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A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 658
01 Sep. 2008

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 August 2008 and 31 August 2008.

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

International ID
Catalog Number
Spacecraft Name Launch Date (UT)
2008-040E 33316 RapidEye-E 29 August 2008
2008-040D 33315 RapidEye-D 29 August 2008
2008-040C 33314 RapidEye-C 29 August 2008
2008-040B 33313 RapidEye-B 29 August 2008
2008-040A 33312 RapidEye-A 29 August 2008
2008-039A 33278 INMARSAT 4F3 18 August 2008
2008-038B 33275 AMC 21 14 August 2008
2008-038A 33274 Superbird 7 14 August 2008

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

RapidEye-A, RapidEye-B, RapidEye-C, RapidEye-D, and RapidEye-E, are the first five mini-satellites of the German RapidEye AG corporation that were launched by a Dnepr rocket from Baikonur at 07:16 UT on 29 August 2008. The identical 150 kg satellites are triaxially-stabilized, using magnetorquers for attitude changes. Each will capture multi-wavelength images in five bands covering 400-850 nm. The 6.5 m resolution images will be sold to agricultural, forestry and town-planning enterprises. (The names we have adopted for the five are tentative. The corporation is soliciting from the public the final name for each satellite which can be suggested for a fee of $10 per name.) The initial orbital parameters of all five were similar: period 97 min, apogee 609 km, perigee 585 km, and inclination 98.0°.
Inmarsat 4F3 is a geostationary communications satellite of the multinational Inmarsat consortium that was launched by a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur at 22:43 UT on 18 August 2008. The 5.96 tonne (with fuel) craft carries 200 spot-beams to relay messages from mobile phones based on land, sea, or air, after parking over 98° W longitude.
AMC 21, also known as Americom 21, is an American geostationary communications craft that was launched by an Ariane 5-ECA rocket from Kourou at 20:44 UT on 14 August 2008. It carries 24 Ku-band transponders and two reflector antennas to provide television services to the United States, Canada, Mexico and Caribbean countries, after parking over 125° W longitude.
Superbird 7 is a Japanese geostationary communications craft that was launched by an Ariane 5-ECA rocket from Kourou at 20:44 UT on 14 August 2008. The five tonne (with fuel) craft carries 28 Ku-band transponders to provide DTH internet and television services to Japan, East-Asia, and the Pacific region, after parking over 144° E longitude. It is also known as Superbird C-2, and will replace the aging Superbird-C.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

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 GPS 2R-18 (2007-062A).

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.

According to CSIC the latest additions to the fleet are 2007-065A, 2007-065B, and 2007-065C.

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 (2008)

2001-053G (26993)    R/B (Aux.)Molniya               26 August

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.

NASA's GLAST gamma ray satellite (2008-029A) has been renamed the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST)

Launch failure: The launch of the USAF's Trailblazer, and NASA's PRESat and NanoSail-D by SpaceX company's Falcon 1 rocket from Kwajalein Atol at 03:34 UT on 03 August 2008 failed. The first stage did not separate.

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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