SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 533

01 April 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 March 1998 and 31 March 1998.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
    1998-019E (25276) IRIDIUM 60      30 Mar      1998-018B (25263) IRIDIUM 61      25 Mar
    1998-019D (25275) IRIDIUM 59      30 Mar      1998-018A (25262) IRIDIUM 51      25 Mar
    1998-019C (25274) IRIDIUM 58      30 Mar      1998-017A (25260) SPOT 4          24 Mar
    1998-019B (25273) IRIDIUM 57      30 Mar      1998-016A (25258) UHF F/O F8      16 Mar
    1998-019A (25272) IRIDIUM 55      30 Mar      1998-015A (25256) Progress M-38   14 Mar

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

1998-019E, 1998-019D, 1998-019C, 1998-019B, 1998-019A
IRIDIUM 60, IRIDIUM 59, IRIDIUM 58, IRIDIUM 57, and IRIDIUM 55 are the latest spacecraft to join the American fleet of IRIDIUMs. They were launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB. The fleet enables global relay of communications between telephones located far away from local cellular areas. Initial orbital parameters were approximately period 97 min, apogee 635 km, perigee 620 km, and inclination 86 deg.

1998-018B, 1998-018A
IRIDIUM 61 and IRIDIUM 51 are the latest to join the IRIDIUM fleet of American spacecraft that were launched by a Long March 2C rocket from Taiyuan launch center at 17:01 UT. These satellites enable global relay of communications between telephones located far away from local cellular areas. Initial orbital parameters were apprroximately period 97 min, apogee 628 km, perigee 626 km, and inclination 86 deg.

SPOT 4 is a French remote sensing/reconnoissance spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 40 rocket at 01:46 UT from Kourou. It carries multispectral cameras to monitor vegetation at 1 km resolution and other cameras to provide 10 to 20 meter resolution pictures. Also on board is a DORIS package to ascertain the spacecraft coordinates, and a "SILEX" instrument to enable laser transmission of the data to a yet-to-be launched Artemis satellite. Initial orbital parameters were period 100.9 min, apogee 811 km, perigee 791 km, and inclination 98.8 deg

UHF F/O F8 (also known as UFO 8; also may be known as USA 137) is an American geosynchronous military communications spacecraft that was launched by an Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral. It is the eighth member of the UFO series; with a mass of 1,000 kg and an electrical power of 1.2 kW, the spacecraft carries 23 UHF channels to provide secure communications around the globe.

Progress M-38 is a Russian automatic cargo ship that was launched by a Soyuz-V rocket from Baykonur cosmodrome at 22:46 UT. It carried a 900 kg propulsion unit to be attached to the Quantum module of Mir, and 1,500 kg of repair tools, replacement parts, food and water. It had to be docked manually with Mir after a slight misalignment was noticed when it was about 15 meters from Mir; it was docked at 00:31 UT on 17 March 1998. Initial orbital parameters were period 88.6 min, apogee 245 km, perigee 192 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 38 (1997-067A), launched on 6 November 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                        1998
    1997-062B   (25011)  R/B LONGMARCH 3                   18 Mar
    1998-015B   (25257)  R/B SOYUZ-V                       16 Mar
    1997-081A   (25102)  PROGRESS M-37                     16 Mar
    1997-059B   (25005)  R/B ATLAS 2AS                     15 mar
    1978-094A   (11055)  COSMOS 1043                       27 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 Japanese spacecraft COMETS (1998-011A; post-launch name KAKEHASHI), which failed to attain geosynchronous orbit, is undergoing delta-V maneuvers. The first of the planned seven such maneuvers has now raised the perigee from 250 km to 390 km; the target for the maneuvers is a perigee of 500 km.

    The Russian geosynchronous spacecraft KUPON (1997-070A) that was launched in November 1997 has been declared inoperable since a vital computer on board has failed.

    In SPX-532 the name of the spacecraft 1998-010B (25170) was reported as IRIDIUM 51. It should be corrected to read IRIDIUM 56.

    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 April 1998
Last Updated: 17 April 1998, EVB II