News Notes - 2013
- DEC 28 RUSSIAN RADAR CALIBRATION SPHERES IN ORBIT
- A Soyuz 2 launch from Plesetck placed 2 satellite spheres into low Earth orbit to act as ground radar calibrators. The same mission also launched one smallsat.
- DEC 20 CHINA LAUNCHES FIRST BOLIVIAN SATELLITE
- A CZ-3B launch from Xichang placed TKSat 1 into geosychronous orbit to provide a TV relay for Bolivia.
- DEC 19 - EUROPEAN ASTRONOMY SPACECRAFT LAUNCH
- A Soyuz rocket lifted off from Korou carrying the European Space Agency GAIA astronomical spacecraft toward the Lagrange point beyond the Earth. This craft will attempt to provide a
3 dimensional map of the Milky Way galaxy by measuring the proper motions of many stars.
- DEC 06 - US RECONNAISANCE MILSAT LAUNCH
- An Atlas V rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB placed the Topaz imaging radar satellite into orbit along with
- DEC 01 - CHINESE LUNAR ROVER
- A Long March CZ-3 launch from Xichang sent the Chang'e 3 mission toward the moon. This contained the lunar rover Yutu. Moon landing was achieved on 14 December, and the rover was deployed onto the lunar surface.
- NOV 22 RUSSIAN TRISAT LAUNCH
- A Rockot launch from Plesetsk placed SWARM A, B and C into orbit. This three satellite constellation will survey and monitor the Earth's magnetic field.
- NOV 21 RUSSIAN MULTIPLE SMALLSAT LAUNCH
- A Dnepr rocket launch from the Yasny Cosmodrome placed 31 smallsats into low Earth orbit.
- NOV 20 CHINESE REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE LAUNCH
- A Long March CZ-4 launch from Taiyuan placed the Yaogan 19 satellite into orbit.
- NOV 19 US MULTIPLE SMALLSAT LAUNCH
- A Minotaur 1 rocket launch from Wallops Island placed 29 smallsats into low Earth orbit.
- NOV 19 ISS DEPLOYS MORE SMALLSATS
- Three small satellites (ARDUSAT 1, PICODRAGON and
ARDUSAT X) were deployed from the Japanese Kibo module of the International Space Station.
- NOV 18 US MARS MISSION
- An Atlas V rocket launch from Cape Canaveral carried the MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft on its way to study the Martian atmosphere. It is expected to arrive at Mars around 22 September 2014.
- NOV 07 - MORE CREW MEMBERS TO ISS
- A Soyuz-FG launch from Baikonur carried three new crew to the International Space Station (2 Russian, 1 Japanese).
- NOV 05 - FIRST INDIAN MARTIAN MISSION
- A PSLV rocket launched the first Indian mission to Mars.
The Mars Orbiter is expected to reach Mars around 24 September 2014.
- OCT 29 - YAOGAN 18 LAUNCH
- A CZ-2 launch from Taiyuan placed the Yaogan 18 environmental monitoring remote sensing satellite in orbit.
- SEP 29 - CANADIAN IONOSPHERIC EXPLORER LAUNCH
- A Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg AFB placed the Canadian CASSIOPE (Cascade, Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer)
satellite into LEO to study the lower ionosphere plasma. The same mission also deployed 5 smallsats including 3 spheres to measure atmospheric drag/density.
- SEP 25 - NEW CREW MEMBERS TO ISS
- A Soyuz-FG launch from Baikonur carried three new crew to the International Space Station (2 Russian, 1 USA).
- SEP 23 - NEW CHINESE WEATHER SATELLITE LAUNCHED
- A CZ-4 rocket launched from the Taiyuan Space Centre
placed the Fengyun 3C meteorological satellite into orbit.
- SEP 18 - TEST FLIGHT OF CYGNUS ISS RESUPPLY
- An Antares rocket launched from Wallops Island was a test flight of the Cygnus spacecraft which will be used to resupply the International Space Station.
- SEP 18 - US SECURE MILCOMSAT LAUNCH
- An Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral carried an AEHF (Advanced Extremely High Frequency) military communication satellite to orbit to provide secure communications for the US Defense Forces.
- SEP 14 - JAPANESE ASTRONOMY SATELLITE LAUNCH
- An Epsilon rocket launched from Tanegashima placed the Hisaki satellite into Earth orbit. It will measure planetary atmospheres in the solar system with an ultraviolet telescope.
