re: What is Cosmos 1953?

Walter Nissen (dk058@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Thu, 21 Aug 1997 11:59:47 -0400 (EDT)

Larry Van Horn, 
 
Thank you very much for your response. 
 
You clarified some weaknesses in my phrasing.  Some people listening in RF 
(or watching in RF; conversely, the SeeSat-L people could be said to be 
listening to broad-band weakly-tuned receivers up in the 600 THz band :-) 
apparently have no doubt about the difference between the Tselina-Ds and 
the Okeans.  I didn't strongly assert this simply because it is not within 
my direct experience, but did not mean to cast any doubt.  I have no doubt 
that you are correct that, when viewed as constellations, the orbits of 
Tselina-Ds and Okeans are distinguishable, (but again this is something I 
have not personally verified).  But, to the contrary, no one has come 
forward to suggest an ability or an analytic technique for categorizing 
any single given TLE (no fair consulting a table of actual satellite 
orbital data). 
 
Another possible distinction between Tselinas and Okeans is flashing 
behavior.  To my knowledge, no Okean has ever exhibited this dramatic 
flashing.  Which, by itself, would lead me to question the suggestion 
(made in an article in Sky&Telescope(??) a few years ago) that Tselinas 
resemble Okeans in up-close appearance (an Okean drawing appears in 
"Europe & Asia in Space, 1991-2", by Nick Johnson).  The same reason leads 
me to doubt the suggestion by Nick Johnson that the Tselinas are 
gravity-gradiant stabilized.  Paul Maley had some intelligent comments 
concerning this issue which I don't really understand, but which seemed to 
support Nick Johnson.  I have never pestered either of these gentlemen to 
clarify the issue.  Please note that me questioning them is analogous to a 
four-year-old questioning me, because of their far greater knowledge from 
inside the space industry.  I do see sudden onset flashing, followed by 
steady loss of angular momentum, which leads me to question that gravity 
is involved as a stabilizing force.  I think the Tselina-Ds may have been 
called Ferret-Ds, perhaps by Western intelligence analysts. 
 
The idea is a fairly simple one.  Do the radio data correlate with the 
visual data?  If C* 1953 and C* 1933 abruptly began flashing (presumably 
because they abruptly began tumbling) as the PPAS data indicates, why?  An 
hypothesis is that they suddenly lost attitude control, possibly due to 
catastrophic failure or possibly due to normal end of life.  Have all 
Tselina-Ds displayed this behavior?  I have little info about the 
intervals of operation of the Tselina-Ds, (just the general info provided 
by the Kettering Group to Nick Johnson for the very useful "Soviet Year in 
Space", etc., series).  Perhaps they have characteristic lifetimes. 
Perhaps the ones that have flashed are also distinguishable from within 
the RF data.  The signal reception times would have to be specific to the 
week or the month to allow an analysis.  Whether additional specificity 
would show even more, I cannot predict.  Also, it may be that there are 
some clues in the brightness data supplied by Russell Eberst and Rainer 
Kracht. 
 
(When I first became interested, after discovering the flashing behavior 
of C* 1933, it seemed, from my uninformed seat in the arena, that there 
might be more launches.  This now seems very doubtful.) 
 
Your table is very good (C* 2151 is 91-42A).  This table lists all the 
Tselina-D objects which I know anything about, and also 11 Okean objects 
(f flags objects which are known to have exhibited flashing behavior): 
 
