Jonathan's Space Report
No. 748 2018 Apr 24 Somerville, MA

International Space Station

Expedition 55 continues with Anton Shkaplerov in command, Scott Tingle,
Norishige Kanai, Oleg Artemev, Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel as flight
engineers. Ferry ships Soyuz MS-07 and Soyuz MS-08 are docked to the

Dragon CRS-14 arrived at the ISS on Apr 4. Canadarm-2 grappled it at
1040 UTC and berthed it at Harmony nadir at 1300 UTC.

On Apr 6-8 the Canadarm-2 and Dextre robot arms removed the PFCS (Pump
Flow Control System) and MISSE-FF payloads from the Dragon trunk.
MISSE-FF was installed on Express Logistics Carrier 2; the DCSU-2 spare
unit was temporarily removed to provide easier access to the install
location and reinstalled afterwards. On Apr 11 the Canadarm-2 was used
to remove the old PFCS (PFCS 3) from the P6 truss segment; it was later
moved to Dragon's trunk for disposal. There were four PFCS on P6, all
there since P6 was launched in 2000. In May 2013 during US EVA-21
astronauts moved malfunctioning PFCS 3 from the channel 2B slot and put
it in a spare slot, replacinging it with PFCS 1, which had been part of
the old EATCS thermal control system. The new PFCS, which I label PFCS
12, went in PFCS 3's old storage slot.

Also aboard the Dragon, as well as RemoveDebris discussed in the last
issue, was a Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) carrying
three cubesats: 1KUNS-PF, a 1U cube for the University of Nairobi,
Kenya; the 3U UBAKUSAT for Istanbul Technical University, Turkey; and
the 1U Irazu from Tecnologico de Costa Rica. They will be deployed from
the Kibo module at a later date.


The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), an astronomical
observatory in NASA's Explorer program, was launched on Apr 18 by Falcon
9. TESS will survey the sky to find exoplanets transiting bright stars
and nearby stars. The Falcon 9 entered an initial 250 x 250 km orbit and
then restarted to place TESS in a 280 x 272166 km x 29.6 deg highly
elliptical orbit. The second stage then made a third burn for disposal,
and entered a hyperbolic orbit leading to a 0.83 x 1.00 AU x 0.3 deg
solar orbit.

TESS will make a lunar flyby on May 27 and reach a half-month-period
operational orbit on Jun 12. It will spend two years staring at sectors
of the sky for a month at a time until it has searched the entire sky
for transiting exoplanets. While the search is limited by the brightness
of the host stars and the large (21 arcsecond) camera pixels, and by
the probability that a planet and its star are oriented in such a way
as to cause a transit seen from Earth, TESS should discover a large
number of exoplanets that are, unlike the Kepler planets, close enough
for detailed spectroscopic followup by other observatories.


Flight VA242 (launch vehicle L5102) successfully delivered two
communications satellites to low-inclination geotransfer orbit on Apr 5.
Hylas 4 for Avanti Communications is an Orbital ATK Geostar-3 and will
provide Ka-band broadband coverage for Europe and Africa. The DSN-1
satellite, built by Mitsubishi Electric for Sky Perfect JSAT, carries
the Kirameki-1/DSN-1 military X-band communications payload operated by
DSN Corporation on behalf of the Japanese armed forces, and Sky Perfect
JSAT's Superbird-8 Ku-band commercial television payload.
Kirameki-1/Superbird-8 is now on station at 158E and Hylas 4 is at 21E.

Yaogan 31

On Apr 10 China launched the YG-31 Group 1 mission. Satellites Yaogan
Weixing 31 hao 01 zu 01, 02 and 03 xing (which can be rendered as
YG-31-01 Sat 1, 2 and 3) were launched to an 1100 km orbit similar to
the Yaogan-9 series.


ISRO launched the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite Systems's IRNSS-1I satellite to transfer
orbit on Apr 11. The successful launch follows the failure of IRNSS-1H after a fairing separation
failure during launch last year; it was left in a 6500 km apogee orbit which has now decayed
to 4500 km. IRNSS-1H is in an inclined geosynchronous orbit.


The Russian Defense Ministry's second Blagovest communications satellite, Blagovest No. 12L,
was launched on Apr 19. It will be given the cover name Kosmos-2526. According to Russian
sources, the satellite reached geosynchronous orbit successfully.
As of Apr 24, only the discarded propellant tank in transfer orbit had public US orbit data.


The USAF OTV-5 spaceplane mission launched in Sep 2017 has finally been located in orbit by hobbyists.
On Apr 11 orbit was 355 x 356 km x 54.5 deg - a higher orbit inclination than earlier X-37B missions.
Around 0500 UTC Apr 19 it lowered its orbit to 310 x 323 km x 54.5 deg.


