Jonathan's Space Report
No. 752 2018 Aug 17 Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 56 continues with astronauts Feustel, Artem'ev, Arnold, Prokop'ev,
Aunon-Chancellor and Gerst.

The Cygnus OA-9 cargo ship was deorbited over the South Pacific on Jul 30.

The Dragon CRS-15 cargo ship was unberthed by Canadarm-2 at 1437 UTC Aug
3 and released at 1638 UTC. After a deorbit burn at 2123 UTC it
jettisoned the trunk (with the HREP package) and reentered, splashing
down near 119 W 28 N at about 2217 UTC. Aboard CRS-15, the old
Canadarm-2 LEE S/N 202 was returned to Earth for refurbishment.

On Aug 10 the JEM-RMS robot arm extracted the J-SSOD-9 deployer from the
Kibo airlock. J-SSOD-9, delivered on CRS-15, ejected three 1U cubesats
for Bhutan, the Phillipines and Malaysia.

Spacewalk VKD-45 was carried out on Aug 15. Astronauts Artem'ev and
Prokop'ev, using spacesuits Orlan-MKS No. 5 and No. 4, depressurized the
Pirs airlock at 1552 UTC. Prokop'ev hand-deployed four cubesats - two
for the Southwest State University (YuZGU) of Kursk carried to ISS on
Progress MS-08, and two for the Sirius Educational Center of Sochi
carried up on Progress MS-09. The spacewalkers then installed the ICARUS
antenna for Germany's DLR on the Zvezda module exterior. The antenna was
carried to ISS on Progress MS-08. ICARUS will relay data from trackers
attached to migrating birds. At 2300 UTC the crew jettisoned two small
decontamination towels and then retrieved two TEST exposure cassettes.
They returned to Pirs, repressurizing the airlock at 0008 UTC Aug 16.


On Jul 29 China launched another pair of Beidou 3rd generation medium
orbit navigation satellites, Beidou DW 33 and 34, also known as Beidou-3
MEO-5 and MEO-6. The satellites were developed by CAST/Beijing.

Merah Putih

Telkom Indonesia's Telkom 4 satellite, also named Merah Putih, was launched on
Aug 7 by Falcon 9. The C-band communications satellite was built by Maxar SSL.
The Falcon 9 used the Block 5 first stage to make a second flight, S/N B1046.
It landed successfully on the OCSILY drone ship. Launched to a subsynchronous
transfer orbit of 182 x 29740 km x 27.0 deg, Merah Putih reached a geostationary
drift orbit over the eastern Indian Ocean on Aug 14.

Parker Solar Probe

The Solar Probe Plus mission, named in honour of solar wind discoverer
Gene Parker, was launched on Aug 12 by a ULA Delta 4 Heavy with an
additional Northrop Grumman-developed third stage using a Star 48BV
solid motor. This was flight Delta 380.

The Delta 4 Heavy's second stage entered a 170 x 180 km x 28 deg parking
orbit at 0741 UTC and coasted to the equator where at 0753 UTC the stage
reignited. The slightly yawed burn changed orbit inclination to 33.0
degrees and accelerated the vehicle to 13.2 km/s (geocentric inertial).
The third stage/payload stack then separated from the second stage.
After venting excess propellant, the second stage continued on a
hyperbolic trajectory of about 307 x -26350 km x 33.0 deg, with C3= 59.9
km**2/s**2, leaving the Earth's gravitational sphere of influence on Aug
14 to enter a roughly 0.37 x 1.0 AU solar orbit. Meanwhile, one minute
after separation, at 0808 UTC Aug 12, the third stage ignited for an 89
second burn and accelerated to a blistering 16.0 km/s (geocentric) At
0814 UTC the third stage separated from Parker Solar Probe, with both on
a 615 x -18608 km x 33.0 deg hyperbola with C3=152.2 km**2/s**2. Both
objects left the Earth's Hill sphere at 1731 UTC Aug 13, entering a 0.21
x 1.01 AU x 5.6 deg solar orbit.

