RE: NROL-49 search elements

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sat Jan 22 2011 - 14:27:35 UTC

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    Bob Christy has just reported two more radio observations, that are in excellent agreement with the
    elset I posted a short time ago.
    Here is an update taking into account the new data:
    USA 224                                                 239 X 1005 km
    1 72001U          11020.92423333  .00010870  00000-0  70000-4 0    03
    2 72001  97.9000 135.1542 0547001 257.2536  95.0499 14.81439185    05
    Arc 201101210-0122.57 WRMS resid 0.367 totl 0.133 xtrk
    This should still be considered approximate, but I am beginning to be more confident of the argument
    of perigee.
    When I am more certain of the solution, I will use the official designations: 11002A / 37348. Years
    ago, I used the official designations for my initial estimates, which often proved to be seriously
    incorrect, but they still ended up in various archives, creating potential confusion for later
    analysts, not familiar with the history. Using non-descript IDs like 72001 reduces the risk of that
    problem, at the expense of being a temporary nuisance for most users.
    Final comment: if the latest elements are correct, then our Southern Hemisphere colleagues probably
    will not be able to make visual observations, due to the passes  entering eclipse soon after they
    rise above the horizon.
    Ted Molczan
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