RE: ERBS Having Problems

Ted Molczan (
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 07:51:49 -0500

Phil Chien wrote:

> Actually I found it more interesting because ERBS was released from
> Challenger.

ERBS was important to me observationally in 1988, because its very
pronounced reddish colour was the key to helping me to understand why the
Lacrosse satellites appear to be orange-red.

I knew why ERBS appeared reddish, because I had seen photos that revealed it
to be almost completely swathed in gold foil (kapton, I believe). Here is a
good pre-launch image:

One of the books in my library has an excellent photo of ERBS on the end of
RMS. Below is the best photo I could find on-line, taken from a much less
favourable angle than the one in the book:

Knowing that ERBS appeared reddish due to the gold foil, it was natural to
assume that Lacrosse must also be covered with a lot of the same or similar

Last year, evidence came out that appears to prove my interpretation. Of
course, I refer to the de-classified NRO photo on your web site, of an
object that may well be an actual Lacrosse:

Those with a wideband Internet connection (or wideband patience) might want
to pull down the larger image on your site:

Ted Molczan