News Notes - 2009
- Dec 20 - SOYUZ CARRIES ASTRONAUTS TO ISS
- Launched from Baikonur, the Soyuz-TMA 17 Russian
passenger craft carried a Russian cosmonaut, a NASA
astronaut and a Japanese astronaut to the International
- Dec 18 - FRENCH MILSAT LAUNCHED
- Helios 2B was placed into orbit by an Ariane 5 rocket
launched from Korou.
- Dec 15 - YAOGAN 8 AND AMATEUR RADIOSAT LAUNCHED
- This Chinese observation satellite was launched by
a Long March 4C rocket from Taiyuan.
As a secondary payload, Xiwang-1, a Chinese amateur radio
satellite was placed into orbit carrying a beacon and
three transponders. XW-1 is also known as Hope-1.
- Dec 14 - WISE TO SURVEY INFRARED SKY
- NASA's Wide field Infrared Survey Explorer was
launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg. This
satellite carries a 0.4m telescope with cryogenically
cooled detectors to image the sky at wavelengths of
3.4, 4.6, 12 and 22 microns.
- Dec 14 - THREE GLONASS SATELLITES ADD TO RUSSIAN GNSS
- Three Glonass-M satellites were launched by a Proton-M
from Baikonur to add to the Russian Global Navigation
Satellite System. This GNSS now has a total of 19 active
- Dec 09 - CHINESE OBSERVATION SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- A Long March 2D (CZ-2D) rocket was used to launch
the Yaogan 7 satellite from Jiuquan.
- Dec 06 - THIRD US WGS MILCOMSAT LAUNCHED
- WGS F3 was launched by a Delta 4 rocket from Cape
Canaveral. The F3 satellite will be stationed at 12o
W, and is part of the Wideband Global Satellites
communications system to which Australia has subscribed.
- Nov 30 - INTELSAT 15 LAUNCHED
- A Zenit-3 rocket launched this communications satellite
into geosynchronous orbit. It carries 22 Ku band
transponders and will be stationed at 85o E.
- Nov 28 - JAPANESE MILSAT LAUNCHED FROM TANEGASHIMA
- An H-2A rocket launched the military Information
Gathering Satellite IGS-5A.
- Nov 19 - AUSTRALIA CREATES NEW SPACE COUNCIL
- The Australian government announced that it has established
the Space Industry Innovation Council as part of the
Government's response to the inquiry by the Senate
Committee on Economics into the state of the Australian
space science and industry sector. For more details see
- Nov 16 - STS-129 TO ISS
- The Space Shuttle delivered over 12 tons of supplies
and spare parts to the International Space Station. It
carried six astronuats and included 3 spacewalks. It
returned to Earth on 27 November.
- Nov 10 - RUSSIAN MODULE TO ISS
- Poisk brought cargo to the International Space
Station and will serve as another docking port and airlock.
- Nov 02 - ESA SMOS AND PROBA-2 SATELLITES LAUNCHED
- SMOS was launched from Plesetck on a Rockot rocket.
This is the European Space Agency Soil Moisture and
Ocean Salinity satellite.
The sensor is an L-band Microwave Imaging Radiometer
using Aperture Synthesis (MIRAS).
PROBA-2 (Project for On-Board Autonomy) demonstrator
satellite also carried two Belgain solar physics sensors
(SWAP and LYRA) and two Czech plasma physics sensors
(TPMU and DSLP).
- Oct 18 - US DoD POLAR METSAT LAUNCHED
- DMSP-F18 was launched by an Atlas rocket from Vandenberg. In an 830km sun-synchronous orbit, this
adds a new satellite to the US Defense Meteorological
Satellite Program which provides terrestrial and
space weather data and imagery.
- Oct 08 - NEW COMMERCIAL IMAGING SATELLITE
- Worldview-2, lauched by a Delta 2 rocket from
will provide multispectral Earth imagery with a resolution
down to 0.5m from a 770km sun-synchronous orbit.
- Oct 01 - GERMAN MILSAT LAUNCHED
- COMSATBW-1, a German military comsat was launched from
Kourou on an Ariane 5 rocket. It will be stationed in
geosynchronous orbit at 63o E.
