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Fwd: Jonathan's Space Report, No. 577

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  • Frits Westra
    Jonathan s Space Report No. 577 2007 Feb 25, Somerville, MA ... Shuttle and Station ... Lopez-Alegria, Williams and
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 25, 2007
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      Jonathan's Space Report
      No. 577 2007 Feb 25, Somerville, MA
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      Shuttle and Station
      --------------------

      Lopez-Alegria, Williams and Tyurin continue on ISS as Expedition 14. LA
      and Williams began another EVA on Feb 4. The Quest airlock was
      depressurized and the hatch opened at 1336 UTC. The spacewalkers
      completed reconfiguration of the ammonia cooling system, retracted the
      aft radiator on the P6 truss, and began installation of cables that will
      allow a docked Shuttle to get electrical power from the ISS solar
      arrays. The astronauts returned to the airlock at 2025 UTC and closed
      the hatch at 2033 UTC. The airlock was repressurized at 2049 UTC.

      On Feb 8 at 1322 UTC Quest was again depressurized, with hatch open at
      1324 UTC. Suni Williams emerged at 1332 UTC with LA exiting the lock at
      1340 UTC. They went to the CETA carts on the truss, and took them to the
      P3 truss segment where two small and two large thermal covers were
      removed and stuffed into bags. The two bags, each about 9 kg and perhaps
      0.5m across, were jettisoned at 1536 and 1542 UTC. After deploying
      cargo attachment adapters on P3, and preparing the P5 truss for
      its connection to P6 later in the year, the astronauts went to the PMA-2
      docking port outside the Destiny lab to install the remaining SSPTS
      cables for supplying visiting Shuttles with electrical power. The hatch
      was closed at 2002 UTC and the airlock was repressurized at 2006 UTC.

      On Feb 22 Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin made a spacewalk from the Pirs
      airlock wearing spacesuits Orlan M-25 and M-27. The airlock was
      depressurized by around 1005 UTC, and the hatch was opened at 1027 UTC;
      egress was at 1045-1049 UTC; the Progress antenna was freed using
      cutting tools by about 1245 UTC; at 1407 UTC, having left the aft
      end of Zvezda, the astronauts jettisoned two cleaning towels used to
      protect against thruster fuel contamination. After other minor
      inspection and hardware installation tasks, they re-entered the Pirs
      airlock at 1622-1627 UTC and closed the hatch at 1645 UTC, with
      repressurizaton at 1649 UTC. Thanks to Andrey Krasil'nikov for
      help with some of the EVA times in this report.


      Atlantis is now on the pad at KSC, being prepared for launch on mission
      STS-117.

      Iranian sounding rocket (not satellite)
      --------------------------------------

      On Feb 25 the Iranian Aerospace Research Institute announced the launch
      of a 'space system' called 'Kavesh' (search). The Iranian news agency
      talks about launching a rocket into space. At first it wasn't entirely
      clear whether this reflected a successful orbital launch but a later
      clarification established that it was a sounding rocket test. The rocket
      has a maximum apogee of 150 km. Iran has launched missiles to that
      height in the past, so what's new here is that it's a quasi-civilian
      research payload, possibly testing systems for a later satellite launch.
      It is not clear when the launch took place, what the name of the launch
      vehicle is (possibly based on the Shahab-3 ('Meteor') missile, itself
      derived from the North Korean Nodong) or what the launch site was
      (perhaps the Shahroud missile test base at about 36.4N 55.0E; there is
      also reportedly a test site at Qom, 34.7N 50.9E and one at
      Dasht-E-Kabir, 32.8N 51.9E; all these locations are uncertain). The
      Iranian Aerospace Research Institute is based in Tehran and is, I
      believe, conducting the launch under the auspices of the Iranian
      National Space Agency formed in 2003 as part of the government of the
      Islamic Republic of Iran.

      Rosetta and New Horizons
      ------------------------

      The European comet probe Rosetta made a 250 km flyby of Mars at 0157 UTC
      on Feb 25. The probe will arrive at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in
      2014; it was launched in Mar 2004 and made an Earth flyby in Mar 2005.
      As Rosetta leaves the Mars gravitational sphere of influence it
      enters a 0.78 x 1.59 AU solar orbit inclined 1.9 deg to the ecliptic,
      setting it up for another Earth flyby in November.

      Pluto New Horizons makes its closest approach to Jupiter on Feb 28
      at 0541 UTC, at a distance of 2.305 million km just outside the orbit of
      Callisto; the inert Star 48 third stage of the New Horizons launch flies
      past Jupiter at 2.8 million km at 0144 UTC the same day. New Horizons'
      Centaur AV-010 second stage has been left far behind, meandering through
      the asteroid belt 2.8 AU from the Sun.

