# A new very high satellite

From: Mike McCants (mmccants@io.com)
Date: Wed Apr 28 2004 - 16:53:25 EDT

• Next message: Allen Thomson: "Re: A new very high satellite"

```Tony Beresford sent me a private message today about a
newly-discovered object.

>Rob McNaught picked up a satellite the other day.
>As it was observed for 45 minutes or so, Bill Gray derived an orbit.
>The observations and result can be seen at
>http://home.gwi.net/~pluto/mpecs/vfmo.htm
>
>I think the most likely candidate is a Vela satellite.
>The latest elements we have on these are

[elsets suppressed]

>I would choose Vela 5 or 6 or Vela 10.

I analyzed the observations and used elcor to determine the
following elset.  (This is very similar to Bill Gray's elset.)
Of course the mean motion is fairly uncertain.

1 99999U 99999A   04117.72300000  .00000000  00000-0  00000+0 0    07
2 99999  38.9343 334.9306 5029213 107.9042 283.8563  0.21171889    02

I obtained elsets for the 12 Vela objects from Jonathan McDowell's
archive.

I ran my numerical integration program (int3) against many of these
elsets and found that Vela 5 is a match.

Input elset from 1970:

VELA 5
1 01458U 65058A   70216.57361109 -.00000059 +00000-0 +00000-0 0 00008
2 01458 031.7866 172.9731 2320609 230.4169 264.9005 00.21484576042401

Output after 34 years of integration:

04112.59122 I 38.61 N 333.45 Ec 0.49075 W 107.04 MA 310.71 MM 0.214392
04117.26576 I 38.60 N 333.32 Ec 0.49171 W 107.41 MA 310.50 MM 0.214270
04121.93299 I 38.58 N 333.29 Ec 0.49040 W 107.40 MA 310.34 MM 0.213977

So the inclination matches to 0.3 degrees, the node to 1.6 degrees,
the eccentricity to 0.01, and the argument of perigee to 0.5 degrees.

Consider that an elset in 1982 looks like this:

82117.24338 I 72.63 N 351.18 E 0.26466 W 12.96 MA 352.71 MM 0.213947

And an elset in 1993 looks like this:

93117.44681 I 13.10 N 163.67 E 0.47635 W 223.83 MA 86.61 MM 0.214816

So the inclination has gone to 73 degrees and then to 13 degrees and
is now predicted to be within 0.3 degrees of the observed value.

Similarly, the eccentricity has varied over a large range and is
now predicted to be quite close to the observed value.

And the fact that the argument of perigee is quite close is also
very significant.  And the node matches.

So I consider this to be a proper match.

Mike McCants

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