SPACEWARN Bulletin 610

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Saturday, September 4, 2004

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

All information in this publication was received between 1 August 2004 and 31 August 2004.

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

USSPACECOM Catalog numbers are in parentheses.

    INT.ID    CAT. #      NAME                   DATE (UT)
   2004-032A   (28399)    Progress-M 50         11 August 2004
   2004-031A   (28393)    Amazonas              04 August 2004
   2004-030A   (28398)    MESSENGER             03 August 2004
B. Text of Launch Announcements.

2004-032A Progress-M 50 is a Russian cargo carrier that was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur at 05:03 UT on 11 August 2004. It carried 2.5 tonnes of food, fuel, air and water to the International Space Station (ISS). It docked automatically with the Zvezda module of the ISS at 05:02 UT on 14 August 2004. In anticipation of the docking, the previously docked Progress-M 49 was undocked on 30 July, carrying a load of trash to de-orbit and burn up. The initial orbital parameters were period 91.7 min, apogee 363 km, perigee 352 km and inclination 51.6°.
2004-031A Amazonas is a Spanish geostationary communications satellite that was launched by a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur at 22:32 UT. on 4 August 2004. The 4.5 tonne satellite carries 36 Ku-band, and 27 C-band transponders to provide broad-band video and internet services to the North and South American continents and western Europe after parking over 61° W longitude.
2004-030A MESSENGER is an American (NASA) interplanetary probe that was launched by a Delta 2 rocket from Cape Canaveral at 06:16 UT on 3 August 2004. It will eventually flyby and then orbit around Mercury in 2011. Meanwhile it will undergo encounters with Earth (in August 2005) and with Venus (in October 2006, and June 2007). There will be three flybys over Mercury (in January 2008, October 2008, and September 2009) in order to initiate a capture orbit in March 2011. The orbit around Mercury will be highly elliptical, with altitudes ranging from 200-15000 km. The orbital period will be about 12 hours, and inclination about 80°. The 1.1 tonne, 640 W spacecraft carries several imagers and spectrometers at a temperature of -183° C. They are outlined below. The Principal Investigator is Sean C. Solomon of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. He will be backed by instrument-specific Lead Scientists. The Project Scientist is Ralph L. McNutt, Jr. at APL/JHU. Additional information on the mission is available in

MDIS (Mercury Dual Imaging System) is a 7.9 kg, 10 W instrument and consists of wide-angle (10.5° FoV) and a narrow-angle (1.5° FoV) imagers in visible light, to image landforms in directions commanded by the investigating team. The wide-angle camera carries CCDs to map in 12 wavelength bands covering 400-1100 nm. The panchromatic narrow-angle camera will provide 18-meter resolution images. Louise Prockter (APL/JHU) is the Lead Scientist.

GRNS (Gamma-Ray and Neutron Spectrometer) is a 13.1 kg, 23.6 W instrument that will capture the gamma rays and neutrons emitted by the atoms on Mercury's surface and in the atmosphere that arise from the impact of cosmic rays. Edgar Rhodes (APL/JHU) is the Lead Scientist.

XRS (X-Ray Spectrometer) is a 3.4 kg, 11.4 W, 12° FoV instrument that will measure the 1-10 keV X-rays from Mercury arising as fluorescent emissions during the impact by solar gamma rays and hard X-rays. Three gas-filled detectors will look to the planet while a solid-state detector will look sunward. It will enable inference of the composition of the surface elements. Richard Starr (GSFC/NASA) is the Lead Scientist.

MAG (MAGnetometer) is a 4.4 kg, 4.2 W instrument mounted at the end of a 3.6 m boom that will map Mercury's magnetic field and search for magnetized rocks in the crust. Brian Anderson (APL/JHU) is the Lead Scientist.

MLA (Mercury Laser Altimeter) is 7.4 kg, 38.6 W infrared (1,064 nm) laser instrument that will enable accurate micro-topography of the surface. It will emit and receive eight pulses per second, enabling range measurement at an accuracy of 20 cm. David Smith (GSFC/NASA) is the Lead Scientist.

MASCS (Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer) is a 3.1 kg, 8.2 W instrument that is sensitive to a wide band of wavelengths from infrared to ultraviolet and will map the atmospheric composition of atoms and molecules. William McClintock (U. Colorado, Boulder) is the Lead Scientist.

EPPS (Energetic Particle and Plasma Spectrometer) is 3.1 kg, 7.8 W instrument that will monitor the energetic particles and plasma in Mercury's magnetosphere. It is actually a two-instrument package: Energetic Particle Spectrometer (EPS) and Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS). They both use time-of-flight detectors and energy detectors to obtain species counts and energies. Barry Mauk (APL/JHU) is the Lead Scientist.

RS (Radio Science) will extract the doppler shift in the spacecraft telemetry signals accurately enough to infer the gravitational anomalies over Mercury, arising from crustal thickness variations. David Smith (GSFC/NASA) is the Lead Scientist.
C. Spacecraft Particularly Suited for International Participation

  1. 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.

  2. 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 54, 2004-009A.

  3. 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.

  4. Visually bright objects.

    A comprehensive list of visually bright objects with their two-line orbital elements is available through a NASA site as follows:

    1. Go to
    2. Select "OIG Main Page".
    3. Select "Send Message to System administrator", who will provide a login account.
    4. After getting an ID and a Password, click on "Registered User Login". (Step (3) is not needed after obtaining an account.)
    5. Select "Continue".
    6. Select "General information".
    7. Select "Reports".
    8. Select "Special Interest Group Report".
    9. Select "Visible Interest Satellites" along with "Header and TLE".

    The list does not provide visual magnitude, but are expected to be brighter than magnitude 5. Note: The login requirement is enforced due to the events on 11 September 2001.

  5. Actual decays/landings of payload spacecraft and rocket bodies (R/B) only. No further information is available.
    Designations         Common Name                  Decay Date (2004)
    1978-083A (11015)  COSMOS 1030                      17 August
    2004-032B (28400)  R/B Soyuz-U                      13 August
    2004-019A (28261)  PROGRESS-M 49                    30 July
  6. 60-day Decay Predictions.

    The USSPACECOM forecasts and maintains a list of decays of orbiting objects expected in the next 60 days , with fair accuracy. The list may be accessed through a NASA site as follows:

    1. Go to
    2. Select "OIG Main Page".
    3. Select "Send Message to System administrator", who will provide a login account.
    4. After getting an ID and a Password, click on "Registered User Login". (Step (3) is not needed after obtaining an account.)
    5. Select "Continue".
    6. Select "General information".
    7. Select "Reports".
    8. Select "Sixty Day Decay...".

    Note: The login requirement is enforced due to the events on 11 September 2001.

  7. Miscellaneous Items. (This section contains information/data that are entered on occasion and may not be repeated in each issue of the SPACEWARN Bulletin.)
  8. 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:

SPACEWARN Bulletin index About the SPACEWARN Bulletin About Spacecraft Categories NSSDC home page

Questions/comments about the content of these pages should be directed to:
The World Warning Agency for Satellites,
National Space Science Data Center, Mail Code 633
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771

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