01 March 2000


A publication of NASA’s National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information as the WWAS for ISES/COSPAR

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between
1 February 2000 and 29 February 2000.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates (UTC).

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.

     2000-012A (26095) Superbird 4             18 February
     2000-011A (26089) Garuda 1                12 February
     2000-010A (26088) STS 99                  11 February
     2000-009B (26087) Fregat                  08 February
     2000-009A (26086) Dumsat                  08 February
     2000-008D (26084) Globalstar D            08 February
     2000-008C (26083) Globalstar C            08 February
     2000-008B (26082) Globalstar B            08 February
     2000-008A (26081) Globalstar A            08 February
     2000-007A (26071) HispaSat 1C             03 February
     2000-006A (26069) Cosmos 2369             03 February
     2000-005A (26067) Progress M-1            01 February
     2000-004H (26080) Tethered Picosats       27 January
     2000-004J (26091) Picosat 5               27 January
     2000-004K (26092) Picosat 6               27 January
     2000-004L (26093) Picosat 7               27 January
     2000-004M (26094) Picosat 8               27 January

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

2000-012A Superbird 4
is a Japanese geosynchronous communications spacecraft
that was launched by an Ariane 44 rocket from Kourou at 01:04 UT.
The 4.1 tonne spacecraft carries 23 Ku-band (80 W), and six Ka-band
(50 W) transponders to provide business communications to Japan and
Asia-Pacific countries, after parking over 162-E longitude. Its
thrusters employ a xenon ion propulsion (XIPS) system.
2000-011A Garuda 1
is an Indonesian geosynchronous satellite that was launched
by a Proton-K rocket from Baikonur at 09:11 UT. The 4.q tonne
spacecraft will relay in L-band mobile telephone communications in
Asia-Pacific region, after parking over Indonesia at the equator. It is
the first of the ACeS (Asia Cellular Satellite) constellation, to be
followed by Garuda 2 and others.
2000-010A STS 99
is an American shuttle spacecraft that was launched from
Cape Canaveral at 17:43 UT. The main mission is to obtain a 3-D map
of about 70% global terrain. It is a joint mapping mission by NASA
and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), utilizing the
Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) radars. The 13,600 kg SRTM
instrument consisted of a pair of transmit/receive antennas below
the cargo bay, and a pair of receiving antennas at the end of a 60
m “rigid” tower. The operation was in interferometric synthetic
aperture radar (IF-SAR) modes with steerable C-band (5.6 cm) and
a non-steerable X-band (3.0 cm) transmissions of pulse widths 100
milliseconds, and power levels 10 kW. The accuracy of the mapping
was modest: in any “terrain” segment, the relative height accuracy
was 10 m and the relative horizontal accuracy was 20 m; on forests,
the surface of reflection at both frequencies were the canopy tops,
not the terrain. The tower was an assembly of stacked cubical
frames made of steel, titanium and plastic, initially contained in a
three meter can, pushed out by a motor and held in rigid shape by a
thruster at the high end. It was erected at an angle of 45°
from the vertical. The cargo bay antennas and the transmitters were
the same that were used in the SIR-C/X-SAR radars that were flown
on two shuttle missions in 1994. SRTM just had additional receiving
antennas at the end of the mast to do interferometry. It landed
back in Cape Canaveral on 22 February at 23:22 UT after mapping 112
million square-kilometers of earth’s land mass onto 300 digital tapes.
Data reduction at analysis centers will take two or three years to
complete. More information on SRTM is available at
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/,
and the data will be distributed by the EROS Data
Center,
http://edcwww.cr.usgs.gov/landdaac/.
Initial orbital
parameters were period 89.2 min, apogee 242 km, perigee 224 km, and
inclination 57°.
2000-009B Fregat
is a Russian reusable spacecraft that was launched by
a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 23:20 UT. It is primarily a rocket
that is equipped with an inflatable heat shield (IRDT) that opens
up during re-entry and appears like a giant shuttlecock. It is
capable of stopping and starting its engines at least five times
during a mission so as to launch about 20 satellites in different
orbits. It carried and released a recoverable dummy satellite
called, Dumsat. Fregat is designed to execute major routine tasks,
hauling cargo to/from the International Space Station. Fregat is
believed to have re-entered after 5 orbits, as planned, but has not
yet been located in the southern Ural mountain region. In fact,
radio contact was lost at 100 km level. Initial orbital parameters
were period 96.5 min, apogee 604 km, perigee 581 km, and inclination
64.9°.
2000-009A Dumsat
is a 110 kg Russian dummy payload to simulate future
spacecraft launches. Like the Fregat that launched it, it was
equipped with an inflatable heat shield and landed on 14 February
2000. Initial orbital parameters were period 96.6 min, apogee
606 km, perigee 581 km, and inclination 64.9°.
2000-008A, 2000-008B,
 2000-008C, 2000-008D
Globalstars A, B, C, and D
are the final members of the Globalstar
fleet which already had the planned 48 satellites. With the addition
of these four, any four members of the 52 member fleet may be held
in reserve. The fleet enables relay of data and voice communications
from/to mobile or remote telephones located almost anywhere in the
world. Initial orbital parameters of all four were similar: period
103.5 min, apogee 930 km, perigee 914 km, and inclination 52°.
2000-007A HispaSat 1C
is a Spanish geosynchronous communications spacecraft
that was launched by an Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral at
23:30 UT. The 3,100 kg, 6,000 W spacecraft carries 24 transponders
in Ku-band to provide Spanish language voice and video
communications to countries on either side of the Atlantic.
2000-006A Cosmos 2369
is a Russian military communications spacecraft that
was launched from Baikonur. Initial orbital parameters were
period 102 min, apogee 854 km, perigee 848 km, and inclination 71°.
2000-005A Progress M-1
is a Russian automatic cargo carrier that was launched
by a Soyuz-U rocket at 06:47 UT to dock with Mir. It is equipped to
raise the altitude of Mir from 320 km to 400 km, and to repressurize
it with 150 kg of nitrogen. (Currently the pressure has degraded to
570 mm of Hg.) It also carried fuel, water, food and other
provisions for the two cosmonauts who are expected to arrive there
in late March 2000, to spend 7-10 weeks on board. The initial
orbital parameters were period 91.6 min, apogee 353 km, perigee 348
km, and inclination 51.7°.
2000-004H,
 2000-004J, 2000-004K,
 2000-004L, 2000-004M
Tethered Picosats, Picosat 5, Picosat 6, Picosat 7, and Picosat 8
are hectogram mass satellites that were ejected from OPAL
(2000-004C).
They were built mostly by engineering students at
Santa Clara University in California, from off-the-shelf components
and miniature batteries, for technology tests. According to our
information from the investigator teams, the Tethered Picosats,
consisting of a pair of Picosats tethered together by a short wire,
was ejected on 8 February, Picosats 7 and 8 on 11 February, and
Picosats 5 and 6 on 12 February. They have also common names given
by the investigators: Picosats 7 and 8 are the Thelma and Louise
pair and Picosats 5 and 6 are the JAK and Stensat pair; but not
necessarily in that order. The Tethered Picosats appear to have
been functional for a short while after ejection, communicating
with each other by microwatt radio transmitters. On the other hand,
there has been no indication whether any of the the Picosats (5, 6,
7,and 8) were operational at least soon after ejection. It appears
that USSPACECOM’s Picosat numbers extending to eight is erroneous.
There were only six Picosats on board the OPAL, with perhaps
one or two at the ground level intended to communicate with the
orbiters. The tests were sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research
Project Agency (DARPA). The orbital parameters of all these were
nearly alike: period 100.4 min, apogee 805 km, perigee 750 km, and
inclination 100.2°.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

