Fwd: Jonathan's Space Report, No. 575
- Jonathan's Space Report
No. 575 2006 Dec 26,
Shuttle and Station
The STS-116 shuttle mission to the Space Station was completed on Dec
22; details below.
The P5 truss was unberthed from Discovery and grappled by the Station
arm early on Dec 12. The first spacewalk of the mission began on Dec 12,
featuring astronauts Bob Curbeam in EMU 3003 and Christer Fuglesang in
EMU 3018. The Station's Quest airlock was depressurized by 2026 UTC and
the hatch was opened at 2030 UTC; astronaut egress began at around 2040
UTC. P5 was installed on the end of P4 between 2208 and 2245 UTC. The
hatch was closed at about 0302 UTC on Dec 13 with repressurization at
0307 UTC. At 0245 UTC Fuglesang lost an extension socket for the PGT
tool; it is now an independent satellite.
Retraction of the SAW-4B solar array began at 1828 on Dec 13.
The array has been retracted far enough that it will not interfere
with the rotation of the new arrays on the P4 truss, but multiple
attempts to retract it completely were unsuccessful on that day.
The second spacewalk was on Dec 14-15. The airlock was depressurized
around 1938 UTC, with hatch open at 1940. Astronauts Curbeam
and Fuglesang rewired half of the station's electrical power system. They
repressurized the airlock at 0041 UTC on Dec 15.
The second half of the power system was to be rewired on Dec 16 on the
third spacewalk, this time by Curbeam and Sunita Williams. The airlock
was depressurized around 1923 UTC; hatch open was around 1924 UTC.
By 2140 UTC the pump modules were activated and the station power
system was working.
The next task was to unload three bundles of orbital debris protection
shields from the ICC in the payload bay and store them on the Station
exterior. An earlier bundle was delivered on STS-111 and installed on
Zvezda during a later spacewalk. Bundles 2, 3 and 4 were installed on an
adapter on the PMA-3 docking port. At 2325 UTC a digital camera
floated loose and became another unintentional satellite.
The astronauts climbed the P6 tower and shook the solar arrays,
freeing some of the stuck panels. However, after retracting
some more another section of the array got stuck. The
astronauts returned to the airlock with hatch close at 0252 UTC
and repress at 0256 UTC.
On Dec 18 Curbeam and Fuglesang made a fourth spacewalk. The airlock was
depressurized by 1855 UTC and the hatch was opened at 1859 UTC. After
much jiggling, the solar array was closed and latched by 0034 UTC on Dec
19. The astronauts closed the airlock hatch at 0135 UTC and began
repressurization at 0138 UTC.
Discovery undocked at 2210 UTC on Dec 19. Remaining aboard the station
are Mike Lopez-Alegria, Mikhail Tyurin, and Sunita Williams. On
Discovery are Mark Polansky, Bill Oefelein, Nick Patrick, Robert
Curbeam, Joan Higginbotham, Christer Fuglesang, Thomas Reiter, as well
as Sunita Williams' ponytail (which she apparently cut off for charity).
The MEPSI-2 satellite was launched at 0019 UTC on Dec 21. It consists of
two 0.1m cubes connected by a 15-meter tether, with a total mass of 3.5
kg. RAFT-1 and NMARS (formerly MARScom) were launched at 0156 UTC on Dec
21; the two US Naval Academy cubesats are 3-4 kg each and deployed
1.3-meter antennas. The four picosats were deployed from the USAF Space
Test Program STP-H2 payload attached to the ICC (Integrated Cargo
Carrier) in Discovery's payload bay. The ANDE Risk Reduction Mission ICU
canister was ejected from STP-H2 at 1822:47 UTC on Dec 21; at 1823:29
the top section of the canister separated from the central canister
avionics disk, and at 1823:35 the FCAL (NRL Fence Calibration) sphere
separated from the top section, while the canister avionics disk
separated from the lower section. However, the Mock Ande Active (MAA)
sphere remained inside the lower section and did not initially
deploy. Telemetry is being received from ANDE-MAA, and it may
now have separated.
Discovery is heading home to KSC Runway 15 after a deorbit burn
at 2127 UTC on Dec 22. The Orbiter landed safely at 2232 UTC.
An ILS/Krunichev Proton-M (S/N 53521) launched upper stage Briz-M No.
88518 from Baykonur on Dec 11 with the Malaysian Measat 3 satellite
aboard. Measat 3 is a Boeing 601HP with a launch mass of 4765 kg
and an on-orbit mass of 3220 kg. The satellite carries a C and Ku
band communications payload to support data and TV broadcasting
in Malaysia, China and India. It is operated by Binariang Satellite
Systems Sdn. Bhd. of Kuala Lumpur.
The Proton reached a near-orbital -949 x 165 km x 51.5 deg trajectory,
from which the first Briz-M burn went to 172 x 175 km at 2348 UTC. Burn
2 reached 258 x 5009 km x 50.3 deg at 0054 UTC on Dec 12, followed by
Burn 3 at 0309 UTC. At this point the DTB supplementary fuel tank was
jettisoned. Burn 4 went to geostationary transfer orbit at 400 x 35813
km x 49.1 deg; Burn 5 was from 0809 to 0827 UTC, following which Measat
separated at 0840 into a 7360 x 35782 km x 16.5 deg orbit. It reached
near-geosynchronous orbit on Dec 21.
