NASA Spacewarn Bulletin No. 636 01 November 2006

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2006


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

No. 636 01 November 2006

SPACEWARN Activities

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

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

    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2006-049A    29520     XM 4                  30 October 2006
   2006-048A    29516     SinoSat 2             28 October 2006
   2006-047B    29511     STEREO-B              26 October 2006
   2006-047A    29510     STEREO-A              26 October 2006
   2006-046B    29506     Shijian 6D            23 October 2006
   2006-046A    29505     Shijian 6C            23 October 2006
   2006-045A    29503     Progress-M 58         23 October 2006
   2006-044A    29499     METOP-A               19 October 2006
   2006-043C    29496     LDREX 2               13 October 2006
   2006-043B    29495     OPTUS D1              13 October 2006
   2006-043A    29494     DirecTV 9S            13 October 2006
B. Text of Launch Announcements.

XM 4 is an American geostationary satellite that was launched by a Zenit 3SL rocket from the floating platform, Odyssey parked on the equatorial Pacific ocean at 154° W longitude, at 23:49 UT on 30 October 2006. The 5.2 tonne (with fuel) craft carries an 18 kW transponder to provide S-band Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) to homes and automobiles in North America, after parking over 115° W longitude.
SinoSat 2 is a Chinese (PRC) geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Long March 3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province at 16:20 UT on 28 October 2006. The 5.1 tonne (with fuel) satellite carries 22 transponders to provide analog and digital television to China and Taiwan after parking over approximately 110° E longitude.
2006-047A, 2006-047B
STEREO-A(head) and STEREO-B(ehind) are two identical American (NASA) heliospheric craft that were launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 00:52 UT on 26 October 2006. Each of the 620 kg (dry mass), 4.3 m x 6.4 m x 2.6 m craft will soon be maneuvered so that STEREO-A will orbit the Sun ahead of the Earth (with an orbital period of 345 days), and STEREO-B will orbit behind the Earth (with an orbital period of 385 days). The mission seeks to image the Sun and its emissions stereographically, so that it can be predicted whether a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is heading toward the Earth. They carry identical pairs of four instruments, as described at, and Madhulika Guhathakurta of NASA HQ is the Program Scientist. The Project Scientist is Michael Kaiser of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
SECCHI (Sun-Earth Connection Coronal and Heliospheric Investigation) will image the emitted CMEs from the solar surface onwards. It carries four telescopes (one UV, two white-light coronagraphs, and a heliospheric imager). The Principal Investigator is Russell Howard of the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. See
SWAVES (Stereo Waves) is a standard radio burst receiver operating in meter and kilometer wavelengths, in order to capture emissions from streaming electrons and traveling heliospheric shockwaves. Jean-Louis Bougeret of Paris Observatory is the Principal Investigator. See
IMPACT (In-situ Measurements of Particles and CME Transients) carries energetic particle detectors to monitor the flux of particles and local magnetic field. Janet Luhmann of the University of California, Berkeley is the Principal Investigator. See
PLASTIC (PLAsma and SupraThermal Ion Composition) monitors the energies of protons and alpha particles, and the mass, energy, and charge state of heavy ions. Antoinette Galvin of the University of New Hampshire is the Principal Investigator. See
2006-046A, 2006-046B
Shijian 6C and Shijian 6D are Chinese (PRC) satellites that were launched by a Long March 4B rocket from Taiyuan launch center in Shanxi province on 23 October 2006 at 23:34 UT (07:34 a.m., 24 October). They carry radiation detectors and other space environment-related instruments. The initial orbital parameters of both were similar: period 96.6 min, apogee 600 km, perigee 595 km, and inclination 97.7°.
Progress-M 58 is a Russian automatic cargo craft that was launched by a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur at 13:41 UT on 23 October 2006. It carried 2.2 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station (including 870 kg of propellant for the ISS thrusters). It docked automatically with the Zvezda module of the ISS on 26 October and delivered the supplies. The initial orbital parameters were period 91.3 min, apogee 346 km, perigee 329 km, and inclination 51.63°.
METOP-A is a European (ESA/EUMETSAT), polar-orbiting weather satellite that was launched by a Soyuz-Fregat rocket (sometimes called Soyuz 2) from Baikonur at 16:28 UT on 19 October 2006. The 4.1 tonne, 17 m x 6.5 m x 5.2 m craft carries 10 instruments. The IASI spectrometer will provide temperature and humidity profiles. The GOME 2 spectrometer will probe the atmosphere for ozone and trace gases. The ASCAT scatterometer will measure the wind speed and direction over the ocean. The GRAS payload will provide atmospheric density profile by means of occulted GPS signals. The MHS instrument will provide microwave-measured humidity profiles.
In addition, there are five heritage instruments provided by NOAA: The AVHRR radiometer for global imagery, the AMSU-A microwave "sounder", the HIRS infrared "sounder", an advanced ARGOS data collection system, and the SEM-2 particle spectrometer to monitor the energetic particles. The "sounders" are horizon-scanning passive instruments that enable inference of vertical profiles.
Operationally, there will be close collaboration between NOAA, ESA, and EUMETSAT. For more details of METOP-A, see, which provides links to several web sites. The initial orbital parameters were period 101.3 min, apogee 821 km, perigee 819 km, and inclination 98.7°.
LDREX 2 is a Japanese (JAXA) technology demonstration craft that was launched by an Ariane-5 ECA rocket from Kourou at 21:56 UT on 13 October 2006. It was to deploy a light-weight radio antenna reflector. No information is available on the success of the deployment. The initial orbital parameters were period 629.6 min, apogee 35,648 km, perigee 264 km, and inclination 7.0°.
OPTUS D1 is an Australian geostationary communications satellite that was launched by an Ariane-5 ECA rocket from Kourou at 21:56 UT on 13 October 2006. The 2.5 tonne (with fuel) craft carries 24 Ku-band transponders to provide voice and video transmissions to Australia and New Zealand after parking over a nearby longitude.
DirecTV 9S is an American geostationary communications satellite that was launched by an Ariane-5 ECA rocket from Kourou at 21:56 UT on 13 October 2006. The 5.5 tonne (with fuel) craft carries 52 Ku-band and two Ka-band transponders to provide direct-to-home, through its 27 spot-beams, voice, video, and internet transmissions to North American subscribers after parking over 101° or 119° 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 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)

1978-071C (10983)   R/B that launched GEOS 2          19 October
1988-112D (19716)   R/B(2) that launched MOLNIYA 3-34 10 October
2006-035B (29386)   R/B Long March 2C                 03 October
2006-030C (29262)   R/B (1) Molniya-M                 30 September
2006-009A (28996)   SOYUZ-TMA 8 Landed back on        29 September
1992-011D (21900)   R/B (2) Molniya                   26 September
1990-052D (20649)   R/B (2)that launched MOLNIYA 3-38 13 September

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 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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