SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 535

01 June 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 May 1998 and 31 May 1998.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
  1998-033A (25354) China Star 1   30 May         1998-030A (25338) NOAA 15      13 May
  1998-032E (25346) Iridium 75     17 May         1998-029A (25336) USA 139      09 May
  1998-032D (25345) Iridium 74     17 May         1998-028A (25331) ECHOSTAR 4   07 May
  1998-032C (25344) Iridium 73     17 May         1998-027A (25327) Cosmos 2351  07 May
  1998-032B (25343) Iridium 72     17 May         1998-026B (25320) Iridium 71   02 May
  1998-032A (25342) Iridium 70     17 May         1998-026A (25319) Iridium 69   02 May
  1998-031A (25340) Progress M-39  15 May   

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

1998-033A China Star 1 (also known as Zhongwei 1) is a PRC geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched at 10:00 UT by a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Launch Center. The 2,984 kg spacecraft carries 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders to provide voice and video communications throughout China and neighboring countries, after parking at 87.5-E longitude.
Iridium 70, Iridium 72, Iridium 73, Iridium 74, and Iridium 75 are the latest and the final batch of Iridiums that completes the constellation of 66 operational and six reserve satellites. The full constellation will enable telephone calls and data transmissions among fixed/mobile ground stations far removed from cellular areas. They were launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 21:16 UT. Initial orbital parameters of all were similar: period 98 min, apogee 670 km, perigee 665 km, and inclination 86.6 deg.
1998-031A Progress M-39 is a Russian automatic cargo craft that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 22:13 UT to dock with and deliver goods to Mir station. It docked with Mir at 23:50 UT on 17 May and delivered 1,500 kg of fuel and another 1,500 kg of food, equipments, and gifts. In late June 1998 Progress M-39 will give a jerk to Mir to initiate progressively lower orbits, leading to its demise in the ocean in December 1999. Initial orbital parameters were period 92 min, apogee 378 km, perigee 371 km, and inclination 51.7 deg.
1998-030A NOAA 15 (pre-launch: NOAA-K) is an American weather satellite that was launched by a Titan 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 15:52 UT. It carries imaging and sounding instruments to obtain data on cloud coverage, atmospheric temperature, humidity, and ozone concentration. NOAA 15 replaces the decommissioned NOAA 12. Initial orbital parameters of this Sun-synchronous spacecraft were period 101.2 min, apogee 824 km, perigee 808 km, and inclination 98.7 deg.
1998-029A USA 139 is an American (National Reconnoissance Office) military reconnoissance spacecraft in the MILSTAR 3 series that was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Station by a Titan 4B rocket.
1998-028A ECHOSTAR 4 is an American geosynchronous spacecraft that was launched by a Proton-K rocket from Baikonur at 23:45 UT. With its 32 transponders, it will provide direct-to-home voice and video communications to the North American continent. As of 1 June 1998, the solar panels still remained unfurled.
1998-027A Cosmos 2351 is a Russian military satellite that was launched by a Molniya rocket from Plesetsk cosmodrome at 08:53 UT. Initial orbital parameters were period 717.8 min, apogee 39,823 km, perigee 533 km, and inclination 63 deg.
Iridium 69 and Iridium 71 are two American communications satellites that were launched by a Long March 2C/SD rocket from Taiyuan Launch Center in PRC at 09:16 UT. They join the previously launched fleet of Iridiums that enable voice and data transmission from locations far away from cellular networks. Initial orbital parameters of both were similar: period 98.1 min, apogee 670 km, perigee 665 km, and inclination 86.6 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
    1997-058C   (24958)  SPUTNIK Jr                        21 May
    1998-015A   (25256)  PROGRESS M-38                     16 May
    1998-019F   (25277)  R/B DELTA 2                       11 May
    1983-038A   (14034)  COSMOS 1456                       11 May
    1998-028B   (25332)  R/B PROTON-K                      10 May
    1988-069D   (19380)  R/B of MOLNIYA 1-73               10 May
    1991-003C   (21057)  R/B ARIANE 44L                    08 May
    1998-022A   (25297)  STS 90      Landed on             03 May

  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.)

    MAGION 5 (1996-050B), a Czech subsatellite of Interball Aurora that has remained mute since its launch, was activated to normalcy on 14 May 1998. It remains operational.

    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 June 1998
Last updated: 05 March 2003, EVB II