Jonathan's Space Report
No. 622 2010 Feb 5 Somerville, MA
Shuttle and Station

The Expedition 22 crew currently consists of Jeff Williams, Maksim Suraev, Oleg Kotov, T.J. Creamer and Soichi Noguchi. Soyuz TMA-16 is docked at Poisk; Soyuz TMA-17 is docked with the nadir port on Zarya, Progress M-03M is at the Pirs port, and the PMA-2 port is empty. Progress M-04M was launched on Feb 3 and docked with the Zvezda aft port at 0426 UTC on Feb 5.

On Jan 23 the PMA-3 docking port was relocated from the port side of the Unity module to the zenith location on the Harmony module. The Station arm (SSRMS) unberthed PMA-3 at about 1000 UTC and the move was complete around 1130 UTC. This frees up the Unity port-side location for the docking of the Tranquility module during STS-130. PMA-1 is the port that joins Unity to the Zarya module and the Russian segment. PMA-2 is the port at the other end of US segment, on the end of the Harmony module, used for Shuttle dockings. PMA-3 is a backup port. I apologize for the multiple meanings of the word 'port' in this paragraph!

Endeavour is scheduled to launch on Feb 7 on mission STS-130. Crew are Col. George Zamka, Col. Terry Virts, Dr. Nick Patrick, LtCol. Bob Behnken, Dr. Steven Robinson and Kathryn Hire. The mission will deliver the Tranquility node to the Station, adding extra work space and docking ports. The Cupola attached to Tranqulity will provide large windows for Earth observation. My estimate of the STS-130 payload bay contents is:
STS-130 cargo manifest

Name Bay location Mass (kg,guess)

Orbiter Docking System 1-2 1800
with EMU 3004, 3005 suits 260?
APC/SPDU 3 port 18
APC/SPDU 7 port 17
Tranquility Node 8-12 13004
Cupola 7 1805
RMS 201 Sill 410
OBSS Sill 382
Total 17696 kg


The Solar Dynamics Observatory is scheduled for launch on Feb 9. SDO is the lead mission in NASA's Living With a Star (LWS) program. It will study the Sun at optical, ultraviolet and soft X-ray wavelengths from an inclined geosynchronous Earth orbit. The spacecraft was built in-house at NASA-Goddard; the mission is managed by GSFC and its control center is located there. What's new about SDO is that it will image the whole sun at very high cadence - typically returning new high resolution solar images every ten seconds, allowing the rapid evolution of solar activity to be studied. SDO will replace many of the capabilities of the elderly SOHO spacecraft which has been monitoring the Sun for 15 years.

SDO consists of a box-shaped service module with a GSFC-developed bipropellant propulsion system and a high gain antenna, topped by two tapered solar array wings and a science instrument module. The spacecraft has a dry mass of 1650 kg; at launch it also carries a propellant load of 1450 kg for its main bipropellant Aerojet/Redmond R4D apogee thruster, which has a thrust of 445 Newtons. The propulsion system also contains 8 smaller 22N thrusters for attitude control.

SDO will be launched from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral by a Lockheed-Martin Atlas V 401 model space launch vehicle, serial number AV-021, with a CCB first stage powered by one RD-180 engine, a single-engine RL-10A-powered Centaur second stage, and a 4-m Large Payload Fairing. The first stage will separate 4 minutes 9s after launch and the first Centaur burn will last from T+4:19 to T+15:17. SDO and Centaur AV-021 will then be in an elliptical parking orbit. At T+1 hour 42 min 43s the Centaur will reignite for 3 min 15 s to reach a 2500 x 35355 km x 28.5 deg transfer orbit. SDO and AV-021 will separate at T+1h 48 min 46s, and over a period of several days the observatory will raise its orbit to geosynchronicity.

After a total of 4 main engine firings, the spacecraft will be on station in view of the TDRS main ground station complex at White Sands.

SDO carries three main instruments - AIA, EVI and HMI, comprising a total of six imaging telescopes, three spectrographs and a photometer.

