National Aeronautics and Space Administration
A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 630
01 May 2006

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 April 2006 and 30 April 2006.

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

    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2006-016B    29108    CloudSat              28 April 2006
   2006-016A    29107    CALIPSO               28 April 2006
   2006-015A    29092    RSS 1                 26 April 2006
   2006-014A    29079    EROS B-1              25 April 2006
   2006-013A    29057    Progress-M 56         24 April 2006
   2006-012A    29055    ASTRA 1KR             20 April 2006
   2006-011F    29052    Formosat 3F           15 April 2006
   2006-011E    29051    Formosat 3E           15 April 2006
   2006-011D    29050    Formosat 3D           15 April 2006
   2006-011C    29049    Formosat 3C           15 April 2006
   2006-011B    29048    Formosat 3B           15 April 2006
   2006-011A    29047    Formosat 3A           15 April 2006
   2006-010A    29045    JCSAT 9               12 April 2006

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

CloudSat is an American meteorological satellite that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 11:02 UT on 28 April 2006. It will work in concert with the co-launched CALIPSO, as well as the three earlier satellites (Aqua, PARASOL, and Aura), all forming what is named as A-Train. All five have almost the same orbit, crossing the equator within 15 minutes of each other.
CloudSat carries a single radar, CPR (Cloud Profiling Radar) to obtain the reflectivity of the clouds. It transmits and receives at 94 GHz (3.2 mm wavelength) pulses of width 3.3 microseconds, through a two-meter dish at a rate of 4,300 pps. The reflectivity is obtained at a height-resolution of 500 m, and width resolution of about 2 km. Graeme Stephens of the Colorado State University at Fort Collins is the Principal Investigator. More details are available at
The initial orbital parameters of CloudSat were period 98.6 min, apogee 690 km, perigee 689 km, and inclination 98.2°.
CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) is an American-French (NASA-CNES) meteorological satellite that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 11:02 UT on 28 April 2006. It will work in concert with the co-launched CloudSat, as well as the three older satellites (Aqua, PARASOL, and Aura), all these five forming what is named as A-Train. The A-Train satellites have almost the same orbit, all crossing the equator within 15 minutes. CALIPSO carries three instruments:
CALIOP (Cloud Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) carries a two-wavelength (1064 nm, and 532 nm) pulsed transmitter, and receivers fed by a one-meter diameter telescope. The 1064 nm channel monitors the reflected intensity, and two other channels monitor the two orthogonal polarizations. It enables derivation of the vertical distribution of aerosols and water vapor at a resolution of 40 meters.
IIR (Imaging Infrared Radiometer) will image the clouds at three wavelengths: 8.65, 10.6, and 12.0 micrometers in swaths of 64 km x 64 km. The CALIOP beam will be centered on the swath. The wavelength range is selected to obtain the emissivity of cirrus clouds. The detector is a single microbolometer shared by the three wavelengths.
WFC (Wide Field Camera) is an off-the-shelf commercial star tracker camera that will take pictures in the 270-620 nm band. The URL provides more details on all instruments. David Winker, NASA Langley Research Center, USA, and Jacques Pelon at Institute of Pierre Simon Laplace, France are the Principal Investigators. The initial orbital parameters were period 98.5 min, apogee 689 km, perigee 687 km, and inclination 98.2°.
RSS 1 (Remote Sensing Satellite 1) is a Chinese (PRC) photo-imaging satellite that was launched by a Long March 4B rocket from Taiyuan Launch Center at 22:48 UT on 26 April 2006. The 2.7 tonne satellite carries instruments to enable land survey, crop appraisal and disaster monitoring. The initial orbital parameters were period 97.2 min apogee 626 km, perigee 624 km, and inclination 97.8°.
EROS B-1 is an Israeli commercial/military photo-imaging satellite that was launched by a START 1 rocket (a converted ICBM) from a mobile pad at Svobodny in far-eastern Russia at 17:47 UT on 25 April 2006. The 360 kg, 800 W satellite is capable of images at a resolution of 70 cm. The initial orbital parameters were period 94.8 min, apogee 513 km, perigee 503 km, and inclination 97.3°.
Progress-M 56 is a Russian automatic, cargo transportation craft that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 16:03 UT on 24 April 2006 on its way to the International Space Station (ISS). It carried 2.6 tonnes of fuel, food, water and equipment to the ISS and docked with the Zvezda module at 16:12 UT on 26 April. Also carried to the ISS was an experimental picosatellite named SPHERE (built by MIT students) that will float inside the station, strictly maintaining its location inside. The initial orbital parameters were period 91.4 min, apogee 348 km, perigee 337 km, and inclination 51.6°.
ASTRA 1KR is a European geostationary communications satellite that was launched from Cape Canaveral by an Atlas 5 rocket at 20:27 UT on 20 April 2006. The 4.3 tonne satellite will provide direct-to-home voice, video and internet services to much of Europe through its 32 Ku-band transponders after parking over 19.2° E longitude.
2006-011A, 2006-011B, 2006-011C, 2006-011D, 2006-011E, 2006-011F
Formosat 3A, Formosat 3B, Formosat 3C, Formosat 3D, Formosat 3E, and Formosat 3F (also known as COSMIC-A, ..., COSMIC-F) are six Taiwanese-American satellites that were launched by a Minotaur rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 01:40 UT on 15 April 2006. After maneuvering their relative positions in the orbit, they will enable derivation of the atmospheric temperature and water vapor distribution by looking for the GPS radio signals arriving from the horizon. The occulted signals suffer refraction depending upon atmospheric parameters. Such data over oceans will be especially useful in predicting cyclogenesis conditions. The initial orbital parameters of all six were nearly identical: period 95 min, apogee 540 km, perigee 496 km, and inclination 72°.
JCSAT 9 is a Japanese geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Zenit 3SL rocket from the floating Odyssey platform over the equatorial Pacific Ocean at 154 deg-W longitude at 23:30 UT on 12 April 2006. The 4.4 tonne satellite will provide voice, video and internet services through out Asia, through its 20 C-band and 20 Ku-band transponders after parking over 132° E 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)

2000-031F (26500)    R/B Proton-K                    17 April
2004-052A (28505)    SICH-1M                         15 April
2005-039A (28877)    SOYUZ-TMA 7                     08 April
1993-002D (22312)    R/B(2) Molniya                  04 April
2006-009B (28997)    R/B Soyuz-FG                    02 April

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.

The ESA probe, Venus Express (2005-045A) that was launched on 09 November 2005, attained orbit around Venus on 11 April 2006. It soon settled down to the planned orbit with a periapsis at 250 km, and an apoapsis at 66,000 km. It has fuel to operate for 1,000 days.

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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