A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 581                                                                                                                            01 Apr. 2002

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 1 March 2002 and 31 March 2002.

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

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2002-016A    (27403)  Intelsat 903        30 March 2002
   2002-015B    (27400)  Astra 3A            29 March 2002
   2002-015A    (27399)  JCSat 8             29 March 2002
   2002-014A    (27397)  Shenzhou 3          25 March 2002
   2002-013A    (27395)  Progress M1-8       21 March 2002
   2002-012B    (27392)  GRACE 2             17 March 2002
   2002-012A    (27391)  GRACE 1             17 March 2002
   2002-011A    (27389)  TDRS 9              08 March 2002
   2002-010A    (27388)  STS 109             01 March 2002
   2002-009A    (27386)  ENVISAT 1           01 March 2002 

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

2002-016A Intelsat 903 is a geosynchronous communications spacecraft of the Intelsat consortium that was launched by a Proton-K rocket (with a DM-3 booster) from Baikonur at 17:25 UT on 30 March 2002. The 4.7 tonne (with fuel) spacecraft carries 23 C-band transponders (and several in Ku-band) to provide direct-to-home television and internet service to Europe and North America after parking over 34.5° W longitude.
2002-015B Astra 3A is a Luxembourg-registered European geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 44L rocket from Kourou at 01:29 UT on 29 March 2002. The 1.5 tonne satellite will provide direct-to-home TV broadcast to central European countries after parking over 23.5° E longitude.
2002-015A JCSat 8 is a Japanese geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 44L rocket from Kourou at 01:29 UT on 29 March 2002. The 2.5 tonne satellite will provide direct-to-home TV broadcast to Japan, East Asia, Australia and Hawaii after parking over 154° E longitude.
2002-014A Shenzhou 3 (Divine Vessel 3) is a Chinese (PRC) "unmanned spaceship" that was launched by a Long March 2F rocket from Jiquan Space Launch Center in the northwestern Gobi desert at 14:00 UT on 25 March 2002. It consists of three modules: a propulsion section, a conical re-entry capsule, and an orbiter. The capsule was equipped with all that would be needed for a manned flight. The emergency escape system, for automatic initiation and by ground command was repeatedly tested; more tests will be made before a manned launch. (The earlier models, Shenzhou 1 and Shenzhou 2 did not provide escape capabilities.) The capsule was expected to soft-land after a few days of orbit. Initial orbital parameters were period 91.2 min, apogee 337 km, perigee 332 km, and inclination 42.4°.
2002-013A Progress M1-8 is a Russian automatic cargo-carrying craft that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 20:13 UT on 21 March 2002. It carried 2.4 tonnes of food, fuel, oxygen, and other items to the International Space Station, and docked with it at 20:58 on 24 March 2002. Initial orbital parameters were period 92.4 min, apogee 394 km, perigee 389 km, and inclination 51.6°.
2002-012A, 2002-012B GRACE 1 and GRACE 2 (nick-named Tom and Jerry) are a pair of American-German (NASA-DLR), identical, Earth-research, 500 kg satellites that were launched by a Rockot booster from Plesetsk at 09:21 UT on 17 March 2002. The acronym stands for Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment. They aim to map the local gravitational mini-variations caused by sea-level changes, glacial motions, and seasonal melting/freezing of ice sheets. It is accomplished by measuring the relative distance between the pair, nominally 220 km, by means of K-band microwave sounding at an accuracy of few microns, and in conjunction with GPS fixes (by JPL Black Jack GPS Receivers) of their locations. The major perturbations due to air drag and solar radiation pressure will be accounted for by accelerometer data. The ranging instrument is named KBR (K-Band Ranging); the accelerometer, ACC is the ONERA SuperSTAR Accelerometer. Star Camera Assemblies (SCA) on each spacecraft will provide attitude data. Finally, a Laser Corner-Cube Reflector Assembly (LRA) mounted on the underside of each spacecraft will enable (redundantly) orbit verification. Mission operations is controlled by the DLR which will provide the raw Level-0 data to the investigators. Michael Watkins of JPL is the Project Scientist, Byron Tapley of the University of Texas Center for Space Research (UTCSR) is the Principal Investigator, and Christoph Reigber of GFZ, Potsdam is the Co-Principal Investigator. Each PI oversees the respective Science Data Center. The URL, provides more details of the mission. Initial orbital parameters of each were period 94.5 min, apogee 508, km, perigee 483 km, and inclination 89°.
2002-011A TDRS 9 (Tracking and Data Relay Satellite 9) is an American geosynchronous communications satellite that was launched by an Atlas 2A rocket from Cape Canaveral AFB at 22:59 UT on 8 March 2002. It is primarily intended to capture data streams from low-Earth satellites and relay them to ground, and vice versa. With a mass of 1,781 kg, power of 2.3 kW, a pair of steerable, transponding antennas of diameter 5 m, and pair of solar arrays of length 21 m, TDRS 9 can simultaneously transmit and receive in S-band and in either Ku- or Ka-band. Reception rates are 300 Mb/s in the Ku- and Ka-bands, and at 800 Mb/s in the S-band. The transponder rates are 25 Mb/s in the Ka- and Ku-bands, and at 300 kb/s in the S-band. The S-band phased array antenna can receive signals from five spacecraft while transmitting to one. These capabilities are common to all three of the second generation TDRSs 8, 9 and 10. The primary ground terminals for data reception are the White Sands Complex (WSC) and the Guam Remote Ground Terminal (GRGT). Efforts continue to move the TDRS to a geosynchronous orbit from the current transfer orbit with period 697 min, apogee 35,805 km, perigee 3,523 km, and inclination 21.4°.
