Re: New globalstar observed?

Ron Lee (ronlee@pcisys.net)
Sat, 25 Apr 1998 12:47:16 -0600

Well folks.  Despite my egregious error in telling European
observers that they would have a chance to see Globalstar using
the elset below, the elset was remarkably good for early revs
once the orbit was circularized.

What Ed saw (as did Bud Smith?), was the depletion burn.  This gets
rid of unused propellant to help lessen the chance of later explosions
that would create debris.  The orbit AFTER the burn is about 420x1240 km
which means that its orbital lifetime is reduced.  I will leave any
elaboration of how much to smarter people like Alan Pickup.

The depletion burn was to occur about 6900-6905 seconds after launch
which puts it starting about 00:33:34 UT on 25 April.  So you saw the 
exhaust (?) from the stage that just prior had deployed the four
Globalstars.  If you saw a satellite associated with it, most likely
you saw the booster/dispenser.  

Ron Lee

>This evening, using these elements recently posted here:
>
> Globalstar, 24 Apr 98, 22:38:34 UT
>1 91234U 980xxA   98115.01050429 -.00000116  00000-0  00000+0 0    13
>2 91234  52.0033  89.0530 0009877 258.4010 101.5767 13.02667966    03
>
>we tried to see the newly launched object(s) and were rewarded by a
>spectacular sight.  At about 00:33:50 UTC (25 April 1998), we saw what
>looked like a little comet
>passing about 2 degrees below beta Aur which brightened to easy naked-eye
>visibility (about magnitude zero, like Capella) at maximum. As it moved
>to the right, its appearance was fluctuating.  Later, at about 00:37:30
>UTC, in binoculars, we saw this object pass near, and about as bright as,
>theta UMi (mag 5.0), at which time it looked just like a "normal"
>starlike satellite.  Did anyone else happen to see this fascinating
>apparition?  I wonder how come the rocket was still firing hours after
>launch, or did we just happen to chance upon an orbit adjusting firing? 
>Incidentally, the object
>passed in excellent agreement with the above TLE, i.e. within a few
>seconds (timing is not our main concern) and a degree in the sky.
>
>Clear and dark skies!
>
>Ed Light
>Lakewood, NJ, USA
>40.107 N, 074.232 W
>
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