SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 546

01 May 1999
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 April 1999 and 30 April 1999.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
            1999-023A (25724) USA 143 (Milstar 2)       30 APR 99 
            1999-022B (25722) MEGSAT                    28 APR 99
            1999-022A (25721) ABRIXAS                   28 APR 99
            1999-021A (25693) UOSAT 12                  21 APR 99
            1999-015C (25685) Sputnik Jr. 3             16 APR 99
            1999-020A (25683) Landsat 7                 15 APR 99
            1999-019D (25679) Globalstar M019           15 APR 99
            1999-019C (25678) Globalstar M044           15 APR 99
            1999-019B (25677) Globalstar M042           15 APR 99
            1999-019A (25676) Globalstar M045           15 APR 99
            1999-018A (25673) EUTELSAT W3               12 APR 99
            1999-017A (25669) USA 142                   09 APR 99
            1999-016A (25666) INSAT 2E                  02 APR 99
            1999-015A (25664) Progress M-41             02 APR 99

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

1999-023A USA 143, also known as Milstar 2, was to be an American geosynchronous military communications spacecraft. Instead, it ended up in a useless low-Earth orbit soon after launch by a Titan 4B rocket from Cape Canaveral at 18:30 UT. This is the third sequential failure of Titan 4. News reports provided only these initial parameters: period 147 min, apogee 4,997 km, and perigee 740 km.
1999-022B MEGSAT is an Italian test satellite that was launched by a Cosmos 3M rocket from the reactivated launch site called Kaustin Yar near Vogograd in the Astrakhan region of Russia at 08:30 UT. The 35 kg microsatellite will enable designs of future missions. Initial orbital parameters were period 96 min, apogee 600 km, perigee 547 km, and inclination 48 deg.
1999-022A ABRIXAS (A BRoad-band Imaging X-ray All-sky Survey) is a German astronomy spacecraft intended to monitor X-ray emissions in the universe. The 550 kg spacecraft was launched by a Cosmos 3M rocket from Kaustin Yar at 08:30 UT. The imaging telescope, operating in the 0.5-10 keV X-ray range, is to map an estimated 10,000 new sources. The instrument is actually seven Wolter-1 telescopes of focal length 160 cm each with 27 nested mirrors of length 30 cm and diameters shrinking from 16.3 cm to 7.6 cm. The seven fields of view, each of 40 arcmin diameter, are seperated by 7 deg from each other. Additional details may be seen in Initial orbital parameters were period 96 min, apogee 598 km, perigee 549 km, and inclination 48 deg.
1999-021A UOSAT 12 is a British minisatellite that was launched by a converted SS-18 (renamed Dnepr 1) ICBM from a silo in Baykonur at 05:00 UT. It carries multispectral remote sensing cameras and a transponder to facilitate amateur radio links in the L-to-S band. Attitude determination is carried out through GPS signals. Initial orbital parameters were period 97 min, apogee 661 km, perigee 659 km, and inclination 64.5 deg.
1999-015C Sputnik Jr. 3 is a microsatellite that was carried by Progress M-41 to Mir and then pushed out by the crew. It carries tape recorded voices of the school children in Russia and France who built the satellite. Initial orbital parameters were period 91.4 min, apogee 349 km, perigee 334 km, and inclination 51.7 deg.
1999-020A Landsat 7 is an American Sun-synchronous remote sensing spacecraft that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 18:32 UT. The 2,200 kg (including fuel) spacecraft carries an eight-band scanning radiometer (ETM+) to image the Earth, covering the overall wavelength range of 0.45 to 12.5 microns. (The eighth band covers a panchromatic range of 0.52 to 0.90 microns.) The resolution of the maps is 30 meters, except at the panchromatic band where it is 15 meters. The swath width of the pictures is 185 km, with repeated coverage of the same terrain after 233 orbits (=16 days). An onboard solid state memory can hold up to 375 gigabytes of images, so that full global coverage can be ensured. The mapping sectors remain as 10 AM +/- 15 min for all passes. For further information on the imagery data, see Initial orbital parameters were period 98.4 min, apogee 698 km, perigee 669 km, and inclination 98.2 deg.
1999-019A, 1999-019B, 1999-019C, 1999-019D Globalstars M045, M042, M044, and M019 are American communications spacecraft that were launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baykonur at 00:46 UT. These bring the current total to 20 of the intended 48 spacecraft fleet orbiting in eight planes. The fleet will handle commmunications to/from mobile telephones worldwide. Initial orbital parameters of the first three were similar: period 104 min, apogee 950 km, perigee 920 km, and inclination 52 deg; for M019, the period was 107 min, apogee 1,188 km, perigee 1,080 km, and inclination 52 deg.
1999-018A EUTELSAT W3 is geosynchronous communications spacecraft of that European consortium that was launched by an Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral at 02:50 UT. The 1,680 kg spacecraft carries 24 Ku-band transponders, each of power 95 W. (Total generated solar power is 5.8 kW.) It will provide voice and video communications to central Europe and North Africa, after parking at about 10 deg-E longitude.
1999-017A USA 142, also known as DSP 19, was to be an American geosynchronous military (missile warning) spacecraft. Instead, soon after it was launched from Cape Canaveral by a Titan 4B rocket, it entered a highly elliptical and useless orbit, whose parameters are unavailable.
1999-016A INSAT 2E is an Indian geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 42P from Kourou at 00:03 UT. The 2.5 tonne spacecraft carries 17 extended C-band transponders, a VHR radiometer for water vapor measurement, and a CCD camera for weather forecasts. Eleven of the transponders are leased to the Intelsat consortium. After parking over 83 deg-E longitude it will provide voice and video communications to countries between Eastern Europe and East Asia.
1999-015A Progress M-41 is a Russian cargo ferry that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baykonur at 11:29 UT. It carried 2,438 kg of food, fuel, equipments, etc., and a micro-satellite named Sputnik Jr. 3 to Mir. It docked with Mir on 4 April at 12:50 UT and the Sputnik was pushed out into orbit by the Mir crew. Initial orbital parameters of Progress M-41 were period 88.6 min, apogee 249 km, perigee 194 km, and inclination 51.7 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.

    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:  [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                       1999
    1981-054E   (12519)  R/B that launched MOLNIYA 3-16   30 Apr
    1999-019F   (25681)  R/B Soyuz-U                      16 Apr
    1983-094B   (14329)  R/B Delta 1                      16 Apr
    1998-057B   (25496)  R/B Atlas 2A                     14 Apr
    1999-015B   (25665)  R/B R/B Soyuz-U                  04 Apr

  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.)

    We now have information that USA 141 (98-055C) was named ATEx. It was deployed from USA 140 (STEX, 98-055A) as a twin mass to be tethered together by a 6 km cable. But the tether could not be extended beyond 22 m; they were jettisoned to become a free-flyer.

    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 trajectories 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, 04 May 1999
Last updated: 05 March 2003, EVB II