- Sep 30 - SOYUZ TAKES THREE TO ISS
- A Baikonur launch of a Soyuz-TMA 16 passenger craft
delivered a Russian cosmonaut, a NASA astronaut and a
Canadian tourist to the International Space Station Oct 2.
- Sep 25 - US LAUNCHES TWO MISSILE TRACKERS
- A Delta 2 rocket at Cape Canaveral launched two
demonstration satellites as part of the Space Tracking and
Surveillance System (STSS). These satellites have sensors
designed to track ballistic missiles.
- Sep 23 - INDIANS LAUNCH OCEAN MONITORING SATELLITE
- Oceansat-2 was launched on a PSLV from Sriharikota
into a 728 km 98.3 degree inclination sun-synchronous
orbit. Optical and radio sensors will monitor fish
populations, algae, sediment, surface winds and atmospheric
temperature and humity altitude profiles.
Four secondary 1 kg cubesats were also put into orbit as
secondary payloads. These european picosatellites will
demonstrate small satellite attitude and control systems,
and measure optical airglow.
Two other payloads (Rubin 9.1 and Rubin 9.2 remained
attached to the fourth stage booster, and will be used to
support the maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS).
- Sep 17 - NEW RUSSIAN POLAR METSAT ET AL
- The Meteor-M polar orbiting weather satellite was
launched from Baikonur into an 830 km near circular orbit.
As well as meteorology data the satellite will provide
information on ice floes to shipping in the polar regions.
The same launcher also placed seven other secondary
payloads into orbit. These included Sterkh-2, a search
and rescue relay satellite (COSPAS constellation),
Fregat/IRIS, a technology demonstrator, Tatiana-2, to
monitor high energy transients in the Earth's atmosphere,
UGATUSAT, an educational Earth observation satellite,
SumbandilaSat, a South African remote sensing satellite and
BLITS, a laser retroreflector spherical satellite.
- Sep 10 - JAPANESE RESUPPLY ISS
- A Japanese H2B rocket launched the HTV-1 unmanned
resupply vehicle to the International Space Station from
the Tanegashima spaceport. The
cargo included food and scientific equipment.
- Sep 09 - NEW HUBBLE IMAGES RELEASED
- The first Hubble images since the May repairs and
refurbishment by the
STS-125 Space Shuttle mission were released today.
The images were taken with the new WFC-3 Wide Field Camera
and the new ACS Advanced Camera for Surveys, and show
superb definition. The images can be viewed at the
Space Telescope Science Institute.
- Sep 08 - US MANNED SPACE FLIGHT TO CEASE?
- The Augustine report on US manned space flight was
issued. It provides recommendations for the US President
as to the future possibilities in this area. It
essentially casts doubt on the future of manned space
missions by NASA with comments
The US human spaceflight program appears to be on an
unsustainable trajectory, and
The Committee finds [that] no plan compatible with the
FY2010 budget plan profile permits human exploration to
continue in any meaningful way.
The report can be downloaded in pdf format from OSTP.
- Sep 07 - ICRAR ANNOUNCES RADIO ASTRONOMY SUMMER SCHOLARSHIPS
- The newly launched International Centre for Radio
Astronomy Research (Perth, WA) has just announced that 8 student
fellowships will be available for summer vacation
projects in radio astronomy and high speed computing.
They will be available to Australian and New Zealand
undergraduates who have completed two years of their
degree. More information is available at
- Aug 21 - NEW AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATION SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- An Ariane 5 launch vehicle successfully lofted the Optus D3
and the Japanese JCSAT-12 communication satellites into
orbit from the European spaceport at Kourou in French
Guiana. Liftoff occurred at 22:09 UT. Optus D3 was built
by Orbital Sciences Corporation and will be
positioned at 156 degrees east longitude in geosynchronous
orbit where it will provide direct broadcast TV and other
services to Australia and New Zealand. The satellite
carries 24 Ku band transponders and is designed for
a lifetime of 15 years. For more
- Aug 17 - LAST GPS BLOCK IIR SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- A Delta II rocket launched the last one of eight Block-IIR
GPS navigation satellites into orbit. Launch occurred
from Cape Canaveral at 1035 UT. For more details see
- Aug 17 - NEW SATELLITE TRACKING FACILITY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
An Hawaiian contractor, Oceanit, has just finished
commissioning a satellite tracking station at Learmonth Solar
Observatory on North West Cape in Western Australia. The
station will use two half-metre class optical telescopes to
obtain positional data on both geosynchronous and low-Earth
orbiting satellites. This data will be fed to the US Air
Force Maui Space Surveillance and Supercomputing centre where
it will be ingested into the US Space Surveillance Network, and
go toward production of the Space Object Catalog. The data
in this catalog is vital for any country wishing to maintain
space situational awareness of both active satellites and the
ever increasing population of space debris. Hosting such a
facility on Australian soil will assure continued access to
this catalog for Australian operational and security purposes.
