Another near-decay object's last USA passes

From: Ed Cannon (
Date: Sat Feb 05 2000 - 01:01:04 PST

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    South central USA observers -- heads up!  Based on Alan 
    Pickup's information on his site:

    there's a good chance the decaying GPS 2-21 r2 (22702, 
    93-42C) will pass over the USA Saturday evening on its 
    last passes.  
    If it survives until 1:06 UTC (7:06 p.m. USA Central 
    Standard Time), it will be making a near-zenith pass at 
    a height of about 205 km (128 miles) above Fort Worth 
    and Dallas, Texas -- and other US cities, obviously.  
    If it survives another orbit, until 2:38 (8:38 p.m. 
    local), it will pass -- totally in shadow -- somewhat 
    farther north at only about 160 km (100 miles) above 
    the surface.  
    And if it were to survive until 4:10 (10:10 p.m. local,
    after Alan's predicted decay time), it would make an 
    in-shadow pass only about 138 km (86 miles) above Waco, 
    Alan mentions that OIG predicts it will decay before any 
    of the above passes, but with an error of plus-or-minus 
    one day.
    I'm pretty sure that I've observed it with binoculars 
    the last two evenings, about +5 at a range of about 576 
    km (360 miles).  It was tumbling to invisible every few 
    seconds.  (I guess I can't claim a definitive ID because 
    I didn't take any positions on it.)
    It's not very big, but it's not often we get three
    possible passes of an object that might decay at any 
    There's a star party scheduled for NW of here tonight, 
    and the weather looks like it will be cooperative....
    Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA
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