Centaur Rocket 97 68B

Mike McCants (mikem@fc.net)
Mon, 17 Nov 1997 00:18:15 -0600 (CST)

I did not try to search for 97 68A,B under clear, full moon
skies last night.  After about 40 minutes of searching tonight,
I believe that I spotted the Centaur Rocket.  It was tumbling
rapidly, with a period of 1.20 seconds.  At a range of about
18000 miles, it was flashing to about magnitude 9.

I have fit my previous elements (for the payload) to an observation
tonight and derived the following elements:

Centaur Rk    
1 25035U 97068B   97320.63058562 0.00000000  00000-0  00000+0 0    03
2 25035  64.6900 335.3593 7190000 270.4703  89.5297  2.02944000    04

I was able to track it for about 10 minutes to determine that it was
moving in the proper direction with the proper angular velocity.
I wanted to search for the payload, but clouds moved in very shortly
after I resumed my search.  My guess is that the payload will be
1 or 2 hours later than the rocket in an orbit with a correspondingly
lower mean motion.  Also, 64.7 is 1 or 2 degrees higher than what
I believe would be the proper inclination for zero precession of the

Mike McCants