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

From: Thierry Marais (
Date: Wed Dec 21 2005 - 09:45:43 EST

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    Hi Frits, Ted and List,
    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.
    Ted Molczan answered :
    >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.
    > . . . 
    There is a very big probability that the NORAD misidentified the two low orbit objects :
    parts B and C. One of them is the third stage of the Proton (6.5m x 4.2m dia. 
    4185 kg empty), the other is the piece between 3rd and 4th stages (empty 
    cylinder + truncated cone, I don't find the cut and data anymore...) One object 
    decayed November 4, after 20 hours in orbit. The other gave the spectacular reentry over 
    western Europe, the 5th around 18:00 UTC after 51 hours in orbit. What happened for
    other similar launches, and the consideration of the surface to mass ratio lead to think
    that the first to decay was the junction piece. The good entries in the Satelite Situation 
    Report should be :
    1990-094B       20924   CIS        88.2 min    51.7 deg     193 km       178 km
    SL-12 PLAT                             Launched (11/03/1990)  Decayed [11/04/1990]
    And the next one, the rocket body :
    1990-094C       20925   CIS        87.4 min   51.7 deg     148 km       147 km
    SL-12 R/B(1)                             Launched (11/03/1990)  Decayed [11/05/1990]
    The spectacular rocket reentry over France with quite good weather conditions
    gave many hundreds of reports to the medias and the state police force (Gendarmerie),
    next transmitted to the UFO dedicated service in the CNES (then called SEPRA, recently 
    renamed GEIPAN). A part of these observations cannot be related to the reentry.
    As Ted pointed out, the most accurate observation with timing and position was
    done by Daniel Karcher, belonging to Pierre Neirinck network of observers. His
    data allowed me to draw an approximate map of the reentry (position/altitude 
    versus time) that I would be pleased to send to the interested persons.
    (please, ask in private to
    Thierry Marais
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