Re: Rocket fuel dump photographed from Sweden

From: Chris Jones via Seesat-l <seesat-l_at_satobs.org>
Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2016 16:37:48 -0500
On 11/11/16 7:17 PM, Jonathan McDowell via Seesat-l wrote:
> This is obviously the Centaur AV-062 rocket stage venting after the
> Worldview-4 launch

I have a question about this.  (I'm not (quite) disputing that this is
what it is.)

Everything that I read that referenced the Centaur post-Cubesat deploy
said that the Centaur would burn to depletion and end up in solar orbit.
Certainly Space-Track is currently only showing 8 objects from this
launch, with the A object identified as Worldview 4 and the other 7 with
object type TBA and no assigned name other than Object <letter>.  If we
assume they are the Cubesats, then the Centaur rocket body is not cataloged.

My question is this:  Is there a meaningful difference between the
appearance of a fuel dump and a rocket burn?  To me, a propellant dump
is a non-combustion event while a burn is (sort of obviously) a
combustion event.  This picture looks like what I've always associated
with the appearance of a propellant dump, but I can't recall if I've
seen a picture of an upper stage firing, so I don't know if they look
the same.
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Received on Sun Nov 13 2016 - 15:38:32 UTC

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