Re-entry Sightings and Debris Recovery of 1979-072B

From: Ted Molczan via Seesat-l <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:51:57 -0400
I have just completed my report on the re-entry of 1979-072B / 11490. The opening paragraph and link to the report are
as follows:

"The re-entry of the second stage of a Delta rocket has been found to correlate with a fireball seen in Bolivia in the
early hours of 1979 August 10 UTC, and the subsequent discovery of two large metallic spheres in the vicinity. Those
events were reported in major Bolivian daily newspapers, which centred on a space debris hypothesis proposed by Bolivian
authorities. The Defense Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in La Paz telexed Moon Dust reports to the U.S. DIA (Defense
Intelligence Agency) within a week of the events. Moon Dust was the unclassified name of a cold war USAF program to
obtain Soviet space hardware that survived re-entry."

The analysis was complicated by the lack of any TLEs, which may have been lost, more likely never issued, perhaps due to
the short time in orbit. I reconstructed the orbit from partial elements published by authoritative sources and
determined that the probable ballistic characteristics could have resulted in re-entry at the time and place in
question, but the circumstantial case depends on the evidence of the spheres and reports of fireball sightings.

Section 7 suggests additional lines of research that could improve our understanding of the incident. Assistance with
locating copies of the Bolivian newspaper and NASA reports described would be much appreciated.

I will be pleased to respond to any questions or concerns regarding the report, on or off list, and I will make
revisions as appropriate.

Ted Molczan

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Received on Wed Jul 30 2014 - 08:52:38 UTC

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