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A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 618
01 May 2005

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 April 2005 and 30 April 2005.

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

    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2005-016A    28646     USA 182               30 April 2005
   2005-015A    28644     Spaceway 1            26 April 2005
   2005-014A    28642     DART                  15 April 2005
   2005-013A    28640     Soyuz-TMA 6           15 April 2005
   2005-012A    28638     Apstar 6              12 April 2005
   2005-011A    28636     XSS-11                11 April 2005

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

USA 182 is an American military reconnaissance satellite belonging to the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) that was launched from Cape Canaveral by a Titan 4B rocket on 30 April 2005. The payload is strictly classified as are the orbital parameters.
Spaceway 1 is an American geostationary communications satellite that was launched at 07:32 UT on 26 April 2005 by a Zenit 3SL rocket from the floating platform, Odyssey parked at 154°W longitude on the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The satellite belongs to the well-known fleet of DirecTV. The 3.8 tonne, 12.3 kW, 3.4 m x 3.2 m x 5.1 m satellite will provide high-speed internet connections along with digital TV and other channels to all of North America through its 17 Ku-band transponders after parking over 102.8°W longitude.
DART (Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology) is an American (NASA) technology demonstrator that was launched by a Pegasus-XL HAPS rocket from an L-1011 cargo aircraft flying out of Vandenberg AFB at 18:25 UT on 15 April 2005. The 360 kg satellite was to test its capability to rendezvous and maneuver around a specially equipped DoD satellite, MUBLCOM (1999-026B). A malfunction of the satellite, while it had reached 91 m from the target satellite, resulted in the failure of the mission. The initial orbital parameters were period 96.1 min, apogee 747 km, perigee 395 km, and inclination 96.6°.
Soyuz-TMA 6 is a Russian automatic passenger transport craft that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 00:46 UT on 15 April 2005. It transported a crew of three astronauts (a Russian, an American, and an Italian) to the International Space Station (ISS). The automatic docking took place at 02:19 UT on 17 April, as planned. During a 10-day visit, the Italian astronaut carried out experiments in human physiology, biology, technology, and education, and returned to earth in the previously docked Soyuz-TMA 5 (along with the two astronauts who had endured six months in the ISS). The other two astronauts on TMA-6 will spend the next six months in the station. The initial orbital parameters were period 91.6 min, apogee 360 km, perigee 349 km, and inclination 51.64°.
Apstar 6 is a Chinese (Hong Kong) geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province at 12:00 UT on 12 April 2005. The 4.8 tonne satellite carries 38 C-band and 12 Ku-band transponders to provide digital multimedia transmissions to East Asian countries, India, and Australia, replacing the aging Apstar 1A.
XSS-11 (eXperimental Satellite System 11) is an American military (AFRL) microsatellite that was launched by a Minotaur rocket, a modified Minuteman 2 ICBM, from Vandenberg AFB at 13:35 UT on 11 April 2005. The 100 kg satellite is equipped with sensors to seek out and make close rendezvous with several rocket bodies and dead spacecraft that are still in orbit. It will approach each such object as closely as 2.5 km to examine and image it, making sure that it will never collide. It will be under the control of ground crews, except when it can be confidently allowed to move autonomously. The rendezvous exercise with several objects will continue during the mission life of 12 to 18 months. This experimental model carries no projectiles. The initial orbital parameters were period 102.1 min, apogee 875 km, perigee 839 km, and inclination 98.8°.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

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.

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 54, 2004-009A.

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.

Visually bright objects.

See Users must register. Conditions apply.

Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. No further information is available.

Designations         Common Name                  Decay Date (2005)

2004-040A (28444)   SOYUZ-TMA 5      Landed on       25 April

60-day Decay Predictions.

See Users must register for access. Conditions apply

Miscellaneous Items.

This section contains information or data that are entered on occasion and may not be repeated in each issue of the SPACEWARN Bulletin.

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:

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