NASA Spacewarn Bulletin No. 627 01 February 2006

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2006


A monthly publication of the National Space Science Data Center/World Data Center for Satellite Information

No. 627 01 February 2006

SPACEWARN Activities

All information in this publication was received between 01 January 2006 and 31 January 2006.

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

    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2006-002A    28931    ALOS (Daichi)         24 January 2006
   2006-001A    28928    New Horizons          19 January 2006

B. Text of Launch Announcements.

ALOS (Advanced Land Observing Satellite), also known as Daichi, is a Japanese (JAXA) remote sensing craft that was launched by a H-2A rocket from Tanegashima Space Center at 01:33 UT on 24 January 2006. The four-tonne satellite carries three instruments for cartographic and natural resource monitoring.
PRISM (Panchromatic Remote-sensing Instrument for Stereo Mapping) consists of three identical cameras, one directly towards nadir, one at 24 degrees forward-inclined and another at 24 degrees backward-inclined. Image progression is entailed by the satellite motion, not by scanning. With a swath of 70 km for the nadir camera (and 35 km for the other two), it enables 2.5 m resolution stereo pictures in the wavelength band of 0.52-0.77 nm, through 28,000 CCD pixels.
AVNIR-2 (Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer, type 2) is a radiometer covering visible and infrared wavelengths in four bands: 0.42-0.50, 0.52-0.60, 0.61-0.69, and 0.76-0.89 micron, with each band covered by 7,000 CCD pixels. The spatial resolution is 10 m. It can scan cross-track a swath of 1,500 km.
PALSAR (Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar) operates at a frequency of 1,270 MHz. It can operate in any of three modes: fine resolution, scan, or polarimetric mode. The spatial resolution varies from about 40 km in the fine resolution and polarimetric modes to 300 km in the scan mode.
The initial orbital parameters were period 98.7 min, apogee 700 km, perigee 698 km, and inclination 98.2°.
New Horizons is an American (NASA) planetary probe directed toward Pluto and other bodies in the Kuiper Belt. It was launched by an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 19:00 UT on 19 January 2006. It will have a close encounter with Jupiter in February 2007 to obtain a gravity-assisted velocity boost and then make a nine-year cruise to reach Pluto (and its satellite Charon) by about 2016. The 450 kg (including fuel), triaxially spin-stabilized craft with 16 trim-maneuvering hydrazine thrusters carries six monitors, all powered by an RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) consuming 11 kg of Plutonium.
Ralph is a 6-cm aperture telescope that focuses light onto two cameras. MVIC camera operates in the visible wavelengths, utilizing four different color filters. When the light is faint, the camera will perform panchromatically. The images are captured on an array of CCDs. The other camera is an infrared, etalon analyzer which can identify the spectral lines from methane, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and water vapor in the atmospheres of Pluto and Charon.
Alice is an ultraviolet imaging spectrometer to probe Pluto's atmosphere. It can image the atmosphere either in the emitted airglow wavelengths or in the absorption lines as the sunlight reaches Alice after penetrating Pluto's atmosphere.
REX (Radio EXperiment) is essentially a receiver that monitors the strong transmissions from NASA's Deep Space Network as they traverse the deeper atmosphere of Pluto before reaching REX. It may help in mapping the lower atmospheric density.
LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) provides the highest resolution (100 m) pictures of Pluto in visible light through a simple 21 cm aperture telescope, backed by a CCD array.
SWAP (Solar Wind Analyzer around Pluto) will capture the solar wind near Pluto to infer whether the planet has a magnetosphere.
PEPPSI (Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Investigation) will monitor the atoms that escape from Pluto and get ionized and energized by interaction with the solar wind.
SDC (Student Dust Counter) was built by University of Colorado (Boulder) students to continuously monitor the size of dust particles during much of the cruise phase.
New Horizon also carried a public relations CD containing signatures of 435,000 Americans. The CD will likely remain on the probe "forever".
S. Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder is the Principal Investigator of the New Horizon mission. The Project Manager is Glen Fountain of the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University. Further details maybe seen in

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 80 dedicated global stations that are of interest to geodetic study may be obtained through the following services provided by the International Association of Geodesy (IGS)

     FTP:  [directory /igscb]

The standard format of the GPS situation appeared in SPX-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 SPX-545. It will not be repeated in view of the excellent updated source at: maintained by the Coordinational Scientific Information Center (CSIC), Russian Space Forces.

According to CSIC the latest addition to the fleet are GLONASS 712, GLONASS 796, and GLONASS 797. Their International IDs are 2005-050A, 2005-050B, and 2005-050C.

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)

2005-038B (28875)   R/B Delta 2                       30 January
2005-023F (28712)   R/B (Aux.Mot.) Proton-K           30 January
2005-030B (28791)   R/B Fregat                        21 January

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 NASA interplanetary probe named Stardust (1999-003A) released its capsule containing dust particles from Comet Wild-2. The capsule made a successful soft-landing over Utah at 10:12 UT on 15 January 2006.

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 633, 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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