Based on current trajectory data available on JPL Horizons, Parker will
enter Venus' Hill sphere at about 2103 UTC Oct 2 and fly 8415 km above
Venus' surface at 0912 UTC Oct 3. The encounter will change its solar orbit
to 0.18 x 0.96 AU x 4.9 deg, leading to Parker's first perihelion at 38 solar radii
on Nov 6. Future Venus flybys over the next 6 years will reduce the perihelion
to only 0.05 AU (10 solar radii).

Parker Solar Probe has a mass of 685 kg - including 80 kg of hydrazine propellant -
and carries the WISPR wide field imager,
the ISIS particle detector suite, the FIELDS experiment to measure electric and
magnetic fields, and the SWEAP instrument for in situ measurements of the solar
wind. It cowers behind a 73 kg, 2.4m wide carbon-carbon heatshield; at the
end of its mission, when propellant has run out and the heatshield can't be
pointed at the Sun any longer, the rest of the probe will burn and melt, presumably
leaving the heatshield to orbit the Sun on its own.

Parker Solar Probe will be, in a certain sense, the `fastest artificial
object ever'. It's not very helpful to measure speeds of solar orbiting
objects relative to Earth; as both the object and Earth circle the sun
the Earth's own speed adds plus or minus 30 km/s to the relative speed.
It's better to cite the speeds relative to the Sun; See JSR 728 for more
details. The existing speed record (both geocentric and heliocentric)
was set by the German/US space probe Helios 2; the heliocentric record
is 68.6 km/s, set on 1976 Apr 16. Parker will break this record on Oct
30. I haven't calculated when it will break the geocentric record, but
it will also be fairly soon.

Kosmos-2519/2521/2523 - the story in excessive detail

The US State Dept. has referred to a Russian satellite `deployed ... in October [2017]' displaying
'very abnormal behaviour' and 'troubling', although they failed to identify the satellite
or say exactly what was abnormal and troubling. The comment appears to refer to the Kosmos-2519/2521/2523
mission and the Kosmos-2523 payload in particular. This system is certainly puzzling and even
unusual, but `abnormal' seems a bit strong as the US has flown its own classified satellites
which have performed unexplained orbit changes, proximity operations and subsatellite deployments.
It seems a good time, however, to review the mission.

Kosmos-2519 was launched aboard a Soyuz-2-1v rocket from Plesetsk on 2017 Jun 23
and placed in a 654 x 669 km x 98.1 deg sun-synchronous orbit with 09:54 local time descending node.
The Volga upper stage was deorbited the following day. A Soyuz Blok-I stage was left in a
284 x 650 km transfer orbit.

On Jul 27 at 1200 UTC, Aug 1 at 1215 UTC and Aug 3 at about 0800 UTC Kosmos-2519 performed
small (0.5 m/s each) orbit changes to lower its orbit to 649 x 669 km.

On Aug 23 at about 0640 UTC a subsatellite, Kosmos-2521, separated from Kosmos-2519 at a relative
speed of about 0.5 m/s. The subsatellite was described by Russia at that time as a `satellite-inspector'.
Kosmos-2521 and 2519 carried out a series of exercises involving orbital changes and mutual flybys.

Exercise 1: Distant flyby
Kosmos-2521 drifted away from its parent over the next few days to a maximum range of about 300 km
and then made orbit adjustments to reverse the drift (on Aug 27 and Sep 4). By Oct 11,
it had reapproached Kosmos-2519 within about 10 km. Another manuever caused it to retreat to about 50 km.

Exercise 2: Close flyby and distant stationkeeping
Further rendezvous burns by Kosmos-2521 returned it to the 10 km point by Oct 15, with approach within
2 km of Kosmos-2519 by Oct 18. It remained within 15 km of Kosmos-2519 until Oct 31,
with both in a 650 x 667 km orbit.

Exercise 3: Deploy subsatellite
On Oct 30 at 0352 UTC a further subsatellite, Kosmos-2523, departed
Kosmos-2521 with a relative velocity of 27 m/s into a lower-perigee 554
x 664 km orbit. As of Aug 2018 Kosmos-2523 has made no orbit maneuvers
since its initial deployment. The three satellites (2519, 2521 and 2523)
were registered with the UN by Russia in orbits of 651 x 683, 656 x 688,
and 656 x 687 km respectively, making it hard to be sure which name
refers to the lower-perigee object.

Following the deployment of Kosmos-2523, Kosmos-2519 and Kosmos-2521 began to drift apart.

