SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 530

01 January 1998
A publication of NASA's National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center-A for Rockets and Satellites as the WWAS for ISES/COSPAR

SPACEWARN Activities

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

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
1997-086A (25126) ASIASAT 3    24 Dec      1997-082C (25106) Iridium 47    20 Dec
1997-085A (25123) Early Bird 1 24 Dec      1997-082B (25105) Iridium 46    20 Dec
1997-084H (25119) FM 7         23 Dec      1997-082A (25104) Iridium 45    20 Dec
1997-084G (25118) FM 6         23 Dec      1997-081A (25102) Progress M-37 20 Dec
1997-084F (25117) FM 5         23 Dec      1997-080A (25095) Cosmos 2348   15 Dec
1997-084E (25116) FM 9         23 Dec      1997-079A (25088) Cosmos 2347   09 Dec
1997-084D (25115) FM 12        23 Dec      1997-078A (25086) Galaxy 8      08 Dec
1997-084C (25114) FM 11        23 Dec      1997-077B (25078) Iridium 44    08 Dec
1997-084B (25113) FM 10        23 Dec      1997-077A (25077) Iridium 42    08 Dec
1997-084A (25112) FM 8         23 Dec      1997-076A (25071) ASTRA 1G      02 Dec
1997-083A (25110) INTELSAT 804 22 Dec      1997-075B (25068) Equator-S     02 Dec
1997-082E (25108) Iridium 49   20 Dec      1997-075A (25067) JCSAT 5       02 Dec
1997-082D (25107) Iridium 48   20 Dec

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

ASIASAT 3 is a HONGKONG/PRC communications spacecraft that was launched by a Proton K rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome at 23:19 UT. The 3,400 kg spacecraft was planned to become geosynchronous, but malfunction of the fourth stage, DM 3, resulted in a short life and dysfunctional orbit. Later investigations revealed that perhaps the DM 3 may have been designed for a maximum payload of 2.4 tonnes, and had in the past mislaunched two such heavier payloads.

Early Bird 1 is an American remote sensing spacecraft that was launched by a Start 1 rocket from the new Svobodnyi cosmodrome in Siberia. It carries an on-board memory unit to acquire panchromatic and multispectral images of the vegetation. The resolution of a 3 km x 3 km image by the panchromatic sensor is 3 m; the resolution of a 15 km x 15 km image by the multispectral (green, red, and near- infrared) sensor is 15 m. Initial orbital parameters were period 93.3 min, apogee 528 km, perigee 461 km, and inclination 97.3 deg.

1997-084A, 1997-084B, 1997-084C, 1997-084D, 1997-084E, 1997-084F, 1997-084G, 1997-084H
FM 8, FM 10, FM 11, FM 12, FM 9, FM 5, FM 6, and FM 7 are eight American minisatellites (24 kg) that were launched by a Pegasus rocket released from a L-1011 aircraft flying out of Wallops Island, Virginia. These FM spacecraft are also usually prefixed with ORBCOMM. They enable relay of the GPS determined locations of mobile vehicles and data from oil pipelines. Initial orbital parameters of all eight were similar: period 101.3 min, apogee 834 km, perigee 824 km, and inclination 45.0 deg.

INTELSAT 804 is an Geosynchronous communications spacecraft of that consortium and was launched by an Ariane 4 rocket from Kourou at 00:17 UT. The 1,600 kg satellite carries six transponders in Ku-band, and 38 in C-band to provide voice, data, and video communications after parking at E-64 deg over the Indian Ocean.

1997-082A, 1997-082B,, 1997-082C, 1997-082D, 1997-082E
Iridium 45, Iridium 46, Iridium 47, Iridium 48, and Iridium 49 are five more of the American communications spacecraft to join the current fleet of Iridiums and were launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 13:16 UT. The fleet enables relay of voice and data communications in L-band from/to mobile telephones. Initial orbital parameters of all five were similar: period 97.3 min, apogee 642 km, perigee 633 km, and inclination 86.6 deg.

Progress M-37 is a Russian automatic cargo carrier that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome at 08:45 UT. It carried 2,500 kg of food, equipment, fuel, and research materials to deliver to MIR station. It docked automatically with Mir at 10:31 UT on 22 December and delivered the cargo. Initial orbital parameters were period 92.2 min, apogee 399 km, perigee 388 km, and inclination 51.7 deg.

Cosmos 2348 is a Russian military photo reconnaissance spacecraft in the YANTER class subseries. It was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Plesetsk at 15:40 UT. The 6,500 kg satellite carries a main descent module and two smaller capsules to return the data to Earth. Initial orbital parameters were period 89.6 min, apogee 370 km, perigee 176 km, and inclination 67.2 deg.

