SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 518

A publication of NASA's National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center-A for Rockets and Satellites as the WWAS for ISES/COSPAR

25 December 1996

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 25 November 1996 and 24 December 1996.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
1996-073A (24701) Bion 11                     24 Dec
1996-072A (24680) USA 129                     20 Dec
1996-071A (24677) Cosmos 2336                 20 Dec
1996-070A (24674) INMARSAT 3-F3               18 Dec
1996-069A (24670) Cosmos 2335                 11 Dec
1996-068A (24667) Mars Pathfinder             04 Dec
1996-067A (24665) HOT BIRD 2                  21 Nov

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

Bion 11 is a Russian spacecraft that was launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome by a Soyuz-U rocket at 13:50 UT. It carries a capsule housing two monkeys and several newts, snails, beetles, fruit flies, and small plants to study their responses and behaviors under microgravity. The capsule will make a soft-landing after two weeks. The initial orbital parameters were period 90.5 min, apogee 401.1 km, perigee 225.4 km, and inclination 62.8 deg.

USA 129 is an American military spacecraft that was launched by a Titan 4 rocket from Vandenberg AFB.

Cosmos 2336 is a Russian military spacecraft that was launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome by a Kosmos 30M rocket at 12:44 UT. Initial orbital parameters were period 105 min, apogee 1,026 km, perigee 995 km, and inclination 83 deg.

INMARSAT 3-F3 is a geosynchronous communications spacecraft of that international consortium to enable communications among maritime and land-based vehicles. It was launched by an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral.

Cosmos 2335 is a Russian military spacecraft. Initial orbital elements were period 92.7 min, apogee 417 km, perigee 403 km, and inclination 65.4 deg.

Mars Pathfinder is an American planetary spacecraft that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 06:58 UT. After a seven-month cruise, the Pathfinder along with a small rover named Sojourner (60 cm x 48 cm x 30 cm; 11.5 kg) it carries will land on Mars, cushioned by inflatable baloons. The landing site will be at 19.5 north latitude and 32.8 west longitude. Both the spacecraft (also known as the lander) and the rover will be solar- powered, with backup batteries. The lander houses three instruments: Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP), Atmospheric Structure Instrument/ METeorology package (ASI/MET); the rover houses an Alpha, Proton, X-ray Spectrometer (APXS), and color cameras. The lander has a one- gigabyte memory to store and transmit data from its instruments as well as from the instruments on the rover. More details of the mission may be obtained on the WWW at:

HOT BIRD 2 is a European geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Atlas rocket from Cape Canaveral. It is intended to provide direct broadcast voice and video communications to western Europe.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

Category I
  1. Spacecraft with essentially continuous radio beacons on frequencies less than 150 MHz, or higher frequencies if especially suited for ionospheric or geodetic studies. To see a list select here.
  2. Global Positioning System satellites useful for navigational purposes and geodetic studies. To see a list select here.
  3. Russian Global Navigational (Positioning) Spacecraft, GLONASS constellation. To see a list select here.

  4. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. Additional information is not available.
    Designations       Common Name                         1996
    1996-069B (24671)  R/B COSMOS 2335                    12 Dec
    1996-065A (24660)  STS 80         Landed on           07 Dec
    1996-065B (24661)  ORFEUS-SPAS  Recaptured by STS 60  07 Dec
    1996-065C (24662)  WSF 3        Recaptured by STS 60  07 Dec
    1988-051B (19216)  OSCAR 13                           06 Dec
    1996-059A (24634)  FSW 2-3                            03 Dec
    1996-060C (24642)  R/B MOLNIYA 3-48                   26 Nov
    1996-066B (24664)  R/B PROGRESS M-33                  22 Nov
    1996-064A (24656)  MARS 96                            18 Nov
  5. Miscellaneous Items. (This section contains information/data that are entered on occasion and may not be repeated in each issue of the SPACEWARN Bulletin.)

    Efforts to activate MAGION-5 spacecraft (a sub-satellite of Interball-AURORA) that was launched on 29 August 1996 continue. It has remained inoperative since launch due to an electrical short in the solar panels.

    NSSDC/WDC-A-R&S is an archival center for science data from many spacecraft. Some data are on line for electronic access. Please contact the NSSDC Request Coordination Office, Code 633, 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 FTP'ed from NSSDC's ANON_DIR:[000000.ACTIVE] and its several subdirectories. (See About the SPACEWARN Bulletin for access method; a file in the ACTIVE directory named AAREADME.DOC, outlines the contents.) It can also be accessed via the WWW at:

    This URL also enables executing several codes related to the orbits of many geocentric science payload spacecraft. The codes related to the heliospheric spacecraft trjectories can be executed through:

    Magnetospheric, Planetary, and Astronomical science data from many spacecraft may be accessed through links from the URL:

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About the SPACEWARN Bulletin
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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

Page Curator:
Dr. Edwin V. Bell, II,, +1-301-286-1187
NSSDC, Mail Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: J. H. King,
V1.0: 06 January 1997
Last Updated: 30 January 1997, EVB II