- SEP 07 - US SPACECRAFT TO MONITOR LUNAR ATMOSPHERE
- A Minotaur rocket from Wallops Island launched the LADEE Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer to the moon to measure the lunar dust environment from a low lunar orbit. It will attempt to characterise the extremely tenuous lunar atmosphere before any further contamination by human exploration. It is expected to crash onto the moon's surface in 2014.
- SEP 01 - ADDITION TO THE CHINESE YAOGAN CONSTELLATION
- A Chinese CZ-4 rocket launched a three component satellite system designated Yaogan 17 into LEO for remote sensing, and it is thought, possible ocean surveillance.
- AUG 31 - ISRAELI COMSAT LAUNCH
- A Zenit-2 rocket launched from Baikonur placed the Amos 4 Israeli commercial communications satellite into orbit.
- AUG 29 - DOUBLE LAUNCH FROM KOUROU
- An Ariane 5 rocket from Korou launched both Eutelsat 25B for Middle Eastern communications and GSat 7, a military communications satellite for the Indian Navy.
- AUG 28 - NEW US 'KEYHOLE' SATELLITE IN ORBIT
- A Delta 4 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base placed a KH-11 class military reconnaissance satellite into a highly elliptical low Earth orbit.
- AUG 22 - SOUTH KOREAN RADAR SAT LAUNCH
- A Dnepr rocket from Vasny Cosmodrome launched Kompsat 5, a Synthetic Aperture Radar (X-band) satellite for South Korea. This will allow all weather environment and disaster monitoring and management.
- AUG 08 - WGS 6 MILCOMSAT LAUNCH
- A Delta 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral launched the 6th and final Wideband Global Satellite into orbit. This
satellite will provide military communications for the USA and Australia.
- AUG 03 - JAPANESE ISS RESUPPLY MISSION
- An H2B launch from Tanegashima sent the Kounotori 4
spacecraft on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.
- JUL 19 - CHINESE INTERCEPT SATELLITES?
- Using a Long March rocket (CZ-4) China launched three
satellites that may be for rendezvous/intercept testing.
- JUL 19 - US MUOS-2 MILSATCOM LAUNCH
- An Atlas V launched MUOS 2, a narrow band US milsat to
geosynchronous orbit. Australia hosts a MUOS terminal just
east of Geraldton in Western Australia.
- JUL 01 - INDIAN NAVSAT LAUNCH
- A PSLV rocket launched IRNSS 1A, an Indian Regional Navigation Satellite to geosynchronous orbit.
- JUN 28 - PEGASUS LAUNCHES IRIS
- A Pegasus launch from off the Californian coast placed the IRIS Interface Region Imaging Spectrometer into orbit.
An ultraviolet telescope and spectrograph will measure plasma of the solar corona and heliosphere.
- JUN 25 - RUSSIAN EOS TO MONITOR COSMIC RAYS AND EARTHQUAKES
- A Soyuz rocket launch from Baikonur placed Resurs-P1, a remote sensing satellite into LEO. This satellite also carried a cosmic ray monitor and a low frequency receiver to detect possible electromagnetic signals which might be precursors of earthquakes.
- JUN 11 - CHINESE TAIKONAUTS TRAVEL TO SPACE STATION
- Launched from Jiuquan, the Shenzhou manned spacecraft carried three Chinese including one woman to the Tiangong 1
space station. They returned to Earth on June 26, landing in Mongolia.
- JUN 07 - NEW RUSSIAN RECONNAISANCE MILSAT
- Cosmos 2486 was launched from Plesetsk as a new generation imaging reconnaisance military satellite.
- JUN 06 - EUROPEAN ISS RESUPPLY MISSION
- A Kourou launch by an Ariane 5 rocket lofted ATV-5 (Albert Einstein) to take supplies to the International Space Station and provide rubbish disposal. ATV-5 reentered the Earth's atmosphere south-east of New Zealand on November 2.
- MAY 25 - WGS 5 MILCOMSAT IN ORBIT
- This fifth Wideband Global Satellite will provide military
communications for the USA and Australia
- MAY 07 - VEGA KOUROU LAUNCH
- Launching from Kourou, a Vega rocket placed two EOS satellites into LEO. Proba-V will monitor global vegetation and the Vietnamese VNREDSat 1A will search for natural resources and provide disaster monitoring.
