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The Space Report ("JSR") is issued about twice a month. It describes all space launches, including both piloted missions and automated satellites. Back issues are available online. To receive the JSR each week by direct email, subscribe at Feel free to reproduce the JSR as long as you're not doing it for profit. If you are doing so regularly, please inform Jonathan by email. Comments, suggestions, and corrections are encouraged. See here for translations to other languages.

You can mail Jonathan McDowell at planet4589 at gmail dot com.

See also:

JSR STOP PRESS - the draft of NEXT week's JSR, updated throughout the week.

GEOSTATIONARY SATELLITE LOG with a catalog of all known satellites ever in the geosynchronous ring and their reasonably current positions.

LAUNCH LOG - My best attempt at a complete listing of all satellite launch attempts.

Jonathan's Space Home Page - with links to lots of other space data not available elsewhere.

SATELLITE CATALOG - My version of the Space Command satellite catalog, providing a cross reference between catalog number and international designation. Corrections are welcome.

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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