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Some notes about Cospar/USSPACOM identifications

For a while now, Bart and I had a little discussion concerning changing USSPACECOM/COSPAR identifications. Designations of certain satellites have been changed in the passed or present. The most recent example is 92-38A which was the Scout rocket but now seems to be Sampex and vice versa. I find such changes very frustrating, especialy when you are trying to collect, archive and analyse new observations. What could we do in order to have a uniform system ?

We keep the old designations

Then you should be aware that at the time the satellite has got a new designation you aren't looking at the same object anymore. You should use the elements of the other object.

We change when USSPACECOM changes

Then we have two designations in the PPAS for one and the same object. This is not very good for period analysis but we can change all previous designations into the new ones.

We change when we think USSPACECOM has interchanged the designations (or is tracking the wrong object)

Cfr. 92-38A, 78-18B etc.

Don't hesitate to let me know which system you prefer (by Email, mail, Flash, or Seesat L).

Tristan Cools



bdp@mpe.mpe-garching.mpg.de