Greatly revised Titan 4 elset

Ted Molczan (
Thu, 4 Jul 1996 08:24:15 -0400

I have received a second observation report, this time
from an observer in Western Canada. He did not indicate 
whether or not he wishes to remain anonymous, so for now, 
I will only provide his coordinates and obs report.

Start of report:

4 Jul 96  GMT

1st object, bright flashes to zero mag, down to invisibility (but in
modestly twilight-lit sky still)
18h 00m  +89deg 25m  (2000.0)
5h 22m 17.4s GMT

2nd object, glints to 1st mag, down to perhaps 3rd, violet color tinge
(reminded me of the Lacrosses)
20h 40m  +89d 40m (2000.0)
5h 23m 56.3s GMT

observing location 51.040N  114.078W   elev 3450 ft

End of report:

He was using the 57 deg elset I issued last night, however,
the object was about 11 min early. Given that his obs was
only 2 rev after that of the Ohio observer, whose obs seemed
to fit well with the 15 rev/d mean motion, I soon realized
that the mean motion had to be closer to 16 rev/d. I found
that 15.9 rev/d works well, within the precision of the
obs. The Ohio report was measured only to the nearest minute;
the Canadian report was measured to a fraction of a second.

By moving the RAAN about 8 further east, I could force the
57 deg inclination to fit the obs, however, that would have
required much more of a dog-leg by the Titan than I can
believe. Using the 55.2 deg inclination implied by the 
announced launch azimuth of 40.5 works very well with the
launch circumstances and both observations. So the greatly
revised orbits are:

99600A          10.0  3.0  0.0  5.0
1 99600U 99600  A 96185.02152778  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    02
2 99600  55.2000 188.0000 0000001   0.0000  49.7000 15.84300000    07
99600A r         9.8  3.0  0.0  5.0
1 99601U 99600  B 96185.02152778  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0    03
2 99601  55.2000 188.0000 0000001   0.0000  31.2000 15.90000000    08

The payload trailed by about 1 minute for the Ohio observer, 
and 1.65 minutes for the Canada observer. This suggests a mean 
motion of about 15.843 for the payload, as in the above elements;
however, the Ohio obs was stated only to 1 min precision; therefore,
there is considerable uncertainty in the mean motion.

It is interesting that both observers report that the payload
is reddish in colour. Often when I observed SDS 2-1 (89061B)I noticed 
a very subtle red/orange hue; however, no other observer agreed with
me on that. The fact that both observers report colour may actually
point away from SDS as the identity of the new payload. Perhaps
a precise flash timing would help settle the question.

The payload can be expected to make a major manoeuvre at any time,
so it is very important to track it at each opportunity. I was
clouded out again last night, but it is clear now, and I am optimistic
about tonight.

bye for now