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Fwd: Jonathan's Space Report, No. 559

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  • Frits Westra
    Jonathan s Space Report No. 559 2005 Dec 29, Somerville, MA ... After a month without orbital launches, Dec 21 saw three
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 30, 2005
      Jonathan's Space Report
      No. 559 2005 Dec 29, Somerville, MA

      After a month without orbital launches, Dec 21 saw three orbital
      launches on a single day (as well as a suborbital Russian submarine
      missile launch). By Dec 29 Russia had launched eight satellites within
      eight days, repeating a familiar Russian operational pattern of a late
      November launch gap followed by a flurry of activity at the end of
      December before the new year holiday.

      Progress M-55

      The robot cargo spaceship Progress M No. 355 was launched as mission
      Progress M-55, ISS flight 20P, on a Soyuz-U from Baykonur. The 7-tonne
      craft docked with the Station's Pirs module at 1946 UTC on Dec 23.
      The previous cargo craft, Progress M-54, will remain docked to the
      Zvezda module until March. Soyuz TMA-7 is docked to Zarya.


      A Gonets-D1M ('messenger') low orbit communications satellite was
      launched on a light Kosmos-3M rocket on Dec 21 into a 1440 x 1450 km x
      82.5 deg orbit. Gonets-D1M (or Gonets-M) is the civilian version of the
      military Strela-3 low orbit communications constellation. The launch
      also carried a military satellite called Rodnik, with cover name
      Kosmos-2416. I don't know anything about Rodnik - the best guess is
      that it is an upgrade of the Strela-3. The Strela-3, originally flown in
      groups of six on the retired Tsiklon rocket, has been launched in pairs
      on Kosmos-3M since 2002 to the same orbit, so it makes sense that this
      is another pair of Strela-3 buses but with improved payloads.

      Ariane 5

      Arianespace continues its string of successes with the launch of Ariane
      vehicle 525, a standard (5GS) model with the EPS upper stage. It put
      the Insat-4A and MSG-2 satellites in orbit. The EPC core stage reached
      a 44 x 1702 km x 6.5 deg transatmospheric orbit and reentered
      over the Pacific. The EPS stage made a single burn to 620 x 35853 km x 3.9
      and released the two satellites and the Sylda adapter.

      Insat-4A is the first of a new series of Indian communications satellites.
      Built at ISAC/Bangalore, it is a 3081 kg (full; 1385 kg dry) satellite
      with Ku-band and C-band transponders. The Insat 4 series are slightly
      heavier than the Insat 2 and Insat 3 satellites they are replacing,
      but represent an enhancement rather than a new bus. Insat 4A made
      three orbit raising burns and reached geostationary altitude over
      the Indian Ocean at 0430 UTC on Dec 26, successfully deploying its solar

      MSG 2 (Meteosat Second Generation) is a spin-stabilized weather
      satellite continuing the European Meteorological Satellite Organization
      (EUMETSAT) series of Meteosat geostationary weather satellites; it will
      become Meteosat 9 once operational. Launch mass is 2036 kg; dry mass is
      around 1000 kg. After reaching geostationary drift orbit, two covers on
      the SEVIRI telescope were ejected on Dec 29 over 30.4 deg E (at 0445 and
      0500 UTC, according to Vladimir Agapov. Space Command has not cataloged
      the two 1-meter covers ejected from MSG-1/Meteosat-8, so probably won't
      see the ones from this launch either).


      On Dec 25 Russia launched a Proton with the Block 34 launch of three
      GLONASS navigation satellites; one Uragan, serial No. 798, and two
      improved Uragan-M, serial number 713 and 714. They were given Kosmos
      cover names. In recent years, GLONASS launches involved two of the old
      Uragan and only one Uragan-M.

      Launch was by Proton serial number 410-12 according to the
      federalspace.ru site; the satellites are in a 19110 x 19130 km x 64.8
      deg orbit; the Proton third stage was tracked in a low parking orbit and
      the Blok-DM2 fourth stage is in a 19072 x 19122 km x 64.9 deg orbit. Two
      small ullage motors used to force fuel to the back of the tanks for the
      DM2 second burn are thought to be in elliptical transfer orbit, but have
      not yet been cataloged.


      On Dec 28 a Starsem Soyuz-FG rocket with a Fregat upper stage delivered
      the 602 kg Surrey-built GIOVE-A satellite to orbit. GIOVE-A, the Galileo
      In-Orbit Validation Element, is Europe's first navigation test satellite
      and is a precursor to the Galileo system which will be the European
      equivalent of GPS. GIOVE-A is owned and developed by the European Space
      Agency, but the operational GNSS (Galileo Navigation Satellite System)
      itself is a European Union project. GIOVE-A carries two rubidium
      atomic clocks and a large L-band phased array antenna.

