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A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 665
01 Apr. 2009

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 March 2009 and 31 March 2009.

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

International ID
Catalog Number
Spacecraft Name Launch Date (UT)
2009-015A 34669 Soyuz-TMA 14 26 March 2009
2009-014A 34661 Navstar 63 24 March 2009
2009-013A 34602 GOCE 17 March 2009
2009-012A 34541 STS 119 15 March 2009
2009-011A 34380 Kepler 07 March 2009

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

Soyuz-TMA 14 is a Russian (RKA) passenger craft that was launched by a Soyuz-FG rocket from Baikonur at 11:49 UT on 26 March 2009. It carried a Russian cosmonaut, an American astronaut and a space tourist to the International Space Station. It docked with the Zvezda module of the ISS at 13:05 UT on 28 March 2009. The last 150 meters during the approach to docking were performed manually after a computer glitch occurred. The two astronauts will form part of the ISS Expedition 19 crew while the tourist will return 07 April 2009 aboard Soyuz-TMA 13 with two members of the current ISS crew. Initial orbital parameters are 51.65° inclination, 199.0 km perigee altitude, 250.9 km apogee altitude, 88.7 minutes orbital period.
Navstar 63, also known as USA 203 and as GPS 2R-20(M), is an American (DOD) navigational craft in the GPS fleet, that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 08:34 UT on 24 March 2009. It will replace the GPS 2A-27 satellite launched in 1996.
GOCE, the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer, is a European (ESA) Earth science satellite that was launched at 14:21 UT on 17 March 2009 from Plesetsk on a Rockot/Breeze KM launch vehicle. GOCE is designed to measure Earth's gravitational field to create very high-resolution maps of the geoid. These maps will provide the baseline for measurements of ocean circulation and sea-level change. The 1,100 kg spacecraft is 5 meters long by 1 meter wide and its fixed solar arrays will produce 1.3 kW of power. The satellite carries six high-sensitivity accelerometers arranged along three axes of the spacecraft. To enable the satellite to acquire high-resolution measurements the satellite must travel at a low orbital altitude (260 km) at which atmospheric drag effects are still significant. To compensate for these effects the satellite has a sleek arrow-shaped design to reduce drag and small winglets and a tail fin to stabilize the spacecraft. GOCE's orbital altitude will also be maintained with the assistance of an ion engine on-board.
STS 119 is an American (NASA) shuttle craft that was launched from Cape Canaveral at 23:43 UT on 15 March 2009. It carried seven astronauts (six American and one Japanese) to the International Space Station (ISS). The shuttle docked at the ISS at 21:20 UT on 17 March 2009. The crew transfer brought aboard the ISS the first Japanese long-duration astronaut. The primary goal of the mission was to bring the final set of solar arrays, also known as the starboard 6 or S6 truss segment, to the ISS and install them. The crew performed three spacewalks to install the truss segment and carry out other activities. The crew also delivered a new urine processor distillation assembly as part of the crew life support system. The shuttle undocked from the ISS at 19:53 UT on 25 March and landed at Cape Canaveral at 19:14 UT on 28 March. The shuttle returned with samples of water cleaned by the recycling system and also frozen biological samples collected over several months as part of a medical experiment on human response to microgravity.
Kepler is an American (NASA) astronomy probe launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 03:50 UT on 07 March 2009. Kepler's mission is to search for Earth-sized planets around other stars by looking for brightness variations in over 100,000 stars in the Cygnus-Lyra region. The photometer on Kepler will continuously monitor the same star-field in a 12° field of view over the nominal 3.5 year lifetime, allowing multiple observations of transits of exoplanets in orbits up to one year. To help fulfill the science objectives, the 1,052 kg spacecraft was placed into a solar orbit of period 372.5 days. This orbit helps maintain a stable pointing attitude.

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-20(M) (2009-014A).

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 IAC the latest additions to the fleet are 2008-067A, 2008-067B, and 2008-067C.

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 (2009)

2009-015B (34670)    SL-4 R/B                         30 March
2009-012A (34541)    STS 119                          28 March
2009-010D (34267)    SL-12 R/B(1)                     03 March

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.

The Chang'e 1 lunar orbiting spacecraft (2007-051A) impacted the moon on 01 March 2009 at 08:13 UT.

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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