Current Issue

[For STOP PRESS edition click HERE]

Jonathan's Space Report
No. 826                                                       2023 Nov 18      Somerville, MA

Note: I will be on travel for two weeks and the JSR, GCAT and Starlink Stats web pages may not
be regularly updated until I return in early December.

International Space Station

Expedition 70 continues.

Astronauts Kononenko and Chub made spacewalk VKD-61 on Oct 25-26 in
spacesuits Orlan MKS-5 and MKS-4 respectively. The Poisk airlock was
depressurized from 1729 to 0135 UTC and the airlock hatch was open from
1749:28 to 0130:40 UTC. The spacewalkers carried out maintenance on the leaky
Nauka RTOd radiator, installed the Napor SAR radar on Nauka, and at 2320 UTC
deployed the 1.75 kg Parus-MGTU small satellite developed by Bauman Moscow State
Tech University (MGTU) students. The satellite was meant to deploy two small solar
sail wings, but failed to do so. Before returning to the airlock the spacewalkers
also jettisoned two decontamination cleaning towels, at 0103 and 0105 UTC.

On Oct 27 the SSRMS/SPDM moved the RRM3 robotic refuelling experiment from the
ELC-1 storage carrier to the Cygnus NG-19 cargo ship. It will be destroyed
on reentry.

Astronauts Moghbeli and O'Hara made spacewalk EVA-89 from the Quest airlock on
Nov 1. They replaced a trundle bearing assembly on the port SARJ joint on the P4 truss.
The airlock was depressurized from 1156 to 1847 UTC and the hatch was open
from 1204 to 1843 UTC. Moghbeli lost a crew lock bag at about 1433 UTC and
it floated away; it was later cataloged as 1998-067WC.

On Nov 10 SpaceX launched Dragon CRS-29 on a cargo mission to ISS. The
capsule is C211 on its second flight. Dragon docked with IDA-2 at 1007 UTC Nov 11.

Trunk payloads are  the ILLUMA-T laser comms experiment and the AWE
atmospheric airglow instrument. Their combined mass is 569 kg; I
estimate ILLUMA-T is 396 kg and AWE (with its ExPA adapter) is 173 kg.
On Nov 14 the Canadarm-2 extracted ILLUMA-T from the trunk and handed it
to the JEM RMS, which installed it the Kibo Exposed Facility at location
EFU3. On Nov 15 Dextre extracted AWE and placed it on Dexter's EOTP arm,
then moved to the MBS ORU for temporary storage. AWE is going to Express
Logistics Carrier 1 (ELC-1) Site 3.

On Nov 9 at 2111 UTC Progress MS-24 made a 1.4 m/s burn to raise the ISS orbit in
advance of the Progress MS-25 launch. On Nov 10 at 1507 UTC Progress MS-24 made 
a further 0.5 m/s burn to avoid a piece of space debris.

Chinese Space Station

Shenzhou 17 was launched on Oct 26 and docked with the forward port of the Tianhe module
at 0946 UTC that day. Crew are Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin. 

The 5-tonne CZ-2F second stage reentered on Nov 3 near Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia).

Shenzhou 16 undocked from the Tianhe nadir port at 1237 UTC Oct 30 and
the reentry module (fanhui cang) landed in the Dongfeng landing area at
100 06 52E 41 39 28N at 0011:32 UTC Oct 31. The orbital module (guidao
cang) was jettisoned into orbit at 2321 UTC; the deorbit burn was from
2322 to 2325 UTC; the propulsion module (tuijin cang) was jettisoned in
a suborbital trajectory at 2348, burning up a few minutes later over the
Taklamakan Desert, and reentry was arond 2351 UTC.

The orbital module will probably remain in orbit for about a year before reentry.


SpaceX carried out the second full test flight of Starship on Nov 18
with Booster 9 and Ship 25 launched from Boca Chica. Starship made it to
space but not to orbit.

Based on the Spaceflight Now webcast I estimate the ignition time was
about 1302:47 UTC and the liftoff time was about 1302:53 UTC  (improved
estimates are welcome). Booster 9 had a successful ascent with all
Raptor engines working through main engine cutoff (MECO) at 70 km
altitude about T+2m45s.  Booster hot-staging was carried out about
T+2:48 at which point Ship 25 ignited starting from a -6196 x 95 km x 26
deg trajectory. However, the Booster subsquently exploded at T+3:20 at
an altitude of 90 km. Weather radars detected a debris cloud at around
94.4W 25.6N.

Ship 25 continued accelerating, but at T+7:07 some kind of anomalous
event was visible in the rocket plume and at T+8:04 the webcast
telemetry values froze at 149 km altitude, 6.701 km/s. SpaceX later
announced that the ship's flight termination system had been activated
towards the end of the burn, which according to the flight plan was to
have shut down at T+8:33 in an estimated 50 x 250 km marginal orbit.