Cosmos 2347 is a Russian military spacecraft that was launched by a Tsiklon 2 rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome. The 6,500 kg photo reconnaissance satellite carries a main descent module and two smaller capsules to return the data to Earth. Initial orbital parameters were period 93 min, apogee 428 km, perigee 411 km, and inclination 65 deg.

Galaxy 8 is an American geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Station. The 3,560 kg satellite carries 32 Ku-band transponders that will beam 200 digital television and music channels to South America after parking at W-95 deg longitude.

1997-077B, 1997-077A
Iridium 44 and Iridium 42 are another pair of American communications spacecraft to join the Iridium fleet. They were launched by a Long March 2C/SD rocket from Taiyuan Launch Center in PRC at 07:16 UT. The 1,445 kg satellites will enable relay of voice and data communications in L-band from/to mobile telephones. Initial orbital parameters of both were period 97.3 min, apogee 654 km, perigee 629 km, and inclination 86.3 km.

ASTRA 1G is a Luxembourg geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by a Proton-K rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome at 23:10 UT. It carries 32 Ku-band transponders to provide digital television, radio, and multimedia services to Europe after parking at E-19.2 deg longitude.

Equator-S is a German science spacecraft that will study Earth's magnetosphere. It was launched by an Ariane 4 rocket from Kourou at 22:52 UT. This long-hoped-for spacecraft is the latest and the last to join what is known as the ISTP/IASTP program. It will target studies related to the boundary layers and ring current fine structures by means of several high resolution instruments. The 1.65 m x 1.26 m, 230 kg spacecraft carries 16 solar panels on its sides to provide 70 W and will have the spin-axis oriented perpendicular to the Sun-Earth line. The telemetry will be at a rate of 32-262 kbps from a 1.0 W transmitter in S-band. It carries seven science instruments: MAM, a fluxgate magnetometer to measure the magnetic field in the DC to 64 Hz band; EDI, an electric field monitor in the DC-25 Hz band; 3DA, a plasma electron/ion distribution function monitor; EPI, an electron/ion monitor in the 20-400 keV range with 16 channels; ESIC, to monitor the distribution function of energetic (15 eV-40 keV) H+, He+, He++, and O+ particles; PCD, a 50 microampere Indium ion emitter to control/reduce the spacecraft potential; and SFD, to monitor >0.26 MeV electrons and >6.3 MeV protons. Initial orbital parameters were period 631.6 min, apogee 35,901 km, perigee 212 km, and inclination 4.0 deg.

JCSAT 5 is a Japanese geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 4 rocket from Kourou at 22:52 UT. The 2,982 kg spacecraft carries 32 Ku-band transponders to provide voice and video communications to Asian Pacific countries and Hawaii after parking at E-150 deg longitude.

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.

    METEOSAT 3 in that list is no longer operational.

  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 38 (1997-067A), launched on 6 November 1997.

    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
    1980-028A (11758) COSMOS 1172                         26 Dec
    1997-081B (25103) R/B SOYUZ-U                         22 Dec
    1997-080B (25096) R/B SOYUZ-U                         20 Dec
    1997-058A (25002) PROGRESS M-36                       19 Dec
    1997-042B (24902) R/B LONG MARCH 3                    17 Dec
    1997-072A (25059) RESURS F-1M                         13 Dec
    1996-031A (23868) MSTI 3                              11 Dec
    1997-079B (25089) R/B TSIKLON 2                       10 Dec
    1997-076B (25072) R/B PROTON-K                        05 Dec
    1997-073B (25062) SPARTAN          Landed by STS 87   05 Dec
    1997-073A (25061) STS 87                Landed on     05 Dec
    1996-068B (24668) R/B DELTA 2                         28 Nov

  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.)
    From:   SMTP%"" 30-DEC-1997 13:59:01.59
    Subj:   Newest COMETS launch information
    Dear Sir,
    Here is newest COMETS Launch infomation.
    New launch date is as follows:
    (Communications and Broadcasting Engineering Test Satellite)
        *NAME         COMETS
        *Lift-off Time(UTC)     YEAR MONTH DAY HOUR MINUTE SEC
                                        1998        02    13      08        00  00
       (Time of Satellite Separation 1632.32 seconds after the lift-off)
                                     1998        02    13      08        27  12.3
                          S.M.AXIS  (km)  : 24491.2
                          ECCEN.           :     0.72937
                          INCL.      (deg) :    28.5
                          ASC.NODE   (deg) :   299.608
                          ARG.PER.   (deg) :   179.000
                          M.ANOM.    (deg) :     0.801
    Best regards,
    Yuji Hamada
                                     YUJI HAMADA
                          Special Staff to the Manager
                 Tracking Network Technology Department
        SENGEN, 2-1-1, TSUKUBA, IBARAKI 305, JAPAN
        TEL: +81-298-52-2486 / FAX: +81-298-51-2326

    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, 08 January 1998
Last Updated: 20 February 1998, EVB II