      Beidou
      ------

      China launched a navigation satellite towards geostationary orbit
      on Feb 2. The CZ-3A rocket put the fourth Beidou payload in a
      192 x 41772 km x 25.0 deg supersynchronous transfer orbit.
      As of Feb 24, the Beidou satellite - reportedly the first of a new
      generation - remained in this transfer orbit and had not moved to
      geostationary, suggesting the possibility that it may have failed.

      FY-1C
      -----

      710 pieces of debris were cataloged from the previous record debris
      event, an accidental fragmentation of the Pegasus/HAPS rocket stage from
      the 1994-029 launch. As of Feb 20, 786 pieces had been cataloged from
      the destruction of the Chinese FY-1C satellite in a space weapons test,
      breaking the record and officially making the FY-1C destruction the
      worst orbital debris event since the formation of the Moon. By Feb 25
      the number had reached 916 pieces. The accidental explosion on Feb 19 of
      the Arabsat-4 Briz upper stage 2006-06B, stranded in orbit in 2006 with
      tonnes of propellant left on board, is thought to have generated
      hundreds more debris objects, none of which have yet been cataloged.

      HST
      ---

      Failure of the Hubble Space Telescope's ACS (Advanced Camera for Surveys)
      is a major blow to space astronomy: ACS was being used for about 80
      percent of observations, although some programs can be switched to
      the less capable WFPC-2 camera. One of ACS's three sub-cameras has
      been recovered - the ultraviolet SBC (Solar Blind Channel) camera
      is now operable again, but the main visible-light imagers are thought
      to be lost for good.


      THEMIS
      ------

      NASA's THEMIS mission was launched on Feb 17 by United Launch Alliance
      using a Boeing Delta 7925-10C vehicle. The Delta 7925 rocket entered a
      182 x 563 km x 28.5 deg initial orbit; the second burn of the second
      stage moved it to a 518 x 1528 km x 26.6 deg orbit. The third stage then
      spun up, separated and fired to go to a 469 x 87337 km x 16.0 deg orbit.
      After a five minute coast, two despin weights were unreeled and then the
      five THEMIS probes were separated. The second stage later made a third
      burn to lower its orbit to 184 x 1510 km x 22.1 deg, ensuring a short
      orbital life for this stage.

      The THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during
      Substorms) probes, built by Swales Aerospace, are 76 kg dry, 125 kg
      fully fuelled, and 0.8m across with booms spanning 40.2 m. They carry
      four 4.4N orbit adjust thrusters and will end up in a variety of high
      apogee orbits, measuring particles and fields to study magnetospheric
      storms. The mission is a NASA MIDEX Explorer led by UC Berkeley.

      IGS
      ---

      Japan launched two spy satellites on Feb 24, the Information Gathering
      Satellite Radar-2 and the IGS Optical-3 Verification Satellite. Earlier
      IGS satellites were placed in 490 km sun-synchronous orbits. Optical-1
      and Radar-1 were launched in Mar 2003; two satellites lost in a Nov 2003
      launch failure would have been Optical-2 and Radar-2 on reaching orbit
      - I'll call them Optical-2a and Radar-2a although those are not
      official names. In an effort to recover quickly, a second Optical-2 was
      launched on its own in Sep 2006 while the new Radar-2 was still being
      completed. The Optical-3 Verification Satellite is an experimental
      second-generation optical imaging craft that hitched a ride with
      Radar-2; I'll unofficially call it Optical-3V for short (it's not 100
      percent clear from translations that the Verification qualifier applies
      to just the Optical satellite, but that seems to be the balance of
      evidence).

      The H2A rocket serial number F-12 used the 2024 version with two large
      and four small strapons, and the 4/4D-LC fairing which releases into
      orbit the upper satellite adapter and two side lower fairing panels as
      well as the two payloads.


      Table of Recent Launches
      -----------------------
      Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission
      INTL.
      DES.
      Jan 10 0416 Cartosat-2 ) PSLV Sriharikota LP1
      Imaging 01B
      SRE-1 )
      Tech 01C
      LAPAN Tubsat)
      Imaging 01A
      Pehuensat )
      Comms 01D
      Jan 18 0212 Progress M-59 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1
      Cargo 02A
      Jan 30 2322 NSS 8 Zenit-3SL SL Odyssey, POR
      Comms F01
      Feb 2 1628 Beidou 2A Chang Zheng 3A Xichang
      Navigation 03A
      Feb 17 2301 THEMIS P1 ) Delta 7925 Canaveral SLC17B
      Science 04A
      THEMIS P2 )
      Science 04B
      THEMIS P3 )
      Science 04C
      THEMIS P4 )
      Science 04D
      THEMIS P5 )
      Science 04E
      Feb 24 0441 IGS Radar-2 ) H-2A 2024 Tanegashima YLP1
      Radar 05A
      IGS Optical-3V )
      Imaging 05B


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