Exercise 4: Close flyby by K2519
On Dec 14 at 0900 UTC Kosmos-2519, at a range of 1000 km from Kosmos-2521, manuevered
to begin an approach. At 1340 UTC on Dec 15 Kosmos-2519 flew past Kosmos-2521 at a range of
less than 7 km and a relative speed of 35 km/hr. By Dec 19 the satellites were several thousand
km apart again.

Exercise 5: Close flyby by K2519
Without further orbital manuevers 2519 lapped 2521 again on 2018 Feb 3 at 0700,
passing around 10 km away at about 35 km/hr again.

Exercise 6: Slow flyby
On 2018 Feb 14 at 0407 UTC it was Kosmos-2521's turn to maneuver, with a 9 m/s burn lowering
its orbit to 618 x 664 km to begin a rendezvous with Kosmos-2519. The two satellites passed
each other slowly at a range of about 30 km on Feb 20.

Exercise 7: Slow flyby
By Feb 27 range was 380 km; reapproach burns led to a slow flyby at
a range of less than 1 km from around 0730 to 1230 UTC Mar 1.

Exercise 8: Slow flyby
Kosmos-2521 then retreated to 80 km range on Mar 6, and resumed approach to carry out another
1 km-class flyby on Mar 7 around 0700 UTC.

Exercise 9: Slow flyby
Again, Kosmos-2521 retreated to 550 km range on Mar 16, and resumed approach to carry out another
slow flyby on Mar 21 around 2345 UTC, then drifted further to 24 km range by Mar 26.

Exercise 10: Rendezvous
On Mar 26, Kosmos-2521 returned to Kosmos-2519 and began a new phase of stationkeeping within 1 km,
remaining near the parent satellite until Apr 30.

Exercise 11: Kosmos-2521 move to low orbit
Following the rendezvous, on Apr 30 it lowered its orbit in two large burns from 664 x 660 km to 350 x 369 km.
During May and June the satellites remained in their now-different orbits without further activity.

Exercise 12: Kosmos-2519 move to elliptical orbit
Then,from Jun 27 to Jul 19, Kosmos-2519 made a series of smaller burns to change its orbit
from 644 x 659 km to 312 x 606 km and then up to 317 x 664 km.

Exercise 13: Kosmos-2521 second orbit lowering
The day after the final Kosmos-2519 burn, Kosmos-2521 lowered its orbit even further, to 292 x 348 km.
The timing of this change is clearly not coincidental, but as far as I can tell the two vehicles
did not make any close approaches during this period.

There has been no further orbit change activity since Jul 20.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL. Catalog Perigee Apogee Incl Notes

