Decay watch: 2000 Jan 28 (Molniya decay observed)

From: Alan Pickup (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 13:35:24 PST

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    #16885 = 86- 57 A = Molniya 1-67
    SpaceCom remains coy about the orbital evolution over the final days of
    this object, eventually releasing only single elsets on the 26th and
    27th, the last almost 12 hours before the claimed decay time at Jan 27
    Jan 27 14:51 +-1h near 28.1 S, 121.5 E. Because of this I have made no
    independent decay time prediction using SatEvo. Assuming that the object
    decayed near 14:51 UTC, an approximate elset for the start of this rev
    might be:
    Molniya 1-67                                     708 x 76 km
    1 16885U 86057A   00027.55953314 4.89125154  13086+2  20113-2 0 97622
    2 16885  62.0148 126.3996 0466271 265.9361  88.7231 15.58591049 99414
    I have received a report from Dr James Biggs, the Government Astronomer 
    for Western Australia/Director Perth Observatory, that reads...
    "Last night we had a really bright meteor-like event visible over a wide
    part of Western Australia. Using naked-eye reports (at around 2000/01/27
    1450 UT) from the public we have determined the object was probably
    travelling along a trajectory starting a little west of south (crossing
    the coast east of Albany) and finishing a little east of north.
    Apparently the object disintegrated in "mid-air" over the sea
    approximately north of Kunnunura (near the border with the Northern
    Territory). It was seen by people spread out about 2,000km across the
    state. This is very unusual for a meteor as it suggests a 'grazing'
    This trajectory is in excellent agreement with a prediction based on the
    predicted elset above, and with SpaceCom's decay time and position.
    There is no doubt that this reentry was observed over Western Australia.
    #25176 = 88- 11 B = COMETS H2 r
    SpaceCom has issued its first decay warning for this, predicting the
    decay for Feb 1 12:41 +-2d. A SatEvo analysis gives Feb 1 11:27 +-1d.
    Times as always are UTC. This enters eclipse near southern apex (30 deg
    S) at about 20:00 local time and leaves eclipse while northbound near 24
    deg N at 05:30 local time.
    #26055 = 97- 47 G = Yamal 101 aux motor
    Two further elsets have been issued at last, both for the same orbit
    and both showing a considerable increase in mean motion (and 
    implied drag) over only nine hours. The latest one is:
    Yamal 101 aux motor                              1210 x 110 km
    1 26055U 99047G   00024.81388515  .99999999  13406-4  38198-2 0    84
    2 26055  47.5342 179.7062 0781507  61.9025  82.8741 14.70415527   442
    It is quite possible that this has decayed already, perhaps even on the
    See for more details.
     Alan Pickup | COSPAR 2707:  55d53m48.7s N  3d11m51.2s W   156m asl
     Edinburgh   | Tel: +44 (0)131 477 9144     Fax: +44 (0)870 0520750
     Scotland    | SatEvo page:
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