  1. Spacecraft with essentially continuous radio beacons on frequencies
    less than 150 MHz, or higher frequencies if especially suited for ionospheric
    or geodetic studies. (NNSS denotes U.S. Navy Navigational
    Satellite System. Updates or corrections to the list are possible only with
    information from the user community.)

    Note:
    The full list appeared in SPX 545.
    The list will not be repeated in future issues until significantly revised again.

  2. Global Positioning System satellites useful for navigational
    purposes and geodetic studies. (“NNN” denotes no national name. SPACEWARN
    would appreciate suggestions to update this list. An asterisk [*] denotes
    changes in this issue.)

    High precision (<20 cm) GPS constellation tracking data obtained from
    the network of about 80 dedicated global stations that are of interest to
    geodetic study may be obtained through the following services provided
    by the International Association of Geodesy (IGS)

         FTP:    igscb.jpl.nasa.gov  [directory /igscb]
         WWW:    http://igscb.jpl.nasa.gov/
         E-mail: igscb@cobra.jpl.nasa.gov
    

    The standard format of the GPS situation appeared in SPX-518. It will not
    be repeated since an excellent source of trajectory- and science-related GPS information is at
    http://www.utexas.edu/depts/grg/gcraft/notes/gps/gps.html#DODSystem
    It provides many links to GPS related databases.

  3. Russian Global Navigational (Positioning) Spacecraft, GLONASS
    constellation. (SPACEWARN requests updates/additions from readers to this list.
    Entries marked “*” are updates or additions to the list.)

    All GLONASS spacecraft are in the general COSMOS series. The COSMOS numbers
    (nnnn) invoked by USSPACECOM have often differed from the numbers (NNNN)
    associated in Russia; when different, the USSPACECOM COSMOS numbers are shown
    in parentheses. The corresponding GLONASS numbers are Russian numbers, followed
    by the numbers in parentheses that are sometimes attributed to them outside
    Russia.

