Re: Cosmos 1 Search

From: Whorton, Mark (
Date: Fri Jun 24 2005 - 15:08:29 EDT

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    For the record, I completely agree and my money is on a failed mission.
    However, there are enough discrepancies and hypothetical scenarios to
    warrant at least a look-see before we close the books on Cosmos 1. 
    I appreciate your comments also Max, but I'm not living in a dreamland --
    I'm simply not assuming that the US military is bound to tell us what they
    know.  They are not obligated to tell anyone if, when, or where they picked
    it up if they were to.   Moreover, if it did achieve orbit, we don't know
    what the orbit is.
    Again,  I agree that the aforementioned (by Max and others) ground stations
    should have seen it if it achieved orbit (or even some sub-orbital ballistic
    trajectories).  My point is simply that a hypothetical case can be made and
    the hypotheses can be put to bed this weekend.
    Now back to dreamland....
    Dr. Mark S. Whorton
    EV42 / Guidance, Navigation, and Mission Analysis NASA Marshall Space Flight
    p:  256-544-1435
    f:   256-544-5416
    -----Original Message-----
    From: Russell Eberst []
    Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 1:50 PM
    To: Whorton, Mark
    Subject: Re: Cosmos 1 Search
    At 13:35 24/06/2005 -0500, you wrote:
    >Hi folks,
    >As you all know the prospects of Cosmos 1 achieving orbit appears to be 
    >slim according to the Planetary Society.  But they are holding out hope 
    >that it actually did make it to "some" orbit.  It is not likely, but if 
    >it actually is in orbit and functioning nominally, the sails are 
    >programmed to deploy on June 25 beginning at approximately 9:35 pm PDT.
    >Let me emphasize this -- if we are to learn that Cosmos 1 actually is 
    >in orbit, you may very well be the ones to determine that and let us know.
    >My rough calculations show that it may be brighter than -1 or perhaps
    >-2 magnitude (depending strongly on the relative orientation of the 
    >sail, sun and observer), and God only knows where and when a deployment
    would occur.
    >So please let us know if you see anything.
    The Volna submarine-launched ballistic missile was launched at 1946:09 UTC
    from the K-496 "Borisoglebsk", a Kalmar-class submarine, in the Barents Sea.
    The first stage engine of the Volna is reported to have failed 83 seconds
    into flight, and the first stage did not separate from the second stage.
    The rocket ended its flight 160 seconds after launch; it probably reached
    about 200 km into space before falling back to Earth.
    Confusing the issue, the Planetary Society reported that telemetry from the
    satellite was recorded but contact was lost during the apogee burn at 2007
    UTC.  That would have suggested a failure of the final stage apogee burn
    when the vehicle would have been in around a -2000 x 765 km x 80 deg orbit,
    with reentry around 2019 UTC over the equatorial Pacific.  However, it's not
    unknown for stray signals to be confused with the real target, and the later
    claims of telemetry on the second orbit, which now seem to be clearly wrong,
    cast doubt on the apogee burn information too. At the moment the balance of
    the evidence is that the spacecraft no longer existed by 1950 UTC.
    Close, but no cigar-shaped object to track.
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