SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 528

A publication of NASA's National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center-A for Rockets and Satellites as the WWAS for ISES/COSPAR

01 November 1997

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 October 1997 and 31 October 1997.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
1997-064A (25017) USA 133     24 Oct      1997-060A (25006) FOTON        09 Oct
1997-063A (25013) STEP 4      22 Oct      1997-059A (25004) ECHOSTAR     05 Oct
1997-062A (25010) APSTAR 2R   16 Oct      1997-058A (25002) Progress M36 05 Oct
1997-061A (25008) Cassini     15 Oct

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

USA 133 is an American military spacecraft that was launched by a Titan 4 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 02:32 UT. According to unofficial reports, USA 133 may be the 16-ton LACROSSE 3 spacecraft with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). For such reports, see

STEP 4 (Space Test Experimental Program 4) is an American military satellite that was launched by a Pegasus XL rocket released from a plane flying out of Wallops Island, VA, USA. The solar panels failed to deploy properly, and there has been little or no uplink or downlink contact with the spacecraft. The failure is similar to those of the previously launched STEP 1, 2, and 3. Initial orbital parameters were period 93.9 min, apogee 495 km, perigee 429 km, and inclination 44.9 deg

APSTAR 2R is a Hong Kong geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang launch center (in Sichuan province) at 03:13 Local Time. The 3,700 kg satellite carries 28 C-band and 15 Ku-band transponders to provide voice and video communications after parking at 76.5-E longitude.

Cassini is an international heliospheric spacecraft that was launched from Cape Canaveral by a Titan 4B rocket at 08:43 UT. It is to orbit around Saturn and release a probe, Huygens on Saturn's satellite, Titan. It will undergo two successive Venus flybys (21 April 98, 20 June 99), an Earth flyby (16 August 99), and a Jupitor flyby (30 December 2000), all for gaining gravity-assisted speed and reach Saturn on 1 July 2004. It is unlikely that it will monitor the interplanetary medium on the way to Saturn. The 6,300 kg spacecraft carries 19 instruments for infrared, visual, and UV images/spectra, magnetic field, plasma, and energetic particles. The instruments and data links will use electricity from a 35 kg Plutonium-238 heat cell. For more details, see

FOTON (FOTON 10 ?) is a Russian microgravity material research satellite that was launched from Plesetsk by a Soyuz-U rocket. The 5,800 kg satellite also carried and released a 154 kg German capsule named MIRKA. FOTON's own research module landed on 23 October near Orsk in Russia followed immediately by the landing of MIRKA. (WDC-A-R&S is aware of only six earlier FOTONs: FOTON 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 9.) Initial orbital parameters were period 90 min, apogee 396 km, perigee 226 km, and inclination 62.8 deg.

ECHOSTAR 3 is an American geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral at 21:01 UT. The 4,000 kg satellite carries 16 (or more) Ku-band transponders to provide direct voice and video communications to small dishes in North America after parking over 79-W or 135-W longitude.

Progress M36 is a Russian automatic cargo ship that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baykonur at 15:08 UT to dock with and deliver 3,000 kg of fuel, water, and equipments (including a new replacement computer). It orbited around for three days waiting the (eventual) undocking of the earlier Progress M35 and successfully made an automatic docking at the vacated port on 8 October at 17:07 UT. It also carried a German mini-satellite, INSPECTOR to be used in inspecting the outer surface of the damaged Mir, and a replica of the first Soviet satellite, Sputnik 1. Initial orbital parameters of Progress M36 were period 88.6 min, apogee 246 km, perigee 193 km, and inclination 51.6 deg.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

Category I
  1. Spacecraft with essentially continuous radio beacons on frequencies less than 150 MHz, or higher frequencies if especially suited for ionospheric or geodetic studies.

    The last full list appeared as a part of SPX 520. The list will reappear only after major updates to the list are available.

  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:  [directory /igscb]

    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 It provides many links to GPS related databases.

    The latest member of the GPS fleet is NAVSTAR 43 (1997-035A), launched on 23 July 1997.

  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-515. It will not be repeated in view of the excellent updated source at: maintained by the Coordinational Scientific Information Center (CSIC),Russian Space Forces.