10973U 78- 67A 1025          ELINT??        not clear if this was a Tselina 
11266U 79- 11A 1076          predecessor of Okean-OE 
11671U 80-  5A 1151          predecessor of Okean-OE 
12785U 81- 82A 1300          Tselina-D 
12987U 81-117A 1328          Tselina-D 
13271U 82- 59A 1378          Tselina-D 
13552U 82- 92A 1408          Tselina-D 
14032U 83- 37A 1455          Tselina-D 
14147U 83- 61A 1470          Tselina-D 
14372U 83- 99A 1500          Okean-OE prototype 
14551U 83-122A 1515          Tselina-D 
14699U 84- 13A 1536          Tselina-D 
14819U 84- 27A 1544          Tselina-D 
15331U 84-105A 1602          Okean-OE prototype 
15369U 84-111A 1606          Tselina-D 
15494U 85-  9A 1626          Tselina-D 
15592U 85- 20A 1633          Tselina-D 
15889U 85- 58A 1666          Tselina-D 
15944U 85- 69A 1674          Tselina-D 
16262U 85-108A 1703       f  Tselina-D 
16326U 85-113A 1707          Tselina-D 
16495U 86-  6A 1726          Tselina-D 
16611U 86- 18A 1733          Tselina-D 
16719U 86- 34A 1743          Tselina-D 
16791U 86- 46A 1758          Tselina-D 
16881U 86- 55A 1766          Okean-OE prototype 
16986U 86- 74A 1782          Tselina-D 
17191U 86- 97A 1805          Tselina-D 
17295U 87-  3A 1812          Tselina-D 
17566U 87- 24A 1825          Tselina-D 
17911U 87- 38A 1842          Tselina-D 
18152U 87- 55A 1862          Tselina-D 
18214U 87- 62A 1869          Okean-OE prototype 
18421U 87- 88A 1892       f  Tselina-D 
18748U 88-  1A 1908          Tselina-D 
18958U 88- 20A 1933       f  Tselina-D 
19210U 88- 50A 1953       f  Tselina-D 
19274U 88- 56A Okean 1       Okean-O 
19573U 88- 93A 1975          Tselina-D 
20465U 90- 10A 2058       f  Tselina-D 
20510U 90- 18A Okean 2       Okean-O 
21397U 91- 39A Okean 3       Okean-O 
21422U 91- 42A 2151       f  Tselina-D 
22236U 92- 80A 2221       f  Tselina-D 
22286U 92- 94A 2228          Tselina-D 
22626U 93- 24A 2242       f  Tselina-D 
23317U 94- 66A Okean 1-7     Okean-O? Okean-M? 
23657U 95- 46A Sich 1        Okean-O1 
 
I can also supply TLEs for these, if anyone thinks it desirable, though 
they are routinely available from the usual sources, Molczan, OIG, etc. 
 
I have seen 15592U 85- 20A 1633 recorded at both 153.420 MHz and 153.480 
MHz.  Perhaps it was received on both?  Also, I've been led to believe 
that an object launched 19940525, which failed to orbit, may have been 
intended to replace 19573U 88- 93A 1975. 
 
I am very interested in hearing from anyone with data bearing on the dates 
of operation of these spacecraft, particularly the Tselinas.  I know that 
the issue of frequencies is crucial to monitors, but I have no knowledge 
of this matter.  I am therefore, possibly naively, interested in 
monitoring at any frequency.  Also, it doesn't bother me if the frequency 
monitored is a harmonic of the fundamental frequency; nor does the 
modulation bother me one way or the other, CW is fine.  I may learn enough 
to care about these matters, but haven't yet :-). 
 
Another thing I don't care about is whether the designation is Kosmos, 
Cosmos, K, C, K., C., C*, C-, Cos, or what have you.  I would be quite 
willing to change to any proposed standard which begins to gather 
significant strength as a standard. 
 
My list of Tselina-Ds does not include objects launched by the A-1 launch 
vehicle thru 1983, nor any launched prior to 1981 (except C* 1025).  There 
are numerous objects in smaller (than the ones I list) orbits at 
inclinations of 81.2, going back, as Phillip Clark says, to C* 389 (he 
suggests between his lines that C* 389 initiated the program).  It may 
well be that the RF signature of the A-1 (and prior) launched objects is 
very similar or identical to that from the later F-2 launched objects I 
list.  (Knowing what little I know, I'd have to assume that Nick Johnson's 
F-2 is Phillip Clark's "three-stage Tsyklon"). 
 
But I have not investigated the A-1 (and prior) objects.  I have 3 
specific fears about these objects: 
1) there may be little about them in PPAS (but I haven't looked), 
2) they may not flash anymore because they have spun down under the usual 
eddy current damping (apparently observed in C* 1933, C* 1953, etc.) 
3) (however similar the RF signatures) they may be physically quite 
different than the F-2 launched spacecraft, and therefore not comparable 
in brightness behavior. 
 
