STS 107 Mystery Object

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sun Mar 02 2003 - 16:07:18 EST

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    I have analyzed the sketchy information made available during February, to
    deduce the approximate initial orbital elements of the mystery object that
    separated from Columbia:
    From the orbital elements, I have estimated its area to mass ratio, which I
    have found to be consistent with certain elements of a shuttle's thermal
    protection system (tiles).
    The purpose of this hobbyist exercise was to see what might be learned by
    analysing the public information available in February 2003. I plan to revise
    it as additional facts warrant. This is not an effort to compete with CAIB's
    experts, whose training, experience and access to information and analytical
    tools far exceeds mine.
    Only the orbital dynamics aspects of the report are on-topic for SeeSat-L.
    Any responses to this message that are mainly about the Columbia accident and
    the investigation should be posted to Columbia-L. To subscribe to Columbia-L,
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    Ted Molczan
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