A strange decay

From: Harro Zimmer (Harro.Zimmer@t-online.de)
Date: Wed Jan 15 2003 - 02:56:00 EST

  • Next message: Greg Roberts: "Obs 13 Jan 2003"

    SCC announced yesterday the decay of 1985-103D (#16223)
    MOLNIYA 1-66 RB 2 on 13 January without earlier predictions.
    The last five ELSETs show that SCC had in December apparently 
    lost the object for a couple of days (last ELSET 02353.405...).
    The next released ELSET showed an epoch of 03003.979... and 
    a MM = 2.431... and a 171.66 / 33825.84 km high eccentricity
    orbit - the "normal" case.
    8 days later (03011.278...) the MM has dramatically changed
    to 13.31... a showed #16223 in a 143.150/1448.90 km Orbit with
    an extreme high B* (10071-1).  
    The last issued ELSET - only one rev later - (0311.352...)
    had a MM of 14.10.... and also an extreme B* (32095-1).
    Decay predictions with these two ELSETs deliver a lifetime of
    only a few hours after epoch.
    SCC'S decay date - 13 January - seems unrealistic. But all the case is a little bit mysterious. I don't believe that the orbit decayed within 8 days from MM 2.4...  to 13.3... 
    This type of object is very well investigated, it shows often catastrophic behaviour but not in this sense. It seems possible that the cause is not the rocket stage but the SCC with tracking or identification problems.
    Berlin, Germany
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