near 68.22N 234.3E (areocentric), the Green Valley site among the Scandia Colles in Vastitas Borealis.


Russia launched three Gonets-class low orbit communications satellites on May 23. Unusually, they were given Kosmos designations – they may actually be the Strela-3 military version of Gonets. The launch also carried Yubilyeniy (Jubilee), a test satellite with an amateur radio payload to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Sputnik last year.

The Gonets satellites are in a 1476 x 1510 km x 82.5 deg orbit; the depleted Briz stage is in a 1200 x 1506 km orbit.


China launched the FY-3A polar orbiting weather satellite on May 27. The FY-3 series replaces the older FY-1 polar system (FY-2 satellites make up the geostationary system and will be replaced by the FY-4 series). FY-3A entered an 806 x 810 km x 98.8 deg orbit; the final stage is in a 703 x 801 km orbit.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Mar  9 0403   Jules Verne ATV   Ariane 5ES       Kourou ELA3       Cargo     08A
Mar 11 0628   Endeavour(STS-123) Space Shuttle   Kennedy LC39A     Spaceship 09A
Mar 13 1002   USA 200           Atlas V 411      Vandenberg SLC3E  Sigint    10A
Mar 14 2318   AMC 14            Proton-M/Briz-M  Baykonur LC200/39 Comms     11A
Mar 15 0610   GPS 48            Delta 7925       Canaveral SLC17A Navigation 12A
Mar 19 2248   DirecTV 11        Zenit-3SL        SL Odyssey, POR   Comms     13A
Mar 27 1715   SAR-Lupe 4        Kosmos-3M        Plesetsk LC132/1  Radar     14A
Apr  8 1116   Soyuz TMA-12      Soyuz-FG         Baykonur LC1      Spaceship 15A 
Apr 14 2012   ICO G1            Atlas V 421      Canaveral SLC41   Comms     16A
Apr 16 1702?  C/NOFS            Pegasus XL       L1011,KMR         Science   17A
Apr 18 2217   Star One C2 )     Ariane 5ECA      Kourou ELA3       Comms     18B
              Vinasat 1   )                                        Comms     18A
Apr 25 1535   Tian Lian 1       Chang Zheng 3C   Xichang           Comms     19A
Apr 26 2216   GIOVE B           Soyuz-FG/Fregat  Baykonur LC31    Navigation 20A
Apr 28 0353   Cartosat 2A  )    PSLV             SDSC SLP          Imaging   21A
              IMS 1        )                                       Imaging   21D
              Can X-2      )                                       Comms     21L?
              Cute-1.7-APD-II )                                    Tech      21C?
              Delfi-C3     )                                       Tech      21G
              AAUSat-II    )                                       Astron    21F
              SEEDS 2      )                                       Tech      21J
              Compass 1    )                                       Tech      21E
              Can X-6      )                                       Comms     21B
              Rubin-8-AIS  )                                       Comms     21K
Apr 28 0500   AMOS 3            Zenit-3SLB       Baykonur LC45     Comms     22A
May 14 2023   Progress M-64     Soyuz-U          Baykonir LC1      Cargo     23A
May 21 0943   Galaxy 18         Zenit-3SL        SL Odyssey        Comms     24A
May 23 1520   Kosmos-2437 )     Rokot            Plesetesk LC133/3 Comms     25
              Kosmos-2438 )                                        Comms     25
              Kosmos-2439 )                                        Comms     25
              Yubileyniy  )                                        Comms     25
May 27 0302   FY-3A             Chang Zheng 4C   Taiyuan           Weather   26A

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |  phone : (617) 495-7176            |
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