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A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 635
01 October 2006

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 September 2006 and 30 September 2006.

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

    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2006-042A    29486     GPS 2R-15             25 September 2006
   2006-041A    29479     Hinode                22 September 2006
   2006-040A    29400     Soyuz TMA-9           18 September 2006
   2006-039A    29402     Cosmos 2423           14 September 2006
   2006-038A    29398     Zhongxing 22A         12 September 2006
   2006-037A    29393     IGS 3A                11 September 2006
   2006-036A    29391     STS 115               09 September 2006
   2006-035A    29385     Shijian 8             09 September 2006

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

GPS 2R-15 is an American navigational satellite in the GPS fleet that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 18:50 UT on 25 September 2006. It will be positioned in Plane A, Slot 2, replacing the aging GPS 2-12 launched in 1992, which, in turn, will be maneuvered to A-4 as a backup till its useful life ends. At present there are 24 operational craft in the fleet, plus five that are spares. The initial orbital parameters were period 357 min, apogee 20,414 km, perigee 173 km, and inclination 40.0°.
Hinode (meaning sunrise), also known by its pre-launch name of Solar-B, is a joint Japanese-American (ISAS-NASA) craft that was launched by an M-5 rocket from Uchinora Space Center at 21:36 UT on 22 September 2006. The 0.7 tonne (dry mass), 1.0 kW satellite carries three major instruments to monitor the solar magnetic field at 0.2 arc-sec resolution, so that changes in the size and orientation could be studied as a precursor of solar flares that are known to be powered by magnetic energy changes. The Project Scientists are John Davis of NASA Marshal Space Flight Center, (, Kazunari Shibata of the Kyoto University (, Takashi Sakurai of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ; and Louise Harra of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) in UK (
SOT (Solar Optical Telescope) is a 50-cm aperture telescope that is highly stabilized to provide jitter-free images in the focal plane at 1.5 m covering the 388-668 nm wavelength band. The focal plane instruments consist of a Broadband Filter Imager (BFI) in six wavelength bands, and a Narrowband Filter Imager (NFI) in six bands at a spectral resolution of 0.009 nm. The third instrument in the focal plane is the Spectro-Polarimeter (SP) operating on the magnetic field-sensitive Fe line profiles at 630.15 and 630.25 nm. The polarimeter data enable obtaining all four Stokes parameters and, thence, the magnetic field vectors. Saku Tsuneta of NAOJ, Japan is one of the four Principal Investigators
XRT (X-Ray Telescope) is a 34-cm wide tube of focal length 2.7 m and operates with grazing incidence X-rays of 0.2-20 nm wavelength. It has an effective area of 1.0 cm2 and a field-of-view of 34 arc-minutes, and is backed by 2048 x 2048 pixels of CCD detectors. E. DeLuca of CFA, Harvard University is one of the three Principal Investigators.
EIS (EUV Imaging Spectrometer) is a grating spectrometer that is fed by a 15 cm diameter paraboloid of focal length 1.94 m. It covers the 17-21 nm and 25-29 nm wavength bands containing Fe XII, Fe XV, Fe XXIV, and He II lines, through a CCD array of 1024 x 2048 pixels. J. L. Culhane of MSSL is one of the three Principal Investigators.
The data from all instruments will be held at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), with prompt distribution by its web site. Further details are available at The initial parameters of the Sun-synchronous orbit were period 94.54 min, apogee 675 km, perigee 318 km, and inclination 98.3°.
Soyuz TMA-9 is a Russian passenger craft that was launched from Baikonur at 04:08 UT on 18 September 2006 by a Soyuz-FG rocket. It carried a Russian and an American astronaut, plus an American tourist to the International Space Station (ISS). It docked automatically with the Zvezda module of the ISS at 05:21 UT on 20 September, in the same port which was vacated by Progress M-56 to begin deorbiting and burn out. While the two astronauts will spend some months in the ISS, the tourist returned to Earth, along with two other long-resident astronauts, on Soyuz TMA-8 on 28 September at 01:10 UT. The initial orbital parameters of TMA-9 were period 91.36 min, apogee 350 km, perigee 333 km, and inclination 51.64°.
Cosmos 2423 is a Russian military satellite that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 13:41 UT on 14 September 2006. The initial orbital parameters were period 89.5 min, apogee 272.6 km, perigee 185.8 km, and inclination 64.9°.
Zhongxing 22A is a Chinese (PRC) geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Long March 3A rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China on 12 September 2006. It is expected to provide voice and video transmissions, especially during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, after parking over 98° E longitude.
IGS 3A (Information Gathering Satellite 3A) is a Japanese photo-reconnaissance military satellite that was launched at 04:35 UT on 11 September 2006 by an H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center. It is the third such spy satellite since 2003. The initial orbital parameters were period 94.2 min, apogee 479 km, perigee 478 km, and inclination 97.4°.
STS 115 is an American Shuttle craft that was launched from Cape Canaveral at 15:15 UT on 09 September 2006. It transported six astronauts to the International Space Station, along with a structural 17 tonne truss with two large solar panels of total length 73 m, to enable more modules to be attached. The astronauts made three space-walks to attach the truss and solar panels and make the electrical connections with the help of the robotic arm. These exercises went well except for minor glitches such as the loss of some bolts and nuts. They also examined all exterior surfaces on the shuttle to assure that it had not suffered any significant damage to its heat shield during the launch. The shuttle, with all six astronauts landed back at Cape Canaveral at 10:21 UT on 21 September, after 11 days on the ISS. The initial orbital parameters of STS 115 were period 91.4 min, apogee 350 km, perigee 335 km, and inclination 51.6°.
Shijian 8 is a Chinese (PRC) recoverable satellite that was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center by a Long March 2C rocket on 09 September 2006. It carried 250 kg of seeds of plants and fungus. After recovery, the seeds will be germinated to produce high quality and high yield plants and their seeds. The initial orbital parameters were period 90.6 min, apogee 428 km, perigee 178 km, and inclination 63.0°.

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 57, 2005-038A.

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 (2006)

2005-010E (28633)   R/B (Aux.Mot.) Proton-K         24 September
2006-013A (29057)   PROGRESS-M 16                   19 September
1990-052D (20649)   R/B that launched MOLNIYA 3-38. 13 September
2005-035C (28933)   SUITSAT                         09 September
2003-043C (27949)   SMART 1                         03 September

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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