DSCS circularization burn visible?

From: Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 11 2003 - 05:31:20 EST

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    Jonathan McDowell wrote:
    
    "... DSCS III A-3 and its IABS (Integrated Apogee Boost 
    Subsystem) apogee stage  into a 234 x 35780 km x 25.5 
    deg. [orbit]. The IABS will fire its twin R-4D 
    bipropellant engines on Mar 13 to circularize the orbit, 
    and separate from DSCS after a final burn around Mar 15."
    
    I was just wondering if this burn, and separation, might 
    be visible to someone somewhere.  With the Centaurs, as I 
    saw for myself last year in Mike's telescope, it wasn't 
    just the venting of the excess fuel that was visible.  
    Other events were fairly obvious.  I don't know how the 
    IABS would compare to a Centaur, but maybe the 
    circularization burn might be fairly similar.  Of course 
    we would need to know the location (equator above the 
    Indian Ocean, about 85 east? -- looking at the 
    ground-track map on Spaceflightnow.com) and time of the 
    burn....
    
    Saw a few flaring geosats last night, but conditions
    weren't too good (cirrus and moonlight).
    
    USA 81 (92-023A, 21949) did its magnitude +2 sparkling
    event from about 2:31:58 to 2:32:17 March 11 UTC.  
    (Someone ought to photograph this one and USA 32 -- a
    time exposure to show the bright sparkly track.)
    
    Cosmos 2366 Rk (25893) PPAS report, only three cycles 
    before shadow entry:
    99-045 B 03-03-11 03:11:20   EC   49.6 0.5   3 16.5   
    
    I find trying to time 88-080B, Feng Yun 1 Rk (19468) to
    be a real test.  Usually it seems to have a long maximum
    and a short one, but occasionally it does a flash also.
    And when I look at my clicks, they look like a mess,
    e.g., from March 7:  8.89, 10.84, 9.07, 11.74, 19.71,
    23.34, 17.21, 17.94, 1.70, 21.86 (end 2:48:28 UTC). 
    Maybe it's 40-something seconds?  But last night: 12.04, 
    17.38, .89, 17.50, 3.00 (end 2:40:42 Mar 11 UTC).  That
    last 3 seconds, and probably the 1.70 on March 7, was 
    due to trying to catch the middle of a flat maximum.
    
    Tried unsuccessfully to see Gorizont 16 a few minutes
    before and after 2:00 UTC.
    
    BCRC, 30.315N, 97.866W, 280m.
    
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
    
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