Re: Another Tselina strangeness, space debris, and names

Bart De Pontieu (BDP@MPEPL)
Mon, 08 Apr 1996 18:29:34 +0100 (CET)

Walter quoted from a message I sent to UseSat-L:

>>This may a good place to add what names satellites have. And to tell the 
>>people they should absolutely refrain from using that dreaded US Spacecom 
>>number (the old NORAD number). The only official code is the COSPAR-ID, 
>>under a treaty of the UN. Hey yanks, it's time to change your ways and 
>>stop using an americo-centered number ! :-) 
>When the Europeans decide which one of the dozen or more extant formats 
>for writing the COSPAR-ID they prefer to standardize on, and actually do 
>so, who knows what could happen?  People on this side of the pond may 
>actually start paying attention?!

The COSPAR-ID is not a European invention, it's the one that is preferred
by the United Nations. It is true that the BWGS in particular
has always favoured using the COSPAR-ID, though.
The BWGS has always tried using the same format for the COSPAR-ID, i.e. no
leading zeroes, and a 'dash' between the year and the number. 
Not-correct: 86017A, 8617A, 86-017A, etc...
Correct: 86- 17 A or 86-17A.
The PPAS format prefers the first one, but the COSPAR-newsletter isn't as
strict with the 'blanks' as we are. Why do I say only those are 'correct'?
Because those are the ones used by COSPAR itself.

Why do I like the COSPAR-ID? Because it conveys more information that the
USSPACECOM number. And, of course, because I've been used to using it for
13 years now. :-)

Until we agree upon using just one number/ID, the BWGS tries to mention all
3 names (or at least two) in most of its documents.