Author Topic: Kosmos 2519/2521/2523 - Soyuz-2.1v/Volga - Plesetsk - June 23, 2017  (Read 455324 times)

Offline Phillip Clark

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Things seem to be quiet with the three satellites, with Cosmos 2521 performing no further manoeuvres since its dramatic orbit-lowering on April 30.

Current orbital data are:

Cosmos 2519
May 17.608    97.878 deg      97.771 min     645-659 km

Cosmos 2521
May 17.511    97.903 deg      91.704 min     348-368 km

Cosmos 2523
May 17.604    97.854 deg     96.873 min      555-663 km

Since I am giving my BIS presentation on this mission on June 2nd I expect something dramatic to happen the previous day. ;)   Not that I am paranoid or anything .........
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane - WJ.

Offline B. Hendrickx

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Two sources provide more insight into the organizational background of the Kosmos-2519/2521/2523 mission (14F150/Nivelir-L). One is an article published in 2015 and the other a draft contract on the 14F150 project that appeared online earlier this year.

The 2015 article is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Scientific Research Institute of Television (NII Televideniya or NIIT) in St-Petersburg, which has had a virtual monopoly in developing space-based TV systems for Soviet/Russian space projects ever since Luna-3 in 1959.

http://www.kuriermedia.ru/data/objects/2302/files/80_NIIT.pdf
(see p. 3)


In thе article, NIIT’s director Aleksandr Umbitaliyev wrote the following:
 
Quote
Our specialists are conducting work on creating a space-based space surveillance system together with NPO Lavochkin under the leadership of MAK Vympel. One of our recent projects is to develop a small-size star tracker for space systems developed by KB Tochmash.

The space-based surveillance system probably saw its first mission with Kosmos-2519/2521/2523, in which NPO Lavochkin is known to play a leading role. The star tracker being developed for KB Tochmash is probably part of a project called Burevestnik, which may very well be a space-based ASAT system (more on that in a new thread). As of now, there is no evidence that the two projects are directly related.

What the first line tells us is that one of the three satellites likely carries a TV system built by NIIT. A recently published technical book about NIIT’s space-based TV cameras mainly sums up outboard TV cameras for Soyuz/Progress spacecraft. There are only two outboard cameras for which no specific mission is given, one called KT-277 (operating in the visible and near infrared parts of the spectrum) and the other KT-278 (operating in the near ultraviolet). However, there are no clues whatsoever that these have any relation to 14F150.

http://www.niitv.ru/files/materials/Теория_и_практика_космического_телевидения_с_обложками.pdf
(p. 240-241)

The article also tells us that the lead organization for the project is not NPO Lavochkin, but MAK Vympel. This is an organization involved in missile defense, space surveillance  and early warning and is part of the Almaz-Antei concern. In the area of space surveillance, it is in overall charge of the country’s network of ground-based space surveillance telescopes and seems to perform the same role for the space-based space surveillance network. Its role in this seems to be similar to that of the Kometa Corporation in the space-based missile early warning network. While Kometa has overall responsibility for that project, most of the actual hardware (such as the satellite bus and the payload) is built by other companies.

The annual reports of MAK Vympel for 2012, 2013 and 2014 mention work on a space-based surveillance system, but no further details are given. MAK Vympel specialists have written several papers on space-based space surveillance, but few of them are available online and they seem to be rather theoretical without providing much concrete information.  Vyacheslav Fateyev, who headed Vympel from 2005 until 2011, wrote an article in 2014 that describes a network of space surveillance satellites consisting of nine to twelve 200-300 kg optical imaging satellites in Sun-synchronous orbits as well as a pair of signals intelligence satellites in low orbit to pick up signals from satellites all the way to the geostationary belt.

http://www.vko.ru/oruzhie/kak-povysit-effektivnost-pvo-skkp-sprn-i-pro


More on the project’s organizational background can be deduced from a draft contract on 14F150 that appeared on the zakupki.gov.ru website in February this year.

http://zakupki.gov.ru/223/purchase/public/purchase/info/common-info.html?regNumber=31806164727

It is related to 14F150 N°2 (the second mission in the series) and deals with tests of electronic equipment used in the satellite’s control moment gyros (SGK-5). As I explained in Reply#183, the control moment gyros are built by NII KP (Scientific Research Institute of Control Instruments) in St.-Petersburg. The draft contract says that it is based on the following contracts:

- between NPO Lavochkin and NII KP (10 January 2013)
- between NPO Lavochkin and TsNIIKhM (1 December 2011)
- between TsNIIKhM and GNTs Garant (30 September 2011)

My impression is that the latter two contracts are not specifically related to the SGK-5 gyroscopes, but to the 14F150 project in general. Unfortunately, there is still no sign in the available 14F150 documentation of the original contract between the Ministry of Defense and the prime contractor (which, again, would seem to be MAK Vympel rather than NPO Lavochkin). The least that this draft contract tells us is that the 14F150 project goes back all the way to 2011 and possibly earlier.

