Status Report

SPACEWARN Bulletin 610

By SpaceRef Editor
September 4, 2004
Filed under , ,

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.
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

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.)

    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

    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

SpaceRef staff editor.