Jul 9 0356 PRSS-1 ) Chang Zheng 2C/SMA Jiuquan Imaging 56B S43530 593 x 637 x 98.1
PakTes-1a ) Imaging 56A S43529 658 x 669 x 98.1
Jul 9 2058 Beidou DW32 Chang Zheng 3A Xichang Navigation 57A S43539 198 x 35778 x 55.1
Jul 9 2151 Progress MS-09 Soyuz-2-1A Baykonur LC31 Cargo 58A S43537 402 x 408 x 51.6
Jul 13 0805 RainCube ) ISS, LEO Tech 9867NU? S43546 399 x 407 x 51.6
HaloSat ) Astron 9867NV? S43547 399 x 407 x 51.6
Jul 13 0905 Radix ISS, LEO Tech 9867NW? S43548 399 x 407 x 51.6
Jul 13 1235 TEMPEST-D ) ISS, LEO Sci 9867NX? S43549 399 x 407 x 51.6
CubeRRT ) Tech 9867NY? S43550 399 x 407 x 51.6
Jul 13 1420 RadSat-g ) ISS, LEO Tech 9867NZ? S43551 399 x 407 x 51.6
Equisat ) Tech 9867PA? S43552 399 x 407 x 51.6
MemSat ) Tech 9867PB? S43553 399 x 407 x 51.6
Endurosat One ) Comms 9867PC? S43554 399 x 407 x 51.6
Jul 16? Lemur-2-TomHenderson ) OA-9, LEO Com/Met 46C S43556 477 x 489 x 51.6
Lemur-2-Yuasa ) Com/Met 46D S43557 477 x 489 x 51.6
Jul 16? Lemur-2-Alexander ) OA-9, LEO Com/Met 46E S43558 477 x 489 x 51.6
Lemur-2-Vu ) Com/Met 46F S43559 477 x 489 x 51.6
Jul 16? Aerocube-12A ) OA-9, LEO Tech 46G S43560 477 x 489 x 51.6
Aerocube-12B ) Tech 46H S43561 477 x 489 x 51.6
Jul 22 0550 Telstar 19V Falcon 9 FT Canaveral SLC40 Comms 59A S43562 243 x 17862 x 27.0
Jul 25 1125 GalileoSat-23 ) Ariane 5ES Kourou ELA3 Navigation 60A S43564 22896 x 22929 x 56.3
GalileoSat-24 ) Navigation 60B S43565 22902 x 22918 x 56.3
GalileoSat-25 ) Navigation 60C S43566 22908 x 22948 x 56.2
GalileoSat-26 ) Navigation 60D S43567 22899 x 22925 x 56.3
Jul 25 1139 Iridium SV154 Falcon 9 FT Vandenberg SLC4E Comms 61F S43574 608 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV155 Comms 61E S43573 608 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV156 Comms 61H S43576 608 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV158 Comms 61C S43571 607 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV159 Comms 61K S43578 608 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV160 Comms 61A S43569 607 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV163 Comms 61G S43575 607 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV164 Comms 61J S43577 607 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV165 Comms 61D S43572 607 x 623 x 86.7
Iridium SV166 Comms 61B S43570 608 x 623 x 86.7
Jul 29 0140 Beidou DW33 ) Chang Zheng 3B/YZ1 Xichang LC3 Navigation 62A S43581 21530 x 21897 x 55.0
Beidou DW34 ) Navigation 62B S43582 21520 x 22194 x 55.0
Jul 31 0300 Gao Fen 11 Chang Zheng 4B Taiyuan LC9 Imaging 63A S43585 247 x 693 x 97.4
Aug 7 0518 Merah Putih Falcon 9 FT Canaveral SLC40 Comms 64A S43587 182 x 29470 x 27.0
Aug 10 0945 Bhutan-1 ) ISS, LEO Tech 9867PC S43589? 398 x 409 x 51.6
UiTMSAT-1 ) Tech 9867PD S43590? 398 x 409 x 51.6
Maya-1 ) Tech 9867PE S43591? 398 x 409 x 51.6
Aug 12 0731 Parker Solar Probe Delta 4H/Star48BV Canaveral SLC37B Astron 65A S43592 617 x-18602 x 33.0
Aug 15 1643 Tanyusha-YuZGU-3 ISS, LEO Tech 9867PF S43595? 402 x 406 x 51.6
Aug 15 1645 Tanyusha-YuZGU-4 ISS, LEO Tech 9867PG S43596? 401 x 408 x 51.6
Aug 15 1651 SiriusSat-1 ISS, LEO Tech 9867PH S43597? 402 x 407 x 51.6
Aug 15 1656 SiriusSat-2 ISS, LEO Tech 9867PJ S43598? 401 x 408 x 51.6

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

The suborbital launches table includes known flights above 80 km.

Astra Space launched a suborbital test vehicle, Rocket 1, from Kodiak spaceport in Alaska at 2200 UTC Jul 20.
However, the vehicle reportedly had a malfunction, and is presumed not to have reached space.
The Jul 31 Minuteman launch was destroyed 4 min after launch, by which time it would have been several
hundred km high.

Date UT Payload/Flt Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission Apogee/km Target

Jul 18 1511 New Shepard CC2.0 New Shepard West Texas Abort test 119 West Texas
Jul 23 0600 MICRO-X Black Brant 9 White Sands XR Astron 270 White Sands
Jul 31 1138 GT225GM Minuteman 3 Vandenberg Test 200? Destroyed, fell in Pacific
Aug 14 1013 Rocksat-X 8 Terrier Imp.Mal. Wallops Island Education 158 Atlantic Ocean

| Jonathan McDowell | |
| Somerville MA 02143 | inter : planet4589 at gmail |
| USA | twitter: @planet4589 |

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UBB Owner & Administrator