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Fwd: Jonathan's Space Report, No. 557

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  • Frits Westra
    Jonathan s Space Report No. 557 2005 Nov 24, Somerville, MA ... Station ... The Expedition 12 crew - Bill McArthur and
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 24, 2005
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      Jonathan's Space Report
      No. 557 2005 Nov 24, Somerville, MA


      The Expedition 12 crew - Bill McArthur and Valeriy Tokarev - boarded the
      Soyuz TMA-7 ferry ship on Nov 18 and undocked from the Pirs module at
      0846 UTC, backing off and then redocking with the Zarya module at 0905
      UTC. The procedure allows spacewalks to be made from the Pirs module.

      Venus Express

      Europe's latest space probe was launched from Baykonur on Nov 9
      and is now in solar orbit en route to Venus.

      Venus Express (VEX) was built as a cheap copy of the Mars Express
      design, which itself used the basic bus developed for the Rosetta comet
      probe. VEX carries the VMC Venus Monitoring Camera, the VIRTIS
      ultraviolet-visible-infrared imaging spectrometer, the SPICAV
      solar-stellar ultraviolet/infrared spectrometer, the PFS infrared
      planetary fourier spectrometer, the ASPERA plasma instrument, the VERA
      Venus Radio Science instrument, and a magnetometer. The mission
      will study the atmosphere and environment of Venus.

      VEX was launched by a Starsem Soyuz-FG/Fregat from Baykonur. (Starsem is
      a French company closely related to Arianespace which markets the Soyuz
      in its Europeanized FG/Fregat version). The first three stages of Soyuz
      fired to reach a marginal orbit of about 30 x 190 km x 51.6 deg; the
      third stage reentered over the Pacific at perigee at around 0410 UTC.

      Meanwhile the Fregat stage made a small 50 m/s burn to circularize the
      orbit, raising perigee to 190 km. After a coast period, Fregat burned
      again with Fregat/VEX separation at 0511 UTC; Venus Express and Fregat
      each had a perigee of 344 km and an eccentricity of 1.132, putting them
      on hyperbolic orbits out of the Earth-Moon system.

      Venus Express passed lunar orbit on Nov 10 at 1010 UTC and by Nov 24 was
      in a 0.702 x 0.993 AU orbit around the Sun with an inclination of 0.26
      deg to the ecliptic. It will arrive in Venus orbit on 2006 Apr 11 at
      around 0840 UTC. The first orbit will be around 250 x 326550 km x 89.7
      deg. It will arc out to apogee on Apr 15. Manuevers between then and Apr
      30 will put it in a 24-hour Venus orbit of 282 x 66911 km x 90.0 deg,
      synchronizing it with Earth-based tracking stations. (These figures are
      derived by analysis of data on the JPL Horizons web site.)

      Inmarsat 4F-2

      Boeing Sea-Launch orbited Inmarsat's latest satellite on Nov 8.
      The Yuzhnoe Zenit-3SL with its Energiya Blok DM-SL upper stage
      lifted off from the equatorial floating Odyssey platform. Stages
      1 and 2 flew eastward into a -2271 x 186 km x 3 deg trajectory;
      the first DM-SL burn boosted to a 180 x 294 km x 3 deg parking
      orbit, and the second burn put the payload in a
      322 x 35803 km x 3.0 deg transfer orbit.

      The payload, Inmarsat 4 F-2, is an Astrium/Toulouse Eurostar 3000
      satellite with a large 10-meter diameter antenna for mobile
      communications. Launch mass was 5958 kg. The satellite entered
      the geostationary region on around Nov 13.


      Japan's Hayabusa probe approached asteroid Itokawa on Nov 12 to within
      55 m. The MINERVA lander was released, but floated away from the
      asteroid instead of falling to its surface. Hayabusa then retired to its
      safe parking distance at about 5 km. The first of three 10-cm target
      markers was released on Nov 9, also into solar orbit.

      On Nov 19, the probe again approached Itokawa. Release of the second
      target marker happening around 2030 UTC with impact on the surface at
      2036 UTC. The Hayabusa probe landed on Itokawa at 2110 UTC, bounced, and
      settled on the surface at 2130 UTC. Because an obstacle sensor had been
      triggered, the sampler did not operate although some dust may have
      entered it. The probe took off again at 2158 UTC. A safe-mode command
      sent it around 100 km from the asteroid and it is now heading back to
      the rendezvous position for another possible landing.


      Arianespace launched an Ariane 5ECA (vehicle 522) on Nov 16; it placed
      two communications satellites in orbit. The EPC core stage flew a
      low-altitude -1047 x 161 km x 6.5 deg suborbital trajectory with impact
      in the Gulf of Guinea. The ESC-A upper stage then burned to
      geostationary transfer orbit. This was the third flight of ESC-A, which
      is a fatter version of the Ariane 4 upper stage; it also flew on vehicle
      517 (a failure) and vehicle 521.

      The upper payload on flight 167/vehicle 522 was DirecTV's massive
      Spaceway-2 broadcasting satellite. With a launch mass of 6116 kg, the
      Boeing/El-Segundo seres 702-2000 satellite is at the upper end of
      geostationary payload masses. Spaceway-1 was launched earlier this year
      on a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL. Underneath the Sylda-5 adapter flew Telkom-2,
      a factor of three lighter and using Orbital's Star 2 small geostationary
      satellite bus. Telkom-2 is an Indonesian communications satellite,
      continuing the series serving the archipelago that began with Palapa-1
      in 1976. Spaceway 1 was drifting east over 117E by Nov 23; Telkom 2
      raised itself to a supersynchronous transfer orbit of 563 x 41473 km x
      6.6 deg by the same date.


      It now seems likely that the Norwegian student sub-satellite NCUBE-2
      did not eject from its SSETI-Express parent spacecraft.

      Table of Recent Launches

      Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission
      Oct 1 0355 Soyuz TMA-7 Soyuz-FG Baykonur LC1
      Spaceship 39A
      Oct 8 1502 Cryosat Rokot Plesetsk LC133
      Science F03
      Oct 12 0100 Shenzhou 6 CZ-2F Jiuquan
      Spaceship 40A
      Oct 13 2232 Syracuse 3A ) Ariane 5GS Kourou ELA3
      Comms 41A
      Galaxy 15 )
      Comms 41B
      Oct 19 1805 USA 186 Titan 4B Vandenberg SLC4E
      Imaging 42A
      Oct 27 0652 Topsat ) Kosmos-3M Plesetsk LC132/1
      Imaging 43B
      Beijing-1 )
      Imaging 43A
      Sinah )
      Imaging? 43D
      SSETI Express )
      Imaging/Tech 43E
      Mozhaets-5 )
      Tech/Comms 43G
      UWE-1 )
      Comms 43F
      NCube-2 )
      Comms 43E
      Cubesat XI-V )
      Tech 43C
      Rubin-5 )
      Comms 43G
      Nov 8 1407 Inmarsat 4F-2 Zenit-3SL Odyssey, POR
      Comms 44A
      Nov 9 0333 Venus Express Soyuz-Fregat Baykonur LC31 Space
      probe 45A
      Nov 16 2346 Spaceway 2 ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3
      Comms 46A
      Telkom 2 )
      Comms 46B

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