Anyway, it’s worth speculating what the roles of TsNIIKhM and GNTs Garant in the 14F150 project might be. GNTs Garant is a complete mystery. All that can be found on the Internet is that is based in Moscow, was founded on 5 January 1995 and is headed by a person named Aleksandr Khomitsevich. It is said to be engaged in “scientific research and design work in the field of natural and technical sciences”, which could be just anything. All this suggests it works on highly classified projects.

TsNIIKhM (ЦНИИХМ) stands for Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics Named After D.I. Mendeleyev. Its website is here:

http://cniihm.ru

It originated as a design bureau (NII-6) specializing in various types of explosives and gunpowder, but has since branched out into other fields as well. It is currently subordinate to the Federal Service for Technical and Export Control (FSTEK), a defense agency tasked with protecting state secrets and countering cyber espionage. However, not all of the company’s departments are involved in that kind of work. TsNIIKhM has two divisions that the website says are involved in the space program :

- Scientific Research Center of Nanotechnology (NITs Nanotekhnologiy)
http://cniihm.ru/about/napravlenie/nitsnt/

The website doesn’t say much about its space-related activities other than that is engaged in the development of “future space and rocket technology”. It has close ties with a department of the Faculty of Aerophysics and Space Research of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MFTI) (a Moscow-based university popularly known as “Fiztekh”).

- Design Bureau of Applied Mechanics (KBPM) (not to be confused with the former name of comsat builder ISS Reshetnyov in Krasnoyarsk)
http://cniihm.ru/about/napravlenie/kbpm/

The website is rather vague about what it does. It develops and produces space technology and space materials, is involved in building ground control stations and takes part in ground tests of satellites, preparations for launch and processing information received from satellites. No specific projects are mentioned.

There are no clear indications what exactly TsNIIKhM’s role in 14F150 is. What is clear though is that it has done at least some work related to space surveillance and seems to be a manufacturer of small satellites.

Space surveillance work

A handful of articles published by TsNIIKhM are related to space surveillance.

- an article in 2013 about the use of small uncooled infrared detectors (so-called microbolometers) aboard satellites to spot space debris. Reference is made to an American cubesat called COPPER (launched in 2013) which evaluated the suitability of using a microbolometer array for Earth observation and space situational awareness.   

https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=21114155
(abstract in Russian)

http://vestnik.kubsu.ru/article/view/551/865
(the complete article)

TsNIIKhM’s nanotechnology lab produced a new type of pixel for microbolometers, but no space-related applications are mentioned in this 2016 article:

http://applphys.orion-ir.ru/appl-16/16-4/PF-16-4-67.pdf
(English abstract at the end of the article)

- an article authored by TsNIIKhM specialists in 2014 gave an overview of American space surveillance projects
https://elibrary.ru/item.asp?id=22651695
(abstract in English)


Work on small satellites

TsNIIKhM is involved in the development of microsatellites and may even be a prime contractor for such satellites.  It is known to have placed orders with other companies for components of small satellites:

- with Tekhnologii GEOSKAN (GEOSCAN Technologies) (part of the Skolkovo Innovation Center) for the delivery of “an electromagnetic device” needed for a “test satellite designed to study how Russian satellites stand up to the effects of space conditions” (which may be a euphemism for something else).
See p. 13-14 of this PowerPoint presentation:
https://en.ppt-online.org/261890

Incidentally, Tekhnologii GEOSKAN  itself is a manufacturer of microsatellites and nanosatellites (although none seem to have flown so far). It has proposed a 100 kg class microsatellite platform and a 4.5 kg nanosat platform, both maneuverable. It has been working on a project called Twinsat-DZ where pairs of microsats and nanosats would fly in tandem to form a space-based interferometer for Earth remote sensing purposes (earlier British co-operation in the project, among others with Surrey Satellite Technologies, seems to have ended).

