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Devices, manned and unmanned, which are designed to be placed into an orbit about the earth or into a trajectory to another celestial body. </dd>
From 1957 through 1962 spacecraft were designated by the year and a Greek letter assigned in the order of launching, as 1958α for the first satellite of 1958. When more than one object was put in orbit by a single launch vehicle, each object was numbered, as 1961o2. (Space probes were not included in this system until 1960). Beginning January 1, 1963, arabic numerals supplanted Greek letters in the scientific designations of all spacecraft with a lifetime of more than 90 minutes. Thus, the first satellite launched in 1963 was 1963-1, the last was 1963-55. When more than one component is put in orbit, alphabetical suffixes are added to the designations, as 1963-4A. The letter A usually designates the component carrying the principle scientific payload; B, C, etc., are used as needed for any subsidiary payloads and then for inert components in order of maximum brightness. The designation system was promulgated formally in the COSPAR Guide to Rocket and Satellite Information and Data Exchange. The Guide has been published in full in COSPAR Information Bulletin No. 9, July 1962, and in IGY Bulletin No. 61, July 1962. Table XIV is a listing of scientific satellites and space probes launched through 1964 and is reprinted from the IG Bulletin (International Geophysics Bulletin) published by the National Academy of Sciences. </dd>


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use