Re: Proposed Naming Convention for Unknown Objects

From: Allen Thomson (
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 07:05:17 PDT

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    <> said
    > I support Ted Molczan's proposal. In particular adding 500 to
    > the day (rather than 200) also avoids problems if there is a surge
    > in launches in a few years time.
    > Would Ted be willing to maintain the registry of un-identified objects?
    > Whoever does it there should be the conditions
    > (a) that a new object is only added when it has accurately observed on
    >     several occasions
    I agree that Ted's proposal has great merit. The details -- his scheme as
    and modified seems perfectly acceptable -- are probably less important than
    establishing a uniform set of rules for naming unknown satellites(*) and
    working with the
    TLEs derived from observations.  When and if agreement is reached on the
    rules, I suggest someone, probably Ted, write them up in a "How to report
    and work with observations of unknown/uncatalogued satellites" FAQ for
    One possibility for a registry would be for one or more of the established
    Web site maintainers to include an unkn.tle file, rather like Mike McCants'  Actually, the unkn file wouldn't really be much different than
    classfd, except that the informal observer/analyst community has come to a
    consensus as to what the classfd objects are and has established good orbits
    for them.  Rather like, in fact, the process by which NORAD itself moves
    objects from 8xxxx to [012]xxxx numbers.
    Going beyond the current proposal, it might also be useful to set up an
    archive of observations to facilitate analysis of unkns. The SeeSat-L
    message record currently serves this purpose to some extent, but a more
    compact and searchable version would be desirable.
    (*) I suggest we use the term "unknown satellite"  or "uncatalogued
    satellite" in these discussions, lest we be joined by a certain other large
    and persistent three-letter interest group wielding search engines.
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