AIA, the Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (Lockheed/Palo Alto, A. Title, with telescopes built by my colleagues at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) will make temperature maps of the solar corona with 10 second cadence. The four 0.20m aperture normal-incidence EUV telescopes each have their 4096x4096 pixel CCD focal planes divided in two, with different narrow band filters on each half. The filters are centered on spectral lines which provide temperature diagnostics.

* AIA Telescope 1 sees 335A and 131A; (1 Angstrom = 0.1 nanometres).
* AIA Telescope 2 sees 211A and 193A;
* AIA Telescope 3 sees 171A and a half-aperture measuring the UV and optical at 1600A (Carbon IV), 1700A (UV continuum) and a broad filter centered on 4500A (optical continuum).
* AIA Telescope 4 sees 304A and 94A.

AIA sees the whole solar photosphere in its 41 arcmin field of view and has a spatial resolution of 0.6 arcseconds. It's this instrument that will provide the mission's most photogenic data.

EVE, the EUV Variability Experiment (Colorado/LASP, Woods) measures the EUV irradiance using its ESP, MEGS-A and MEGS-B spectrographs and the MEGS-SAM and MEGS-P instruments. EVE doesn't have spatial resolution, it just sums all the light from the Sun to make spectra.

* ESP (EUV Spectro-Photometer) is a non-focussing transmission grating spectrograph with 4 bands covering the 170-380A EUV range plus a zero order flux measurement in the 1-70A (0.2-12 keV) soft X-ray band, with 0.25 second cadence.
* MEGS-A, the first part of the Multiple EUV Grating Spectrograph, covers the 50-370A EUV range with 1A resolution and 10s cadence on a 2048 x 1024 pixel CCD. It is a grazing incidence spectrograph.
* MEGS-B is a normal incidence grating spectrograph for the 350-1050A FUV range; it also includes a photodiode, MEGS-P, for a measurement of the 1215A Lyman alpha line UV flux
* MEGS-SAM is a pinhole camera for 1-70A X-ray event data. It shares the MEGS-A detector but has a separate aperture.

A version of EVE was test-flown on rocket NASA 36.233US on 2006 Oct 28, and further rockets will be flown during SDO's operation to help calibrate the instrument's accurate measurement of total solar output.

HMI, the Helioseismic and Vector Magnetic Imager (Stanford, Scherrer) is a single 0.14m-aperture telescope with a tunable filter and two 4096 x 4096 CCDs. It observes a 50A bandpass around 6768A in the optical, which contains a Ni I absorption line. Measurements of the Doppler shift and Zeeman splitting of this line generate maps of solar surface oscillations and the solar magnetic field. The field of view covers the whole solar disk with 1 arcsecond resolution.

Other solar space observatories currently in operation include Hinode, TRACE, RHESSI, SORCE, STEREO A/B and the SXI imager on GOES 14.


The Mars Rover team has abandoned attempts to move the Spirit rover from its sand-trap location at 'Home Plate' in the Gusev Crater site. Spirit became stuck on 2009 May 7 after five years exploring the Gusev area. It will continue to make scientific observations from its now-final resting place. The second rover, Opportunity, continues its drive south from Victoria to Endeavour craters and is approaching a small crater called Concepcion.

Jun Takei reports that the Ouna spacecraft stopped operating on 2009 Jun 29 at 1208 UTC. Because of Ouna's low orbit around the Moon, I expect that Ouna will impact the lunar surface during 2010 if it has not already done so.
Suborbital shots

France has carried out the fourth test launch of its new MSBS M51 missile, which carries four to six reentry vehicles. The launch on Jan 27 from the SNLE 612 'Le Terrible' at around 4.05W 47.63N in the Baie d'Audierne off the coast of Bretagne (Brittany) was the first from a submarine after three earlier flights from a pad at the Landes base near Bordeaux. The suborbital trajectory of the M51 is not known but is probably around -5100 x 1000 km x 132.0 deg. The reentry vehicles splashed down in the North Atlantic east of Bermuda near 31.4N 56.5W.

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) launched a GBI interceptor from Vandenberg on Jan 31. The GBI is based on the motors from the Pegasus rocket. As part of the same test MDA launched the first LV-2 target missile from Kwajalein Atoll; LV-2 is made of refurbished motors from the Trident I missile, and represents the first Trident I hardware launched since 2001.

