National Aeronautics and Space Administration
A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 628
01 March 2006

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 February 2006 and 28 February 2006.

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

    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2006-006A    28943    Arabsat 4A            28 February 2006
   2006-005A    28939    Akari (Astro-F)       21 February 2006
   2006-004A    28937    MTSat 2               18 February 2006
   2006-003A    28935    Echostar 10           15 February 2006

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

Arabsat 4A is a geostationary communications satellite of the Arabsat consortium that was launched by a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur at 20:10 UT on 28 February 2006. The 3.3 tonne (with fuel) satellite carries 24 C-band and 16 Ku-band transponders to provide voice, video and internet services to all Arab countries, after parking over 26° E longitude. It is unlikely that it could be made geostationary because the tranfer orbit attained an apogee of 14,700 km only, instead of the usual 36,000 km.
Akari, also known by its pre-launch name Astro-F, is a Japanese (JAXA/ISAS) astrophysics mission that was launched by an M-5 rocket from Uchinoura Space Center (at the southern tip of Kyushu Island) at 21:28 UT on 21 February 2006. (The rocket also released a 3.6 kg picosatellite, named Cute 1.7 (2006-005C) to train students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.) The 955 kg satellite carries a Ritchey-Chretien, F/6.1 infrared telescope with aperture 67 cm and focal length 420 cm. The primary mirror is a gold-coated silicon carbide. It carries two focal plane instruments kept at a temperature of 6 K (-450°F) by 170 liter of liquid helium. The helium supply will last for 550 days of observations. Akari is expected to provide a significant advance over the results from the earlier NASA/ESA mission, IRAS (1983-004A).
FIS (Far-Infrared Surveyor) covers four wavelength bands: 50-89, 60-110, 110-180, and 140-180 microns. The detecting CCD pixels are made of Ge:Ga, each covering 27 arc-secs in the shorter wavelength bands, and 44 arc-secs in the longer bands. The pixels are sampled at a rate of about 20 Hz.
IRC (InfraRed Camera) consists of three cameras: NIR covers the wavelength band of 1.7-5.5 microns, MIR-S covers 5.8-14.1 microns and MIR-L covers 12.4-26.5 microns. The NIR carries a CCD array of 512 x 412 InSb pixels, while the MIRs carry 256 x 256, Si:As pixels. Each of the three have a field-of-view of about 10 x 10 arc-min.
More information is available in The initial orbital parameters of Akari were period 96.6 min, apogee 694.5 km, perigee 569.9 km, and inclination 98.2°.
MTSat 2 is a Japanese (JAXA) geostationary weather satellite that was launched by an H2-A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center at 06:55 UT on 18 February 2006. The 1,250 kg (dry mass), 2.7 kW, 2.4 m x 2.6 m x 2.6 m box-shaped satellite carries an imaging telescope, backed by detectors for five wavelength channels: (1) Visible band at 0.55-0.80 microns, detected by silicon photovoltaic detectors at a spatial resolution of 1.25 km; (2) 10.3-11.3 micron infrared channel (IR1) with a HgCdTe photoconductive detector. (3) 11.5-12.5 micron channel (IR2) with a HgCdTe detector; (4) 6.5-7.0 micron water vapor channel (IR3) with a HgCdTe detector; and, (5) 3.5-4.0 micron near-infrared channel with an InSb photovoltaic detector. All infrared channels provide a spatial resolution of 5.0 km. The imagery will provide weather data/warnings, after parking over 145° E longitude. The satellite will also relay ground weather data from many stations to the Meteorological Satellite Center (MSC) in Japan.
Echostar 10 is an American geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Zenit 3SL rocket from the floating platform Odyssey on the equatorial Pacific Ocean (154° W) at 23:35 UT on 15 February 2006. The 4.3 tonne (with fuel) satellite carries several Ku-band transponders to provide direct-to-home transmissions of voice, video and internet services, through 10 uplink and 49 downlink spot beams, after parking over 110° W longitude.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

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.

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.

The latest addition to the fleet is Navstar 57, 2005-038A.

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.

Visually bright objects.

See Users must register. Conditions apply.

Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. No further information is available.

Designations         Common Name                  Decay Date (2006)

1986-103A (17264)   MOLNIYA 1-70                      01 February

60-day Decay Predictions.

See Users must register for access. Conditions apply

Miscellaneous Items.

This section contains information or data that are entered on occasion and may not be repeated in each issue of the SPACEWARN Bulletin.

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:

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