The altitude figures remained constant for some time prior to the
freezing of the data, suggesting flight was near horizontal at that
point. From this I infer an actual suborbital path of -1750 x 149 km x
26.5 deg with an impact point in the Atlantic at about 1319 UTC near 65W
19N, north of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Indeed, a debris
cloud was detected in NOAA weather radar data at that time and location,
confirming this analysis. 

The weather radars also saw the booster debris cloud in the Gulf of
Mexico at 94.3W 25.6N.


Starlink Group 7-6 (22 sats)  launched from Vandenberg on Oct 29.
Starlink Group 6-25 (23 sats) launched from Canaveral on Oct 30.
Starlink Group 6-26 (23 sats) launched from Canaveral on Nov 4.
Starlink Group 6-27 (23 sats) launched from Canaveral on Nov 8.
Starlink Group 6-28 (23 sats) launched from Canaveral on Nov 18.

SAST Launches

SAST launched a CZ-2D from Xichang on Oct 23 with the fourth YG-39 triplet.

SAST launched a CZ-6A from Taiyuan on Oct 31 with a pair of Tianhui-5 mapping satellites.

CALT Launches

CALT launched a CZ-7A from Wenchang on Nov 3, placing the TJS-10 satellite in geotransfer orbit.
The TJS series provides a cover name for a variety of military satellites, and it's not clear yet
which subseries TJS-10 belongs to.

CALT launched a CZ-3B from Xichang on Nov 9, placing the Zhongxing (Chinasat) 6E C/Ku-band
comms satellite in geotransfer orbit.

CALT launched a CZ-2C from Jiuquan on Nov 16 with a YZ-1S upper stage. The launch placed the HY3-01
ocean color monitoring satellite in a 10:11 LTDN sun-synchronous orbit.


As expected, the new Lotos-S satellite Kosmos-2570 circularized its
orbit around 0216 UTC Oct 29 and then ejected a small passenger
subsatellite at about 0820 UTC Oct 29, presumably to be named


SpaceX launched its Transporter-9 rideshare mission on Nov 11 from
Vandenberg to a 10:32 local time sun-synchronous orbit.
The vehicle reached parking orbit at 1857 UTC and then circularized the orbit at 1940 UTC.
Satellite deployments continued from 1943 to 2014 UTC. The second stage was deorbited
south of S Africa at about 2109 UTC.

Previous Transporter missions used a dispenser structre based on a set of circular ESPA rings.
This flight debuted a new dispenser assembled from flat plate sections.

As of Nov 18, no Space Force TLEs were available for this launch.

Satellites released from Transporter 9  or thought to be aboard the tugs for later release include:

 - Satellite tugs
     ION SCV013 (D-Orbit)
     SpaceVan-1 (Exotrail)
     LEO Express 1 (Impulse Space)

 - X-ray astronomy satellites
      NinjaSat (RIKEN, Japan)

 - Optical imaging satellites: 
     36 Planet SuperDoves (Flock 4q-1 to 4q-36)
     1 Planet test satellite, Pelican-3001
     SPIP (Aerospacelab, Belgium)
     AMAN-1 (MTCIT, Oman)
     PEARL-1C and 1H (Foxconn, Taiwan)
     GENMAT-1 (Quantum Generative Materials,  US) 
     ProtoMethee (Promethee Earth Intelligence, France)
     JinjuSat-1 (CONTEC Co., S. Korea)
     Observer-1A (Nara Space, S. Korea)
     Veronika (SpaceManic/TU Kosice)
     MANTIS (OpenCosmos/UK)
     PLATERO (OpenCosmos/Spain)
     Intuition-1 (KP Labs/S Korea; aboard ION)
     EPIC Hyper-3 (Clyde Space/UK; aboard ION)
     Unicorn-2J and 2K (Alba Orbital/UK/D; aboard ION)
 - Radar satellites
     ICEYE X31, X32, X34, X35 (ICEYE, Finland)
     Umbra07 and 08 (Umbra, US)
     STORK-7 (SatRev, Poland; aboard a tug)

 - Other remote sensing satellites
     GHGSat-C9, C10 and C11 (GHGSat/Canada and Spire)

 - Communications
     Aether 1 and 2 (Kepler Comms, Canada)
     TIGER 5 and 6 (OQ Tech, Luxembourg)
     Lemur-2/Ella 1  (HiSky/Israel and Spire)
     Connecta T3.1/T3.2 (Plan S, Turkey)
     Hello Test 1 and 2 (Hello Space, Turkey)
     Ymir-1 (AAC Clyde Space, Sweden, aboard ION)
     SpaceANT-D (SpaceIn, Malaysia; aboard ION)
     HADES-D (AMSAT-EA, Spain; aboard ION?)
     MDQSAT-2 (Innova, Argentina; aboard ION?) 
     Sateliot-2 (Sateliot, Spain; aboard a tug)
     Crypto3 (Cryptosat, US, aboard ION)
     PICO-1A 1 to 9 (Apogeo, Italy; aboard ION)

