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Jonathan's Space Report 
No. 749 draft                                                 2018 Apr  24  Somerville, MA
JSR 748 is now permalinked at http://planet4589.org/space/jsr/back/news.748.txt

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

On May 11, three cubesats were ejected from the J-SSOD-8 deployer carried
up on CRS-14; they were described in the last issue. The Costa Rican cubesat
Irazu has been renamed Batsu-CS1.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus OA-9 mission, SS J.R. Thompson, was launched on May 21
by Antares from Wallops/MARS. 


TESS reached its first perigee at 0542 UTC Apr 25 and made a successful burn to raise apogee
to lunar distance. Apogee 2 was at 1903 UTC Apr 29, at 353440 km.


China's Queqiao deep-space communications relay satellite was launched on May 20. It will
unfurl a 4.2m dish antenna. After a 100 km lunar flyby on about May 25 it will
take up station in a 13000-km-wide 'halo orbit' around the Earth-Moon L2 point, 
64445 km behind the Moon, to provide farside radio
communications to support the planned Chang'e 4 farside lander.

Earth-Moon L1 and L2 (EML1, EML2) are on the lunar Hill sphere that
marks the approximate point where lunar gravity dominates over Earth
gravity. Don't confuse them with Sun-Earth L1 and L2 (SEL1, SEL2) on the
1.5-million-km radius Earth-Moon system Hill sphere which marks the
point  at which the Earth's gravity (with the Moon's help) dominates
over the Sun. (I'm using 'dominate' here in a very loose way, to mean
`this is the point at which it's a better approximation to  pretend
you're in orbit around object A rather than object B'). SEL1 and SEL2
have been used a lot since ISEE-3 went to SEL1 in 1978. EML1 and EML2
are much less well known. They were explored by Japan's Hiten probe in
1990; the ARTEMIS P1/P2 spacecraft and the Chang'e-5FTD vehicle also
visited them, but this will be the first time a probe has used either
EML location as its primary mission destination.

Mars Insight

The NASA/JPL Mars Insight probe was launched from Space Launch Complex 3-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base
on May 5. Centaur AV-078 entered a 185 x 185 km x 64.0 deg parking orbit. After almost one orbit
it made a second burn to a hyperbolic orbit of 115 x -110126 km x  63.54 deg which
will lead to a 1.0 x 1.4 AU x 2.3 deg orbit around the Sun and arrival in Mars' gravitational
sphre on Nov 22. Insight will land on Mars on Nov 26.

Two 6U cubesats were deployed from the Centaur Aft Bulkhead Carrier. Mars Cube One (MarCO) A and B
have freon-based propulsion systems and will fly independently to Mars, making a flyby to test
their ability to relay data from the lander during descent.


ESA's Sentinel 3B Earth observing satellite was launched from Plesetsk on Apr 25
aboard Eurockot's Rokot/Briz-KM vehicle. Sentinel-3B is in the same orbit plane
as Sentinel-3A, launched in 2016, and following 10 minutes behind it.


China launched the fourth CZ-11 rocket on Apr 26, carrying Zhuhai Orbita's Zhuhai-1 Group 2
satellites. These include the 90 kg OVS-2 video satellite and the OHS-01/02/03/04 hyperspectral
camera satellites.


On Apr 14 ULA launched Atlas AV-079 with a US military payload. The
Centaur stage made three burns to deliver the CBAS and EAGLE satellites to orbit.

The ULA press kit implied a 38992 x 38992 km x 0 deg orbit thousands of km above the
geosynchronous belt, but this appears to have been a typo or misinformation, since
hobbyists soon located the payloads in a near-synchronous 35233 x 35275 km x 0.1 deg
orbit. By May 11, CBAS was braking to geostationary at 112W.

The CBAS (Continuous Broadcast Augmenting SATCOM) satellite is operated
by USAF SMC's Military Satellite Communications Directorate. Its
manufacturer is unknown, and its role is obscure.

EAGLE is a satellite built from the ESPA mutiple satellite adapter 
first flown in 2007. ESPA is a ring that sits between CBAS and the
Centaur, with attachment points for small satellites and experiments
spaced around it. (The LCROSS Shepherding Spacecraft in 2009 was
similarly built from an ESPA ring attached to its Centaur). EAGLE stands
for ESPA Augmented Geostationary Laboratory Experiment; ESPA stands for
EELV Secondary Payload Adapter; and EELV stands for Evolved Expendable
Launch Vehicle. The EAGLE bus is known as ESPAStar and the satellite was
built by Orbital ATK. EAGLE is operated by the Air Force Research Lab.

