[amsat-bb] Re: [sarex] Re: Re: ARRISat-1 Keps now available from Celestrak

Phil Karn karn at philkarn.net
Fri Aug 5 16:03:56 PDT 2011

On 8/5/11 2:14 PM, Nigel A. Gunn, W8IFF/G8IFF wrote:
> As many have said before.
> Perhaps we should get away from the American system of allocating Oscar 
> numbers and use the real world name that the builders and launch 
> agencies use.

It's longstanding tradition to give a spacecraft a pre-launch name and
then assign it another once it successfully reaches orbit.  To minimize
the confusion, the pre-launch name usually ends with a letter from a
sequence while the orbital name ends with a sequential number.

This tradition dates from the days when launch vehicles were rather
unreliable and many spacecraft didn't make it to space. Thus holes in
the numerical sequence were avoided.

E.g., the weather satellite NOAA-E became NOAA-8 when launched in 1983.
Phase 3-B became AMSAT-Oscar-10 when it was launched in 1983. Phase 3-D
became AMSAT-Oscar-40, and so on. But Phase 3-A, which was lost in the
launch failure of Ariane L-02 in 1980, never received an Oscar number
because it did not reach orbit.

We do seem to have a lot of names for this one. So far we have:

[i.e., Amateur Radio on the International Space station, Satellite #1]


Cedar (Кедр)

Does anyone know if it'll also get an Oscar number?

73, Phil, KA9Q

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