Re: No catalog numbers for USA-193 debris

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Sat Feb 23 2008 - 21:20:40 UTC

  • Next message: Jean-Paul Cornec: "Obs 3022 23 february"

    On Saturday 23 February 2008 20:49, Ralph McConahy wrote:
    > I didn't expect that SpaceTrack would release any TLEs for USA-193 debris,
    > but I thought that we could figure out *how many* debris objects might have
    > been cataloged by the gap in numbers between 32499 (the last one added
    > before the USA-193 shoot-down) and the next number in the list.
    > But today SpaceTrack added the two objects from the KIZUNA/H-IIA launch,
    > and they are the next two numbers in sequence: 32500 & 32501.
    > Why is it that classified objects get numbers, but just don't get published
    > with a "U" (i.e. we see the gap in numbers), but USA-193 debris have no
    > "place holder" numbers?
    > Or could it be that they haven't observed any debris? (I note that I
    > haven't seen any posts on SeeSat-L with any visual reports or timings of
    > debris.)
    a year ago it took a number of days to sort out the Feng Yun 1C breakup until 
    they started issuing the first elements. It's not enough to just detect 
    debris - you also have to make sure the individual pieces get assigned their 
    right orbits. Given the number of objects that seems to be quite a task. I 
    think they set up a list of candidates that need to be confirmed in following 
    days and only then will they assign definite numbers to it. In this 
    particular case however, about half the objects are expected to have 
    reentered anyway after about a week, so they probably never get any numbers 
    We will have to wait for a few more days to see whether SpaceTrack will assign 
    numbers to those debris particles which have a longer lifetime or whether 
    they will hide them in a secret list with separate numbering as to not 
    disclose the whole scale of this operation.
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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