SPACEWARN Bulletin Number 543

01 February 1999
A publication of NASA's National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center-A for Rockets and Satellites as the WWAS for ISES/COSPAR

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 January 1999 and 31 January 1999.

A. List of New International Designations and Launch Dates.

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
            1999-002A (25616) ROCSAT 1                  27 JAN 99   
            1999-001A (25605) MPL (Mars Polar Lander)   03 JAN 99
            1998-055C (25615) USA 141                   03 OCT 98

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

1999-002A ROCSAT 1 is a Taiwanese (Republic of China) satellite that was launched by an Athena 1 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 12:34 UT. It carries color cameras to monitor ocean surface, and instruments to probe ionospheric plasma. Initial orbital parameters were period 96.6 min, apogee 601 km, perigee 589 km, and inclination 35.0 deg.
1999-001A MPL (Mars Polar Lander) is an American planetary exploration probe that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 20:21 UT. After cruising for 11 months, it is scheduled to land on Mars on 3 December 1999 at a latitude of 75 deg-S. The four meter diameter, one meter tall, and 560 kg probe will land on its three legs after deceleration by a retro-thruster and a parachute. A two meter robotic arm equiped with a scoop will scrape the surface to collect dirt. The dirt will be heated in a chamber so that the vaporized water (if present) could be detected by a laser equipment. The lander also carries a "hearing aid" to listen and relay any sound waves (that may be excited by sand storms, or botanical objects). Soon after landing, MPL will shoot two microprobes which are expected to penetrate one meter into the soil and look for water with the help of a vaporizer and a detection laser. (One meter depth is likely to map as 100,000 years of geology.) If found, and if the transmitters had survived the impact, they will send the data to MPL. Further information is available at
1998-055C USA 141 is an American military reconnoissance spacecraft that was launched by a Taurus rocket from Vandenberg AFB. The reason for the long delay in announcing is not available.

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. A supplementary list appeared as a part of SPX 542. The full list will reappear only after further major updates.

  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 38 (1997-067A), launched on 6 November 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.

    The latest additions to the GLONASS fleet are,

              1998-077A (25593) COSMOS 2362   Launched on 30 December 1998
              1998-077B (25594) COSMOS 2363         "       "
              1998-077C (25595) COSMOS 2364         "       "

  4. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. Additional information is not available.
    Designations         Common Name                       1999
    1999-002B   (25617)  OAM (Orbit Adjust Module)        29 Jan
    1997-074C   (25065)  R/B H-2                          27 Jan
    1998-074C   (25579)  R/B Long March 3                 20 Jan
    1998-062C   (25533)  Sputnik 41                       11 Jan
    1991-017B   (21148)  R/B Titan 4                      09 Jan
    1970-085A   (04583)  Meteor 1-6                       08 Jan
    1998-066F   (25532)  R/B Delta 2                      07 Jan
    1998-046J   (25421)  R/B Pegasus                      04 Jan

  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.)

    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 trajectories 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, 01 February 1999
Last updated: 05 March 2003, EVB II