- APR 26 - CHINESE GAOFEN 1 IN ORBIT
- A Chinese CZ-2D from the Jiuquan Space Centre launched Gaofen 1 into low Earth orbit. This is a remote sensing
satellite with 1 metre resolution. The Long March rocket also placed 3 smallsats into LEO.
- APR 21 - SMALLSATS LAUNCHED FROM WALLOPS
- Five smallsats were launched by an Antares rocket from Wallops Island into a very low Earth orbit. All satellites had reentered by 10 May.
- APR 19 - RUSSIAN BIOLOGICAL RECOVERY SATELLITE
- A Soyuz rocket launced from Baikonur placed the Bion M1 into low Earth orbit. This recoverable biological research satellite was returned to Earth on May 19. The same mission
also launched 6 smallsats.
- MAR 19 - US INFRARED MILSAT LAUNCHED
- An Atlas V rocket launched USA 241 also named SBIRS GEO 2, a space based infrared surveillance satellite. This series will eventually replace the DSP satellites.
- MAR 01 - SPACEX ISS RESUPPLY MISSION
- A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying cargo for the International Space Station was launched from Cape Canaveral.
- FEB 25 - INDIAN EOS LAUNCH
- The SARAL Earth observation satellite was launched by an Indian PSLV C-20 rocket. This satellite is a joint Indian-French (ISRO-CNES) project which carries precise poistioning instruments to measure ice, rain, coastal zones and wave heights. The launch also deployed 6 smallsats.
- FEB 15 - ASTEROID PASSES BELOW GEOSYNCHRONOUS ALTITUDE
- Near Earth Asteroid 2012DA14 missed hitting the Earth by around 27,000 km at 19:24 UT. This is below the orbital height of geosynchronous satellites (36,000 km). See our analysis of the collision probability of this asteroid with a geosynchronous satellite.
- FEB 15 - BRILLIANT FIREBALL EXPLODES OVER CHELYABINSK
- At around 03:20 UT a fireball exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, about 1500 km east of Moscow, shattering windows in buildings and injuring about 1000 people (mainly from flying glass). Initial analysis of US milsat data place the energy of the fireball at around 300 kiloton TNT equivalent, and best estimates indicate a stony meteoroid of about 15 m diameter and 7000 tons mass, with a space velocity of 20 km/sec and a very low angle entry trajectory. Reports indicate an explosion almost directly above Chelyabinsk at around 15 km altitude. An extensive meteorite field is expected from this event, and one or more impact craters are possible (if any of the largest fragments retained some hypervelocity).
- FEB 11 - LANDSAT 8 IN ORBIT
- Landsat 8 Earth Observation Satellite was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg. The LANDSAT series is a long term EOS monitoring collaboration between NASA and the US Geological Survey to obtain measurements of the Earth's radiation in the visible, near-infrared, short wave infrared, and thermal infrared. The data and imagery collection are used in agriculture, education, business, science, and government. Australia uses this data that is downlinked to an Earth station at Alice Springs.
- FEB 06 - SIX RUSSIAN GLOBSTARS LAUNCHED
- Russia launched 6 Globalstar satellites from Baikonur Cosmodrome to provide telephone and low speed data communications from low Earth orbit.
- JAN 31 - NASA TDRSS LAUNCH
- NASA launched the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite TDRSS 11 satellite into geosynchronous orbit.
- JAN 30 - SOUTH KOREAN SOLAR SATELLITE
- South Korea launched STSat 2C, a research satellite for solar observation. It also carried a laser ranging instrument to measure its orbital height.
- JAN 27 - JAPANESE RECONNAISANCE SATELLITES LAUNCHED
- Two Japanese reconnaisance satellites (called Information Gathering Satellites) were launched from Tanegashima. IGS Radar 4 was a radar imaging satellite and IGS Optical Demonstrator was an optical imaging satellite.
- JAN 15 - RUSSIAN TRIO OF MILCOMMSATS
- Three Rodnik class satellites (COSMOS 2482, 2483 & 2484) were launched from Plesetsk to provide communications to military detachments in remote areas.
- JAN - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORES THE STARS
- In their 125th Anniversary Special Issue devoted to why we explore, National Geographic investigates the possible exploration of the stars. The article contains beautiful images by artists exploring interstellar travel.