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Fwd: Jonathan's Space Report, No. 551

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  • Frits Westra
    Jonathan s Space Report No. 551 2005 Aug 9, Somerville, MA ... Shuttle and Station ... The Shuttle has completed its
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 9, 2005
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      Jonathan's Space Report
      No. 551 2005 Aug 9, Somerville, MA

      Shuttle and Station

      The Shuttle has completed its return-to-flight mission, but continuing
      problems with debris marred the otherwise successful flight.

      Discovery was launched at 1439:00 UTC on Jul 26, reaching a 54 x 229 km
      orbit at 1447 UTC. The OMS-2 burn at 1517 UTC raised the perigee out of
      the atmosphere, with a 155 x 230 km orbit. NC-1 and NC-2 burns resulted
      in 226 x 285 km and 270 x 287 km orbits, as the Shuttle slowly matched
      altitude and speed with the Station in a 350 x 356 km x 51.6 deg orbit.
      Meanwhile, external tank ET-121 fell back into the Pacific with reentry
      at around 1550 UTC.

      Spectacular camera views from the External Tank showed minor tile damage
      during ascent, and the loss of a half-meter piece of foam from the ET at
      the time of SRB separation. Although the foam did not hit Discovery, the
      failure to stop large foam loss (a 15-cm piece was also lost from near
      the bipod ramp) will have to be investigated and fixed before Atlantis
      can fly the next mission.

      On Jul 19 the Station crew flew Soyuz TMA-6 from the Pirs docking port,
      undocking at 1038 UTC, and redocked with the Zarya docking port at 1108

      On Jul 28 at 1118 UTC Discovery docked at the Space Station. Hatch
      opening was at 1250 UTC. The first spacewalk was carried out on Jul 30
      and saw tile repair tests in the payload bay, and installation of a
      mounting bracket for the ESP-2 stores platform on the Station's Quest

      The second spacewalk on Aug 1 saw replacement of the Station's CMG-1 gyro.
      The third spacewalk on Aug 3 saw installation of the ESP-2 platform,
      and the removal of two protruding pieces of tile gap-filler material
      from the Shuttle's heat shield.

      Discovery undocked from Station at 0724 UTC on Aug 6 and landed safely
      on Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base at 1211 UTC on Aug 9.


      The newly-launched Suzaku mission has lost the use of its premier
      instrument, the XRS, according to a JAXA press release on Aug 9.
      This is a big blow to X-ray astronomy, following a 15-year struggle
      to get the experiment into orbit.

      Suzaku extended its optical bench on Jul 12, completing the most
      critical events of its early orbit operations. The first few element
      sets from Space Command seem to have confused Suzaku and its M34 final
      stage; the final stage is in a 248 x 540 km orbit and Suzaku was
      initially in a higher-perigee 295 x 540 km orbit. The satellite carries
      100 kg of hydrazine for its four 23N main orbit raise thrusters which
      were used to reach its 565 x 573 km operational orbit by Jul 22. The XRS
      instrument was cooled down to 60 milliKelvin and showing good resolution
      on the internal calibration source by Jul 29. The three-stage cooler
      involves an active cooler surrounded by liquid helium and solid neon.
      Sadly, on around Aug 7 a leak in the cooler system resulted in loss of the
      liquid helium, and without the coolant XRS can't return the planned
      high resolution spectra.

      XRS, the first X-ray microcalorimeter detector in orbit, was developed
      by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Japan's ISAS science division
      of the JAXA space agency. It was originally planned to be aboard the
      AXAF (Chandra) mission, then split off into a separate AXAF-S mission
      that was later cancelled, and eventually added to the Japanese ASTRO-E
      mission which failed in 2000.

      Calorimeter detectors are expected to play an important role in future
      X-ray missions, but although an XRS-type instrument successfully made
      astronomical observations on suborbital rocket flight NASA 27.140UH in
      1996, there has been no long duration test of the technology to date.
      Suzaku's other instruments - four X-ray CCD telescopes and a high energy
      X-ray detector - are still being checked out and so far appear to be
      operating well.

