SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 526

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 August 1997

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 25 July 1997 and 24 August 1997.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
1997-044A (24909) SSTI-LEWIS 23 Aug      1997-041A (24895) Cosmos 2345  14 Aug
1997-043E (24907) IRIDIUM 22 21 Aug      1997-040A (24891) PAS 6        07 Aug
1997-043D (24906) IRIDIUM 23 21 Aug      1997-039B (24890) CHRISTA-SPAS 07 Aug
1997-043C (24905) IRIDIUM 24 21 Aug      1997-039A (24889) STS 85       07 Aug
1997-043B (24904) IRIDIUM 25 21 Aug      1997-038A (24886) Soyuz TM-26  05 Aug
1997-043A (24903) IRIDIUM 26 21 Aug      1997-037A (24883) ORBVIEW 2    01 Aug
1997-042A (24901) AGILA 2    19 Aug      1997-036A (24880) SUPERBIRD-C  28 Jul

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

SSTI-LEWIS (Small Spacecraft Technology Initiative-Lewis) is an American environment monitoring spacecraft that was launched by an LMLV rocket from Vanderberg AFB at 06:51 UT. The 445 kg spacecraft carries two Earth imagers, HSI (0.4 - 2.5 micron wavelength), and LEISA (1.0 - 2.5 micron) along with an UCB imager (35 - 85 nanometer) for ultraviolet cosmic background. Solar panels generate 600 W of power. Since a few days after launch, the spacecraft has been spinning out of control and with diminishing solar power. Initial orbital parameters were period 90.5 min, apogee 299.5 km, perigee 283.2 km, and inclination 97.6 deg.

1997-043A, 1997-043B, 1997-043C, 1997-043D, 1997-043E
IRIDIUM 26, 25, 24, 23, and 22 are American communications spacecraft that were launched from Vandenberg AFB by a Delta 2 rocket at 00:38 UT. They join a fleet of 15 other IRIDIUMs launched in previous months, making the current total 22 spacecraft. They enable communications among mobile telephones. Initial orbital parameters of all of them were period 94.8 min, apogee 525 km, perigee 505 km, and inclination 95.0 deg.

AGILA 2 is a Philippine geosynchronous spacecraft that was launched by a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang launch center at 01:50 a.m., local time. It carries 30 C-band and 27 Ku-band transponders to provide voice and video communications after parking at 144-E longitude. Solar panels provide a power of 9 kW to enable 190 high fidelity channels and 50,000 simultaneous telephone links.

Cosmos 2345 is a Russian military geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by a Proton-K rocket from Baykonur cosmodrome at 20:49 UT. Parking longitude is not available.

PAS 6 (PANAMSAT 6) is an American geosynchronous spacecraft that was launched from Kourou in French Guiana by an Ariane 44-LP rocket at 06:46 UT. The 3,420 kg spacecraft carries 36 Ku-band 100 W transponders to provide directly voice and video communications throughout South America, especially to Brazil.

CHRISTA-SPAS 2 is a German-American free-flying module that was released from the Shuttle STS 85 to monitor the middle atmospheric constituents (ozone, etc.) by means of UV spectrometers. It was retrieved by the Shuttle after nine days of free flying in the vicinity of the Shuttle. During its free flight about 66 minirockets and balloons were launched by America and Germany to monitor concurrently the same regions of the atmosphere as the spacecraft did. Initial orbital parameters of the spacecraft were close to those of the Shuttle.

STS 85 is an American Shuttle spacecraft that was launched from Cape Canaveral at 14:41 UT. Its main mission was to deploy and retrive the CHRISTA-SPAS 2 module, to conduct solar constant experiments through its SOLCON instrument, and to conduct infrared imaging of the atmosphere through its ISIR instrument and to conduct the usual sort of microgravity experiments. Details of the experiments may be accessed through the URL http://www.osf.hq.nasa. gov/shuttle/sts85/. Initial orbital parameters were period 90.4 min, apogee 309 km, perigee 298 km, and inclination 57.0 deg.

Soyuz TM-26 is a Russian spacecraft that ferried cosmonauts and supplies to the MIR space station. It was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baykonur cosmodrome at 15:36 UT. The main mission was to transport two specially trained cosmonauts to repair or salvage the troubled space station. TM-26 docked with MIR at 17:03 UT on 7 August by manual control. The crew repaired the power cable and harness/connectors in the severely damaged SPEKTR module and restored much of the lost power; they also repaired and replaced the oxygen generators in MIR. The hole(s) in that module that caused total depressurization of the module could not be located during their "space walk" inside that module. Repairing or replacing the segments of the solar panels on that module and sealing the hole(s) may be delayed until the next Soyuz mission. Initial orbital parameters were period 92.3 min, apogee 392 km, perigee 385 km, and inclination 51.6 deg.

ORBVIEW 2 (formerly known as SEASTAR) is an American ocean monitoring spacecraft that was launched by a Pegasus XL rocket at 20:20 UT from a L-1011 jet plane flying out of Vandenberg AFB. The primary instrument on board is a color scanner, SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field of view Sensor) to image phytoplankton growth and fish schools in the coastal areas and oceans. It has a resolution of 1 km and a swath width of 3,000 km. Initial orbital parameters were period 90.7 min, apogee 319 km, perigee 297 km, and inclination 90.7 deg.

SUPERBIRD-C is a Japanese geostationary communications spacecraft that was launched by an Atlas 2AS rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Station. It will provide voice and video communications to Japan and nearby countries through its 26 (?) Ku-band transponders after parking over 160-E longitude.

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.

  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.

    The latest member of the GPS fleet is NAVSTAR 43 (1997-035A), launched on 23 July 1997.

  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
    1997-039A (24889) STS 85                 Landed on    19 Aug
    1997-041B (24895) R/B PROTON-K                        16 Aug
    1997-039B (24890) CHRISTA-SPAS 2  Retrieved by STS 85 16 Aug
    1997-025A (24717) SOYUZ TM-25                         15 Aug
    1997-038B (24887) R/B SOYUZ-U                         08 Aug

  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.)

    The Japanese radio astronomy spacecraft, HALCA, has mapped the galactic nucleus of 1156-295 at an angular resolution of 0.0017 seconds of arc, in collaboration with two ground-based antennas in Japan. The network of interferometers at a wavelength of 18 cm had the spacing equal to the apogee of HELCA (21,700 km).

    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: 11 September 1997