The United Launch Alliance launched a Boeing Delta 7920 on Dec 14
carrying a secret National Reconnaissance Office payload. The payload
was to be deployed into an initial 354 x 376 km x 58.5 deg orbit. In
contrast to most secret launches, analysts appear to have little clue as
to what this payload may be. It has been given the cover name USA 193;
it was on launch manifests as NRO launch 21 (NROL-21).
Tacsat 2 was launched from Launch Area 0B at Wallops Island on Dec 16.
LA0B, within the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, is operated by the
commercial Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). The Air Force
Research Lab satellite carries a half-meter telescope and experiments
for rapid activation and on-board automatic commissioning. Tacsat 2
reached a 414 x 422 km x 40.0 deg orbit.
The launch deployed a small 3 kg satellite, Genesat-1, for Ames
Research Center. It carries an experiment studying E.coli bacteria.
Japan's Engineering Test Satellite 8, now called Kiku-8, was launched on
Dec 18 by an H2A model 204, the most powerful of JAXA's H2A family
with four strapon solid boosters.
ETS-8, developed by JAXA and NICT (National Inst. of Comms. Technology)
with NTT (Nippon Telephone and Telegraph), and built by Mitsubishi
Electric and NEC, has been in development for many years. The satellite
has a launch mass of 5800 kg and carries two large reflector antennas;
span of the satellite is 40 meters. It has an Aerojet-Redmond R-4D
bipropellant liquid apogee engine which will be used to send it
to geostationary orbit. By Dec 19 Kiku-8 had reached a 4058 x 35992 km x
deg orbit and by Dec 24 it was in a 35752 x 35971 km x 0.2 deg
geosynchronous drift orbit. One of its two large dish antennas
has now been deployed.
Germany's first SAR-Lupe military radar imaging satellite was launched
on Dec 19 by a Russian Kosmos-3M (11K65M-SL) rocket into a 468 x 504 km
x 98.2 deg orbit. The satellite is built by OHB System and carries a
3-meter dish radar antenna.
The first Meridian satellite was launched on Dec 24. Meridian, built
by NPO Prikladnoi Mekhaniki, is a new communications satellite
"designed to ensure communications of sea-going ships and ice
reconnaissance planes in the area of the Northern Sea Route with coastal
stations as well as expansion of the network of satellite communication
stations in northern areas of Siberia and the Russian Far East" (TASS).
It was launched into a 278 x 39801 km x 62.8 deg `Molniya' orbit; the new
series will replace the old Molniya-1 satellites launched from 1965
Launch of Meridian was by Soyuz-2-1a/Fregat. The upgraded Soyuz-2-1a -
on its third launch - put the payload section in a suborbital
trajectory. The Fregat stage then fired to reach low Earth parking
orbit, and once again to reach the Molniya orbit. At around 0930 UTC the
second Fregat burn put the stack in a 278 x 39801 km x 62.8 deg transfer
orbit. The third burn at first apogee, around 1530 UTC, raised the
perigee to 1011 km and Fregat separated from Meridian at 1534 UTC.
Russia launched a triplet of Glonass-M navigation satellites on Dec 25.
To date, Glonass and Glonass-M satellites were given "Kosmos-" cover
names, but so far the Russian wire services have not uses such Kosmos
names for this launch. The launch vehicle was a Proton-K (serial 410-15
or 410-19 according to different reports) with a Blok-DM2 upper stage
(serial 108L). One of the payloads is in a 19137 x 19156 km x 64.8 deg
orbit typical of Glonass launches.
Table of Recent Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission
Nov 4 1353 DMSP 5D-3 F-17 Delta 4M Vandenberg SLC6
Nov 8 2001 Badr 4 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39
Nov 17 1912 GPS 58 Delta 7925-9.5 Canaveral SLC17A
Dec 8 0053 Fengyun 2D Chang Zheng 3A Xichang
Dec 8 2208 WildBlue 1 ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3
AMC 18 )
Dec 10 0147 Discovery STS-116 Shuttle Kennedy LC39B
Dec 11 2328 Measat 3 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39
Dec 14 2100 USA-193 (NROL-21) Delta 7920 Vandenberg SLC2W
Dec 16 1200 Tacsat 2 ) Minotaur Wallops LA0B
Dec 18 0632 ETS-8 H2A 204 Tanegashima
Dec 19 1400 SAR-Lupe 1 Kosmos-3M Plesetsk LC132/1
Dec 21 0019 MEPSI-2A/2B - Discovery, LEO
Dec 21 0156 RAFT ) Discovery, LEO
Dec 21 1822 ANDE-MAA ) Discovery, LEO
Dec 24 0834 Meridian No. 1 Soyuz-2-1A Plesetsk LC43/4
Dec 25 2018 Glonass-M ) Proton-K/DM-2 Baykonur LC81/24
| Jonathan McDowell | phone : (617) 495-7176 |
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