Interestingly, it has also proposed a network of its nanosatellites to perform optical space surveillance (Trek-SK1) and calibrate ground-based and space-based space surveillance systems (Trek-SK2). See this PowerPoint presentation:
https://en.ppt-online.org/261889

This proposal seems to date back to around 2012. Another project is Avis, a small nanosat class inspector satellite to be deployed from the ISS. Tekhnologii GEOSKAN has an English website, but it hasn’t been updated for a while.
http://geoscan.org

- with IZMIRAN (the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation) for an “automatic system” required for “the power supply system of a small satellite” (contract signed in 2015).
http://www.izmiran.ru/info/docs/IZMIRAN_37_ref_gr_13b.pdf
(see p. 17)

TsNIIKhM has recently also ordered components for cubesats:

- a Cube-ADCS 3-axis stabilization system (produced by the South African company CubeSpace)
http://zakupki.gov.ru/223/purchase/public/purchase/info/common-info.html?regNumber=31806232980

- a small star tracker called AZDK-1 (produced by the Russian company OOO Azmerit, part of the Skolkovo Innovation Center)
http://zakupki.gov.ru/223/purchase/public/purchase/info/common-info.html?regNumber=31806135457


These two last orders were placed this spring, so they cannot be directly related to the Kosmos-2519/2521/2523 mission. Neither is there any solid evidence that the orders placed with IZMIRAN and Tekhnologii GEOSKAN were linked to this mission. However, all these orders do seem to indicate that TsNIIKhM is a manufacturer of small satellites. That might mean that its role in the Kosmos-2519/2521/2523 mission has been to build one or both of the subsatellites, with the KBPM department being the systems integrator and the nanotechnology center delivering subsystems and/or payloads. TsNIIKhM is also likely the manufacturer of the small satellite(s) being developed under the Burevestnik project.
 

Finally, it is interesting to note that TsNIIKhM has been involved in themes called “Nivelir” with the Vavilov State Optical Institute (GOI) and the MFTI university in Moscow (as just mentioned earlier, one of the university's departments has close ties with TsNIIKhM). This doesn’t necessarily mean that the work was related to 14F150/Nivelir-L, but it’s worth mentioning nevertheless.

The work with GOI was called Nivelir-OAM and was related to the “processing of optical measurements”. It began in 2012 and was scheduled to last about five years. See GOI’s annual report for 2014:

http://disclosure.interfax.ru/portal/FileLoad.ashx?Fileid=1051475
(p. 40, 42)

TsNIIKhM was involved in a something called Nivelir-PO with the MFTI University in 2011-2012:
https://itk-mdl.asutk.ru/upload/iblock/13d/izq%20uqzuei%205l.pdf
(see p. 59)

A research project (NIR) called “Nivelir” is also mentioned in MFTI’s annual report for 2012 (already referred to earlier in this thread):

https://mipt.ru/upload/4fb/2012-arphcump3pi.doc
(see p. 105)

In the latter report “Nivelir” is mentioned along with a NIR called “Napryazheniye” (“Voltage”, “Tension”). This is a name that has also been regularly associated with the 14F150 project (for more on that see Reply #195 in this thread). It has appeared both as a NIR name and as a satellite name (Napryazheniye-L).

Napryazheniye now also turns out to be a NIR project at the Scientific Research Institute of Television which apparently has to do with TV observations of satellites during proximity operations. See this PhD thesis defended in 2017:
http://www.eltech.ru/assets/files/nauka/dissertacii/2017/Morozov/Avtoreferat_Morozov.pdf
(p. 9)

It should also be noted that the themes “Burevestnik”, “Nivelir” and “Napryazheniye” appear right under one another in the annual reports of RNII Elektronstandart (a company that tests electronic components) for 2012, 2013 and 2014. Again, not necessarily indicative of a link, but interesting nevertheless. See for instance the 2012 report:

www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.ashx?Fileid=679596
(p. 19-20)

Offline Phillip Clark

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I had thought that things were too quiet with Cosmos 2519-2521-2523, but now my theory that Cosmos 2519 only performed one orbital manoeuvre (with the early manoeuvres being by the attached Cosmos 2521) is no longer certain.

Yesterday Cosmos 2519 performed two orbital manoeuvres on its own, the first manoeuvres since mid-December last year.   The following are the pre-manoeuvre orbit and the two post-manoeuvre orbits:

Jun 26.895    97.875 deg      97.770 minutes    643-661 km    141 deg
Jun 27.371    97.878            97.672                 642-652         185
Jun 27.777    97.872            97.597                 637-650          232

So, first apogee was lowered and then perigee.

