Re: Okay here's a weird one ...

Phillip Clark (psclark@dircon.co.uk)
Tue, 13 Apr 1999 10:26:55 +0100 (BST)

On Tue, 13 Apr 1999, Philip Chien wrote:
> >From OIG tonight -
> 1999-017A    25669 USA 142                   US     1999/04/09
> 1999-017B    25670 TITAN 4 R/B               US     1999/04/09
> 1999-017C    25671 IUS (1)                   US     1999/04/09
> 1999-018A    25673 EUTELSAT W3               EUTE   1999/04/12
> 1999-018B    25674 ATLAS 2A CENTAUR R/B      US     1999/04/12
> note that object number 25672 is unlisted.  Apparently they're still saving
> it for the IUS (2) stage from the DSP launch??

I had assumed that USSPACECOM knew that DSP had separated from the IUS 
assembly but did not know the precise orbit that it was in.   They were 
tracking the Titan-4B second stage and IUS stage 1 which were in their 
planned orbits but they had yet to find IUS stage 2.   If something has 
misbehaved then it can take time to find payloads and rockets - and the 
higher the orbit actually attained the more difficult it will be.   Plus, 
of course, objects in geosynch orbit or at that altitude are tracked by 
photographic means, not radar means, and that might be somewhat slower.

So, for me, the jury is still out as to whether IUS stage 2 is attached 
to stage 1, in GTO, in a near GEO or doing a quick fly-by of Pluto 
(admittedly the latter is the most unlikely).

Of course, USSPACECOM is not supposed to reserve catalogue numbers for 
objects which have not been tracked, even though they do so sometimes.

Phillip Clark

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Phillip S Clark                                       25 Redfern Avenue
Molniya Space Consultancy                             Whitton
Compiler/Publisher, Worldwide Satellite Launches      Middx   TW4 5NA
                                                      U.K.

Specialist in "space archeology" - the older and more obscure the more 
interesting it is !
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