      The Soyuz-FG entered a mildly suborbital trajectory and its upper
      stage fell in the Pacific. The first Fregat burn reached a roughly 220
      km circular orbit, probably at 52 deg inclination; the second burn was
      to a transfer orbit around 220 x 23200 km; and the third burn put
      GIOVE-A in its initial 23011 x 23258 km x 56.05 deg orbit.
      Unfortunately the Starsem press kit does not give details of the Fregat
      rocket burns, so the details here are guesswork. The quoted target orbit
      is 23616 km circular, easily within reach of GIOVE-A's butane propulsion

      The three modern navigation satellite systems are quite similar: the
      United States GPS satellites are in a 20140 x 20220 km x 55.0 deg orbit,
      the Russian GLONASS system is in a 19120 x 19140 km x 64.8 deg orbit,
      and the initial GIOVE planned orbit is 23616 x 23616 x 56.0 deg. All of
      them transmit at L-band (1.5-1.6 GHz). Contrast this with the first
      generation navsat systems, which used Doppler beacons instead of atomic
      clock signals - the now-retired US Navy Transits operated at 1000 x 1200
      km x 90.0 deg and the Russian Tsiklon/Parus/Tsikada continue in a 970 x
      1010 km x 83.0 deg orbit, both using much lower frequencies around 0.15
      MHz. The higher orbits mean fewer satellites, but stronger signals.

      AMC 23

      SES Global's 5035-kg AMC-23 was launched on Dec 29 by an International
      Launch Services/Krunichev Proton-M No. 535-13 with a Briz-M upper stage
      (No. 88514). AMC-23 is an Alcatel Alenia/Cannes Spacebus 4000C3 satellite
      which was originally built as Americom 13, then Worldsat 3, and is now
      to provide Ku-band and C-band multimedia and telecom services over the
      Pacific. The C-band payload will be partly used by the Japanese JSAT
      system. SES, based in Luxembourg, bought the old RCA (later GE) Americom
      system in 2001. The Briz-M delivered the satellite to a 6193 x 35615 km
      x 18.5 deg transfer orbit, leaving its secondary propellant tank in
      a 311 x 15526 km x 49.6 deg intermediate orbit. The Proton third
      stage was suborbital on this launch. AMC-23 will use its Astrium S400
      apogee engine to reach geostationary orbit.

      Table of Recent Launches

      Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission
      Nov 8 1407 Inmarsat 4F-2 Zenit-3SL Odyssey, POR
      Comms 44A
      Nov 9 0333 Venus Express Soyuz-Fregat Baykonur LC31/6 Space
      probe 45A
      Nov 16 2346 Spaceway 2 ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3
      Comms 46A
      Telkom 2 )
      Comms 46B
      Dec 21 1838 Progress M-55 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1/5
      Cargo 47A
      Dec 21 1934 Gonets-D1M ) Kosmos-3M Plesetsk LC132/1
      Comms 48A
      Kosmos-2416 )
      Comms 48B
      Dec 21 2233 Insat 4A ) Ariane 5GS Kourou ELA3
      Comms 49A
      MSG 2 )
      Weather 49B
      Dec 25 0507 Kosmos-2417 ) Proton-K/DM2 Baykonur LC81/23
      Navigation 50A
      Kosmos-2418 )
      Navigation 50B
      Kosmos-2419 )
      Navigation 50C
      Dec 28 0519 GIOVE A Soyuz-FG/Fregat Baykonur LC31/6
      Navigation 51A
      Dec 29 0228 AMC 23 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39
      Comms 52A

      | Jonathan McDowell | phone : (617) 495-7176 |
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    • Philip Mantle
      Hi there, I would like to ask if you have or know anyone that has a contact of any kind for Kenneth Arnold s daughter. Any assistance with this request would
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 4 11:40 AM
        Hi there,

        I would like to ask if you have or know anyone that has a contact of any
        kind for Kenneth Arnold's daughter. Any assistance with this request would
        be greatly appreciated.

        Philip Mantle.
      • Joe (uk-ufo) McGonagle
        Philip, have you gone mad? Let me know when whatever problem you re having is fixed, and I ll take you off moderated status. Cheers, Joe
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 5 6:04 AM
          Philip, have you gone mad?

          Let me know when whatever problem you're having is fixed, and I'll take
          you off moderated status.

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