99057C debris

From: Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@saic.com)
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 18:50:02 PDT

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "USA 129 and OCS elements; USA 129 manoeuvre alert continues."

    Hi All,
    I took Mike's suggestion and ran the elsets of #'s 25942,
    26119, 26121, 26123 and 26143 through ALLCOLA to see if any
    common dates/times showed up.  As Mike discovered, March 11th
    is the critical date.  All but 26121 were close to one another
    in the 13:00 - 13:08 UT time frame.  (Not surprising that 26121
    has the greatest divergence -- it has the highest mean motion
    of acceleration.)  Running with ALLDAT.TLE, others were also
    in the mix, including 26122 (J), 26125 (M), 26126 (N), 26129 (R),
    and 26143 (AF).
    Also, checking the archives I see that on April 7th, Ted Molczan
    "I strongly suspect that Russell Eberst's unknown of 4 April 2000
    is the rocket body 99057C, or an as yet uncatalogued fragment. Here
    is my analysis ... <snip>"
    I concur -- COLA is pinging this elset as part of the mix.
    One final thought:  I believe the running assumption is that the
    rocket body exploded due to unspent propellant.  Isn't this at
    least the second CZ that has created a large debris field?  I
    realize that the U.S. is just as guilty with the huge debris
    field from STEP 2 Pegasus, but it seems irresponsible to continue
    to launch a booster with a none propensity to pollute LEO with
    dozens or even hundreds of fragments.  --Rob
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