A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 590                                                                                                                               01 Jan. 2003

SPACEWARN Activities

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

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

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.
    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2002-062A    (27632)  Nimiq 2          29 December 2002
   2002-061A    (27630)  Shenzhou 4       29 December 2002
   2002-060C    (27619)  Cosmos 2396      25 December 2002
   2002-060B    (27618)  Cosmos 2395      25 December 2002
   2002-060A    (27617)  Cosmos 2394      25 December 2002
   2002-059A    (27613)  Cosmos 2393      24 December 2002
   2002-058H    (27612)  Latinsat-A       20 December 2002
   2002-058E    (27609)  Trailblazer      20 December 2002
   2002-058D    (27608)  Unisat 2         20 December 2002
   2002-058C    (27607)  Saudisat 1C      20 December 2002
   2002-058B    (27606)  Latinsat-B       20 December 2002
   2002-058A    (27605)  Rubin 2          20 December 2002
   2002-057A    (27603)  NSS 6            17 December 2002
   2002-056D    (27600)  Micro-Labsat     14 December 2002
   2002-056C    (27599)  WEOS             14 December 2002
   2002-056B    (27598)  Fedsat           14 December 2002
   2002-056A    (27597)  Adeos 2          14 December 2002
   2002-055A    (27566)  TDRS 10          05 December 2002

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

2002-062A Nimiq 2 is a Canadian geostationary communications spacecraft that was launched by a Proton-M rocket (topped by a BRIZ-M booster) from Baikonur at 23:17 UT on 29 December 2002. The 3.6 tonne (with fuel) spacecraft will provide radio, digital and "interactive" television, and internet services to subscribers in all of North America through its 32, 120 W, Ku-band transponders after parking over 91° W longitude.
2002-061A Shenzhou 4 (meaning Divine Vessel) is a Chinese (PRC) unmanned test satellite that was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China by a Long March 2F rocket at 16:40 UT on 29 December 2002. It carries a retrievable crew module with all furnishings, test equipment, and dummy astronauts to assess its viability for a manned launch. (Very similar to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, the Shenzhous carry two other modules, a service module for storing fuel and equipment, and an orbiter to continue on after the release of the crew module.) The crew module will make a parachuted soft-landing on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia after a seven day mission. The initial orbital parameters were period 89.8 min, apogee 329 km, perigee 196 km, and inclination 42.4°.
2002-060A, 2002-060B,
Cosmos 2394, Cosmos 2395, and Cosmos 2396 are three Glonass fleet spacecraft that were launched by a Proton-K rocket from Baikonur at 07:38 UT on 25 December 2002. They extend the current, depleted fleet of nine spacecraft to 12, which will grow further to a fleet of 18 spacecraft by 2004, and to 24 by 2005. (The original fleet had 24 spacecraft in the 1980s.) The initial orbital parameters of all three were close: period 676 min, apogee 19,137 km, perigee 19,127 km and inclination 64.8°.
2002-059A Cosmos 2393 is a Russian military communications spacecraft that was launched by a Molniya-M rocket from Plesetsk at 12:20 UT on 24 December 2002. The initial orbital parameters were period 704.6 min, apogee 39,187 km, perigee 517 km, and inclination 62.8°.
2002-058E Trailblazer is a 100 kg mockup of an American, commercial lunar orbiter that was launched from Baikonur by a Dnepr rocket at 17:00 UT on 20 December 2002, for testing the viability of the craft for orbiting the Moon. (Dnepr is a converted SS-18 ICBM.) If successful, these Lunar orbiters (and landers) will be launched in late 2003 through 2005. The company that sponsored the satellite "believes that there is a commercial demand for sending personal items, and burial ashes to the Moon". Initial orbital parameters were period 97.6 min, apogee 645 km, perigee 639 km, and inclination 64.6°.
2002-058D Unisat 2 is a 12 kg, Italian picosat that was launched from Baikonur by a Dnepr rocket at 17:00 UT on 20 December 2002. It carries a camera, and debris/aerosol detection sensors. Initial orbital parameters were period 97.8 min, apogee 667 km, perigee 636 km, and inclination 64.6°.
2002-058C Saudisat 1C is a Saudi Arabian picosatellite that was launched by a Dnepr rocket from Baikonur at 17:00 UT on 20 December 2002. No further information is available. Initial orbital parameters were period 98.0 min, apogee 690 km, perigee 633 km, and inclination 64.6°.
2002-058B, 2002-058H Latinsat-B and Latinsat-A are two Argentine picosatellites that were launched by a Dnepr rocket from Baikonur at 17:00 UT on 20 December 2002. These 12 kg satellites will monitor both fixed and mobile goods for the transportation industry. Initial orbital parameters of both were period 98.1 min, apogee 702 km, perigee 632 km, and inclination 64.6°.
2002-058A Rubin 2 is a German microsatellite that was launched from Baikonur by a Dnepr rocket at 17:00 UT on 20 December 2002. It is a test satellite that can operate without a dedicated ground station. It can be operated via an internet link from a PC, using the Orbcomm mobile messaging satellite network. Initial orbital parameters were period 97.9 min, apogee 679 km, perigee 635 km, and inclination 64.6°.
2002-057A NSS 6 is a Netherlands geostationary communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 4 rocket from Kourou at 23:04 UT on 20 December 2002. The 4.5 tonne (with fuel) spacecraft carriers 50 Ku-band and 10 Ka-band transponders to provide voice, video and data communications to India, China, Southeast Asia, and Australia after parking over 95° E longitude.
2002-056D Micro-Labsat is a Japanese technology experiment microsatellite that was launched by a H-2 rocket from Tanegashima Space Flight Center at 01:31 UT on 14 December 2002. Initial orbital parameters were period 100.8 min, apogee 805 km, perigee 789 km, and inclination 98.7°.
2002-056C WEOS (Whale Ecology Observation Satellite) is a Japanese microsatellite that was launched by a H-2 rocket from Tanegashima SFC at 01:31 UT on 14 December 2002. It will monitor whale migrations. Initial orbital parameters were period 100.8 min, apogee 805 km, perigee 791 km, and inclination 98.7°.
2002-056B Fedsat is an Australian (50 kg) microsatellite that was launched by a H-2 rocket from Tanegashima Space Flight Center at 01:31 UT on 14 December 2002. It carries communications, navigation and computing systems, and a sensitive magnetometer (named NewMag). It is also reported to carry a compact disk carrying voice recordings of 300 Australians as a time capsule enduring its estimated 100-year orbital life-span. It experienced some tumbling that requires corrective efforts. Initial orbital parameters were period 100.9 min, apogee 806 km, perigee 793 km, and inclination 98.7°.
2002-056A Adeos 2, also known as Midori 2 is a Japanese (NASDA) remote sensing spacecraft that was launched by a H-2 rocket from Tanegashima Space Flight Center at 01:31 UT on 14 December 2002. The 3.7 tonne (with fuel), 5 kW spacecraft has the dimensions of 4 m x 4 m x 5 m, and has a single solar panel of 0.3 m x 24 m. It carries five instruments to monitor the global climate trends. Initial orbital parameters were period 101 min, apogee 807 km, perigee 806 km, and inclination 98.7°

