News Notes - 2011
- JUL 08 - THE FINAL SPACE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM MISSION
The Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off at 1529 UT from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral in Florida. This STS-135 mission will be the last for the US Space Transportation System.
Atlantis carried a crew of four and the Raffaello Multipurpose Logistics Module (MPM) containing supplies and space parts for the International Space Station. For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle.
- MAY 20 - ARIANE 5 LAUNCHES TWO GEOCOMMSATS
- The following satellites were launched from Kourou:
ST 2, a Singaporean/Taiwanese communications satellite to be located at 88 degrees east, with 41 Ku-band transponders and 10 C-band transponders to provide internet-based fixed and mobile communications services for customers in Asia, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.
GSAT 8, an Indian communications satellite to be used for direct-to-home broadcasting, data collection, news-gathering and other domestic needs. The satellite also carries a radio navigation instrument GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) to augment GPS navigation signals and improve air navigation. It will be located at 55 degrees east.
- MAY 16 - SPACE SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR LAUNCHES TO ISS
- STS 134 was launched from Cape Canaveral and docked with the Harmony module of the International Space Station (ISS) on the 18th on the final flight of the Endeavour. With a crew of six the shuttle delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a particle physics detector designed to operate from the station and search for various types of unusual matter. Also on-board for delivery were station spare parts on the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 3 (ELC3), including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank, an ammonia tank assembly, circuit breaker boxes, a Canadarm2 computer and a spare arm for the Dextre robot. The ELC3 also houses a suite of Department of Defense (DoD) experiments that will test systems and materials concepts for long duration spaceflight in low-earth orbit. STS 134 mission included four spacewalks that focused on station maintenance, experiment replacement, and transference of Endeavour's orbiter boom sensor system (OBSS) to the station. The crew left the boom as a permanent fixture to aid future station spacewalk work, if needed. The mission also featured Endeavour's approach back toward the station after undocking to test new sensor technologies that could make it easier for future space vehicles to dock to the ISS. STS 134 completed its mission with a landing at Cape Canaveral on 01 June 2011 at 06:35 UT. STS 134 was the second-to-last flight for the Space Shuttle Program. For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle.
- May 07 - US LAUNCHES NEW INFRARED MISSILE WARNING SATELLITE
- SBIRS GEO 1/USA 230 (Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous 1) was launched from Cape Canaveral by an Atlas 5 rocket and is the first satellite in the SBIRS series. It is equipped with both scanning and staring instruments to increase the amount of reconnaissance that can be collected. The scanning instrument on SBIRS satellites will provide global observations, and the staring sensor enables the examination of a very specific region for emerging threats and fast-moving targets. The satellite features a pair of power-generating solar arrays, two communications antenna wings that unfold and a deployable light shade to shield its sensitive infrared instruments. The SBIRS system will augment and gradually replace the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites over the next several years.
- MAY 04 - RUSSIAN MILCOMMSAT TO PROVIDE HIGH LATITUDE COVERAGE
- MERIDIAN 4 was launched from Plesetsk by a Soyuz rocket
into a high inclination orbit. The Meridian series is designed to replace the aging Molniya system.
- APR 22 - EMIRATES GEOCOMMSAT
- YAHSAT 1A was launched from Kourou by an Ariane 5 rocket that also carried another COMMSAT. It carries Ku-, Ka-, and C-band transponders to provide direct-to-home television programming, and secure Ka-band communications capacity for government and military applications in the United Arab Emirates and other nations from a location of 52.5 degrees east where it will provide coverage over the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Southwest Asia.
- APR 22 - FIRST AFRICAN PRIVATE SECTOR COMMSAT
- INTELSAT NEW DAWN was launched from Kourou by an Ariane 5 rocket to supply critical communications infrastructure for African customers. It carries C-band and Ku-band transponders and will provide wireless broadband, television, and other media applications, covering Africa, Western Europe, the Middle East and Pakistan from a location at 32.8 degrees east.
