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Launches and Orbital Operations

Scarborough, UK
2014 Apr 23
Wednesday, Day 113

Maintained by:

Go For Launch!

Launch events for the past week, plus on-orbit and re-entry or landing events of satellites and spacecraft.

Date and time information comes from open sources and from private contacts within the industry. Notes are prepared through a combination of research and information released by satellite owners, operators and manufacturers; space agencies and launch services providers.

Date Time (UTC) Event
2014 Apr 16
MisrSat 2 (EgyptSat2) Launch
Soyuz U, Baikonur SC
Egyptian remote sensing satellite built under contract by Russia's Energiya company.

Launch was put on hold 2011 following all contact being lost with EgyptSat 1.

Originally anticipated as going to 700 km sun-synchronous orbit.

Time is for engine ignition, lift off expected at 16:20:07 UTC. Reserve dates were Apr 17 - Apr 19 inclusive.

Orbit notes:

NORAD: 2014-021A/39678

2014 Apr 18
LADEE Lunar Impact
NASA lunar orbiting spacecraft hit the lunar surface. The time is ±30 minutes.

Launched - 2013 Sep 7 (2013-047A/39246)

2014 Apr 18
Progress M-22M Retro-fire
on orbit - ISS
Followed several days of "Radar Progress" experiments, retro-fire occurred within sight of Russian ground stations.

2014 Apr 18
Progress M-22M Re-entry
on orbit - ISS
Any remaining fragments were expected to hit the surface of the Pacific Ocean at around 15:46 UTC, about 3000 km east of New Zealand.

2014 Apr 18
Dragon CRS/SpaceX-03 & ELaNa 5 Launch
Falcon 9 v1.1, CCAFS LC-39
Principal payload ws a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft carrying a cargo to the ISS under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

Precise launch time aimed 19:25:22 UTC.

Launch was originally targeted at a one month period that opened Jan 17. Scheduled for Mar 31 then postponed because of a problem with a radar system downrange from the launch site. Countdown was running April 14 when a leak was detected from a Helium tank in the Falcon 9 first stage about 75 mins before planned lift off (19:58 UTC). Launch was postponed.

SpaceX press kit:

Cargo manifest:

The launch vehicle also carried NASA's ELaNa 5 (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites) cluster of five Cubesats, in four P-POD dispensers, that will be released after separation of the Dragon spacecraft:

KickSat - 3U Cubesat that will release 104 Sprites (postage stamp shape/size - 32mm x 32mm, individual satellites) for organisations that sponsored them. Each Sprite will transmit a unique code to identify its sponsor plus data from a small sensor. KickSat itself also carries logos and signatures of individuals and organisations that sponsored the launch with donations.

The Sprites will probably not get catalogued. They will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere within a few days of release.

Phonesat 2.5 - 1U Cubesat from NASA Ames laboratory, fourth in a series of missions designed to use commercially available smartphone technology as part of low-cost satellite development, technology demonstor as a pathfinder for the
Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Network,

TSAT (TESTSat-Lite) - 2U cubesat from Taylor University, Indiana, will use a GlobalStar satellite communication modem to demonstrate a reliable and global nanosat network, and will observe space weather with a plasma probe, 3-axis magnetometer, and three ultraviolet photodiodes,

ALLSTAR/THEIA (Agile Low-cost Laboratory for Space Technology Acceleration and Research/Telescopic High-definition Earth Imaging Apparatus) - 3U Cubesat, sponsored by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium (CoSGC) and Lockheed Martin, for full-colour imaging of the Earth's surface to demonstrate the capabilities of a new Cubesat design,

SporeSat - 3U Cubesat to study how plant cells sense gravity, joint mission between NASA’s Ames Research Center and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University,

NASA ELaNa 5 factsheet:

Falcon 9's first stage was fitted with landing legs as part of SpaceX ongoing development of recovery systems. In this case, the Falcon 9 simulated a landing in the Atlantic Ocean about 450 km from the launch site but was not retrieved.

Orbit notes:

2014-022A/39680 - SpaceX 03

2014 Apr 18
Falcon 9 Second Stage - Re-entry
Falcon 9, CCAFS LC-39
Upper stage of Falcon 9 from the SpaceX 03 launch will fire a retro rocket, after it releases the Dragon and the smaller satelltes, at around 21:20 UTC and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere .

Time shown is when any unburnt fragments will impact the south eastern quadrant of the Indian Ocean.

Time is ±10 min.

2014 Apr 20
Dragon CRS/SpaceX-03 Capture
Successful capture by the ISS manipulator arm - exactly on time.

2014 Apr 20
Dragon CRS/SpaceX-03 Docking
Berthed with the lower docking unit of the Harmony node of the ISS. Bolted down at 14:06 UTC.

2014 Apr 23
Progress M-21M Undocking
on orbit - ISS
Undocked from Zvezda.

Will return for re-docking April 25 as test of Kurs-NA rendezvous system.

2014 Apr 23
ISS EVA - US Segment
ISS on orbit
US EVA 26 - introduced into plan early April. Rick Mastracchio and Steve Swanson replaced a failed multiplexer demultiplexer (MDM) backup computer relay system in the S0 Truss. It's job is to monitor truss systems, operation of the external cooling loops, operation of the Solar Alpha Rotary joints and the Mobile Transporter rail car. It failed early April, potentially jeopardising missions by SpaceX Dragon and Orbital Sciences Cygnus.

Completed at 15:32 UTC after 96 minutes, nearly one hour less than anticipated.

2014 Apr 24
China - Possible Hypersonic Vehicle Test Flight
launch vehicle unknown, Taiyun SC
Two NOTAMs issued Apr 23 indicates rocket components impacting near 40° north, 106° west.

Trajectory similar to launch 2014 January 19 with payload impact/landing in the Taklamakan Desert. It was later reported to be a test on a Hypersonic Vehicle.

Notes on Jan 19 event (needs a 'Closed Orbit' password - see

2014 Apr 25
Progress M-21M Re-docking
on orbit - ISS
Will dock with Zvezda port as test of Kurs-NA rendezvous system.

NASA TV coverage (from 11:45 UTC):

2014 Apr 28
Luch 5V and Kazsat 3 Launch
Further details - see Zarya's Closed Orbit pages, available from the right hand menu.

2014 Apr 29
KazEOSat 2 Launch
Further details - see Zarya's Closed Orbit pages, available from the right hand menu.

A more comprehensive version of this list that looks much further ahead can be found in the password-protected section of the website. To request a password, see notes on the 'Closed Orbit' introductory page.

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