For images showing the site construction see
Ningaloo Skies. For one of the first images
taken by the facility see LSO-HANDS first
- Jul 30 - SPACE SHUTTLE LAUNCHES FOUR MICROSATS
- Four small satellites were deployed from the payload bay
of the STS-127 Space Shuttle mission, following
the completion of International Space Station
operations. Two of these form an Atmospheric Neutral Density
Experiment (ANDE 2) to measure density of the upper
atmosphere. The remaining two form the Dual RF Astrodynamic
GPS Orbital Navigator Satellite (DRAGONSAT) system to test the
use of GPS navigation satellites for the autonomous rendezvous
of orbiting spacecraft.
- Jul 29 - RUSSIANS LAUNCH 3 IMAGESATS FOR INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS
- A Dnepr rocket launched from the Baikonaur spaceport has
orbited six satellites including three remote sensing
satellites: UK-DMC 2 for the United Kingdom, Deimos 1 for
Spain and DubaiSat 1 for the United Arab Emirates. Both
DMC 2 and Deimos 1 are part of the international Disaster
Monitoring Constellation (DMC) which is a fleet of small
Earth imaging satellites used to provide quick-response
images to global emergency managers, as well as for
mapping, urban planning and resource management. Two other
satellites, AprizeSat 3 & 4, will provide mobile communication
services for US companies. The sixth satellite will be used
by the Spanish Space Agency to demonstrate basic space
- Jul 19 - AUSTRALIAN DISCOVERS NEW JUPITER IMPACT
- Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley of Murrumbateman in New
South Wales produced an image of Jupiter with his 14.5" homemade
Newtonian telescope showing clearly that Jupiter had suffered a
second impact in 15 years with an asteroid or comet. (Almost exactly
15 years ago fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy hit the planet). The
recommissioning of the Hubble Telescope was interrupted to provide
more detailed images, and the infrared emission from the impact site
was seen in images from the Keck telescope in Hawaii. More details and
the discovery image can be viewed at
Anthony Wesley's web site.
- Jul 17 - LRO IMAGES APOLLO SITES
- NASA has released images from the Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter (LRO) showing the Apollo landing sites. In the
image of the Apollo 14 site, not only can the base of the
lander and the deployed scientific instruments be seen,
but a track in the dust made by the astronauts as they
travelled between the two is also visible. More information
and images at
- Jul 15 - STS-127 LAUNCHED TO ISS
- The Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched from the Kennedy
Space Center to rendezvous with the International Space
Station. The major task for this mission is to deliver
the Exposed Facility for the Japanese Kibo Laboratory.
This is the last component of Kibo. This mission was
delayed several times due to hydrogen leaks in the large
external tank. More details at
NASA Space Shuttle.
- Jul 15 - EX-ASTRONAUT BOLDEN NEW NASA HEAD
- A former astronaut on the Space Shuttle, Charles Bolden
has been confirmed by the US Congress in the role of 12th
Administrator of NASA.
- Jul 13 - FIRST OPERATIONAL LAUNCH FOR SPACEX
- The SpaceX company has succeeded in its launch of
a commercial satellite with its Falcon 1 rocket from Kwajalein Atoll. The Malaysian built Earth-observation
satellite RazakSAT was launched into a 685 km 9 degree inclination low Earth orbit. For more details see
- Jul 02 - LAPAN SUB-ORBITAL LAUNCH
- The Indonesian Space Agency (LAPAN) launched a small
rocket to a height of 50 km in a program to achieve
domestic orbital launch capability by 2014.
