Titan IV B-30 search elements

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@rogers.com)
Date: Wed Apr 27 2005 - 12:57:40 EDT

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    This is preliminary information to aid in planning potential observations of the
    ascent and orbit.
    
    The launch is scheduled for 2005 Apr 30 between 00:00 - 02:30 UTC, from CCAFS. 
    
    My guess is that T-0 is scheduled between 01:30 - 02:00 UTC. The following
    discussion and search elements assume launch at 02:00 UTC, to be revised upon
    announcement of T-0.
    
    1. Ascent Visibility
    
    Prospects for observing the ascent along the east coast of North America depend
    upon the launch time. If it occurs late in the launch period, as I suspect, then
    virtually all of the ascent will occur in shadow, in which case, there may not
    be much to see, except with binoculars and a good knowledge of the trajectory.
    
    A much earlier launch would tend to improve illumination. I will re-evaluate the
    ascent illumination conditions when the planned T-0 is announced.
    
    
    2. Orbit Visibility
    
    At least some of the above orbits would result in morning visibility in the
    northern hemisphere, north of roughly 30 N, with the U.K. well placed to observe
    within about 20 min after launch.
    
    The southern hemisphere will have evening visibility. 
    
    Anyone interested in observing should check the visibility for his or her
    location.
    
    
    3. Search Elements
    
    I have no strong conviction as to the identity of the payload; hence the variety
    of search orbits.
    
    All of the search elements are for the 2nd stage of the Titan. How long the
    payload will remain in the vicinity of the rocket depends upon the type of
    mission. It could make a major manoeuvre almost immediately, or linger for days,
    perhaps one week.
    
    Lacrosse type 1
    1 71001U          05120.08650464  .00001267  00000-0  60000-4 0    09
    2 71001  57.0000 148.0000 0177200  65.0000 333.0000 15.06000000    05
    Lacrosse type 2
    1 71001U          05120.08650465  .00000506  00000-0  60000-4 0    05
    2 71001  57.0000 148.0000 0075000  65.0000 333.0000 14.82000000    03
    USA 144 type
    1 71002U          05120.08650464  .00690749  00000-0  60000-3 0    08
    2 71002  63.3898 154.6699 0077500  65.0000 328.1000 16.06300000    09
    SDS 2 type
    1 71003U          05120.14261852  .00051582  00000-0  14107-3 0    08
    2 71003  54.9966 146.2891 0014868 298.6913  61.2643 15.92552889    04
    
    The two Lacrosse variants differ only in their perigee height. The lower orbit
    is based upon Lacrosse 3, launched on a Titan IVA; the higher perigee is based
    upon Lacrosse 4, launched on a Titan IVB. Both were launched from VAFB.
    
    Though B-30 is a Titan IVB, I suspect there is a payload penalty in launching
    from CCAFS instead of VAFB, hence my inclusion of the lower perigee orbit.
    
    The USA 144 type orbit has a high inclination and low altitude. It has been
    launched once, from VAFB. The highest inclination Titan IV orbital insertion
    from CCAFS was 61 deg, on the NOSS 2-1 launch in 1990.
    
    The SDS 2 type orbit is for a payload that long ago evolved into a 3rd
    generation, which flew on Atlas 2 boosters, so I am not expecting an SDS.
    However, the Molniya type orbit of the SDS might be useful for other payloads.
    SDS 2 payloads remained in the above 55 deg, 300 km parking orbit for about one
    week, before manoeuvring to the Molniya orbit.
    
    The actual orbit and payload could very well be none of the above. Even if it is
    similar to one of the above, the RAAN could easily differ by several degrees.
    High elevation passes probably are best searched with the unaided eye or wide
    FOV optics. Both the rocket and payload are likely to be bright on good passes.
    
    Happy hunting!
    Ted Molczan
    
    
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