 - Radio frequency surveillance
     BRO-10 and 11  (Unseen, France)
     Lemur-2  (4 Vindler SNC/Spire satellites, US)
     Lemur-2-NanaZ (Spire, US; on ION)

 - Technology test satellites
      Lemur-2 Mango-2A and 2B  (Jacobs Solutions/Spire)
      Picacho (Lunasonde, US)
      OMNI-LER1 (Internet Think Tank, US)
      Outpost Mission 2 (Outpost Tech, US)
      Platform 5 (Endurosat, Bulgaria)
      OrbAstro TR1 and PC1 (Orbital Astronautics, UK)
      Barry 1 (Rogue Space, US)
      IRIS-C2 (NCKU, Taiwan)
      Time We'll Tell (Trust Point, US; aboard LEO Express tug)
      OSW Cazorla (Odyssey Space Works, US)

 - Student satellites
     FALCONSAT-X (USAF Academy)
     Kafasat (Korean AF Academy)
     Djibouti-1A (CERD Djibouti/CSUM Montpellier)
     ROM 3 (Romania, aboard ION)
     Tartan-Artibeus 2 (CMU, aboard ION)

O3b MP

The O3b MPOWER 5 and 6 satellites were launched to MEO on a Falcon 9 on
Nov 12. According to reports, the first 4 satellites in the series have
had power problems, although they are operating.

UN registration of Chinese satellites

UN OOSA has made public China's latest filing under the satellite
registration convention, ST/SG/SER.E/1123, which together with
ST/SG/SER.E/1033 covers satellites launched in 2021-2022.  There are
some improvements in the latest filing: China has been kind enough to
include the 'international designations' of the sats (in principle
issued by COSPAR but long ago delegated by them to what is now the US
Space Force). This helps match satellites to US catalog numbers.

However, the incompleteness of the filing is regrettable. According to
my records China launched 305 payloads into orbit in 2021-22. But only
197 have been registered. 35 percent of the payloads, 108, are missing
from the documents. It's not just small cubesats that are missing. Big
payloads like Tianzhou-4 and Shenzhou-14,and the second CSSHQ spaceplane
flight, and major science payloads like the CHASE solar observatory and
SATech-01 have been omitted.There is no systematic pattern - for example
some of the Centispace satellites are included and some are not. It
seems like the many omissions are just incredible sloppiness rather than

For comparison, in the same period the US launched 2679 Starlink sats
and 430 other payloads. Only 24 were not registered (5.5 %) and they are
all cubesats under 20 kg. The US could and should do even better, but in
comparison the Chinese lack of compliance is egregious.

Table of Recent Orbital Launches

Date UT       Name			     Launch Vehicle	 Site		 Mission  INTL.  Catalog  Perigee Apogee  Incl	 Notes
Oct 13 1419   Psyche                            Falcon Heavy               Kennedy LC39A  Probe    157 794 x -36991 x 30.1
Oct 13 2301   Starlink Group 6-22               Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   158  282 x 292 x 43.0
Oct 15 0054   Yunhai 1-04                       Chang Zheng 2D             Jiuquan       Rem.Sens. 159A 756 x 773 x 98.6
Oct 18 0039   Starlink Group 6-23               Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   160  282 x 292 x 43.0
Oct 21 0823   Starlink Group 7-5                Falcon 9                  Vandenberg SLC4E Comms   161  284 x 295 x 53.1
Oct 22 0217   Starlink Group 6-24               Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   162  282 x 292 x 43.0
Oct 23 2003   Yaogan 39 hao 04 zu 01 xing       Chang Zheng 2D             Xichang         Sigint  163A 491 x 502 x 35.0
              Yaogan 39 hao 04 zu 02 xing
              Yaogan 39 hao 04 zu 03 xing
Oct 25 2320   Parus-MGTU                                                  ISS, LEO         Tech    98067VZ 417 x 418 x 51.6
Oct 26 0314   Shenzhou 17                       Chang Zheng 2F             Jiuquan       Spaceship 164A    383 x 390 x 41.5
Oct 27 0605?  Kosmos-2570                       Soyuz-2-1b                 Plesetsk       Sigint   165A    893 x 915 x 67.1
Oct 29 0820?  Kosmos-2571                                              Kosmos-2570, LEO     Tech?  165C    893 x 914 x 67.1
Oct 29 0900   Starlink Group 7-6                Falcon 9                  Vandenberg SLC4E Comms   166     285 x 294 x 53.1
Oct 30 2320   Starlink Group 6-25               Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   167     282 x 292 x 43.0
Oct 31 2250   Tianhui-5-01                      Chang Zheng 6A             Taiyuan        Imaging  168A    607 x 610 x 97.8
              Tianhui-5-02                                                                Imaging  168B    607 x 610 x 97.8
Nov  3 1454   TJS-10                            Chang Zheng 7A             Wenchang LC201  Unk     169A    181 x 35844 x 17.0
Nov  4 0037   Starlink Group 6-26               Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   170     283 x 292 x 43.0
Nov  8 0505   Starlink Group 6-27               Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   171     283 x 292 x 43.0
Nov  9 1123   Zhongxing-6E                      Chang Zheng 3B             Xichang         Comms   172A    215 x 35754 x 28.4
Nov 10 0128   Dragon CRS-29                     Falcon 9                   Kennedy LC39A   Cargo   173A    209 x 360 x 51.7
Nov 11 1849   Transporter-9                     Falcon 9                 Vandenberg SLC4E  Tug     174     523 x 544 x 97.5
Nov 12 2108   O3b MPOWER 5                      Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   175    2599 x 7005 x 9.0
              O3b MPOWER 6                                                                 Comms   175    2596 x 7005 x 9.0
Nov 16 0355   Haiyang 3-01                      Chang Zheng 2C/YZ-1S       Jiuquan         Imaging 176A    786 x 788 x 98.7
Nov 18 0505   Starlink Group 6-28               Falcon 9                   Canaveral LC40  Comms   177     283 x 292 x 43.0
Nov 18 1303   Starship OFT-2                    Starship                   Starbase OLP1   Test    F11   -1750 x 149 x 26.5

