- Name of Satellite, Alternate Names:
The current or most popularly used name is listed first, with alternate or previously used names
given under the title. A satellite can have several names during its operational lifetime,
especially commercial satellites that are sold, leased, transferred as assets in business
transactions, or simply used by more than one user. U.S. government intelligence satellites may
be known by several names at the same time. These different names are taken up in the alphabetical lists.
- Country of Operator/Owner:
The home country identified with the operator/owner is given in the case next the name, i.e., the country
that operates or owns the satellite or the home country of the business entity that does so. If this
includes three or fewer countries, each is listed; otherwise the project is simply designated as
Multinational. An exception to this is projects of the European Space Agency (ESA), which
represent the joint efforts of its 15 member states and are designated as ESA.
- The numbering is for unmanned spacecrafts, failed spacecrafts are included.
Manned spacecrafts have a separated numbering.
- NORAD Number:
The NORAD number is the five-digit number assigned by the North American Aerospace
Defense Command (NORAD) for each satellite in their catalogue. The number is assigned when
an object is first observed, and remains with the object throughout its existence.
- COSPAR Number:
The COSPAR number is the international designation assigned by the Committee on Space
Research (COSPAR) to each object launched into space. Names of satellites often change, but
this number remains constant. The number reflects the year of the launch and sequence of
launch within that year. For example, a COSPAR number of 1998-063B would indicate that the
satellite was launched in 1998, and that it was on the 63rd successful launch of that year. The
"B" indicates that the given satellite was the second object catalogued from that launch.
These list used a abbreviation of this number, ex: 1998-063B = 98063B.
- Launch date and time:
Date of launch and time are always in UTC.
|-||Winter time||Summer time|
|BST (Britisch Summer Time)|| || UTC +1 hours|
|CET (Central Europeen Time|| UTC +1 hours|| UTC +2 hours|
|GMT / UTC|| -|| -|
|EDT|| || UTC -4 hours|
|EST|| || UTC -5 hours|
|JST (Japan Standard Time)|| || UTC +9 hours|
- Launch Site:
The name and/or location of the launch facility.
- Launch Vehicle:
The name and model of the launch vehicle used to lift the satellite into orbit. The launch is often
contracted separately from the construction of the satellite, either by the prime contractor or the
owner of the satellite.
- Type of Orbit:
We divide satellite orbits into two broad classes: (1) nearly circular orbits and (2) elliptical
orbits. Satellites in elliptical orbits have apogees and perigees that differ significantly from each
other and they spend time at many different altitudes above the earth's surface. We categorize
satellite orbits with eccentricity less than 0.14 as nearly circular, and those with eccentricity 0.14
and higher as elliptical.
- Nearly Circular Orbits are further classified by their altitude:
- Low Earth Orbit (LEO) refers to orbits with altitudes between 80 km and roughly
1,700 km, where the upper altitude is chosen to correspond to an orbital period of 2
hours. In the database, LEO orbits are further labeled as:
LEO/E-low earth equatorial orbit, with inclination between 0° and 20°
LEO/I-low earth intermediate orbit, with inclination between 20° and 85°
LEO/P-low earth polar orbit, with inclination between 85° and 95°
LEO/R-low earth retrograde orbit, with inclination between 104° and 180°
LEO/Sun-sync-low earth sun-synchronous orbit, with inclination between 95° and 104°
Note: The upper altitude used to define LEO is somewhat arbitrary and different authors use different
values. This value is chosen to be consistent with Jonathan McDowell's conventions
accessed November 3, 2005). Similarly, the labeling of LEO orbits follows McDowell's.
- Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) refers to orbits with altitudes greater than 1700 km and
less than 35,700, corresponding to orbital periods between 2 and 24 hours. The most
important region of this band is near 20,000 km, which corresponds to semi-synchronous
orbits (12-hour period).
- Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO) refers to orbits with altitudes of approximately 35,700
kilometers, which corresponds to an orbital period of approximately 24 hours, allowing
these satellites to appear nearly stationary as viewed from the earth. In the database, a
number after ¡°GEO¡± is the earth longitude of the point over which the GEO satellite sits.
