Re: Retrograde objects and UNIDENTIFIEDS

From: Russell Eberst (
Date: Fri Apr 02 2004 - 05:08:46 EST

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    J.P. Bagby was an advocate of small natural satellites of the Earth.
    He based his speculations on the minimal amount of evidence.
    So here are a couple of tales from 40 years ago.
    In 1965, the rocket of Cosmos 61 exploded in orbit scattering about 150
    bits of debris into individual orbits. While NORAD were sorting out the
    numerous fixes they received from their sensors, no orbits were published.
    So when I observed an object in a 56-degree inclined orbit, there were no
    matching orbits available for identifying it. I therefore called it an 
    Bagby latched on to this report and decided that it was a potential natural
    Earth satellite, mentioning it in one of his papers. However, somewhat later
    when orbits for the debris were published, I was able to identify the object as
    1965-20P, which turned out to be the largest piece, and was referred to as the
    rocket. So that suggestion was thoroughly refuted.
    At the end of 1965, Cosmos 100 was launched, and designated 65-106A. However,
    the object tracked under that designation was very probably the last stage
    rocket. Its orbit was considerably more eccentric (e=.012) than the other
    object from that launch 65-106B (e=.002). NORAD decided to swap their 
    So in the monthly SATELLITE SITUATION REPORT published by GSFC, there was an
    apparent sudden huge change in the values of perigee/apogee heights for 
    these two
    objects. For 65-106A, the value for perigee height (after months of being near
    566 km) suddenly jumped to around 630 km.
    Bagby ascribed these massive alterations to the gravitational influence of 
    Earth satellites, but they were clearly the result of attempt to correct 
    the initial
    error in identifying the payload and rocket of this launch.
    >The author also describes "natural" posigrade objects:
    >1) Semimajor axis= 2.147 Earth radii, .502 eccentricity, 43.45 inclincation.
    >2) Semimajor axis= 2.147 Earth radii, .51 eccentricity, 44.12 inclincation.
    >3) Semimajor axis= 2.126 Earth radii, .516 eccentricity, 44.35 inclincation.
    >4) Semimajor axis= 2.129 Earth radii, .399 eccentricity, 48. inclincation.
    The third object listed has a perigee radius of 1.029 earth radii. [p=a(1-e)]
    This is a height of 185 km [0.029*6378km]. Such an orbit will decay to re-entry
    very quickly. This was the case with many such 'Bagby' candidates. On a 
    consideration, it was totally unlikely that many natural satellites would 
    all reach
    're-entry' virtually simultaneously from widely differing orbits (e.g. very 
    inclinations.) So I gave little or no credence to his theories, and have 
    heard no more
    of them for a few decades.
    Best wishes,
    Russell  Eberst
    55.9486N,   3.1383W,  150 feet = 46 metres above MSL
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