Status Report

Jonathan’s Space Report No. 643 2011 May 29

By SpaceRef Editor
May 30, 2011
Filed under ,

Shuttle and Station

Shuttle mission STS-134 continues with the delivery of massive cargo items to the Station, as the Expedition 27 crew hands over to Expedition 28 with the safe landing of Soyuz TMA-20.

Endeavour docked with the Station at 1014 UTC on May 18. The ELC-3 cargo pallet was unberthed at 1327 UTC and installed on the Station’s truss at 1609 UTC. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment was installed on the Station on May 19, being unberthed at 0659 UTC and bolted to the S3 truss by 0946 UTC. On May 20 Greg Chamitoff and Drew Feustel depressurized the Quest airlock at about 0704 UTC and began the first STS-134 spacewalk. Two packages, MISSE 7A and 7B, were retrieved from the ELC2 pallet. MISSE packages are used to study how various materials and electronic components are affected by exposure to space. A new package, MISSE 8, was installed on ELC2. The astronauts also made preparations for servicing the Station’s ammonia cooling system, connecting jumper lines on the P3/P4 truss. The spacewalk was ended when Chamitoff’s suit developed a faulty CO2 sensor and the airlock was repressurized at 1329 UTC.

A second spacewalk, by astronauts Fincke and Feustel, was carried out on May 22, with Quest depressurization at 0559 UTC. The astronauts serviced the ammonia cooling loop on the P6 truss, supplying it with ammonia from the tank on P1, and lubricated the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint on P3/P4 that allows the solar arrays to rotate. The spacewalk lasted over eight hours.

On May 23, Expedition 27 Commander Dmitri Kondryatev, Ex-27 Flight Engineer-5 Paolo Nespoli and Ex-27 Flight Engineer-6 Coleman boarded Soyuz TMA-20, as commander, FE-1 and FE-2 of the TMA-20 ship. At 2135 UTC on May 23 they undocked from the Rassvet module. Between 2142 and 2217 UTC they stationkept 200m from the Station, with Nespoli taking photography of the complex while the entire ISS was rotated to give the Soyuz a good view. At 0136 UTC on May 24, TMA-20 fired its engines to lower perigee into the atmosphere. The orbital module and propulsion section separated from the descent module at 0201 UTC, with atmospheric entry interface two minutes later and landing in Kazakhstan at 0227 UTC.

Expedition 27 Flight Engineer-2 Andrey Borisenko became Expedition 28 Commander at 2135 UTC on May 23 (on Soyuz undocking), with Flight Engineer-1 Aleksandr Samokutyaev and Flight Engineer-3 Ron Garan. Samkokutyaev is also Commander of the Soyuz TMA-21 ferry ship, with Borisenko and Garan as his flight engineers.

On May 25 at 0538 UTC the Quest airlock was depressurized for EVA-3. Feustel and Fincke installed a Power Data Grapple Fixture on Zarya. The PDGF can be used as a base for the SSRMS robot arm, allowing it to be used for work on the Russian part of the Station.

On May 27 Fincke and Chamitoff began what is scheduled to be the final spacewalk of the mission to install the Enhanced Inspection Boom Assembly (EIBA), formerly the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS), on the S1 truss. The OBSS began the day on the end of the Shuttle’s RMS arm. The SSRMS (Station robot arm) grappled the OBSS at 0419 UTC; the RMS released it at 0450 UTC; the SSRMS moved the OBSS close to S1; the astronauts took hold of the OBSS at 0527 and the SSRMS released it at 0539, with the astronauts then fixing it to the truss and completing the installation by 0542 UTC. The Shuttle grapple fixture was then removed and replaced with a Station-style PDGF Power and Data Grapple Fixture, which allows OBSS to switch from being the end of the SSRMS to being its base. This work was complete at 0918 UTC and the OBSS officially became the EIBA. The OBSS systems were added after the Columbia accident to allow the Shuttle extra reach to inspect heat shield tiles. Three were built; one of them remains installed on Atlantis for its final flight this summer and the third remains with Discovery. (If anyone has a flight history of the different OBSS serial numbers, please let me know).

STS-134 spacewalk timings (UTC = GMT)

EVA Depress Hatch open Batt.Power Hatch close Repress RP-BP RP-DP
1 0704 0710 0710 1324 1329 UTC 6:14 6:20
2 0559 0603 0605 1406 1412 8:07 8:13
3 0538 0542 0543 1233 1237 6:54 6:59
4 0408 0415 0415 1132 1139 7:24 7:31

Endeavour is scheduled to undock from the Station early on May 30. Atlantis is in the Vehicle Assembly Building attached to solid motors RSRM-114 and external tank ET-138, ready to roll out to pad 39A for the final Shuttle launch.


The NASA/JPL Dawn spacecraft is slowly approaching minor planet (4) Vesta as it continues to operate its ion propulsion system. As of May 24 it was 640000 km away from Vesta, and is due to enter orbit around the body on July 16. (4) Vesta is on the boundary between dwarf planets whose mass is enough to make them quasi-spherical and small asteroids whose gravity is insufficient to overcome the structural strength of the rock they are composed of; it is an irregular ellipsoid 458 x 560 x 578 km in size. Vesta orbits the Sun in a 2.15 x 2.57 AU x 7.1 deg path in the main asteroid belt.