Japan's Jikiken (EXOS-B) magnetospheric research satellite, which operated in elliptical orbit
from 1978 to 1985, reentered on Apr 22. The small satellite, with a mass of 92 kg, deployed
long wire antennae to measure the electric field in the magnetosphere. The antennae were
designed to span 206 metres, although in the end they were only deployed to 103m span.


MISSE-FF is owned by Alpha Space of Houston, not Astra LLC.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches
Date UT Name Launch Vehicle Site Mission INTL. Catalog Perigee Apogee Incl Notes
Mar 29 1126 GSAT-6A GSLV Mk II Satish Dhawan SLP Comms 27A S43241 25979 x 36370 x 3.3
Mar 29 1738 Kosmos-2525 Soyuz-2-1V Plesetsk Imaging 28A S43243 315 x 318 x 96.6
Mar 29 1756 Beidou DW 30 ) Chang Zheng 3B/YZ1 Xichang Nav 29A S43245 21537 x 22913 x 55.0
Beidow DW 31 ) Nav 29B S43245 21542 x 22192 x 55.0
Mar 30 1413 Iridium SV140 ) Falcon 9 Vandenberg SLC4E Comms 30D S43252 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV142 ) Comms 30J S43257 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV143 ) Comms 30K S43258 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV144 ) Comms 30G S43255 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV145 ) Comms 30E S43253 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV146 ) Comms 30F S43254 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV148 ) Comms 30A S43249 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV149 ) Comms 30B S43250 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV150 ) Comms 30H S43256 608 x 626 x 86.7
Iridium SV157 ) Comms 30C S43251 608 x 626 x 86.7
Mar 31 0322 Gaofen 1-02 ) Chang Zheng 4C Taiyuan LC9 Imaging 31A S43259? 639 x 643 x 98.0
Gaofen 1-03 ) Imaging 31B S43260? 638 x 642 x 98.0
Gaofen 1-04 ) Imaging 31C S43261? 638 x 642 x 98.0
Apr 2 2030 Dragon CRS-14 Falcon 9 Canaveral SLC40 Spaceship 32A S43267 204 x 357 x 51.6
Apr 5 2134 Superbird-8/DSN-1 ) Ariane 5ECA Kourou ELA3 Comms 33A S43271 35781 x 35793 x 0.1
Hylas 4 ) Comms 33B S43272 35781 x 35788 x 0.0
Apr 10 0425 Yaogan 31-01 01 ) Chang Zheng 4C Jiuquan Sigint 34A S43275 1090 x 1100 x 63.4
Yaogan 31-01 02 ) Sigint 34B S43276 1090 x 1100 x 63.4
Yaogan 31-01 03 ) Sigint 34C S43277 1090 x 1100 x 63.4
Weina Jishu Shiyan) Tech 34D S43278 1090 x 1100 x 63.4
Apr 11 1834 IRNSS-1I PSLV-XL Sriharikota Navigation 35A S43286 35464 x 35740 x 28.5
Apr 14 2313 CBAS ) Atlas V 551 Canaveral SLC41 Comms 36A S43339 38992 x 38992 x 0.0
EAGLE ) Tracking 36B S43340 38992 x 38992 x 0.0
Mycroft ) Tech 36D S43342 38992 x 38992 x 0.0
Apr 18 2212 Kosmos-2526 (Blagovest) Proton-M/Briz-M Baykonur Comms 37A S43432 35780?x 35800?x 0.0?
Apr 18 2251 TESS Falcon 9 Canaveral SLC40 Astronomy 38A S43435 249 x268294 x 29.6

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

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

Mar Dummy KV? Nudol' Plesetsk Test 100? Russia
Mar 25 1051 NASA 46.019UO Terrier Im.Mal. Wallops I Education 172 Atlantic
Mar 25 2025? Burkan RV Burkan 2H Yemen Weapon 100? Riyadh Airport
Mar 27 0240? Trident RV x n? Trident II USS Nebraska, Pacific Test 1000? Kwajalein?
Mar 27 0240? Trident RV x n? Trident II USS Nebraska, Pacific Test 1000? Kwajalein?
Apr 4 1040 WRX-R Black Brant 9 Roi-Namur, Kwajalein XR Astron 204 Kwajalein
Apr 4 1800 Hyperbola-1S Shian Quxian 1S Haikou, Hainan Test 108 S China Sea
Apr 11 Burkan RV Burkan 2H Yemen Weapon 100? Riyadh Airport
Apr 16 1647 CHESS 4 Black Brant 9 Roi-Namur, Kwajalein UV Astron 200? Kwajalein

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

David Cottle

UBB Owner & Administrator