Iran launched the Kavoshgar 3 suborbital sounding rocket with a biological payload (a rat and two turtles). This small rocket appears similar to Kavoshgar 2 and is probably comparable with the US Orion sounding rocket.


A new Russian Defense Ministry satellite was launched on a Khrunichev Proton-M on Jan 28. The satellite is the second new-generation Globus-1M (or Globus-M) military communications satellite, with the cover name Raduga-1M. Raduga-1M separated from the Briz-M upper stage at 0916 UTC on Jan 28 into geosynchronous orbit. at 35772 x 35797 km x 0.1 deg over 55E.

The Beidou DW3 satellite is now in geostationary orbit over 160E. The Beidou satellites are reportedly based on the DFH-3 communications satellite, and so probably use an FY-25 liquid apogee motor with 490N thrust.

Cassini flew 7490 km from Titan at 2228 UTC on Jan 28. The spacecraft's next flyby is of Rhea, on 2010 Mar 2.

Table of Recent (orbital) Launches

Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL.
Dec 6 0147 WGS 3 Delta 4M+(5,4) Canaveral SLC37B Comms 68A
Dec 9 0842 Yaogan Weixing 7 Chang Zheng 2D Jiuquan Imaging? 69A
Dec 14 1038 Kosmos-2456 ) Proton-M/DM2 Baykonur LC81 Navigation 70A
Kosmos-2457 ) Navigation 70B
Kosmos-2458 ) Navigation 70C
Dec 14 1409 WISE Delta 7320 Vandenberg SLC2W Astronomy 71A
Dec 15 0231 Yaogan Weixing 8) Chang Zheng 4C Taiyuan Imaging 72A
Xi Wang 1 ) Comms 72B
Dec 18 1626 Helios IIB Ariane 5GS Kourou ELA3 Imaging 73A
Dec 20 2152 Soyuz TMA-17 Soyuz-FG Baykonur LC1 Spaceship 74A
Dec 29 0022 DirecTV 12 Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC200/39 Comms 75A
Jan 16 1612 Beidou DW3 Chang Zheng 3C Xichang Navigation 01A
Jan 28 0018 Raduga-1M Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur LC81/34 Comms 02A
Feb 3 0345 Progress M-04M Soyuz-U Baykonur Cargo 03A

Table of Recent (suborbital) Launches

Date UT Payload/Flt Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission Apogee/km
Dec 9 0645? RV Bulava TK-208, White Sea Test 500?
Dec 10 1135 RV Topol' Kapustin Yar Test 1000?
Dec 16 Sejjil RV Sejjil 2 Iran Test 800?
Dec 16 1346 NASA 12.068GT Mesquito Wallops Island Test 90?
Dec 17 0325 NASA 41.086UO Terrier Orion White Sands Airglow 130?
Dec 24 0630 RV x 10? R-36M2 Yasniy Test 1000?
Jan 10 2300 MARTI/36.247DR Black Brant IX San Nicholas I Target 100?
Jan 11 1155? Target ? Jiuquan? Target 100?
Jan 11 1200? Interceptor DF-21? Urumqi? ABM test 100?
Jan 14 0650 Eclipse RH-300 Mk II Thumba Solar 116
Jan 14 0735 Eclipse RH-300 Mk II Thumba Solar 116
Jan 14 0745? Eclipse RH-560 Mk II Sriharikota Solar 548
Jan 15 0700? Eclipse RH-300 Mk II Thumba Solar 116
Jan 15 0730? Eclipse RH-300 Mk II Thumba Solar 116
Jan 15 0745 Eclipse RH-560 Mk II Sriharikota Solar 523
Jan 15 1030 Eclipse RH-300 Mk II Thumba Solar 116
Jan 27 0825 TN75 RV x 6?) MSBS M51 Baie d'Audierne R&D launch 1000?
Jan 31 2339 FTG-06 Target LV-2 Meck I, Kwajalein Target 1000?
Jan 31 2345 FTG-06 EKV GBI OBV Vandenberg Interceptor 1000?
Feb 3 Kavoshgar-3 Kavoshgar Iran Bio 100?


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