Re: Who will be first to see Gene Rodenbery (and others) !!!

Philip Chien (
Tue, 22 Apr 1997 22:14:47 -0400

>>I notice Mike McCants has just posted elements for 97-18A and B. I
>>assume this is the recent PegasusXL launch of Minisat one off the
>>spanish coast. The highly retrograde orbit is interesting.
>>I assume the energy penalty for an air launch into retrograde orbit is
>>somewhat smaller and of course they had to launch over the atlantic to
>>the west.
>I was wondering about that.  Is there some scientific reason for the
>retrograde orbit or was it only so they wouldn't launch over Europe?

I'll bet that launching retrograde was so the vehicle wouldn't have to
launch over Europe.  I don't see any scientific reason why a retrograde
orbit would have been desirable.  The Israelis who have launched a couple
of satellites have made the comment that a retrograde orbit (launching over
the Medeterranian) is better than no orbit at all.

It's fortunate (knock on silicon and hope I'm not speaking too early) that
the upper stage didn't have the same problem as with the REX-II launch.  In
that case it exploded in to a cajillion pieces (a technical term for a
really large number) which are still being cataloged!

Imagine an orbital 'encounter' with an object in a retrograde orbit!

>>I will be looking for the booster with Gene R and the others
>>attached(window in early may for this location)  :-)
>Is the Celestis container (that's the company that handles the ashes)
>attached to the booster?  I hope so, it will make it a lot easier to see.
>It's visible from southern Wisconsin early next month.  (12 degrees altitude
>max.)  Should be interesting to face south and watch a satellite go from
>left to right.

The Celestis 'payload' (or more accurately ballast) is mounted within the
third stage of the Pegasus.  My guess is it would be in the place where a
secondary payload is occasionally carried, or the HAPS liquid propulsion

But I wouldn't count on seeing the upper stage unless you're really, really
good.  The third stage is relatively small - about 1.34 meters long and 96
cm in diameter.

But, for anybody who wants to try ...

Minisat 01
1 24779U 97018A   97111.68262286  .00013148  00000-0  10000-2 0    28
2 24779 150.9638 124.3884 0013848 317.3920  42.5781 14.98254891    33
Pegasus 3rd stage - Celestis
1 24780U 97018B   97111.68245648  .00040320  00000-0  30927-2 0    25
2 24780 150.9647 124.3876 0019848 314.4829  45.4096 14.99499756    31

Philip Chien [M1959.05.31/31.145//]