Jonathan's Space Report, No. 396
- Jonathan's Space Report
No. 396 1999 Apr 29 Cambridge, MA
The next Shuttle launch, STS-96, is scheduled for May 20. Discovery and
the STS-96 stack have been rolled out to pad 39B. No news yet on how
long the delay to STS-93 will be because of the IUS-21 failure.
Viktor Afanas'ev and Jean-Pierre Haignere remain on board the Mir
complex. Orbit raising burns are underway with the Progress M-41 cargo
Space Command have corrected the designation of Sputnik-99 to 1999-15C.
Surrey's UoSAT-12 satellite is undergoing orbital checkout. I have
confirmed that the SNAP-1 nanosatellite was not aboard the UoSAT-12
launch. The two objects in circular orbit are UoSAT-12 and part of the
Dnepr payload shroud; the object initially cataloged as 1999-22B/SNAP-1
(now 1999-21B) is actually UoSAT-12. The object in eccentric orbit,
1999-21C, is the Dnepr third stage. Although the R-36M2 is considered a
two-stage vehicle, it in fact has a third stage maneuvring bus for
dispensing multiple warheads (similar to the post-boost vehicle on
Minuteman 3), and it is this bus which performed orbit insertion. The
two main R-36M2 stages were suborbital. The Dnepr was launched at
0459:03 UTC and the third stage separated from the payload at 0513 UTC
on Apr 21.
The Athena rocket has suffered its second launch failure. Ikonos-1 was
launched at 1822 UTC on Apr 27 on a Lockheed Martin Athena-2, serial
LM-005, from Vandenberg AFB. The Athena-2 uses the old MOL/Shuttle pad
at SLC-6, and is launched from one of the SRB mount points. Athena-2
has four stages: two Thiokol Castor 120s, one UTC Orbus 21, and one
Lockheed Martin/Primex OAM (Orbit Adjust Module). The OAM performs
transfer orbit insertion and an apogee burn. The flight was apparently
successful through Orbus 21 burn and the beginning of the first OAM
burn, but tracking stations downrange did not pick up the spacecraft.
It was later determined from telemetry that the rocket nose fairing
failed to separate 4 minutes after launch, and the extra mass caused the
vehicle to reenter on the first partial orbit. The planned orbit after
the first OAM burn was 220 x 689 km x 98.1 deg; the second OAM burn
would have placed Ikonos in a 680 x 690 km x 98.1 deg circular orbit.
Instead, the vehicle reentered over the South Pacific well before the
planned second burn.
Athena launches to date: (LLV-1 and LMLV-1 were earlier names for Athena-1)
Date Serial Type Site Payload
1995 Aug 15 DLV LLV-1 V SLC6 Gemstar (failed)
1997 Aug 23 LM-001 LMLV-1 V SLC6 Lewis
1998 Jan 7 LM-004 Athena-2 CC SLC46 Lunar Prospector
1999 Jan 27 LM-006 Athena-1 CC SLC46 Rocsat
1999 Apr 27 LM-005 Athena-2 V SLC6 Ikonos 1 (failed)
Space Imaging's Ikonos 1 used an LM-900 bus built by Lockheed
Martin/Sunnyvale. It carried a 1-m resolution panchromatic camera, the
first commercial imaging satellite with this high a resolution. A 4-m
resolution color imager was also aboard.
A Kosmos-3M (11K65M) rocket was launched successfully on Apr 28, the
first orbital launch since 1988 from GTsP-4 (State Test Range 4) at
Kapustin Yar. The Kosmos-3M is built by Polyot of Omsk and marketed by
OHB-System (Bremen)'s Cosmos International.
The Kosmos-3M (11K65M) launch vehicle consists of a first stage derived
from Yangel's R-14 (8K65) intermediate range missile, designated SS-5 by
NATO. The upper stage, developed in the early 1960s, has a restartable
engine. First launch of the 65S3 satellite launch vehicle was in August
1964; the modified 11K65M version flew in 1967, and Polyot took over
production in 1970. Kosmos-3M usually flies from Plesetsk (GIK-1), with
occasional launches from GTsP-4 since 1973. I understand there used to
be two launch pads at area LC107, LC107/1 and LC107/2 - I don't know
which was used for this launch.