    The operating frequencies in MHz are computed from the channel number K.
    Frequencies (MHz) = 1602.0 + 0.5625K and L2 = 1246.0 + 0.4375K.

    The standard format of the GLONASS situation appeared in SPX-545. It
    will not be repeated in view of the excellent updated source at:
    http://www.rssi.ru/SFCSIC/english.html
    maintained by the Coordinational
    Scientific Information Center (CSIC),Russian Space Forces.

  4. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B)
    only. No further information is available.

    Designations         Common Name                       2000
    
    1999-030B    (25769) STARSHINE                       18 Feb
    1999-049E    (25911) R/B Soyuz-U                     17 Feb
    1977-015B    (09854) R/B that launched COSMOS 895    14 Feb
    2000-009B    (26087) FREGAT                          09 Feb
    1993-042C    (22702) R/B Delta 2                     05 Feb
    1999-038A    (25858) PROGRESS M-42                   04 Feb
    2000-005B    (26068) R/B Soyuz-U                     02 Feb
    1998-011B    (25176) R/B H-2                         01 Feb
    

  5. Miscellaneous Items. (This section contains information/data that
    are entered on occasion and may not be repeated in each issue of the
    SPACEWARN Bulletin.)

    The American heliospheric spacecraft NEAR
    (1996-008A)
    was thrust into an orbit
    around the asteroid Eros at 15:33 UT on 14 February 2000 in an elliptical orbit
    of 320 km x 480 km from the asteroid. It is expected to orbit for a year
    slowly reaching lower altitudes. Eros is a potato-shaped body of 34 km x 13
    km size. A similar attempt in January 1999 had failed, and NEAR tumbled along
    on an orbit around the Sun, returning again to the general vicinity of
    Eros, with sunward orientation of its power panels. It could then be
    maneuvered toward the asteroid. It is expected to produce many close-up
    pictures of the asteroid.

    The American planetary spacecraft Galileo
    (1989-084B)
    approached the
    volcanic moon of Jupiter, Io, on 22 February 2000 within 200 km from its
    surface without any radiation damage and produced pictures of the surface. It
    had earlier (October 1999) approached the surface within 610 km and discovered
    about 100 volcanoes. In November 1999 it had passed by within 300 km from the
    surface and imaged a one kilometer-high lava plume.

    On 22 February 2000, the heliospheric spacecraft Stardust
    (99-033A) deployed
    its interstellar dust collector. It will deploy again in 2002. The collector’s
    other surface will be exposed to cometary dust from Comet Wild-2 in 2004.
    During its final Earth swingby in 2006, the collector will be released and
    parachute down for analysis.

    There have been difficulties in matching spacecraft names and their
    IDs for launches involving multiple spacecraft. The USSPACECOM (presumably,
    on the advice of the spacecraft companies) has the following revised names
    to match the IDs and catalog numbers:

    1998-008A (25162) GLOBALSTAR M001; 1998-008B (25163) GLOBALSTAR M004;
    1998-008C (25164) GLOBALSTAR M002; 1998-008D (25165) GLOBALSTAR M003.
    
    1999-065A (25980) ORBCOMM FM 30; 1999-065B (25981) ORBCOMM FM 31;
    1999-065C (25982) ORBCOMM FM 32; 1999-065D (25983) ORBCOMM FM 33;
    1999-065E (25984) ORBCOMM FM 36; 1999-065F (25985) ORBCOMM FM 35;
    1999-065G (25986) ORBCOMM FM 34.
    

  6. Related NSSDC resources.

    NSSDC/WDC for Satellite Information is an archival center for science
    data from many spacecraft. Many space physics datasets are on-line for
    electronic access through:
    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/space/

    For off-line data, please contact the Request Office, NSSDC, Code 633,
    NASA GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, U.S.A., for specific information
    (request@nssdca.gsfc.nasa.gov).
    Information on the current status of the instruments on board from the
    investigators will be most welcomed. Precomputed trajectory files
    and orbital parameters of many magnetospheric and heliospheric science-payload
    spacecraft may be accessed via anonymous FTP from NSSDC.
    (See About the SPACEWARN Bulletin
    for access method; a file in the active directory named AAREADME.TXT,
    outlines the contents.)

    Other files interest for Earth-centered spacecraft can be generated thru the URL,
    http://sscweb.gsfc.nasa.gov/

    Programs related to the heliospheric spacecraft trajectories can be executed
    through the URL,
    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/space/helios/heli.html

    Magnetospheric, Planetary, and Astronomical science data from many spacecraft
    may be accessed through links from the URL:
    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/