A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 594                                                                                                                               01 May 2003

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 1 April 2003 and 30 April 2003.

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

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2003-017A    (27782)  GALEX                28 April 2003
   2003-016A    (27781)  Soyuz TMA-2          26 April 2003
   2003-015A    (27775)  Cosmos 2397          24 April 2003
   2003-014A    (27718)  Asiasat 4            12 April 2003
   2003-013B    (27715)  Galaxy 12            09 April 2003
   2003-013A    (27714)  INSAT 3A             09 April 2003
   2003-012A    (27711)  USA 169              08 April 2003
   2003-011A    (27707)  Molniya 1-92         02 April 2003

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

2003-017A GALEX (GALaxy Evolution eXplorer) is an American (NASA) astronomy spacecraft that was launched at 12:00 UT on 28 April 2003 by a Pegasus XL rocket released from a L-1011 cargo plane flying out of Cape Canaveral. It is a 280 kg, 290 W, triaxially-stabilized satellite, and carries a UV telescope. The initial orbital parameters were period 98.6 min, apogee 697 km, perigee 691 km, and inclination 29.0°.

UV Telescope: GALEX carries a single f/6.0, Richey-Chretien UV telescope, with a 50-cm diameter primary, and a 22-cm secondary mirror. Beam-splitters direct the Near UV (NUV) and Far UV (FUV) components to separate photoelectric detectors of diameter 6.5 cm. In each, the photoelectrons are multiplied by a microchannel plate, and detected by the anode grid. The grid enables determination of the exact position of electron impact, by the time delay of each pulse at the two ends. The telescope has a field of view of 1.2°, and a resolution of 5 arc-s, and enables either imaging or spectral composition of a single star/galaxy by a rotatable wheel containing a clear window and a Grism. (A Grism is a cross between a grating and a prism.) The Principal Investigator is Chris Martin of CalTech; the Project Manager is Jim Fanson of Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The URL, provides a detailed description of the instrument and the publicly available data products at the Multi-mission Archive at Space Telescope Science Institute:
2003-016A Soyuz TMA-2 is a Russian passenger transport craft that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 03:54 UT on 26 April 2003. It carried two astronauts, one Russian and one American, for a six-month stay at the International Space Station (ISS), performing microgravity biology experiments. It docked with the ISS at about 07:00 UT on 28 April 2003. The previous three-man crew in ISS will leave the station on 4 May 2003 on the earlier Soyuz TMA-1 that has remained docked. The initial orbital parameters of Soyuz TMA-2 were period 90.6 min, apogee 358.5 km, perigee 254.2 km, and inclination 51.6°.
2003-015A Cosmos 2397 is a Russian geostationary military satellite that was launched by a Proton-K rocket from Baikonur at 04:23 UT on 24 April 2003. It was inserted into geostationary orbit at 11:00 UT on the same day. The Moscow Kommersat uses the name US-KMO for the series of four such spacecraft in geostationary orbit, and US-KS for the older eight in highly elliptical orbit, all of which are for early warning of missile launches. It also reports that Cosmos 2397 will ensure total global coverage of missile launches, filling out a gap over the Pacific region.
2003-014A Asiasat 4 is an Hong Kong (Bermuda-registered) geostationary communications spacecraft that was launched by an Atlas 3B rocket from Cape Canaveral at 01:47 UT on 12 April 2003. The 9.5 kW satellite will provide direct-to-home voice and video broadcast to about 40 countries from the Middle East to New Zealand through its 28 C-band, and 20 Ku-band transponders after parking over 122° E longitude.
2003-013B Galaxy 12 is an American (PanAmSat Corp.) geostationary communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou on 9 April 2003. The 1.8 tonne satellite carries 24 C-band transponders to provide voice, video and data transmissions to North and South America, after parking over 72° W longitude.
2003-013A INSAT 3A is an Indian (ISRO) geostationary communications and weather-monitoring satellite that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 22:52 UT on 9 April 2003. The 3-tonne satellite carries 12 C-band, 6 Extended C-band, and 6 Ku-band transponders to provide voice, video and data transmission to West Asia, East Asia, and India, after parking over 93.5° E longitude. INSAT 3A carries also the usual INSAT package of sensors in visual, infrared and water vapor bands to monitor clouds and storms. The spatial resolution at visual wavelengths is 2 km, and at infrared 1 km. The satellite also carries a separate transponder for the international search and rescue program.
2003-012A USA 169 is an American military geostationary, super-secure communications satellite that was launched by a Titan 4 rocket from Cape Canaveral AFS at 13:43 UT on 8 April 2003. The 4.5 tonne satellite is also known as Milstar 6 (MILitary Strategic and TActical Relay satellite 6). With the end of the cold war, Milstars are no longer engineered for "heroic survivability". No further details are available.
2003-011A Molniya 1-92 is a Russian military communications spacecraft that was launched from Plesetsk by a Molniya-M rocket at 01:53 UT on 2 April 2003. Initial orbital parameters were period 718 min, apogee 39,733 km, perigee 634 km, and inclination 62.9°.

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.

    High precision (<20 cm) GPS constellation tracking data obtained from the network of about 400 dedicated global stations that are of interest to geodetic study may be obtained through the following services provided by the International GNSS Service (IGS). The IGS is a service of the International Association of Geodesy (IAG).

         FTP:  [directory /igscb]

    The standard format of the GPS situation appeared in SPACEWARN Bulletin No. 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 addition to the fleet is Navstar 51 (GPS 2R-8), 2003-005A.

  3. Russian Global Navigational (Positioning) Spacecraft, GLONASS constellation. (SPACEWARN requests updates/additions from readers to this list.)

    All GLONASS spacecraft are in the general Cosmos series. The Cosmos numbers 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 last appeared in SPACEWARN Bulletin No. 545. It will not be repeated in view of the excellent updated source at: maintained by the Information-Analytical Center (IAC), Russian Space Agency.

  4. Visually bright objects.

    See Users must register. Conditions apply.

  5. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. No further information is available.
    Designations         Common Name                  Decay Date (2003)
    1996-027A (23857)  BEPPOSAX                               30 April
    2003-016B (27782)  R/B Soyuz-U                            28 April
    1998-014B (25240)  R/B Atlas 2AS/Centaur                  27 April
    2003-015B (27776)  R/B(1) Proton-K                        26 April
    2002-044B (27529)  R/B Atlas 2AS/Centaur                  03 April
  6. 60-day Decay Predictions.

    See Users must register for access. Conditions apply

  7. Miscellaneous Items. (This section contains information/data that are entered on occasion and may not be repeated in each issue of the SPACEWARN Bulletin.)

  8. 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 690.1, 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 obtained from:

    Other files of interest for Earth-centered spacecraft can be generated via 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:

SPACEWARN Bulletin index About the SPACEWARN Bulletin About Spacecraft Categories NSSDC home page

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

Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II
NASA Official: Dr. Ed Grayzeck
V1.0, 02 May 2003
Last updated: 02 June 2003, EVB II