Table of Recent Suborbital Launches 

Virgin Galactic's Galactic 05 mission took off from Spaceport America at
1502 UTC Nov 2, drop and rocket ignition east of Elephant Butte at alt
of 13.6km at about 1544 UTC (more precise time sadly not available),
apogee 87.2 km, touchdown 1559 UTC, free flight duration about 14 min.
Aboard Galactic 05 were Virgin Galactic's Mike Masucci, Kelly Latimer
and Colin Bennett, and passengers Alan Stern, Kellie Gerardi and Ketty
Maisonrouge. Alan, Kellie and Ketty became space travellers numbers 673,
674 and 675 in my list 

Oct 14 1600   Apophis 1         Black Brant 9       White Sands          Eclipse       346?      White Sands
Oct 14 1635   Apophis 2         Black Brant 9       White Sands          Eclipse       346?      White Sands
Oct 14 1710   Apophis 3         Black Brant 9       White Sands          Eclipse       346?      White Sands
Oct 18        RV                Ababeel             Somniani?            Test          300?      Arabian Sea
Oct 24        RV                Ghauri              Somniani?            Test          300?      Arabian Sea
Oct 25        RV x 4?           Yars                Plesetsk             Test         1000?      Kura
Oct 25        RV                Sineva              K-114, Barents       Test         1000?      Kura
Oct 25        FTM-48 Target 1   Terrier Oriole?     Kauai                Target        100?      Pacific
Oct 25        FTM-48 Target 2   Terrier Oriole?     Kauai                Target        100?      Pacific
Oct 25        FTM-48            SM-3-1A             DDG-120, Pacific     Interceptor   150?      Pacific
Oct 25        FTM-48            SM-3-1A             DDG-120, Pacific     Interceptor   150?      Pacific
Oct 30 0545   INFUSE            Black Brant 9       White Sands          UV Astron     267       White Sands
Oct 31        Warhead           Toufan?             Sanaa?               Weapon        300?      Israel/Red Sea
Oct 31        Arrow KV          Arrow 3             Sdot Micha?          Interceptor   100?      Intercept Toufan
Nov  1 0701?  GT248             Minuteman 3         Vandenberg           Test          100?      Pacific (RSO destruct)
Nov  2 1544   Galactic 05       Spaceship Two       Sp. America EBR3     Tourist        87       Sp. America
Nov  4?       RV x6?            Bulava              K-554, White Sea     Test         1000?      Kura
Nov  8 0941   DISSIPATION       Terrier Oriole      Poker Flat           Auroral       150?      PFRR
Nov  9 1014   Beam-PIE          Black Brant XII     Poker Flat           Auroral       450?      PFRR
Nov 18 1919   M51 RV            M51                 Biscarosse           Test         1000?      Atlantic

|  Jonathan McDowell                 |                                    |
|  Somerville MA 02143               |  inter : planet4589 at gmail       |
|  USA                               |  twitter: @planet4589              |
|                                                                         |
| JSR:                                 |
| Back issues:                  |
| Subscribe/unsub:         |