SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 523

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 May 1997

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 25 April 1997 and 24 May 1997.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
1997-025A (24808) THOR 2A         20 May 1997-020D (24795) IRIDIUM 5 05 May
1997-024A (24806) Cosmos 2343     15 May 1997-020C (24794) IRIDIUM 6 05 May
1997-023A (24804) STS 84          15 May 1997-020B (24793) IRIDIUM 7 05 May
1997-022A (24800) Cosmos 2342     14 May 1997-020A (24792) IRIDIUM 8 05 May
1997-021A (24798) DONGFANGHONG 3  11 May 1997-019A (24786) GOES 10   25 Apr
1997-020E (24796) IRIDIUM 4       05 May

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

THOR 2A is a Norwegian geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral to provide voice and video communications to Europe.

Cosmos 2343 is a Russian military spacecraft that was launched from Baykonur cosmodrome by a Soyuz-U rocket at 12:10 UT. Initial orbital parameters were period 89.4 min, apogee 343.3 km, perigee 179 km, and inclination 64.9 deg.

STS 84 is an American shuttle spacecraft that was launched from Cape Canaveral to dock with the Russian Mir station and deliver goods. It docked at 02:33 UT on 17 May and delivered supplies, including water, and a new (Russian) oxygen generating "Electron" machine. Also delivered were resources for biology experiments: 64 beetles to study their sleep habits, and several mustard plants. A new British-American astronaut became an extended-stay Mir boarder, replacing the returning, previous American astronaut on board. It undocked from Mir at 01:05 UT on 22 May and landed back in Cape Canaveral on 24 May.

Cosmos 2342 is a Russian military communications spacecraft that was launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome by a Molniya-3M booster at 00:34 UT. Initial orbital parameters were period 11 hr 49 min, apogee 39,374 km, perigee 546 km, and inclination 62.8 deg.

DONGFANGHONG 3 (meaning "East is Red, 3") is a PRC geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched at 16:17 UT from Xichang (also spelled as Jiuquan?) cosmodrome by a Long March 3A rocket, and was parked at 125 degrees east longitude. It carries 24 C-band transponders to provide voice and video communications to China.

1997-020A, -020B, -020C, -020D, -020E
IRIDIUM 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are American mobile communications spacecraft that were launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Initial orbital parameters of all were (approximately) period 97.4 min, apogee 642 km, perigee 629 km, and inclination 86.3 deg.

GOES 10 is an American geosynchronous meteorological spacecraft that was launched by an Atlas-Centaur rocket from Cape Canaveral. It will remain passively stored as a backup until either GOES 8 or GOES 9 becomes inoperational, probably in a year or two. The advance launch was predicated by anticipated shortage of launch vehicles during 1999 and to eliminate ground-storage and retesting costs. It carries essentially the same kind of payload that is carried by the earlier GOES spacecraft.

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.

    The last full list appeared as a part of SPX 520. The list will reappear only after major updates to the list are available.

    Carsten Groen-Nielsen of the VEGA Space Systems Engineering company reports that Meteosat 3 listed in the section remains deactivated since late 1995.

  2. Global Positioning System satellites useful for navigational purposes and geodetic studies. ("NNN" denotes no national name. SPACEWARN would appreciate suggestions to update this list. An asterisk [*] denotes changes in this issue.)

    High precision (<20 cm) GPS constellation tracking data obtained from the network of about 80 dedicated global stations that are of interest to geodetic study may be obtained through the following services provided by the International Association of Geodesy (IGS)

         FTP:  [directory /igscb]

    The standard format of the GPS situation appeared in SPX-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.

  3. Russian Global Navigational (Positioning) Spacecraft, GLONASS constellation. (SPACEWARN requests updates/additions from readers to this list. Entries marked "*" are updates or additions to the list.)

    All GLONASS spacecraft are in the general COSMOS series. The COSMOS numbers (nnnn) 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 appeared in SPX-515. It will not be repeated in view of the excellent updated source at: maintained by the Coordinational Scientific Information Center (CSIC),Russian Space Forces.

  4. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. Additional information is not available.
    Designations       Common Name                         1997
    1997-023A (24804)  STS 84       Landed on            24 May
    1997-024B (24807)  R/B SOYUZ-U                       20 May

  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.)

    It has come to the notice of SPACEWARN office that the Pegasus XL rocket 1997-018B (24780) that launched the MINISAT (1997-018A, 24779) has a microcapsule, appropriately named Celestis, containing the ashes of some long-dead people and that more such capsules may be available for past and future ashes.

                       Planned Spacecraft Mission
    13/1100 Z MAY "97
                     PRELAUNCH ANNOUNCEMENT
    Spacecraft name              Communications and broadcasting
                                            Engineering Test Satellite(COMETS)
    Planned Launch DATE        August  18.1997
    Country                      Japan
    Orbit Type                    Geo-stationary Satellite Orbit
    Perigee                       approx.  35786km
    Apogee                       approx.  35786km
    Weight                       approx.  2166kg  (Beginning of life)
    Orbit Period                  approx.  23h 56m
    Geographic Longitude         121.0 degree East
    Longitudinal Tolerance       +/-  0.1degree
    Transmitting Frequencies     *2269.680   MHz        3   W
             & Output Power
                         *2025.000   MHz       75   W
                           ( 2044.250 MHz)
                           ( 2076.479 MHz)
                           ( 2076.940 MHz)      50   W
                           ( 2096.730 MHz)
                           ( 2106.400.MHz)
                         *19685.000  MHz      30   W
                         *20095.000  MHz       0.3  W
                         *20115.000  MHz       0.3  W
                         *20165.000  MHz       0.15 W
                         *20370.000  MHz       3.8  W
                         *20700.000  MHz     250   W
    Transmitting Frequencies     *20982.000  MHz      23   W
                                 *23157.052  MHz      2.5  W                       
                                 *43746.000  MHz      26   W
    End of mission period of 3 years
    Launch Organization           National Space Development Agency of Japan
    Spacecraft Missions 
         The Communications and Broadcasting Engineering Test Satellite (COMETS) is
        a research and development satellite aimed at developing new technology in
        communications and broadcasting fields such as inter-orbit communications,
        advanced satellite broadcasting, advanced mobile satellite communications,
        and upgrading large geo-stationary satellites. It is also used for 
        conducting experiments and verifying the above subjects.
             *NAME        COMETS
             *Lift-off Time(UTC)     YEAR  MONTH DAY HOUR MINUTE SEC
                                     1997    08   18  06    50    00
                                    : 1997     08      18     07     17   12.320
                        S.M.AIS    (km)    :  24491.180
                        ECCEN.            :       0.7293718
                        INCL.      (deg)   :      28.500
                        ASC.NODE (deg)   :     105.631
                        ARG.PER  (deg)   :     179.000
                        M.ANOM  (deg)   :       0.801

    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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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: 02 June 1997
Last Updated: 16 June 1997, EVB II