RE: Request info on Gorizont/Proton re-entry on Nov. 5, 1990

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sat Dec 17 2005 - 08:33:31 EST

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    Frits Westra asked:
    > I'd be pleased if someone could point me to information (precise time
    > and re-entry area) of the re-entry of a Gorizont/Proton rocket body
    > on November 5, 1990. It was observed across northwestern Europe.
    > I'm also curious about reports of the duration of the observations.
    The object was 1990-094C / 20925, a part of Gorizont 21's Proton launch vehicle.
    It is a cylindrical casing dropped from the tail part of the 4th stage (Block DM
    - type), about 10 m 45 s after launch (time varies slightly from one launch to
    another). It is 4.00 m long and 3.70 m in diameter; mass is 700 kg.
    [Correction: In making the above statement, I relied upon USSTRATCOM's satellite
    catalogue (which NASA also relies upon), which has always identified 1990-094B
    as a "rocket body" (or more precisely the third stage rocket body), and
    1990-094C as a "platform" (or more precisely the cylindrical casing dropped from
    the tail part of the 4th stage, called sredniy perekhodnik).
    Prompted by Thierry Marais, I have reviewed this issue, and I now agree with him,
    Pierre Neirinck and "The RAE Table of Earth Satellites 1990", that 1990-094B was
    the sredniy perekhodnik, and 1990-094C was the third stage. - Ted Molczan]
    The R.A.E. Table of Satellites 1990 reported in a footnote: "Re-entry observed
    from British Midland Airways flight BD991 when approaching the Belgian coast and
    from Czechoslovakia, France and other European countries." The decay time is
    listed in the table as 1990 Nov 5.75, which is about 18 h UTC.
    The object's orbital element history is available here:
    What appears to be an archive of reports of the decay is located here:
    Among the archived reports are several faxes from the long-time, highly regarded
    satellite observer/analyst Pierre Neirinck, in the first of which, he reports an
    observation of the decay by Daniel Karcher, who is an experienced satellite
    On 1990 Nov 08, Pierre reported his identification of the object in both French
    and English language faxes:
    On 1990 Nov 11, Pierre reported revised estimated elements of the object at the
    time of decay, again in French and in English:
    Here are Pierre's elements in 2-line format:
    1 20925U 90094C   90309.75101890  .02800000  00000-0  85672-6 0    09
    2 20925  51.6587 260.0122 0000900 256.6308 176.4041 16.75231014    07
    Ted Molczan
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