      Chinese recoverable satellite

      A Chinese recoverable satellite, FSW 21, was launched on Aug 2
      from Jiuquan into a 165 x 494 km x 63.0 deg orbit.


      The temperature of the XRS on ASTRO-E2 is 60 mK, not 1.5 mK - sorry.
      Deep Space 1 flew past Borrelly at 2230:37TT 2001 Sep 22, not Sep 17.

      Delta Confusion

      In a number of NASA documents in the past year, I've seen alternative
      designations for Boeing's Delta rockets that don't seem to be used
      in Boeing's public documents. For example:

      Boeing designation NASA designation
      7320-10,7326-9.5 2320-10,2326-9.5
      7420-10 2420-10
      7920-10L 2920-10L
      7925H-9.5 2925H-9.5
      4M 4040
      4M+(4,2) 4240
      4M+(5,4) 4450
      4H 4050H

      So I'm confused. Are these new names just NASA renaming things to
      confuse the issue (as they have done with their own names for Russian
      Progress and Soyuz spacecraft) or are these official Boeing designations
      and Boeing haven't updated their press kits and web sites? I'd
      appreciate email from anyone who can clarify the status of these
      designation systems. [Indeed, one correspondent seems to confirm
      my suspicion that this is another random NASA renaming of someone
      else's product. I will continue to use the manufacturer's designations.]

      I've ranted in the past that the Boeing Delta 4M/4H designation scheme
      is ugly. The form of the new scheme is better, but there's a bit of
      a problem. The first digit in the Delta 4-digit designations indicates
      the first stage configuration; in the new scheme it looks nice and
      sensible, 2 for Delta 2 and 4 for Delta 4. But the reason it's 7 in
      the old scheme for Delta 2 is that there were 6 earlier variants of
      first stage, and indeed earlier Deltas included the Delta
      2310, 2313, 2910, 2913, 2914 and 4925-8. It's a bit confusing that
      the 2310 (old scheme, 1970s Delta) and the 2320 (new scheme, Delta II)
      are such completely different vehicles, and sheer luck that there are
      no exact duplications. I understand the marketing people don't care since
      no-one is trying to sell a 2310 anymore... but for those who maintain
      historical records it's very confusing. How about just renaming Delta II
      and Delta IV to Delta IX and Delta X instead?

      By the way, for those without a scorecard, the full scheme is:
      digit 1 - first stage type; digit 2 - number of small strapons; digit 3 -
      second stage type; digit 4 - third stage type; optional letter H for
      'Heavy', means slightly bigger strapons for Delta 2 and strapon core stages
      for Delta 4; - stuff following dash, means diameter of fairing for Delta 2
      (currently coupled to second stage type for Delta 4).


      A number of Globalstar low orbit communications satellites have
      had their orbits raised recently, presumably indicating their retirement.
      The operational orbit is 1412 x 1414 km x 52.0 deg; of the 52 satellites
      which reached orbit, 45 are in this operational orbit. The retirement
      orbit is 1512 x 1514 km; satellite M002, put in the retirement orbit
      in Nov 2001, had its orbit raised again in Apr-Jul 2005 to a still higher
      orbit of 1808 km. I infer that the 1512 x 1514 km orbit is for satellites
      which are out of the operational constellation but still partly functional,
      and that satellite 2's recent orbit raising involves depletion of remaining
      propellants prior to final switch-off. The lower 1450 km orbit
      of satellite 1 may indicate that it didn't have enough fuel to
      reach the standard retirement orbit.