- Jun 30 - ULYSSES SWITCHED OFF
- The joint US-European Solar Polar Spacecraft Ulysses was
commanded off by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California after 19 years exploring the interplanetary
medium. It was the first space probe to fly over the
polar regions of the Sun in its 6 year period heliocentric
orbit. Details of its mission and science results may be
found at ULYSSES.
- Jun 29 - SIX PERSON CREW IN ISS
- Russia launched a Soyuz capsule on June 27 which docked
with the International Space Station on June 29, bringing
three new crew members to make the total complement of
people manning the ISS now six. This increased crew has
been made possible with the commissioning of full water
recycling aboard the station.
- Jun 27 - GOES 14 IN ORBIT
- A new Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite
has been orbited by a Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral.
When it becomes operational it will provide both terrestrial and space weather information for the US
National Weather Service. This includes a Solar X-ray
Imager to monitor solar flares and other high energy
phenomena in the solar atmosphere. For more details see
- Jun 18 - NASA LAUNCHES LUNAR SPACECRAFT
- NASA launched two lunar spacecraft from Cape Canaveral. The Lunar Reconnaissance
Orbiter or LRO will orbit the moon at an altitude of about 50 km and provide
high resolution images and other spectral data that will allow
scientists to build up detailed 3-D maps of the lunar surface. A synthetic aperture radar will allow imaging of non-sunlit areas of the moon. LRO also
carries instruments to measure the lunar ionising radiation and dust
environments. The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite LCROSS
will observe its final stage rocket impact a crater in the Moon's south
polar region and will then impact the same area itself. It is hoped that
the impacts will allow determination of the presence of water in an area
that is permanently shielded from the Sun. It has been estimated that
anyone with a 12" or larger optical telescope has a chance to observe
the impact plumes. Impact is due around October 9. More details at
- Jun 17 - AUSTRALIAN SPACE RESEARCH PROGRAM
- The Australian Government Department of Innovation,
Industry, Science and Research released a discussion
paper on a proposed Australian Space Research Program.
Under this program $8.6M would be allocated to establish a Space Policy Unit to provide Government
advice on space. Another $40M would be allocated to
a new Australian Space Research Program to support
space research, innovation and skills development in
areas of national significance. For more details see
- Jun 10 - KAGUYA/SELENE HITS MOON
- The Japanese Space Agency JAXA's lunar spacecraft
Kaguya (also named Selene)
made a controlled impact on the moon's
surface in the unilluminated side just near the terminator.
The impact occurred at 18:25 UT at a longitude of 80.4 deg
and a latitude of 65.6 deg at a velocity of 1600 m/sec.
JAXA have stated that they will release data of the 21
month mission in November this year. Australian scientists
imaged the impact, see
- May 25 - SKYMAPPER BECOMES OPERATIONAL
- A new telescope at the Australian National University Siding
Spring Observatory near Coonabarrabran will soon start
to provide deep maps of the southern sky to astronomers
around the world. Skymapper is a 1.3m telescope with a
16k x 16k CCD mosaic camera that covers almost 6 square
of sky. This telescope is a replacement of the Great
Melbourne Telescope destroyed on Mount Stromlo in the
Canberra bushfires of 2003. More details at
- May 14 - ESA LAUNCHES HERSCHEL AND PLANCK
- Two European space telescopes, named Herschel and Planck,
were launched from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana
by an Ariane 5 launcher. These spacecraft will eventually
be stationed in orbits around the Lagrange gravitational
stability point on the antisolar side of the Earth (called
the L1 point by Lagrange, but now popularly known as L2).
The first space signals from these satellites was received
by the ESA ground station at New Norcia in Western
Australia. It will take about two months for the two
spacecraft to independently reach their final orbits.
Herschel has the largest mirror (3.5m) ever launched into orbit
and will conduct infrared observations of dark and cold
objects such as interstellar dust and
suspected planet-forming areas. Planck will be devoted
to observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB)
and to unravelling unseen parts of
the Universe (such as the postulated dark matter).
Herschel will cover electromagnetic wavelengths
from about 60 to 700 microns, detecting objects with
temperatures as low as 5 to 50 degrees Kelvin, and have
the ability to see through much of the dust that obscures
the vision of other optical instruments.
Planck will monitor frequencies between 30 and 900 GHz.
For more details see
HERSCHEL and PLANCK.