Who told the Russians that I was planning to send in my second article about the mission on Monday? ;)

No sign of Cosmos 2521 or Cosmos 2523 performing any new manoeuvres: yet.   Or the Blok I which is still in orbit: I am not ruling anything out!
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane - WJ.

Offline Phillip Clark

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There were some further manoeuvres of Cosmos 2519 yesterday.   The latest orbital data are:

Jun 28.862    97.874 deg      97.350 minutes     618-646 km      284 deg

All is still quiet with Cosmos 2521 and Cosmos 2523.
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Offline Star One

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There were some further manoeuvres of Cosmos 2519 yesterday.   The latest orbital data are:

Jun 28.862    97.874 deg      97.350 minutes     618-646 km      284 deg

All is still quiet with Cosmos 2521 and Cosmos 2523.

Maybe they’ll go in order so once they’ve finished with the 2519 manoeuvres they’ll move onto 2521 & so on?

Online Alter Sachse

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An interesting question: has he finished his mission or is he going to another orbit...
Sitting & waiting.
One day you're a hero  next day you're a clown  there's nothing that is in between
        Jeff Lynne - "21century man"

Offline Phillip Clark

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A further orbit-lowering manoeuvre by Cosmos 2519:

Jun 29.809    97.873 deg      97.351 minutes     618-646 km    278 deg
Jun 30.573    97.867            97.041                  593-641         301

No new manoeuvres from Cosmos 2521 or Cosmos 2523.
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Offline Phillip Clark

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And still the Cosmos 2519 orbit is being lowered.

Jun 30.889    97.868 deg      97.040 min     593-641 km    300 deg
Jul    1.654    97.860            96.740            567-638         308

The orbital altitude is starting to look a bit like that of Cosmos 2523: of course the AoP is way off:

Jul     1.839    97.851            96.872            553-665         135
« Last Edit: 07/02/2018 07:07 am by Phillip Clark »
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Offline Phillip Clark

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Another orbit-lowering manoeuvre by Cosmos 2519:

Jul  2.840    97.863 deg      96.739 minutes     567-638 km    304 deg
Jul  3.533    97.865            96.433                  541-635         309
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Offline Phillip Clark

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Another day, another Cosmos 2519 manoeuvre:

Jul  3.847    97.860 deg      96.432 minutes     541-635 km    307 deg
Jul  4.383    97.861            96.277                  526-634         309
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Offline Phillip Clark

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Cosmos 2519

Jul  4.383    97.861 deg      96.277 minutes     526-634 km    309 deg
Jul  4.850    97.857            96.124                 513- 632         308
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Offline Phillip Clark

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cOSMOS 2519

Jul  5.785    97.858 deg      96.125 minutes     513-632 km    305 deg
Jul  6.586    97.855            95.823                  487-629         307
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Online Alter Sachse

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cOSMOS 2519

Jul  5.785    97.858 deg      96.125 minutes     513-632 km    305 deg
Jul  6.586    97.855            95.823                  487-629         307
The engine works daily...

Phil, thanks for the daily update !
Günter
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Offline Phillip Clark

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cOSMOS 2519
Jul  5.785    97.858 deg      96.125 minutes     513-632 km    305 deg
Jul  6.586    97.855            95.823                  487-629         307
The engine works daily...
Phil, thanks for the daily update !
Günter

I am assuming that the engine's design means that it cannot do a single larger burn to whatever the planned final orbit is.
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Online Alter Sachse

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cOSMOS 2519
Jul  5.785    97.858 deg      96.125 minutes     513-632 km    305 deg
Jul  6.586    97.855            95.823                  487-629         307
The engine works daily...
Phil, thanks for the daily update !
Günter

I am assuming that the engine's design means that it cannot do a single larger burn to whatever the planned final orbit is.
That is also my opinion.
Cosmos 2504 has changed its orbit from 1174/1505 km to 627/1502 km in just a few days.
Cosmos 2519 is not suitable for large orbit changes.
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Offline Phillip Clark

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I am starting to wonder if there might be a plan for Cosmos 2519 to gradually get close to Cosmos 2523 ........

Of course, at present the arguments of perigee aren't in the least bit alligned.
« Last Edit: 07/07/2018 04:36 pm by Phillip Clark »
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Offline John-H

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Testing a small engine or ion thruster??

John

Offline Phillip Clark

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Cosmos 2519

Jul  6.919    97.861 deg      95.821 minutes     487-629 km    306 deg
Jul  7.783    97.856            95.523                  461-627         307
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Offline B. Hendrickx

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Testing a small engine or ion thruster??

