First USA 116 (or 86) obs. 1996 ?

Bjoern Gimle (b_gimle@algonet.se)
Wed, 19 Jun 1996 06:57:14 +0200 (MET DST)

I was happy to see that Russell Eberst found the missing KH satellite,
and that Rainer Kracht (?) has computed an orbit.

In a posting, and on my "lostfoun.htm" web page I wrote :
>On Apr.10, 1996, I observed an object that seemed to match the expected
>appearance, track and time of USA 86 or USA 116.
>
>I measured two positions, RA 20.66 decl.+43.7 at 21:57:31.8 UT
>and RA 21.53 decl.+46.05 at 21:57:54.3 UT (2000.0)
>
>The first declination may be mis-identified by 0.5 degrees.

The new orbit fits my obs. remarkably well, if ndot2/Bstar is changed
to 00007500 / 75000-4  ( or 00031000 / 31500-3 )

Even the search orbit I posted - almost a guess, since I only observed
one pass - looks close, except for MM.

As I later computed, it appeared that this orbit plane was about 3 degrees
from where I had expected USA 86, and also 3 degrees from the 14.544 MM
object we have called USA 116. The current 14.544 orbit now appears to
have been only 0.5 degrees from the lower orbit.

On Dec. 05, 1995 when USA 116 was launched, the orbit of this new object,
in standard KH orbit, was over Vandenberg for to a launch time of
21:29 UT ( 21:35 UT for the high Bstar ). The 14.544 orbit was over
Vandenberg at 21:51 UT. All this is assuming it maneuvred to the
present orbit soon after Dec.05, and did not make large changes after that.

( I don't have the true launch time available now.)


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