- May 11 - STS-125 LAUNCHES TO HUBBLE
- The Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched for the fifth
and final servicing mission of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronauts replaced two failed instruments, installed two
upgrades and extended the telescope's life by about five
years, replacing batteries and gyros. The new-life Hubble
will be most welcomed by all members of the astronomical
community. Hubble has had an enormous impact on many
areas of astronomical and astrophysical research.
For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle and
Hubble Space Telescope.
- May 07 - SPIRIT STUCK ON MARS
- The Spirit Rover appears to have become bogged in
Martian soil. Signals received at JPL show the left
middle wheel is jammed with the other wheels probably
dug in up to their hubs. Ground simulations will be
conducted to decide on the best of action. More details
- May 06 - AUSTRALIAN PHYSICIST ON LUNAR DUST
- Dr Brian O'Brien, an Australian Physicist who was
Professor of Space Science at Rice University (Houston,
Texas) during the Apollo era, has published a paper on
lunar dust using new results gathered from a simple
experiment he flew aboard many of the Apollo missions
nearly 40 years ago. He elucidates the effects of
rocket exhausts on dust contamination and the effect
of the Sun of dust behaviour. The research was published in Geophysical Research Letters, volume 36,
- May - US MILITARY SPACE CENTRE INCREASES CONASS
- The US Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg
Air Force Base has increased its committment to
Conjunction Assessment (the analysis of satellite collision
probabilities) following the collision of an active
satellite on February 10. Data from the analysis of up
to 800 active satellites in LEO will be made available
to relevant commercial entities.
- Apr 30 - INTELSAT TO CARRY ADF COMMUNICATIONS PAYLOAD
- The Intelsat consortium has announced that its Intelsat 22
satellite will carry a UHF package of communication
transponders for the Australian Defence Forces. The
package will comprise eighteen 25 MHz bandwidth channels
and will consume about 2 kW power. It is expected to be
placed at a geosynchronous orbital longitude of 72 degrees
east in 2012.
- Apr 22 - AUSTRALIAN SPACE ENGINE TO FLY
- The Helicon Double Layer Thruster, developed by the School of
Physical Sciences and Engineering at the Australia National
University in Canberra, will be funded to fly in space. The
European EADS-Astrium space company will fund the University
of Surrey Space Centre to develop this electric engine into
a space qualified vehicle. ANU Professor Christine Charles will spend time at UoS helping the development. More details
- Apr 22 - CHINA LAUNCHES REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE
- A Long March 2C rocket was used to launch the Yaogun 6
dual use (military and civilian) imaging satellite
from the Taiyuan launch centre.
- Apr 20 - ISRO LAUNCHES RADAR SATELLITE
- The Indian Space Research Organisation has launched a
radar imaging satellite RISAT-2 built with a modified
Israeli radar package. It was launched by an Indian Polar
Satellite Launch Vehicle (PLSV) into a 550 km, 41 degree
inclination orbit from the ISRO island launch site in
the Bay of Bengal. It was accompanied into orbit by
a small digital communications test satellite ANUSAT.
More details at ISRO.
- Apr 13 - SOLAR POWER SATELLITE BY 2016?
- While a vigourous debate has been underway for many years
on the feasibility of Solar Power Satellites (SPS), a
Californian company Solaren has contracted with the
Californian Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) company to
provide 200 MW of power from space by the year 2016.
More details at
- Apr 04 - SECOND WIDEBAND GLOBAL SATCOM LAUNCHED
- The USAF WGS-2 satellite was launched by an Atlas 5
rocket. The first signals from this military satellite
were received at a ground station at Dongara, near
Geraldton in Western Australia. The Australian Defence
Force will share in communications through the WGS network,
having funded for a sixth satellite in the constellation.
- Mar 24 - NEW GPS SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- A new GPS satellite has been launched to orbit using a
Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral. This satellite carries
a demonstration payload that will transmit a new signal,
termed L5 on a frequency of 1176.45 MHz. For more details
- Mar 17 - ESA GOCE SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- The European Gravity field and steady state Ocean
Circulation Explorer was launched using a Russian Rockot
launch vehicle from the Russian Plesetsk launch site.
