Satellite TLE Object ID’s

TLEsNico Janssen PA0DLO reports the process of producing Object ID’s for newly launched satellites has changed recently.

Writing on the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) he says:

It seems that the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) has changed some of their policies lately. After the launch of multiple small satellites late last year it took a long time to get them all identified. Apparently they don’t want to leave all the TBAs in their database for a long time, so now they use a different approach: they randomly assign the names of all satellites of a launch to the observed objects and then wait for reactions from the users of the satellites to see if the assignments are correct.

This is how e.g. the Cubesats, that recently were launched from the ISS, got ‘identified’ only a few days after their launch. So of course now we find that some identifications are wrong.

Doppler measurements clearly show that the following IDs are correct:
Object 39568, 1998-067EM, is LitSat 1
Object 39569, 1998-067EN, is LituanicaSat 1.

I am trying to get these corrected.

In the past the policy was to assign the ‘A’ object to the main payload of a launch. Secundary payloads, like Cubesats, would then get ‘B’, ‘C’, etc. So if the main payload initially was linked to the wrong TLE set, this required some swapping of TLE sets some time after the launch. Now they have decided to prevent this confusion by simply leaving the main payload assigned to another object than ‘A’ if required. Therefore the GPM satellite now is assigned to 2014-009C and this will not change anymore.

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