2002-010A STS 109 is an American shuttle spacecraft that was launched from Cape Canaveral at 11:22 UT on 1 March 2002. Its mission was to repair and refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope. During five spacewalks, the crew of seven astronauts installed a new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), new rigid Solar Arrays (SA3), a new Power Control Unit (PCU), a new Cryocooler for the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS which had remained inoperative since 1999 after an unexpected loss of coolant). The ACS camera replaces the Faint Object Camera (FOC) which was brought back to Earth. The new solar arrays are 30% smaller than the older ones, but produce 20% more power; the older panels were returned to Earth. STS 109 (3B) is the fourth servicing mission to the HST, after the previous, 3A mission in December 1999. For more details see The shuttle landed back at Cape Canaveral at 09:32 UT on 12 March 2002. The initial orbital parameters of the STS 109 were period 95.3 min, apogee 578 km, perigee 486 km, and inclination 28.5°.
2002-009A ENVISAT 1 is an European (ESA) environmental remote-sensing spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 01:07 UT on 1 March 2002. The 6.5-kW, 8.1-tonne (including 319 kg of fuel) spacecraft is reported to be the most massive and expensive of the European satellites, and carries 10 sensors to monitor global warming, the ozone hole and desertification. The spacecraft has a square cross-section of about 2.5 m x 2.5 m and a length of 10 m, and carries a single solar-power panel of about 4 m x 12 m. The long axis (X) is perpendicular to the orbital plane, the Y-axis is along track and the Z-axis is Earth-pointing. The Earth-looking synthetic aperture radar antenna of 10 m x 1.3 m is along the Y-axis. The spacecraft carries three 30 Gbit tape recorders and one 60 Gbit solid state recorder from which the data can be dumped over selected locations like Kiruna (Sweden) at a rate of 100 Mbits/s via three X-band and three Ka-band links. Among the instruments, the ASAR (Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar) provides images at 5.33 GHz of land and sea surfaces at the resolution of <30 m. It has a high data rate of about 100 Mbits/s, but at 1 Mbit/s over oceans. The swath width is >100 km. GOMOS (Global Ozone Monitoring by Occultation of Stars) measures ozone and other trace elements in the altitude range of 20-100 km. Its steerable telescope points to one or another of 25 bright stars until that star is seen through the dense atmosphere. The 930-nm channel enables derivation of the vertical water vapor profile, the 760-nm (oxygen) channel provides the temperature profile, and the 250-675-nm channel provides ozone profile. In all the bands the spectral resolution is about 1.0 nm or less. The profile resolution is at 1.7 km. The MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) is primarily an ocean sensor, covering the 390-1040 nm band. The swath width of 1,150 km is covered by five identical cameras and the images are fed to the entrance slits of five grating spectrometers, each of which directs the output to CCD arrays in 15 narrow wavelength bands. The targeted features are oceanic pigmentation, vegetation and cloud cover. The MIPAS (Michelson Interferometer for Passive Atmospheric Sounding) is a Fourier Transform interferometer and is intended to monitor about 20 trace gases, including the CFC and NOx groups by looking at their emission lines in the 4.15-14.6 micron wavelength band from the dense layers at the horizon. The CCD detectors are held at 70 K. Data acquisition is at 530 kb/s. The RA-2 (Radar Altimeter 2) is a 160-W, dual-frequency (13.57 GHz in Ku-band, and 3.2 GHz in S-band) instrument that determines land and ocean surface levels at an accuracy of 4 cm. Analysis of the reflected pulse shape provides the characteristics of the surface also. The MWR (MicroWave Radiometer) is primarily intended to monitor the atmospheric humidity so as to correct the RA-2 data for humidity-caused delay. It is a Dicke-type radiometer operating on 23.8 and 36.5 GHz, the beams being separated by 70 km along the ground track on either side of the nadir. The LRR (Laser Retro-Reflector) reflects back to ground-stations the visible laser pulses, providing additional range information. The AATSR (Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer) primarily seeks to extend the ERS 1 and 2 databases for sea surface temperature (SST), at an accuracy of 0.5 K. It captures surface radiation at seven wavelength bands (1.6, 3.7, 10.85, 12; 0.555, 0.67, 0.865 microns). The infrared bands provide the temperature of land and sea, and the visible bands enable vegetation monitoring. The temperature accuracy is adequate to spot nascent El Niño pockets of size 1 km or more. The DORIS (Doppler Orbitography and Radio-positioning, Integrated by Satellite) is intended to obtain precise orbit determination by receiving doppler-shifted microwave transmissions at 2.036 GHz and 401.25 MHz) from one or other of the several ground stations (each with three transmitting antennas on either side of the ground track), through its pair of omindirectional receiving antennas. The spacecraft's position can be determined with 1 m accuracy and its velocity at 2.5 mm/s accuracy. Finally, the tenth instrument, SCIAMACHY (SCanning Image Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CartograpHY) is intended to analyze the emitted and scattered radiation from the stratosphere and troposphere in the extensive band of 240-2400 nm through eight wavelength channels. Polarization is also measured in seven of the channels. Many trace gases, dust storms, arctic haze, aerosols, etc., contribute to the radiation. The instrument looks down at the nadir and at the horizon. The former provides total columnar content and the later enables vertical profile derivation. A scanning mirror enables azimuthal scan of swath 1000 km segmented into 16 km x 32 km sections. The downlinking of the datastream will be over Kiruna (Sweden) and over ESRIN (Italy). There are extensive Web sites for Envisat that may be reached via; but we have not located the names or institutions of the Principal Investigator, if applicable, for each instrument. The email contact for ESA HQ is Initial orbital parameters were period 100.6 min, apogee 791 km, perigee 785 km, and inclination 98.6°.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