The main payload is a gravity gradiometer to generate an
accurate map of the Earth's gravitational field and to
model sea level changes. To carry out this mission the
satellite needs to be in the very low orbit of only 265 km
altitude. Two ion thrusters will be used to maintain this
orbit against the significant atmospheric drag that is
encountered at this height. More details see
- Mar 15 - STS-119 LAUNCH TO ISS
- The Space Shuttle Discovery launched to the International
Space Station following several delays due to hydrogen
leaks and other problems.
The main purpose of this mission is to deliver and install
the final station truss element and the fourth and last set
of solar arrays. For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle.
- Mar 12 - ISS CREW SHELTERS FROM SPACE DEBRIS
- The 3-member ISS crew sheltered for 10 minutes in the
attached Soyuz capsule after being notified of a close
approach by an old PAM payload assist motor. A collision
avoidance maneuvre was not possible because of the late
notification by US Strategic Command.
- Mar 06 - KEPLER PLANETFINDER SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- The NASA Kepler satellite, designed to find exoplanets,
was launched from Cape Canaveral by a Delta 2 rocket
into a heliocentric orbit trailing the Earth by 0.1 AU
(about 15 million km). Kepler carries a 1.4m Schmidt
telescope with a 42 CCD 95 megapixel
camera sensitive enough to detect light intensity
variations down to 20 parts per million. It will monitor
100,000 Sun-like stars with a 12 degree field of view
in the constellations Cygnus and
Lyra, for the passage of planets across the stars, which lie at distances of 30 to 3,000 light years from Earth.
Kepler is the first spacecraft to use the Ka band to
transmit its massive amount of data back to Earth.
For more information see
- Mar 01 - CHINESE CHANG'E IMPACTS MOON
- Chinese controllers commanded the Chang'E lunar orbiter
to a controlled impact with the moon just south of the
equator at a longitude 52.4 degrees east, terminating the
mission after 16 months of acquiring lunar images.
- Feb 10 - CATASTROPHIC LEO COLLISION
- The first collision between two intact satellites
in Low Earth Orbit occurred when the active Iridium 33 communication satellite was hit
by the defunct Russian Cosmos 2251
satellite. The collision occurred over northern Siberia
at a closing velocity of 11 km/sec and an almost 90 degree
impact angle. With a combined mass of nearly 1500 kg,
the impact is expected to generate several thousand pieces
of debris over one centimetre in size, scattered around an
orbital altitude of 790 km. This is already the most
densely populated volume of low Earth orbit, and will
further increase the risk of collision to active spacecraft
in LEO. For a comprehensive analysis of the collision and
continuing analysis of the resultant debris cloud see
various issues of the Orbital Debris Quarterly Newsletter
published by the NASA
Orbital Debris Program Office.
- Feb 11 - FRENCH DUO MONITOR BALLISTIC MISSILE LAUNCHES
- The French military launched two microsatellites, Spirale A
and Spirale B by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou. They will
use IR imagery to monitor ballistic missile launches.
- Feb 06 - NOAA 19 IN ORBIT
- A Delta 2 rocket successfully launched the latest NOAA
meteorological satellite into low Earth polar orbit at
an altitude of 860 km. The satellite carries instruments
to observe terrestrial and space weather as well as a
search and rescue transponder. More detail at
- Feb 02 - IRAN LAUNCHES FIRST SATELLITE
- A Safir-2 two-stage liquid fuel rocket was used to launch
the small Omid, an Iranian developed radio-relay
satellite into a 245 by 380 km orbit with an inclination
of 55 degrees. The maximum operational life of 2 months
is limited by its batteries. For a detailed analysis of this
satellite and its transmissions see
- Jan 30 - RUSSIAN SOLAR OBSERVER LAUNCHED
- The Koronas-Foton satellite was launched into a 550 km
orbit to study the relationship between solar and geomagnetic
activity. More details at
- Jan 23 - JAPANESE LAUNCH GREENHOUSE GAS OBSERVER
- The Japanese Space Agency JAXA used an H2A rocket to
launch the GOSAT (named Ibuki in Japanese) Greenhouse gases
Observing Satellite. It will orbit at 660 km in a sun
synchronous orbit with an inclination of 98 degrees.
The satellite will monitor the global
distribution of carbon dioxide, clouds and aerosols. Seven
microsats were also launched piggyback to Ibuki. Details at