- Elliptical Orbits are also further classified in the database:
Elliptical/CLO refers to cislunar orbits, which have an apogee greater than 318,200 km.
Elliptical/DHEO refers to deep highly eccentric earth orbits, which have orbital period
greater than 25 hours and eccentricity greater than 0.5.
Elliptical/Molniya refers to orbits with period between 11.5 and 12.5 hours, eccentricity
between 0.5 and 0.77, and inclination between 62° and 64°.
The altitude above the Earth's surface of the satellite's perigee, which is the point of the orbit
closest to the Earth's center of mass, given in kilometers.
The altitude above the Earth's surface of the satellite's apogee, which is the point of the orbit
farthest from the Earth's center of mass, given in kilometers.
The eccentricity of a satellite's orbit describes how strongly the orbit deviates from a circle.
An orbit with eccentricity of zero is a circle.
The angle between the orbital plane of the satellite and equatorial plane of the Earth, measured in
The time required for the satellite to complete one full orbit of the Earth, given in minutes.
- Prime contractor:
The prime contractor for the satellite's construction. The construction of satellites generally
involves a number of subcontractors as well. Frequent corporate mergers mean that the name
listed as the prime contractor may not be the name of that corporation today. In creating the
database, we listed what was shown on the company or agency's website at the time the database
was originally constructed. (These will not necessarily be updated with each new version of the
Country of Contractor:
The home nation of the corporation, institution, or governmental agency that was prime
contractor for the construction of the satellite.
The satellite's current operational controller. The operator is not necessarily the satellite's owner,
as is the case for leased satellites.
- Mass at launch:
The mass of the satellite at the time of launch, including fuel, given in kilograms.
- Satellite Dry Mass:
The mass of the satellite without fuel, measured in kilograms. We have included this number
when listed in one of the sources, but users should be aware that sources are often ambiguous
about this term's definition, and it is possible the Database entries may refer to
quantities defined differently. In some cases the primary source indicates explicitly that this mass
refers to the beginning of the satellite's life, after the satellite has been placed in its assigned
orbit, and therefore apparently excludes kick motors, etc. These cases are indicated by "(BOL)"
following the entry.
- Basic shape:
Always in metres.
The amount of useable electric power produced by the satellite, often by solar panels, given in
watts. The power produced typically decreases over time; a number followed by "(BOL)" or
"(EOL)" refers to the level of power generated near the beginning or end, respectively, of the
satellite's planned lifetime.
- Expected Lifetime:
The planned operational lifetime of the satellite, given in years. This figure is reported by the
satellite's operator and may be based on the expected failure rate for the hardware and software
of the satellite, the fuel capacity of the satellite and the expected requirements for maneuvering
and stationkeeping (many satellites run out of fuel long before their hardware and software wear
out), the planned budget for operating the satellite, and the expected availability of improved
future generation satellites. This figure can be misleading, especially in terms of scientific
satellites. For example, the Akebono satellite, launched in 1989 with a design life of one year, is
still functioning in 2005.
- nog te klasseren
The affiliation of the primary users of the satellite is described with one or more of the
keywords: civil (academic, amateur), commercial, government (meteorological, scientific, etc.),
military. Satellites can be multi-use, hosting, for example, dedicated transponders for both
commercial and military applications.
The discipline in which the satellite is used. The purposes listed are those self-reported by the
satellite¡¯s operator. A slash between terms indicates the satellite is used for multiple purposes.
Terms in parentheses give more detail on the primary purpose.
All sources for the information on each satellite are reflected in these columns (see Note on
Sources above). Column BC indicates the source used for the orbital data (perigee, apogee,
oosa ¡© Office of Outer Space Affairs, United Nations. All nations have agreed to inform the
OOSA of any launches, and they are catalogued at this site. Unfortunately, many do not
comply with this agreement or do so in an incomplete manner
SC-ASCR ¡© An excellent database of orbital spacecraft is maintained on the website of the
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Heavens Above ¡© (http://www.heavens-above.com)
GS ¡© www.globalsecurity.org. Site created and maintained by John Pike, an expert on
military space (http://globalsecurity.org/space/library/report/2005/satellitetables2004.htm).