Re: Pl?iades Neo 3 - 48268/2021-034A

From: C. Bassa via Seesat-l <seesat-l_at_satobs.org>
Date: Sat, 1 May 2021 13:55:10 +0200
The VV18 press kit indicates that the orbit of Pleiades NEO 3 is at
628 km with an inclination of 97.89 degrees, and that after separation
of this primary payload that the AVUM upper stage performs two burns
to deploy the secondary payloads into a 613 km, 97.79 degree orbit.

Taking the TLEs of the secondary payloads at the time of separation of
Pleiades NEO 3, I estimate the following orbit for the primary
payload:

Pleiades NEO 3
1 85001U          21119.11476852  .00000000  00000-0  50000-4 0    04
2 85001  97.8900 194.7700 0001427   0.0000 200.0000 14.80420879    06

The Pleiades NEO brochures indicate this is the first satellite of a
constellation of 4 satellites, with the other satellites slated for
launch in June this year and the last two as a pair in 2022. The
target altitude is 620 km with a descending node local time of
10:30AM.

It is interesting to note that this orbit is co-planar with Pleiades 1
[38012/11076F] (697x699km _at_ 98.20deg) and Pleiades 1B [39019/12068A]
(697x699km _at_ 98.20deg), which are spaced 180 degrees apart within
their orbital plane. At 628km altitude Pleiades NEO 3 is somewhat
lower.
Elements for Pleiades 1 have been published by space-track.org since
its launch, while orbital elements from Pleiades
1B were withheld between its launch on December 2, 2012 and first
published after October 23, 2013. We will have to see if orbital
elements of Pleiades NEO 3 will become public in the future.

In any case, the Pleiades NEO 3 orbit is well places for evening
visibility on the Northern hemisphere currently.

Regards,
    Cees
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Received on Sat May 01 2021 - 06:56:28 UTC

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