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Fwd: Jonathan's Space Report, No. 539

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  • Frits Westra
    Jonathan s Space Report No. 539 2004 Nov 28, Somerville, MA. ... * Swift The Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer was
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2004
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      Jonathan's Space Report
      No. 539 2004 Nov 28, Somerville,

      * Swift

      The Swift Gamma Ray Burst Explorer was launched at 1716 UTC on Nov 20 by
      a Boeing Delta 7320-10C from pad 17A at Cape Canaveral. Swift went into
      a 185 x 185 km x 28.5 deg parking orbit at 1720 UTC, the Delta restarted
      to enter a 181 x 618 km x 25.1 deg transfer orbit at 1742 UTC, and a
      third burn at 1827 UTC to reach the final 584 x 604 km x 20.6 deg orbit.
      Swift separated from the second stage at 1836 UTC, and the stage lowered
      its own orbit to 197 x 596 km x 19.5 deg to reduce its orbital lifetime.

      Gamma ray bursts - at least, most of them - occur in distant galaxies
      during a particular kind of supernova, and last only a few seconds. As
      the X-rays fade, the shockwave from the gamma-ray burst hits
      interstellar gas causing an optical 'afterglow'. The difficulty up to
      now has been that gamma-ray telescopes have fuzzy eyesight and only find
      rough positions for the bursts, making it hard to locate the much
      fainter optical-ultraviolet afterglow - by carrying both a wide-area
      search system and a high resolution followup telescope on the same
      spacecraft, Swift should fix this problem.
      Swift carries BAT, the Burst Alert Telescope, which is a coded-mask
      telescope working in the 15 to 150 keV hard-X-ray energy range with a
      cadmium-mercury-telluride detector. BAT can see ten percent of the sky
      at once, and when a gamma ray burst occurs will immediately trigger the
      satellite to point roughly at the site of the burst so that the XRT
      (X-ray Telescope), working in the lower 0.2-10 keV energy range
      (comparable to Chandra), and the 30-cm aperture UVOT
      (Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope), will catch the resulting light and can
      locate the burst more exactly. The accurate positions obtained by XRT
      and UVOT will also be flashed to astronomers worldwide, who will then
      rush to follow up the afterglow before it fades by using ground-based
      telescopes and other satellites. XRT and UVOT also take spectra to
      measure the glow's redshift and physical properties.

      Swift is a NASA Midex (medium-class Explorer) mission. It is the third
      to be launched, following IMAGE and WMAP, and the mission is led
      by NASA-Goddard's Neil Gehrels.

      * Shiyan-2

      China launched another satellite on Nov 18; the Shiyan 2 satellite,
      developed by DFH Satellite Co., is a 300 kg remote sensing payload.
      It's not clear if it's the same design as the Harbin-developed Shiyan 1
      launched in April. This is the 8th Chinese launch this year, a record
      for the country. Shiyan-2 is in a 694 x 711 km x 98.2 deg orbit;
      the CZ-2C final stage entered a more eccentric 705 x 913 km orbit.

      * GPS 61

      The GPS SVN 61 satellite fired its apogee motor at around 0240 UTC on
      Nov 9 to leave its 159 x 20380 km x 39.1 deg transfer orbit and enter a
      19794 x 20486 km x 54.9 deg orbit, which will be further trimmed as it
      enters the operational constellation.

      * Soyuz-2-1A

      Analysis of the small amount of information released about the
      Soyuz-2-1A rocket test flight, combined with informed guesses and
      unofficial suggestions about the likely Pacific impact point, leads me
      to believe that the rocket entered an orbit with an apogee between 150
      and 250 km and a perigee between -100 and -200 km, and an inclination in
      the 50-52 degree range. My best guess is a -150 x 180 km x 51.8 deg
      orbit with reentry around 1855 UTC on Nov 8, 25 min after launch.

      * STS-114

      Stacking of booster stack BI-124 with solid motors RSRM-90 on Mobile
      Launch Platform 1 has begun in High Bay 1 of the VAB. The redesigned
      External Tank ET-120 will be added after this is complete. Meanwhile
      work continues on orbiter OV-103 Discovery is in Orbiter Processing
      Facility bay 3. It will eventually be connected to the external tank in
      preparation for its launch into orbit, currently planned for May 2005.

      Table of Recent Launches

      Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission

      Oct 14 0306 Soyuz TMA-5 Soyuz-FG Baykonur LC1/5
      Spaceship 40A
      Oct 14 2123 AMC 15 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39
      Comms 41A
      Oct 19 0120 FY-2C CZ-3A Xichang
      Weather 42A
      Oct 29 2211 Ekspress AM-1 Proton-K/DM-2M Baykonur LC200/39
      Comms 43A
      Nov 6 0310 ZY-2C CZ-4B Taiyuan
      Imaging 44A
      Nov 6 0539 GPS SVN 61 Delta 7925 Canaveral SLC17B
      Navigation 45A
      Nov 8 1830 Oblik Soyuz-2-1A Plesetsk LC43/4
      Test U01
      Nov 18 1045 Shiyan 2 CZ-2C Xichang
      Imaging 46A
      Nov 20 1716 Swift Delta 7320 Canaveral SLC17A
      Astronomy 47A

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