John

As mentioned earlier in this thread (see Reply 167), it is known that Cosmos-2519 has a hydrazine-fueled “thermal catalytic engine”  called K50-10.5 developed by OKB Fakel.  See this list of satellites with OKB Fakel engines on the company’s website:

http://www.fakel-russia.com/images/content/o_kompanii/letnaya_istoriya/KA_s_oborudovaniem.pdf

More specifically, Cosmos-2519 is said to have “an electric rocket engine unit (ERDU) with K50-10.5”. This can be interpreted  in two ways. Either the satellite has an (unnamed) ERDU plus the K50-10.5 or the K50-10.5 itself is considered an ERDU. I think the latter interpretation is probably the correct one: even though the K50-10.5 seems to be a “chemical” monopropellant hydrazine thruster, it may stlll be categorized by the Russians as an ERDU.

See for instance the following Russian classification of electric rocket engines:
http://femto.com.ua/articles/part_2/4720.html

According to this classification, there are three types of electric rocket engines:

- plasma engines (PD)
- electrochemical engines (EKhD)
- ion engines (ID)

The electrochemical engines in turn are subdivided into :

- electrothermal engines (END)
- thermal catalytic engines (TKD)
- hybrid engines (GD)

In electrothermal engines a propellant like ammonia or hydrogen is electrically heated and then expelled through the nozzle at supersonic speeds. In thermal catalytic engines a catalyst is electrically heated to temperatures of up to 500°C, after which it chemically decomposes the propellant (ammonia or hydrazine). In a hybrid engine the propellant is first chemically decomposed and heated only afterwards.

In short, what may be termed a standard chemical thruster in Western classifications, may be considered an electric engine in the Russian classification system. Perhaps people who are more knowledgeable in this field can fill us in on this.

The OKB Fakel website gives the specifications for the K50-10.5 engine (see attachment) and several other thermal catalytic engines (including the K50-10.6 that was flown on the Rokot-launched inspector satellites)
http://www.fakel-russia.com/images/content/products/fakel_tkd_en_print.pdf


The K50-10.5 engine  is also installed on the Luch-5 and Express-AT communications satellites of the ISS Reshetnyov company and probably also on the small EMKA optical reconnaissance satellite of the VNIIEM company launched as Cosmos-2525 last March. According to an article in the 3/2015 issue of the  NPO Lavochkin magazine “Vestnik”, NPO Lavochkin planned to use the engine on scientific satellites called MKA-FKI (PN3) (now canceled), Rezonans and EOKA. EOKA has not been identified before and may be Cosmos-2519, although it is unclear what the acronym stands for.

https://www.laspace.ru/upload/iblock/a81/a81ab7a06d732871d12138a11250f4cd.pdf
(see p. 35-36)

According to this same article,  there is a unit consisting of a single K50-10.5 thruster called DB-1 and a unit consisting of three K50-10.5 thrusters called DB-3.  The 3/2017 issue of “Vestnik” has an article on testing of the K50-10.5 thrusters for Rezonans and two drawings show both DB-1 and DB-3 units installed on a single platform (with the hydrazine tank in the center) (see attachment). Cosmos-2519 may have something similar.

https://www.laspace.ru/upload/iblock/676/676bc74dae2fe0e9da6e03b6d0a630a1.pdf
(see p. 27-35, with a drawing of the engine unit on p. 29)

I should add that the list of satellites with OKB Fakel engines was seemingly drawn up before Cosmos-2521 and 2523 were released. That means we cannot be absolutely sure on which of the three satellites the K50-10.5 thrusters are mounted.  However, the small maneuvers carried out by Cosmos-2519 over the past week do seem to be consistent with it carrying that type of low-thrust  engine.  Note that unlike Cosmos-2519, the other two satellites have carried out significant burns in a single day. Cosmos-2521 lowered both its perigee and apogee by about 300 km in a single day last April and Cosmos-2523 reduced its perigee by about 100 km shortly after separating from Cosmos-2521 last October (and that’s the only burn it has performed so far according to data from Phil Clark).

Offline Phillip Clark

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After a day's break, another perigee-reducing manoeuvre for Cosmos 2519.   Now it looks to be approaching the orbital regime of Cosmos 2521.

Jul  8.779    97.856 deg      95.523 minutes     461-627 km    303 deg
Jul  9.596    97.855             95.227                 436-623         303

It is interesting that starting with the manoeuvre on June 28 which resulted in the 618 km perigee orbit, all of the manoeuvres have been either ~4 m/s or ~8 m/s.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2018 09:46 am by Phillip Clark »
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane - WJ.

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