- APR 20 - INDIAN POLAR ROCKET LAUNCHES THREE SATELLITES
- Three satellites were launched for Sriharikota by a PSLV-C16 rocket. These were:
RESOURCESAT 2, an Indian Earth resources satellite with three visible and infrared cameras with a peak resolution of 5.8 m. It also carries an Automatic Identification System (AIS) to collect position, speed and other information from seagoing vessels.
YOUTHSAT, a joint mission between Indian and Russian students which carries three science instruments to study the upper atmosphere and measure solar cosmic rays.
X-SAT, Singapore's first national satellite which has a multi-spectral camera to demonstrate space-based remote sensing and image processing technologies.
- APR 09 - CHINESE NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- BEIDOU IGSO 3 was launched from Xichang on a Long March 3A rocket as part of China's Compass Navigation Satellite System (CNSS) which will eventually consist of 35 vehicles.
- APR 04 - SOYUZ CARRIES THREE CREW TO ISS
- SOYUZ-TMA 21 was launched from Baikonur by a Soyuz rocket and docked at the Poisk module of the International Space Station (ISS). The crew of two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut have an expansive research program encompassing more than 40 experiments, and will also make a spacewalk to service the Russian segment of the ISS and to
launch a Radioskaf 2 Kedr space probe designed by Russian students.
- MAR 05 - USAF ORBITAL TEST VEHICLE LAUNCHED
- OTV 2/USA 226/X-37B was launched from Cape Canaveral on an Atlas 5 rocket. OTV is the first vehicle since the space shuttle capable of returning experiments to Earth.
- FEB 26 - NEW RUSSIAN NAVSAT LAUNCHED
- GLONASS-K/COSMOS 2471, was launched from Plesetsk by a Soyuz 2 rocket. This satellite is the first of the K series and has five navigation channels, four in special L1 and L2 bands and one for civilian applications in the L3 band. The
GLONASS constellation currently has 22 operational satellites,
two short of its goal of 24 for complete navigational service.
- FEB 24 - SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY LAUNCHES TO ISS
- STS 133 was launched from Kennedy Space Center as the last flight of Discovery. It docked at the Harmony node of the International Space Station on the 26th, carrying six astronauts, the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM), the Express Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4) and Robonaut 2. For more details see
NASA Space Shuttle.
- FEB 16 - EUROPEAN ATV RESUPPLIES ISS
- ATV 2 (Automated Transfer Vehicle 2) was launched from Kourou by an Ariane 5 rocket and docked with the International Space Station's (ISS) Zvezda service module. ATV, at a gross mass of 20 tons will be the major resupply vehicle for the ISS after the Space Shuttle retires. It will also help reboost the ISS to higher orbits as required.
- Jan 28 RUSSIAN PROGRESS SUPPLIES ISS
- PROGRESS M-09M was launched from Baikonur by a Soyuz rocket to supply 2.5 tons of cargo to the International
Space Station. It also included a minisatellite called ARISSAT 1/KEDR, designed to transmit 25 greeting messages in 15 different languages, Earth photos, and telemetry data for its scientific equipment and service systems on a frequency of 145.95 MHz. Kedr will be manually launched by an ISS cosmonaut during an upcoming EVA as part of the celebrations for the 50th year of manned space flight.
- JAN 22 - JAPANESE SPACECRAFT SERVICES ISS
- HTV 2/KOUNOTORI 2 (White Stork) was launched from Tanegashima by an H-2B rocket to the International Space
Station where it docked with the Harmony module on the 27th.
It delivered cargo and supplies and will carry away rubbish
to burn up on reentry back into the Earth's atmosphere.
- Jan 20 - US NRO SATELLITE LAUNCH AT VANDENBERG
- USA 224 was launched by a Delta IV Heavy rocket, the most powerful rocket currently in the US inventory. This satellite was orbited for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
- JAN 20 - RUSSIAN WEATHER SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- Electro-L1/GOMS 2 (Geostationary Operational
Meteorological Satellite) was launched from Baikonur by a Zenit rocket. Situated at 76 degrees east, it will be able to
image Asia, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean several times per hour with visible and IR camera. It also carries a COSPAS search and rescue relay.