Re: Possible decay obs from Joshua Tree, CA

From: Harro Zimmer (
Date: Thu Nov 27 2003 - 11:13:00 EST

  • Next message: Greg Roberts: "Obs 25 Nov 2003 Part 2 of 2"

    As Alan Pickup mentioned, Mark Hanning-Lee's observation on
    Nov 23, about 03:31 UTC from Joshua Tree, CA (34.1N, 243.7E)
    could be the decay of 2003-035C (#28084) Cosmos 2399 debris.
    I have done a more extended analysis based on four reliable
    ELSETs and derived a ballistic coefficient (m / Cd x a) of
    about 48.9 +/- 7%.
    With the last ELSET.3326.939... and SFX 177, ap 021 my program
    delivers for Mark's position:
    Object rising:     03:27.4 UTC  AZ: 327.1  EL:  0.0
    Maximum Elevation: 03:29.7 UTC  AZ: 240.2  EL: 40.1
    Object setting:    03:32.0 UTC  AZ: 159.6  EL:  0.0
    This is in very nice agreement with Mark's observations. The
    time error in my analysis is about +/- 30 s. My reentry
    trajectory is only a first approximation - not enough data.
    The altitude of the decayer at maximum elevation is 82.2 km, 
    10 - 15 km too high, but it don't change the general conclu-
    sion that Mark saw really the reentry of 2003-035C.
    Let me add a few points:
    SCC gave for # 28084 a RCS of 0.04 m. Is this value fairly identical with the real cross section the object has than 
    a mass in the order of  4 - 5 kg.
    It is very remarkable that SCC has issued TIP messages for
    such "small" pieces of (unusual) debris. This is not the
    official policy.
    I agree with the statement issued by the Russian rocket forces
    about the health of Cosmos 2399  - that has Ted Molczan 
    forwarded today. We saw after the debris releasement an 
    orbital maneuvre of the imaging satellite but there is still
    an open question unanswered by the Russians... the question
    of the unexpected debris. 
    Berlin, Germany
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