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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. 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              |
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