GTsP-4 was first used for satellite launches in October 1961, with the
first attempted launch of a small Kosmos satellite on the 63S1 (later
11K63) rocket derived from the smaller R-12 (SS-4) missile from the
Mayak-2 silo. In late 1964 launches switched to the LC86 complex's pads
1 and 4. 11K63 orbital launches from LC86 stopped in 1973 shortly after
11K65M launches from LC107 began.
Payload of the Kosmos-3M on this launch was the DLR (German space
agency) ABRIXAS satellite, built by OHB-System. Mass of ABRIXAS is 470
kg. MPE/Garching and the Astrophysical Institute in Potsdam developed
the scientific payload, a set of seven hard X-ray imaging telescopes
with an X-ray CCD detector which will carry out an all-sky survey in the
1-10 keV band with 30 arcsecond resolution. The last all-sky survey in
this band was carried out in the 1970s by HEAO-1, which had no optics
and therefore very poor spatial resolution. The new mission will
complement MPE's existing all sky survey with the ROSAT satellite,
carried out in the 0.1-2 keV soft band. It'll be interesting to see
what kinds of objects turn up at the harder energies; it's possible that
there are whole classes of sources which are obscured at ROSAT energies
(the galaxy is much more transparent in the ABRIXAS band).
Congratulations to Gunter Hasinger and his team and best wishes for a
very successful survey.
ABRIXAS separated from the Kosmos-3M second stage one hour after launch
into a 544 x 603 km x 48.4 deg orbit. The 48.4 deg inclination was
familiar to Soviet space watchers in the early 1960s, used by Kosmos
satellites on 63S1 rockets from Kapustin Yar, but this is the first
time it's been used since 1973. A secondary payload on the same launch
was Megsat-0, a small technology development satellite built and owned
by MegSat, the space division of the Gruppo Meggiorin companies based
in Brescia (Italy). The 0.4-meter box has a mass of 35 kg. It carries an
experimental high bit rate data transmission payload.
Table of Recent Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.
Mar 5 0256 WIRE Pegasus XL Vandenberg Astronomy 11A
Mar 15 0306 Globalstar M022 ) Soyuz-U/Ikar Baykonur LC1 Comsat 12A
Globalstar M041 ) Comsat 12B
Globalstar M046 ) Comsat 12C
Globalstar M037 ) Comsat 12D
Mar 21 0009 Asiasat 3S Proton-K/DM3 Baykonur LC81L Comsat 13A
Mar 28 0130 DemoSat Zenit-3SL Odyssey, POR Test 14A
Apr 2 1128 Progress M-41 Soyuz-U Baykonur LC1 Cargo 15A
Apr 2 2203 Insat 2E Ariane 42P Kourou ELA2 Comsat 16A
Apr 9 1701 DSP F19 Titan 4/IUS Canaveral LC41 Early Warn 17A
Apr 12 2250 Eutelsat W3 Atlas 2AS Canaveral LC36A Comsat 18A
Apr 15 0046 Globalstar M019 ) Soyuz-U/Ikar Baykonur LC1 Comsat 19A
Globalstar M042 ) 19B
Globalstar M044 ) 19C
Globalstar M045 ) 19D
Apr 15 1832 Landsat 7 Delta 7920-10 Vandenberg SLC2W Imaging 20A
Apr 16 1030? Sputnik-99 - Mir, LEO Comsat 15C
Apr 21 0459 UoSAT-12 Dnepr Baykonur LC108 Test 21B
Apr 27 1822 Ikonos 1 Athena 2 Vandenberg SLC6 Imaging F01
Apr 28 2030 ABRIXAS ) Kosmos-3M Kap. Yar LC107? Astronomy 22A
Megsat-0 ) Technol. 22B
Current Shuttle Processing Status
Orbiters Location Mission Launch Due
OV-102 Columbia OPF Bay 1 STS-93 Unknown
OV-103 Discovery LC39B STS-96 May 20
OV-104 Atlantis OPF Bay 3 STS-101 Oct 14?
OV-105 Endeavour OPF Bay 2 STS-99 Sep 18
MLP1/RSRM-69/ET-99 VAB Bay 1 STS-93
MLP2/RSRM-70/ET-100/OV-103 LC39B STS-96