AMSR (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer) monitors water vapor, precipitation, sea surface temperature, wind, and ice by means of microwave radiation emanating from Earth's surface and atmosphere. It is a radiometer that operates in eight frequency bands covering 6.9 GHz to 89 GHz, and monitors the horizontal and vertical polarizations separately. With a dish of two meter aperture, the spatial resolution is 5 km in the 89 GHz band, degrading to 60 km at 6.9 GHz.

GLI (GLobal Imager) is an optical sensor to observe solar radiation reflected from Earth's surface and map vegetation, clouds etc. The data is acquired in 23 visible/near-infrared, and in 13 far-infrared channels. The scanning is done by a rotating mirror covering 12 km along track and 1,600 km cross-track, and at a resolution of 1.0 km.

SeaWinds is a scatterometer that provides wind speed and direction by observing the microwave reflection from ocean surfaces. With its 1.0 m dish, it scans the surface along conical surfaces at 18 rpm. It provides speed at an accuracy of 2 m/s, wind direction at an accuracy of 20°, both with a spatial resolution of 5 km.

ILAS-2 (Improved Limb Atmospheric Spectrometer 2) maps the vertical distribution of O3, NO2, HNO3, H2O, CFC-11, CFC-12, CH4, N2O, and ClONO2, as well as the distribution of temperature and pressure, all in the stratosphere. It observes the absorption spectrum in Earth's atmospheric limb in the 3-13 micron wavelength band, and in the 753-784 nm band of the occulting Sun. The altitude resolution is 100 m.

POLDER (POLarization and Directionality of Earth's Reflectances) measures the polarization, and spectral characteristics of the solar light reflected by aerosols, clouds, oceans and land surfaces. Eight narrow band wavelengths (443,490, 564, 670, 763, 765, 865, and 910 nm) are covered by the instrument which enables identification of the physical and optical properties of the aerosols and their role in radiation budget.
2002-055A TDRS 10 is an American (NASA), geostationary Tracking and Data Relay Satellite that was launched by an Atlas 2A rocket from Cape Canaveral at 14:42 UT on 5 December 2002, and soon reached its testing location at 150° W longitude. It joins the currently operational fleet of six TDRSs which are used to relay data from many science-payload NASA satellites. The 3.2 tonne (with fuel), 1.7 kW, hexagonal, triaxially-stabilized TDRS 10 spacecraft's enhanced capability includes simultaneous coverage of five spacecraft at multiple frequencies and at a data rate of 800 megabits/s from its Ka-band transponders, 300 Mbps from its Ku-band, and 6 Mbps from its S-band transponders.

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 additions to the GLONASS fleet are Cosmos 2394, Cosmos 2395, and Cosmos 2396.

  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)
    1984-085A (15182)  MOLNIYA 1-61                        31 December
    1967-104B (03019)  R/B                                 27 December
    2002-029F (27448)  R/B(Aux. Mot.)                      23 December
    1984-085D (15188)  R/B(2)                              20 December
    2002-042C (27517)  R/B(1) H-2A                         11 December
    2002-053A (27557)  ASTRA 1K                            10 December
    2002-048B (27541)  R/B(1)                              08 December
    1993-032B (22658)  R/B(1) Delta 2                      08 December
    2002-052A (27556)  STS 113              Landed on      07 December
    2002-041B (27514)  R/B Ariane 44L                      04 December
  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.)

    Dr. Joseph H. King, Director of World Data Center for Satellite Information, and Head of WWAS (and NSSDC) is retiring as of 3 January 2003 after over a quarter century of service to NASA. He has been fully involved with the content, credibility, and quality of the SpaceWarn Bulletins for over a decade. WWAS will endeavour to maintain the reputation of the Bulletin in 2003 and beyond. WWAS and, we are sure, many in the SpaceWarn reader community wish Dr. King many pleasant and vigorous "retirement" years.

  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, 02 January 2003
Last updated: 05 March 2003, EVB II