SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 557

01 April 2000
A publication of NASA's National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information as the WWAS for ISES/COSPAR

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 1 March 2000 and 31 March 2000.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates (UTC).

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
     2000-017A (26113) IMAGE                 25 March
     2000-016B (26108) INSAT 3B              21 March 
     2000-016A (26107) AsiaStar              21 March
     2000-015A (26106) Fregat RB/Cluster 2   20 March
     2000-014A (26102) MTI                   12 March
     2000-013A (26098) Express 2A            12 March

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

2000-017A IMAGE (Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration) is an American magnetospheric science spacecraft that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 20:35 UT. The 494 kg, 250 W, spin-stabilized (2 min period) octagonal (2.25 m wide and 1.52 m high) spacecraft carries six instruments: HENA (High Energy Neutral Atom; 10-500 keV) imager, MENA (Medium Energy Neutral Atom; 1-30 keV) imager, LENA (Low Energy Neutral Atom; 10-500 eV) imager, FUV (Far Ultra-Violet) imager, EUV (Extreme Untra-Violet) imager, and RPI (Radio Plasma Imager). HENA, MENA, and LENA synthesize images from the arrival directions and mass/energy of each neutral particle. (The energetic neutrals form an ephemeral population when energetic ions charge-exchange with the thermal population.) FUV carries three separate detectors: WIC (Wide Angle Camera) to image aurora in a broad band and high spatial resolution, SI (Spectroscopic Imager) to image aurora at selected wavelengths, and GEO (GEOcorona) to image overall magnetospheric hydrogen atoms. EUV images the population of He+ through the resonantly scattered solar radiation at 30.4 nm wavelength. Finally, RPI consists of a pulsed transmitter (stepped 3 kHz to 3 MHz, 134 W peak) and a receiver, backed a radial dipole of 500 m length, another orthogonal 500 m dipole, and an axial 20 m dipole, to get echoes from boundary regions in the magnetosphere. More details are available from and the links from it. Initial orbital parameters were period 856 min, apogee 45,995 km, perigee 993 km, and inclination 89.9 deg
2000-016B INSAT 3B is an Indian geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 23:29 UT. The 2,070 kg (with fuel), 1.7 kW, triaxially stabilized spacecraft carries 12 Ext-C-band (15 W), and three Ku-band (55 W) transponders for rural educational and health service programs receivable by the thousands of VSATs (Very Small Aperture Terminals) in India, and a single S-band mobile satellite service (MSS) transponder for relaying voice, data, and facsimilies from/to mobile telephones with suit case sized "terminals", after parking over 83 deg-E longitude. On 28 March, it was moved from the transfer orbit to the geosynchronous orbit and its solar arrays were deployed by the Master Control Facility in Hasan, located in southern India.
2000-016A AsiaStar is an American geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 23:29 UT. The 2,777 kg, 5.6 kW, triaxially stabilized spacecraft will relay digital radio broadcasts to East Asia after parking over 105 deg-E longitude.
2000-015A Fregat RB/Cluster 2 is a Russian experimental upper stage rocket body (Fregat), and a dummy payload (Cluster 2) to simulate the soon (June/July 2000) to be launched ESA's Cluster mission. Fregat is a reusable rocket and was described in the launch text of Fregat (2000-009A) contained in SPX 556. The separation of the rocket body and the dummy was not planned, but the separation was simulated successfully. The couplet was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 18:28 UT. It is likely that after these and more successful launches of the Fregat rocket, future commercial or scientific launches of the Soyuz-Fregat combine will take place from French Guiana. Initial orbital parameters were period 320 min, apogee 18,019 km, perigee 245 km, and inclination 64.6 deg.
2000-014A MTI (Multi-spectral Thermal Imager) is an American quasi-military reconnaissance spacecraft that was launched by a Taurus rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 09:23 UT. The program is cosponsored by the Deparment of Energy, Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. The 587 kg spacecraft carries visible and infrared sensors in 15 spectral bands to spot cooling ponds adjacent to nuclear reactors and dust content associated with uranium ore processing. The collected data will also have spin-off benefits to civilian research involving atmospheric ozone, water vapor, and such. More details are available at Initial orbital parameters were period 96.6 min, apogee 614 km, perigee 577 km, and inclination 97.4 deg.
2000-013A Express 2A is a Russian geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched from Baikonur by a Proton-K rocket at 04:07 UT. (USSPACECOM had tentatively named it Express 6A.) The 2,600 kg spacecraft carries 12 transponders in C-band and five in Ku-band to provide voice, data, and video communications in Russia from the parked longitude of 80 deg-E, supplementing the existing fleet of seven Gorizonts, two Expresses and an EKRAN-M. Expresses are scheduled to replace the aging Gorizont fleet.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

  1. Spacecraft with essentially continuous radio beacons on frequencies less than 150 MHz, or higher frequencies if especially suited for ionospheric or geodetic studies. (NNSS denotes U.S. Navy Navigational Satellite System. Updates or corrections to the list are possible only with information from the user community.)

    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.

  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-545. 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. No further information is available.
    Designations         Common Name              Decay Date (2000)
    1990-093B     (20919) R/B Delta 2                   26 Mar
    1979-032A     (11331) COSMOS 1093                   23 Mar
    1985-074A     (15977) MOLNIYA 1-64                  22 Mar
    1999-062E     (25965) R/B Soyuz-U                   19 Mar
    1999-047H     (26060) R/B Proton-K (Aux. motor)     15 Mar
    2000-013B     (26099) R/B Proton-K                  14 Mar
    1996-034F     (23887) R/B Proton-K                  12 Mar
    1999-058E     (25947) R/B Soyuz-U                   04 Mar
    1993-067B     (22876) R/B Cosmos                    02 Mar

  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.)

    Here are more changes to the names/IDs of the satellites, as reported by the USSPACECOM:

    1998-023B (25307) GLOBALSTAR 6;    1998-023D (25309) GLOBALSTAR 8;
    1999-058B (25944) GLOBALSTAR M059; 1999-058C (25945) GLOBALSTAR M056;
    1999-059D (25946) GLOBALSTAR M031.
    2000-004J (26091) PICOSAT 3; 2000-004K (26092) PICOSAT 4;
    2000-004L (26093) PICOSAT 5; 2000-004M (26094) PICOSAT 6.
    2000-013A (26098) EXPRESS 2A; 1997-029A (24834) FENGYUN;
    1997-029C (25611) FENGYUN 2 AKM.

  6. Related NSSDC resources.

    NSSDC/WDC for Satellite Information is an archival center for science data from many spacecraft. Many space physics datasets are on-line for electronic access through:

    For off-line data, please contact the Request Office, NSSDC, 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 accessed via anonymous FTP from NSSDC. (See About the SPACEWARN Bulletin for access method; a file in the active directory named AAREADME.TXT, outlines the contents.)

    Other files interest for Earth-centered spacecraft can be generated thru the URL,

    Programs related to the heliospheric spacecraft trajectories can be executed through the URL,

    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, 05 April 2000
Last updated: 01 September 2000, EVB II