Wrapping up 2013 with a Shiny Bow

The year is winding down with some interesting developments related to space programs.

Globally, India has sent a probe on its way to Mars, the first such mission for that nation. China has sent a lunar probe in orbit around our Luna, and by the time this article is published, ought to have attempted a soft landing in the Bay of Rainbows. On the other hand, the normally reliable Long March 4B experienced what appears to be an upper stage failure in the launch of an environmental observation satellite.

Back in the USA, on December 3 SpaceX achieved a major milestone with the successful launch of a commercial communications satellite into geostationary orbit with their Falcon 9 rocket. This is set to be the first of many such commercial (non-government) payloads launched by them in the next year. It will be interesting to see if they can achieve the pace required to execute all of those missions. In another NewSpace development, Blue Origin had a good test firing of their BE-3 oxygen-hydrogen engine. This is the first new rocket engine of this type to be developed in the US in decades.

In the realm of audacious proposals, the folks from Mars One (who want to establish a colony on Mars) have contracted with Lockheed Martin to do a mission concept study for a version of the Phoenix Mars lander for a privately sponsored mission to the Red Planet. Whether Mars One can come up with the hundreds of millions of dollars that is likely going to be needed to pay for such a project is yet to be seen, but it is an indication of how serious they are about this effort.

And at Jupiter, researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have suggested that there are huge water geysers erupting on Europa. This icy moon is thought to have a deep ocean under its ice crust but until now there was no evidence of water reaching the surface. It is possible that there is more water on Europa that all of planet Earth. This could make a Europa lander mission much more compelling.

I don’t want to attempt to make this blog a news column (as there are many websites doing a great job at providing news on space exploration) but I thought these recent items were notable enough to close out the year on a positive note.

Locally, we decided not to compete with all the holiday activities and are not holding any events in December. Make sure you reserve January 18 for our next meeting which will feature Art Anzaldua talking about future operations in the Earth-Moon system.

Mike Mackowski
Phoenix NSS/TMS Chapter President
12/13/13

Launch Schedule – India 2013

Here is the current calendar for 2013 for Indian satellites and rocket launch vehicles as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight on 21 December 2012:

2013

  • Complete
  • Upcoming
  • February 4-10 11 – PSLV C20 FLP – SARAL + Sapphire + NEOSSAT + BRITE + UniBRITE + AAUSAT3
  • April – GSLV-D5 (Mk II return to flight) SLP- GSAT-14
  • Q1- PSLV C22 FLP- IRNSS-1A
  • Q2/Q3- GSLV Mk III X1, SLP – “atmospheric test”
  • October- PSLV C25 – MangalYaan (Mars Orbiter)

2014

  • GSLV-D6 Mk II – GSAT-6
  • PSLV C23(XL) SLP- AstroSat-1 + LAPAN-A2 + LAPAN-ORARI
  • PSLV C24 – Spot-7
  • PSLV – IRNSS-2
  • PSLV – IRNSS-3

Last Updated 1 January 2013

2012 launches

2011 Launches

RISAT-1 Launch

TV Coverage
Live Coverage of the Launch of the Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1)
Image Credit: NDTV

The launch time is 0017 UTC, or 5:17 PM Phoenix time, Wednesday.

The on board computer has taken over the countdown.

T-minus 10 minutes.

Successful Launch.

Second stage has begun its burn.

All systems are nominal.

Third stage has ignited around 5 minutes into the flight.

At 9 minutes into the flight, the fourth stage has ignited.

18 minutes into the flight, separation of the satellite has been completed.

Congratulations to India.

TV Coverage
Live Coverage: T-Minus 5 Minutes
Image Credit: NDTV

TV Coverage
Ignition
Image Credit: Doordarshan News

TV Coverage
Live Coverage: Ascent
Image Credit: Doordarshan News

TV Coverage
4th Stage Burn
Image Credit: Doordarshan News

India to Launch Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1)

RISAT-1
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Prepares the Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1)
Image Credit: ISRO

India is preparing to launch their Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1) on Thursday at 5:45 AM local time (2345 UTC and 4:45 PM Phoenix time Wednesday).

RISAT-1 is the heaviest remote sensing spacecraft that ISRO has ever built, weighing almost 1,900 kilograms. RISAT-1 will employ synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in its research.

The spacecraft is headed for a polar orbit, 536 kilometers above the surface of the Earth.

ED: New launch time is 0017 UTC, or 5:17 PM Phoenix time, Wednesday.

Launch Schedule – India 2012

Here is the current calendar for 2012 for Indian satellites and rocket launch vehicles as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight on 21 December 2012:

2012

  • Complete
  • April 25 – PSLV C19 (XL) FLP- RISAT-1 (2347 UTC)
  • September 9 0423UTC – PSLV C21 FLP – SPOT-6 + PROITERES
    September 28 0412UTC – Ariane-5 – GSAT-10

  • Upcoming

2013

  • February 4-10 11 – PSLV C20 FLP – SARAL + Sapphire + NEOSSAT + BRITE + UniBRITE + AAUSAT3
  • April – GSLV-D5 (Mk II return to flight) SLP- GSAT-14
  • Q1- PSLV C22 FLP- IRNSS-1A
  • Q2/Q3- GSLV Mk III X1, SLP – “atmospheric test”
  • October- PSLV C25 – MangalYaan (Mars Orbiter)

Last Updated 31 December 2012

2011 Launches

Launch Schedule – India

Here is the current calendar for 2011 for India satellites and rocket launch vehicles as listed on the Forum at NASASpaceFlight and elsewhere on 10 August 2011:

  • Complete
  • April 20 – 0442 UTC- PSLV C16 – Resourcesat-2 (includes COM DEV AIS Sat) + X-sat + IMS-1A/Youthsat
  • May 20 – 2038 UTC – Ariane 5 ECA – GSAT-8 (includes Gagan)
  • July 15 – 1218-1238 UTC – PSLV(XL) C17 – GSAT-12
  • October 12, 0531UTC – PSLV C18 – Megha-Tropiques + SRMSAT + Vesselsat-1+Jugnu
  • Upcoming

Last Updated 2 January 2012

Launch Schedule – Next 7 Days

Launch schedule for the upcoming week:

  • January 15 (TBD) – three Kosmos (Rodnik-S) satellites – Rokot/Briz-KM – Plesetsk 133/3
  • January 27 (04:00-06:00 UTC) – H-2A (F-22) – IGS radar-4; IGS Optical-5 demo (Test version) – Japan

Last Updated 2 January 2013