re: nomenclature

From: Walter Nissen <dk058_at_cleveland.Freenet.Edu>
Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 13:05:53 -0400
> >  When Europeans (who devised the similarly arcane X.400 addressing scheme)
> >use only the COSPAR ID (which looks like Greek to me), I end up annotating
> >their work with either the vulgar name or the catalog number; which is a
> >real annoyance in Flash.

> If I'm not mistaken the COSPAR ID is the official one, the one that is used
> by the Space Division (or whatever) of the United Nations?

COSPAR stands for Committee on Space Reasearch, which may be related to
the World Data Center A for Rockets and Satellites.

> The Cospar ID's of satellites launched before 1964 might have looked Greek
> to you, but even that has changed now :-)

I regret to say that I obviously failed to see the strong need for the
word "still" in the phrase "which still looks like Greek to me", and thank
you for pointing this out.

> I prefer the Cospar ID not just for historical reasons (we've always used it),
> but also because it actually tells you something about how old the object
> is, and which type of object it is.

I prefer it for these reasons, too, but don't we have an information
density problem here, and wouldn't even a fragment of a good vulgar name
be better than leaving it out altogether?  86MI116609 would have quite a
few advantages, e.g., and it fits within 10 characters, as would
88C*R18959 and 65ALR01807.  I have very successfully adopted base-36
notation (0-9A-Z) for the calendar (today, May 1, is 74Z), giving me 1 day
resolution over 127 years in just 3 characters (the length of the filename
extension field in MS-DOS).  You can use the catalog number to tell how
old an object is, and you can convert it to base-36, so you could shorten
86MI116609 to MI1CSD, without losing much information (CSD is 16609 in
base 36; the next Mir trash bag might be MIDH7T, D for debris and H7T
being 23600 in base 36), or expand that to MIR01 -CSD and have lots of
room for all sorts of info, including replacing the hyphen with a 1 when
object 46656 is designated (36 ^ 3 is 46656).  In MIDH7T, above, H7T is as
much a number as 23600 is, and those three base-36 digits would have all
the nice features of a pure number, and would also simultaneously stand
alone so that a "name" like "   H7T" could be used by those who want the
densest or simplest notation, or prior to identification and
classification of the object.

I love this sort of symbology, but never know when others will lose
patience and claim they'd really rather see me use 32 characters to
identify objects as I did in my list of objects seen, even tho 3 or 6 or
10 would suffice.  And, of course, who knows when Windows or Unix will
run out of steam and some further justification will have to be found to
buy larger disks.

> The BWGS, through its PPAS format, has adopted the standard to not use
> leading zeros, just leading blanks. Hence : 88- 50 A or even 90-  2 B (two
> blanks!) and also 86- 19AA. We're safe until 2057, by the way. :-)
> Whether other people use this standard, that's an entirely different matter...

I'd get very bored citing a voluminous list of examples of different
formats I've seen in, uh, shall we say, "certain literature".  The page
numbers 51, 61 and 63 could possibly have something to do with this.

I've seen all but one of these in one place or another and I'm sure you
can construct more at will (ou a volont'e):
  88-2A         88-50A           88-111AA
  88-002A       88-050A          88-111AA
1988-002A     1988-050A        1988-111AA
1988-002 A    1988-050 A       1988-111 AA
  88002A        88050A           88111AA
1988002A      1988050A         1988111AA
  88-  2A       88- 50A          88- 111AA
  88 2A         88 50A           88 111AA
  88- 2 A       88- 50 A         88- 111 AA
Received on Mon May 01 1995 - 13:38:57 UTC

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