USA 129 - no manoeuvre as of 3:20 UTC April 16

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@home.com)
Date: Sun Apr 16 2000 - 12:36:34 PDT

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: USA 129 - no manoeuvre as of 3:20 UTC April 16"

    The object was observed last night, 16 April 2000, at 3:20 UTC. I will not post
    the name of the observer unless and until I can determine the person's wishes.
    The observation confirmed the accuracy of both elsets I posted yesterday, so
    the object has not yet manoeuvred:
    
    http://www2.satellite.eu.org/seesat/Apr-2000/0258.html
    
    I still expect a manoeuvre at any time.
    
    The following search elements arise from some research I have been doing over
    the past few hours. I have noticed that the recent Keyhole's in the same plane
    as 96072A have made their orbit raising manoeuvres when their argument of
    perigee was near 0 or 360 deg, i.e. when the perigee was over the equator.
    
    The last such manoeuvre of 96072A occurred on 8 Sep 99 near 17:03:47 UTC, when
    the object was at latitude 3.7 N, longitude 109.3 W, southbound.
    
    I speculate that proximity to that longitude may be a mission requirement, in
    which case we might be able to predict future manoeuvres. In any case, 96072A's
    argument of perigee is now near 180 degrees.
    
    Today, 16 April 2000, at 16:52:54 UTC, the object was at 1.1 N, 106.6 W,
    southbound - similar circumstances to the manoeuvre of 8 Sep 99. If a manoeuvre
    took place at that time, then the new orbit would look something like this:
    
    1 70000U          00107.70340278  .00035000  00000-0  52799-3 0    02
    2 70000  97.8745 171.6305 0514000 180.1905 358.8000 14.73500000    00
    
    I am still trying to verify my longitude ~ 108 deg constraint hunch, by
    analyzing the circumstances of other manoeuvres. It looks promising, but the
    task is complicated by a sparseness of elements in some cases. In any case, we
    will understand the issues better after this next burn, since several observers
    and analysts are tracking the object closely.
    
    Ted Molczan
    
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