  4. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. Additional information is not available.
    Designations       Common Name                         1997
    1997-054B (24961) R/B PROGRESS M-36                   14 Oct
    1997-044B (24910) R/B ATHENA 1                        13 Oct
    1997-033A (24851) PROGRESS M-35                       08 Oct
    1997-058B (25003) R/B                                 07 Oct
    1997-055A (24964) STS 86             Landed on        06 Oct
    1997-037B (24884) R/B PEGASUS                         29 Sep
    1997-044A (24909) SSTI LEWIS                          28 Sep

  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.)

    There has been no contact with the Mars Pathfinder since 27 September 1997, although it had continued to be operational well beyond the expected 30 days.

    After 43 days around Mars, the Mars Global Surveyor mission encountered solar panel problems; further aerobrakings are delayed until analysis of the status of a deformed/flapping solar panel is made.

    The perigee of IRS 1D has now been raised from 300 km to the planned 800 km.

    INSAT 2D has now been declared inoperational.

    SPACEWARN 33854
    Prelaunch Announcement
    Spacecraft Name         Engineering Test Satellite-VII (ETS-VII)
    Planned Launch Date     November 19. 1997
    Country                 Japan
    Orbit Type              Low Earth Orbit
    Orbital altitude        approx. 550km
    Inclination             approx. 35.00 degrees
    Weight                  approx. 2860kg (beginning of life)
    Orbit Period            approx. 01hour 36min
    Transmitting Frequencies & Output Power
        (1) Chaser          2276.99 MHz              20 W
                                                      7 W
                                                      2 W
                            2044.25 MHz             2.1 W
        (2) Target          2220.00 MHz               3 W
                                                    1.9 W
    Probability of survival at the end of mission period of 1.5 years
                            more than 70%
    Launch Organization     National Space Development Agency of Japan
    Spacecraft Missions
      The major mission of ETS-VII is to acquire the basic technologies of rendezvous
      docking and space roboties which are essential to future space activities such as
      retrieval, resupply and exchange of equipment on orbit.
      ETS-VII consists of two satellites named "Chaser" and "Target".
    ETS-VII (Engineering Test Satellite-VII)
            *NAME           ETS-VII
            *Lift-off Time(UTC)     YEAR MONTH DAY HOUR MINUTE SEC
                                    1997   11   18   20   40   00
            (Time of Satellite Separation 1668.577 seconds after the lift-off)
            *EPOCH(UTC)             YEAR MONTH DAY HOUR MINUTE SEC
                                    1997   11   18   21   07   48.577
                    S.M.AXIS    (km)  : 6842.331
                    ECCEN.            :    0.012540739
                    INCL.       (deg) :   35.000
                    ASC.NODE    (deg) :   11.054
                    ARG.PER.    (deg) :  185.999
                    M.ANOM.     (deg) :    7.264
            *NAME                   H-II Launch Vehicle 2nd Stage
            *Lift-off Time(UTC)     YEAR MONTH DAY HOUR MINUTE SECOND
                                     97   10   31   20    40     00
                                     97   10   31   22    22     00
                    SEMI-MAJOR AXIS(km)     : 6842.5
                    ECCENTRICITY            :    0.01212
                    INCLINATION(deg)        :   34.478
                    ASCENDING NODE(deg)     :   12.557
                    ARGUMENT OF PERIGEE(deg):  179.114
                    MEAN ANOMALY(deg)       :  -62.174
                                            (True of Date)

    NSSDC/WDC-A-R&S is an archival center for science data from many spacecraft. Some data are on line for electronic access. Please contact the NSSDC Request Coordination Office, Code 633, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771, U.S.A., for specific information ( 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 FTP'ed from NSSDC's ANON_DIR:[000000.ACTIVE] and its several subdirectories. (See About the SPACEWARN Bulletin for access method; a file in the ACTIVE directory named AAREADME.DOC, outlines the contents.) It can also be accessed via the WWW at:

    This URL also enables executing several codes related to the orbits of many geocentric science payload spacecraft. The codes related to the heliospheric spacecraft trjectories can be executed through:

    Magnetospheric, Planetary, and Astronomical science data from many spacecraft may be accessed through links from the URL:

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Questions/comments about the content of these pages should be directed to:
The World Warning Agency for Satellites,
National Space Science Data Center, Mail Code 633
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

Page Curator:
Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II,, +1-301-286-1187
NSSDC, Mail Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: J. H. King,
V1.0: 03 November 1997
Last Updated: 19 November 1997, EVB II