The Telstar 14R satellite, also known as Estrela do Sul 2, was launched on May 20. Telstar 14R is a Loral 1300 satellite with a dry mass of 2150 kg and a launch mass of 4970 kg. It is a Ku-band television broadcast satellite which will provide service to Brazil; `Estrela do Sul’ is Portuguese for `Southern Star’.

Telstar 14R is owned by Telesat of Ottawa, but probably managed and operated by its Bedminster, New Jersey office which used to be Loral Skynet, and before that AT&T. However, I am assuming the satellite will now be considered as of Canadian registry rather than US.

International Launch Services delivered the spacecraft to geostationary transfer orbit aboard a Khrunichev Proton-M rocket with a Briz-M upper stage. The Briz-M separated at 0428 UTC on May 21.

However, the Telstar 14R failed to fully deploy one of its solar arrays, a similar failure to that suffered by the Telstar 14 spacecraft it is replacing. On May 28 the satellite was still in its initial 8751 x 35819 km x 13.7 deg transfer orbit, being tracked as object 2011-021B. The discarded Briz-M additional propellant tank is in a lower perigee orbit and is currently 2011-021A, but StratCom will probably switch the designations at some point when they figure it out.

Meanwhile, in another blow to communications satellite operators, Intelsat New Dawn, launched by an Ariane in April, couldn’t unfold its C-band antenna dish, although its Ku-band system is working well. New Dawn is in a 35778 x 35795 km x 0.0 deg geostationary orbit over 52.5E.


The Singapore-Taiwan 2 communications satellite was launched by an Ariane 5ECA on May 20, together with the smaller Indian GSAT-8 satellite. ST-2 is owned by ST-2 Satellite Ventures of Singapore, which is in turn jointly owned by Singapore Telecom Ltd. of Singapore and Chunghwa Telecom Co. of Taipei. ST-2 will replace ST-1, launched in 1998, and has both C and Ku band communications payloads. It is a DS-2000 type satellite built by Mitsubishi Electric of Kamakura.

GSAT-8 is an ISRO I3K satellite with a communications payload and also the GAGAN navigation transponder. The satellite is 3090 kg launch, 1425 kg dry. On May 28 GSAT-8 was drifting over the Indian Ocean in a 35539 x 35764 km x 0.1 deg orbit.

The Indian Space Research Organization’s GSAT program has now superseded the old INSAT system; GSAT-8 was formerly known as INSAT 4G. GSAT-1, 2 and 3 were launched in 2001 to 2004 on test flights of ISRO’s GSLV rocket; GSAT-4 and GSAT-5P were lost in failures of the GSLV in 2010. GSAT-6 and GSAT-7 have not yet been launched.

The Ariane 5 serial number L559 vehicle was launched on flight VA202 from Kourou, injecting the core stage into a -997 x 188 km x 6.8 deg transfer orbit (falling into the Atlantic) and the ESC-A upper stage into a 232 x 35650 km x 2.2 deg geostationary transfer orbit. ST-2 and GSAT-8 separated 27 and 31 minutes after launch respectively.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches

Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.
Apr 4 2218 Soyuz TMA-21 Soyuz-FG Baykonur LC1 Spaceship 12A
Apr 9 2047 Beidou DW8 Chang Zheng 3A Xichang Nav 13A
Apr 15 0424 USA 229 P/L 1 ) Atlas V 411 Vandenberg SLC3E Sigint 14A
USA 229 P/L 2 ) Sigint 14B
Apr 20 0442 Resourcesat 2 ) PSLV Sriharikota FLP Imaging 15A
Youthsat ) Science 15B
X-Sat ) Imaging 15C
Apr 22 2137 Yahsat 1 ) Ariane 5 ECA Kourou ELA3 Comms 16A
Intelsat New Dawn) Comms 16B
Apr 27 1305 Progress M-10M Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1 Cargo 17A
May 4 1741 Meridian No. 14L Soyuz-2-1A Plesetsk LC43/4 Comms 18A
May 7 1810 SBIRS GEO-1 Atlas V 401 Canaveral SLC41 Early Warn 19A
May 16 1256 STS-134 Endeavour Space Shuttle Kennedy LC39A Spaceship 20A
May 20 1915 Telstar 14R Proton-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms 21A
May 20 2038 ST-2 ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3 Comms 22A
GSAT-8 ) Comms 22B

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

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

Apr 15 0652 FTM-15 Target LV-2 Meck Island Target 1000?
Apr 15 0703 FTM-15 KV SM-3 USS O'Kane, Kauai? Interceptor 150?
Apr 27 4 x RV Sineva K-84, Barents Sea Op. Test 1000?
Apr 27 0800? NASA 36.278GT Black Brant IX Poker Flat Test 339?
May 6 2302 Kunpeng-1 Tianying-3C Hainan Ionosphere 197
May 20 4 x RV Sineva K-84, Barents Sea Op. Test 1000?
May 20 1321 SL-5 SpaceLoft XL SWRS Edu/Burial 118

| Jonathan McDowell | phone : (617) 495-7176 |
| Somerville MA 02143 | inter : planet4589 at gmail |
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