TiPS orientations

R.B. Minton (
Fri, 19 Jul 1996 07:17:46 -0600

There have been about 7 observations of TiPS orientations reported to seesat-l
so far and the majority of them have been "lower mass leading" by 45 to 90 deg.
It appears that varying perspective is responsible for the scatter in the 
observations; not a swinging pair of satellites (no pun intended - although 
they are neat).
Since perspective varies with time, it is important that the time of each
observation be reported to the nearest second.  Perspective variations are at
a minimum when the objects culminate at a low altitude (20 to 30 deg).  At this
time the satellite is moving at right angles to the observer and the tether is
broadside to the observer.  Another very interesting pass is when the tether
goes thru the zenith.  I believe that if the lower mass was leading by 20 deg.,
then the 2 objects might appear as 1 when it was 20 degrees before reaching the
zenith (Mike & company: give me a sanity check on this idea).  These timings
would provide accurate measures of the tether angle.
As always, one must include aperture, location, times, magnitudes, angles, etc.;
to make an interesting observation a quantitative observation.  I like Mike's
use of "lower mass leading by 45 deg." (or LML45?).

By the way, is the NRL playing a joke on us - (N)orton, (R)alph, & the (L)ine
between them ???

R. B. Minton