Status Report

Jonathan’s Space Report No. 637 2011 Jan 26

By SpaceRef Editor
January 27, 2011
Filed under ,

Editorial note: the JSR website has just been moved to a new server. This should be transparent, but there may be transition problems; we will now discover if I have learnt to configure the mail server correctly.

Shuttle and Station

Expedition 26 is now underway with crew commander Scott Kelly,  flight engineer-2 Aleksandr Kaleri, flight engineer-3 Oleg Skripochka, flight engineer-4 Dmitri Kondratev, flight engineer-5 Paolo Nespoli and flight engineer-6 Cady Coleman aboard the Station. Soyuz TMA-01M is docked at Poisk, Progress M-07M at Zvezda, and Soyuz TMA-20 at Rassvet.

On Jan 21 Kondratev (in spacesuit Orlan-MK No. 5) and Skripochka (in suit No. 4) made a spacewalk to install television equipment on Zvezda and Rassvet and to retrieve exposed experiments. They depressurized the Pirs airlock around 1409 UTC, and opened the hatch at 1429 UTC. At 1653 and 1654 UTC they jettisoned a cable reel and an antenna cover (cataloged as 1998-67CC and 1998-67CD). They returned to Pirs and closed the hatch at 1952 UTC, repressurizing shortly afterwards. (Thanks to Andrey Krasil’nikov for the IDs on the suits).

On Jan 22 the second H-II Transfer Vehicle, “Kounotori” 2 gouki (“White Stork” Unit 2) was launched from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center on the second H-IIB rocket. The 16000 kg spacecraft  will link up with the station and deliver cargo. The H-IIB used Pad 2 of the Yoshinobu complex; Pad 1 is used for the H-IIA. Tanegashima also has two other launch sites, Osaki and Takesaki, now retired. Osaki had pads for the N and Q rockets, while Takesaki had launchers for small rockets.

Progress M-08M undocked from Pirs at 0042 UTC on Jan 24 and was deorbited over the Pacific at 0516 UTC.


The Nanosail-D2 experiment launched in November has belatedly ejected itself from FASTSAT. The ejection occurred at 0300 UTC Jan 18, according to the mission web site at Santa Clara University. The satellite has not yet been cataloged. The solar sail was deployed on Jan 21 at around 0400 UTC.


Russia’s new Elektro-L weather satellite was launched on Jan 20 at 1229 UTC. The Zenit-3SLBF launch vehicle consists of a two-stage Zenit-2SB80 booster and the Fregat-SB upper stage, with an additional SBB (Sbrasivaemiye baki banov, separable propellant tanks) section compared to the original Fregat. The Zenit-2SB80 second stage reached a 179 x 620 km x 51.4 deg orbit; the Fregat upper stage separated as the second stage fired retrockets and jettisoned four separation motor covers into 190 x 850 km orbits. The first Fregat burn reached 298 x 4406 km x 50.4 deg, after which the SBB separated. At 1558 UTC the Fregat then made a burn to 356 x 35753 km x 48.5 deg geostationary transfer orbit. A third Fregat burn at 2119 UTC put the spacecraft in a 35627 x 35870 km x 0.46 deg geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean. Fregat then separated and was placed in a subsynchronous drift orbit of 34195 x 35718 km with a final burn.

Elektro-L is the first use of the Lavochkin company’s new Navigator bus, also to be used for future science satellites. The spacecraft carries a scanning visible/infrared radiometer, solar environment monitors and a COSPAS-SARSAT search-and-rescue transponder system. Spacecraft mass at launch is around 1700 kg.

NRO satellite

A US National Reconnaissance Office satellite, codenamed USA 224, was launched from Vandenberg AFB on Jan 20 aboard a Delta 4 Heavy rocket. Launch NROL-49 carried the payload into a 252 x 1023 km x 97.9 deg polar orbit. Observations of its orbit are consistent with reports that it is an Improved CRYSTAL type (KH-11 derivative) imaging reconnaissance satellite; congratulations to Bob Christy for picking it up so quickly.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches

Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    INTL.  
Dec  6 1025   Glonass-M )       Proton-M/DM-3      Baykonur         Navigation F03
             Glonass-M )                                           Navigation F03
             Glonass-M )                                           Navigation F03
Dec  8 1543   Dragon C1       ) Falcon 9           Canaveral SLC40  Spaceship  66A
             SMDC-One        )                                     Comms?     66C
             QbX-1           )                                     Secret     66F
             QbX-2           )                                     Secret     66B
             Perseus 000     )                                     Tech?      66H
             Perseus 001     )                                     Tech?      66E
             Perseus 002     )                                     Tech?      66G
             Perseus 003     )                                     Tech?      66D
             Caerus/Mayflower)                                     Tech       66J
Dec 15 1909   Soyuz TMA-20      Soyuz-FG           Baykonur LC1     Spaceship  67A
Dec 17 2020   Beidou DW7        Chang Zheng 3A     Xichang          Navigation 68A
Dec 25 1034   GSAT-5P           GSLV               Sriharikota SLP  Comms      F04
Dec 26 2151   KA-SAT            Proton-M/Briz-M    Baykonur LC200/39 Comms     69A
Dec 29 2127   Hispasat 1E  )    Ariane 5ECA        Kourou            Comms     70A
             Koreasat 6   )                                         Comms     70B
Jan 18 0300   Nanosail-D2                          Fastsat, LEO     Tech       62
Jan 20 1229   Elektro-L         Zenit-3SLBF        Baykonur LC45    Weather    01A
Jan 20 2110   USA 224           Delta 4H           Vandenberg SLC6  Imaging    02A
Jan 22 0537   Kounotori 2       H-IIB              Tanegashima Y2   Cargo      03A

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches


Date UT     Payload/Flt Name  Launch Vehicle  Site            Mission    Apogee/km

Dec  4 0421   ECOMA 7          Nike Orion         Andoya              Meteor dust  135
Dec  5 1911   Topol' RV        Topol'             Kapustin Yar        Test        1000?
Dec  6 1719   Maracati 2       Orion              Alcantara           Range Test   103
Dec  6 1730?  NASA 41.087NT    Terrier Orion      White Sands         Tech         120
Dec 12 0638   NASA 40.026UE    Black Brant XII    Andoya              Aurora       500?
Dec 12 1535   MICROG 1A        VSB-30             Alcantara           Micrograv    242
Dec 13 0324   ECOMA 8          Nike Orion         Andoya              Meteor dust  138
Dec 15 1957?  FTG-06A Target   LV-2               Meck Island         Target      1000?
Dec 15 2003   FTG-06A KV       GBI                Vandenberg LF23     Interceptor 1000?
Dec 19 0236   ECOMA 9          Nike Orion         Andoya              Meteor dust  135?
Jan 22 0610   Aegis Target     Terrier Oriole     Wallops I.          Target       100?

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SpaceRef staff editor.