It appears the EAGLE ESPA-ring-based satellite launched on Apr 14
deployed two secret 100-kg-class  box shaped payloads on about Apr 26
and a third possibly on May 11. These use the ESPASat bus, designed to
fit in the ESPAStar azimuthal slots. One of these is Mycroft, an
experiment which will carry out formation flying between 1 and 35 km
from EAGLE to test space surveillance and proximity operations
technology. The second and third payloads are a mystery at the moment.

There is also one debris object released at the time of launch, possibly
some kind of payload adapter between EAGLE and CBAS.

Apstar 6C

Asia Pacific Telecom's Apstar 6C (Yatai 6C) communications satellite
was launched on May 3 to geotransfer orbit. Apstar 6C is a CAST/Beijing DFH-4
with 26 C-band and 19 Ku/Ka-band transponders.

Gao Fen 5

China's Gao Fen 5 high resolution imaging satellite was launched on May
8. Instruments on board are the Advanced Hyperspectral Imager, Visual
and IR Multispectral Sensor, Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Instrument,
Atmospheric Infrared Ultraspectral sensor, Environment Monitoring
Instrument, and the Directional Polarization Camera.


As noted by Phillip Clark on nasaspaceflight.com, the Kosmos-2521 inspector
satellite made a major orbit change on Apr 30, lowering its orbit from
644 x 660 km to only 350 x 369 km. Further manuevers seem likely.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches 
Date UT       Name            Launch Vehicle        Site            Mission       INTL.   Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl   Notes
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         34E   S43279  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 35759 x 35776 x  0.0
              EAGLE   )                                                  Tracking     36B   S43340 35588 x 35608 x  0.1
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
Apr 25 1757   Sentinel-3B             Rokot             Plesetsk LC133   Imaging      39A   S43437   803 x   821 x 98.6
Apr 26 0442   OVS-2              )    Chang Zheng 11    Jiuquan          Imaging      40A   S43439   496 x   511 x 97.4
              OHS-01 (Qingkeda-1))                                       Imaging      40B   S43440   496 x   511 x 97.4
              OHS-02             )                                       Imaging      40C   S43441   496 x   511 x 97.4
              OHS-03 (Guiyang-1) )                                       Imaging      40D   S43442   493 x   512 x 97.4
              OHS-04             )                                       Imaging      40E   S43443   492 x   511 x 97.4
Apr 26?       Mycroft )                                EAGLE, high orbit Tech         36E   S43445 35290?x  35290?x 0.1
              USA 286 )                                                  Tech         36F   S43446 35290?x  35290?x 0.1
May  3 1606   Apstar 6C               Chang Zheng 3B    Xichang          Comms        41A   S43450   239 x 41827 x 27.2
May  5 1105   Mars Insight)           Atlas V 401       Vandenberg SLC3E Mars probe   42A   S43457   115 x-110126x 63.4
              MarCO-A     )                                              Mars probe   42B   S43458   115 x-110126x 63.4
              MarCO-B     )                                              Mars probe   42C   S43459   115 x-110126x 63.4
May  8 1828   GaoFen 5                Chang Zheng 4C    Taiyuan          Imaging      43A   S43461   682 x   688 x 98.1
May 11 1030   1KUNS-PF  )                              ISS, LEO          Tech       98-67NQ S43467   400 x   402 x 51.6
              Batsu-CS1 )                                                Tech       98-67NR S43468   400 x   402 x 51.6
May 11 1040   UBAKUSAT                                 ISS, LEO          Tech       98-67NP S43466   400 x   402 x 51.6
May 11 2014   Bangabandhu 1           Falcon 9 FT5      Kennedy SLC39A   Comms        44A   S43463   296 x 35515 x 19.3
May 12?       USA 287                                  EAGLE, high orbit Tech         36G   S43465 35290?x 35290?x  0.1
May 20 2128   Queqiao    )            Chang Zheng 4C    Xichang          Comms        45A   S43470   400 x400000?x 28.5
              Longjiang 1)                                               Radio Astron 45B   S43471   400 x400000?x 28.5
              Longjiang 2)                                               Radio Astron 45C   S43472   400 x400000?x 28.5
May 21 0844   SS J.R Thompson         Antares 230       MARS LA0B        Cargo        46A   S43474   228 x   319 x 51.6

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches

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

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
Apr 25 1226   Mk 12 or 21 RV?   Minuteman 3        Vandenberg LF10       Test         1300?      Kwajalein?
Apr 27 1203   RV                ?                  Taiyuan?              Test         1000?      Korla?
Apr 29 1706   CC 2.0-1          New Shepard        West Texas            Test          106       West Texas
May 14 0823   Mk 12 or 21 RV?   Minuteman 3        Vandenberg LF10       Test         1300?      Kwajalein?

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