      Retired satellite Date retired Current orbit
      ? 64 2000-08D 2000 Feb 17 909 x 926 km x 52.0 deg (Never
      2 1998-08C 2001 Nov 20 1807 x 1809 km x 52.0 deg
      14 1998-23A 2001 Oct 1? 1499 x 1525 km x 52.0 deg
      35 1999-37A 2005 Apr 6 1512 x 1514 km x 52.0 deg
      1 1998-08A 2005 Apr 22 1452 x 1455 km x 52.0 deg
      27 1999-43C 2005 May 15? 1513 x 1514 km x 52.0 deg
      61 1999-62D 2005 May 23 1512 x 1514 km x 52.0 deg

      It's possible that satellite 64 is in reserve for future use, but
      I think it is more likely that its propulsion system failed to operate.


      There are 66 Iridium satellites in the operational constellation. A
      further 11 working satellites are in orbital storage. 18 other
      satellites appear to have failed, but only three of these failures have
      happened since completion of the initial constellation in 1999. Iridium
      16, retired in Apr 2005, was quickly replaced by Iridium vehicle 86.

      Retired satellite Date retired Current orbit
      Iridium 21 1997-34E 1997 Jul 574 x 584 x 86.4
      Iridium 11 1997-30G 1997 Sep 736 x 761 x 86.4
      Iridium 27 1997-51D 1997 Oct Reentered 2002 Feb 1
      Iridium 20 1997-34C 1997 Dec 758 x 772 x 86.4
      Iridium 46 1997-82B 1998 Apr 758 x 771 x 86.4
      Iridium 51 1998-18A 1998 May 746 x 749 x 86.4
      Iridium 44 1997-77B 1998 Jul 767 x 773 x 86.4
      Iridium 71 1998-26B 1998 Jul 766 x 767 x 86.4
      Iridium 69 1998-26A 1998 Aug 776 x 771 x 86.4
      Iridium 79 1998-51D 1998 Sep Reentered 2000 Nov 29
      Iridium 14 1997-30A 1998 Nov 765 x 769 x 86.4
      Iridium 85 1998-66C 1998 Nov Reentered 2000 Dec 30
      Iridium 73 1998-32C 1998 Dec 734 x 737 x 86.4
      Iridium 48 1997-82D 1999 Apr Reentered 2001 May 5
      Iridium 87 1998-66A 1999 May? 572 x 583 x 85.6
      Iridium 9 1997-30C 2000 Sep Reentered 2003 Mar 11
      Iridium 38 1997-69E 2003 Aug 775 x 778 x 86.4
      Iridium 16 1997-30F 2005 Apr 11 771 x 777 x 86.4

      In storage:

      Iridium 77 1998-51E 1998 707 x 711 x 86.5
      Iridium 89 1998-74B 1998 707 x 711 x 86.5
      Iridium 92 1999-32A 1999 706 x 712 x 86.5
      Iridium 93 1999-32B 1999 707 x 711 x 86.5

      Iridium 90,91,94,95,96,97 in a 670 x 673 km storage orbit
      Iridium 98 (2002-31B) raised to a pre-operational 744 x 752 km orbit
      in Jun 2005.
      Iridium 86 put in operation Apr 2005 after 6.5 years of storage.

      Table of Recent Launches

      Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission
      Jun 16 2310 Progress M-53 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1
      Cargo 21A
      Jun 21 0049 Molniya-3K Molniya-M Plesetsk LC16/2
      Comms F01
      Jun 21 1946 Cosmos-1 Volna Borisoglebsk,BAR
      Tech F02
      Jun 23 1402 Intelsat A-8 Zenit-3SL Odyssey,POR
      Comms 22A
      Jun 24 1941 Ekspress AM-3 Proton-K/DM2 Baykonur
      Comms 23A
      Jul 5 2240 SJ-7 CZ-2D Jiuquan
      Sci 24A
      Jul 10 0330 Suzaku M-V Uchinoura XR
      Astron. 25A
      Jul 26 1439 Discovery Shuttle Kennedy LC39B
      Spaceship 26A
      Aug 2 0730 FSW 21 CZ-2C Jiuquan
      Imaging 27A

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