National Aeronautics and Space Administration
A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information
No. 653
01 April 2008

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 March 2008 and 31 March 2008.

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

International ID
Catalog Number
Spacecraft Name Launch Date (UT)
2008-014A 32750 SAR-Lupe 4 27 March 2008
2008-013A 32729 DirecTV 11 19 March 2008
2008-012A 32711 Navstar 62 15 March 2008
2008-011A 32708 AMC 14 14 March 2008
2008-010A 32706 USA 200 13 March 2008
2008-009A 32699 STS 123 11 March 2008
2008-008A 32686 Jules Verne 09 March 2008

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

SAR-Lupe 4 is a German military Synthetic Aperture Radar that was launched by a Kosmos 3-M rocket from Plesetsk at 17:15 UT on 27 March 2008. The 770 kg craft is the fourth of a five-craft fleet, each providing images at one-meter resolution, that will be shared with the French military. Initial orbital parameters were period 94.4 min, apogee 486 km, perigee 448 km, and inclination 98.16°.
DirecTV 11 is an American geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Zenit 3SL rocket from the floating platform Odyssey located at equatorial 154° W longitude at 22:48 UT on 19 March 2008. The 5.9 tonne (with fuel) craft will provide HDTV throughout North America, through its 55 spot-beam transponders in the Ka-band after parking over 99.2° W longitude.
Navstar 62, also known as USA 201 and as GPS 2R-19(M), is an American navigational craft in the GPS fleet, that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 06:09 UT on 15 March 2008. It will be a stand-by replacement satellite. The initial orbital parameters were period 718 min, apogee 20,218 km, perigee 20147 km, and inclination 55.1°.
AMC 14 was to be an American geostationary communications craft. It was launched by a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur on 14 March 2008, but the Breeze M final stage failed to deliver the craft to geostationary orbit. With an altitude deficit of 8000 km, it would require the use of all the fuel to raise the orbit, severely curtailing its life span. As of 31 March 08, its period remained 576 min, inclination at 49°, perigee at 773 km, and apogee at 35,576 km, indicating that no attempt to make it geostationary might have been made.
USA 200 is an American military (NRO) reconnaissance satellite that was launched by an Atlas 5 rocket from Vandenberg AFB at 10:02 UT on 13 March 2008. Orbital parameters are unavailable.
STS 123 is an American space shuttle that was launched from Cape Canaveral at 08:28 UT on 11 March 2008. It transported seven astronauts (six American and one Japanese), a Japanese research laboratory (Kibo) and a Canadian robotic arm (Dextre) to the International Space Station (ISS). It docked with the ISS at 03:49 UT on 13 March.
The Kibo laboratory is the first segment of the full laboratory that will be completed during the next two shuttle visits, by STS 124 and STS 127. It will consist of a pressurized unit (length: 11.2 m, diameter: 4.4 m) inside Kibo, and an exposed platform (5.6 m x 5.0 m x 4.0 m). Each of them has a logistic module and can be commanded from Kibo.
Dextre is a 1.5 tonne robotic arm with several joints that will do some of the work that otherwise would require spacewalks. Installation of Kibo and Dextre required five spacewalks, including one of seven hours duration for Dextre installation.
The 16-day mission ended when the shuttle landed back in Cape Canaveral at 00:39 UT on 27 March 2008. The initial orbital parameters at launch were period 91.4 min, apogee 343 km, perigee 340 km, and inclination 51.6°.
Jules Verne, also known as ATV 1, is ESA's first automatic transfer vehicle that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 04:03 UT on 09 March 2008. The 11 tonne, 10.3 m x 4.5 m craft can transport 9 tonnes of cargo and dock automatically (like the Russian Progress) with the International Space Station (ISS). The maiden flight remained a "free-flyer" until the undocking of STS 123 on 27 March. It successfully demonstrated the ability to reach ISS within 3.5 km with the help of GPS transmissions, and, in another attempt, to reach within 11 m with the help of laser ranging. These demonstrations earned the approval by the ISS managers to make an actual docking with the Zvezda module of the ISS on 03 April 2008. It will remain docked for six months until undocking, deorbiting and burn out. Three more ATVs are under construction. The orbital parameters of the free-flyer phase were period 91.35 min, apogee 341 km, and perigee 340 km, and inclination 51.6°.

C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

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 GPS 2R-18 (2007-062A).

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.

According to CSIC the latest additions to the fleet are 2007-065A, 2007-065B, and 2007-065C.

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 (2008)

2008-009A (32699)    STS 123  landed back on          27 March
2007-046B (32259)    R/B Atlas 5/Centaur              22 March

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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