  1. Spacecraft with essentially continuous radio beacons on frequencies less than 150 MHz, or higher frequencies if especially suited for ionospheric or geodetic studies. (NNSS denotes U.S. Navy Navigational Satellite System. Updates or corrections to the list are possible only with information from the user community.)

    Note: The full list appeared in SPX 545. The list will not be repeated in future issues until significantly revised again.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    The latest addition to the GLONASS fleet are Cosmos 2380, Cosmos 2381, and Cosmos 2382.

  4. Visually bright objects.

    See Users must register. Conditions apply.

  5. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. No further information is available.
    Designations         Common Name                  Decay Date (2002)
    2002-012C (27393)  R/B Breeze-KM                          27 Mar
    1985-035C (15679)  R/B Ariane 3                           27 Mar
    1997-064B (25018)  R/B Titan 4                            26 Mar
    2002-013B (27396)  R/B Soyuz-U                            23 Mar
    2001-051A (26983)  PROGRESS M1-7                          20 Mar
    1995-069B (23742)  R/B Atlas 2A Centaur                   16 Mar
    1988-044A (19189)  MOLNIYA 3-32                           15 Mar
    2002-010A (27388)  STS 109             Landed back on     12 Mar
    2002-008B (27383)  R/B Soyuz-U                            28 Feb
  6. 60-day Decay Predictions.

    See Users must register for access. Conditions apply

  7. Miscellaneous Items. (This section contains information/data that are entered on occasion and may not be repeated in each issue of the SPACEWARN Bulletin.)

  8. 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:

SPACEWARN Bulletin index About the SPACEWARN Bulletin About Spacecraft Categories NSSDC home page

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

Dr. Edwin Bell, II
NASA Official: Dr. David R. Williams
V1.0, 01 April 2002
Last updated: 05 March 2003, EVB II