Still, these would be worth looking into.  Here are some candidates, 
chosen merely on the basis of size and inclination of orbit: 
 
 3835   69- 29A ?? ??           ?? 
 4119   69- 84A ?? ??           ?? 
 4393   70- 37A ?? ??           ?? 
 4583   70- 85A ?? ??           ?? 
 4813   70-113A  389            Tselina-D 
 5117   71- 28A  405            ?? 
 5143   71- 31B ?? ??           ?? 
 5328   71- 59B ?? ??           ?? 
 5853   72- 11B ?? ??           ?? 
 7418   74- 66B ?? ??           ?? 
 7969   75- 56B ?? ??           ?? 
 8128   75- 76B ?? ??           ?? 
 8755   76- 24B ?? ??           ?? 
 9854   77- 15B ?? ??           ?? 
10135   77- 61B ?? ??           ?? 
10362   77- 91A  955            ?? 
10561   78-  4A  975            ?? 
10860   78- 45A 1005            ?? 
11055   78- 94A 1043            ?? 
11155   78-117A 1063            ?? 
11266   79- 11A 1076            ?? 
11268   79- 12A 1077            ?? 
11331   79- 32A 1093            ?? 
11458   79- 67B ?? ??           ?? 
11629   79- 99A 1145            Tselina-D 
11682   80-  8A 1154            Tselina-D 
11821   80- 44A 1184            Tselina-D 
11932   80- 69A 1206            Tselina-D 
12071   80- 93A 1222            Tselina-D 
12154   81-  8A 1242            Tselina-D 
12464   81- 46A 1271            Tselina-D 
12903   81-103A 1315            Tselina-D 
13067   82- 13A 1340            Tselina-D 
13120   82- 27A 1346            Tselina-D 
13153   82- 39A 1356            Tselina-D 
13402   82- 79A 1400            Tselina-D 
13770   83-  3A 1437            Tselina-D 
13818   83- 10A 1441            Tselina-D 
 
 
Though long glints of the sort reported by Leigh Palmer do not necessarily 
require any angular momentum, C* 1953 is still flashing.  I observed a 
period of 7.65 seconds as recently as August 8th. 
 
PPAS(beginning): 
Walter I. Nissen, Jr., CDP, dk058@cleveland.freenet.edu, 55 Barrett RD #808, 
Berea, OH 44017-1657, USA, 440-243-4980, -81d 51.823', 41d 22.413', 256m, 7x35 
92- 80 A 97-08-07  9:19:28.6 WN  125.7  .7   1 126.   irreg F'A', C* 2221 
88- 50 A 97-08-08  2:55:14.3 WN   76.5  .5  10   7.65 irreg Fs, C* 1953 
 
The PPAS summary above is derived from this complex OBS: 
 
C* 2221  19970807 
 9 18 11.86 begin obs, about mag 5 
            brightened steadily to about mag 3 
   19 28.57 F  about mag -1 
            definitely dimmer dropping to mag 5 or 6 
   21 34.26 A  w/instantaneous brightening 
            dimmed rapidly 
      36.27 reached about mag 6, leveled 
            dimmed 
 9 21 52    end obs, lost to sky background about mag 7 
 
I never saw the object at this pass: 
***  1997 Aug   9  *** Times are UT ***   129  934 
 H  M  S  TIM AL AZI C   U  MAG   REVS  HGT SHD  RNG  EW PHS  R A   DEC 
22236 C* 2221                          3.0  kT 2 
 8 34 44   .0 42  95 C  40  3.9   50.9  647 413  912 1.1 104  349  23.0 
 
Apparently the phase angle (and/or the attitude of the spacecraft) was 
unfavorable enough to extinguish my chances of seeing it.  I 
triple-checked and don't think I failed due to morning metabolism. 
 
Here are the latest OIG TLEs for the objects prominently mentioned: 
1933 
1 18958U 88020A   97233.31730947  .00000220  00000-0  23785-4 0  3613 
2 18958  82.5382 158.7809 0018702 118.4923 241.8200 14.83355406509779 
1953 
1 19210U 88050A   97232.65409749  .00000195  00000-0  21375-4 0   977 
2 19210  82.5253  98.7288 0024077  88.6817 271.7157 14.82153415496058 
2221 
1 22236U 92080A   97232.21115399 +.00000201 +00000-0 +27062-4 0 01714 
2 22236 082.5126 355.4576 0024001 059.3308 301.0268 14.74014290254835 
 
 
Cheers. 
 
Walter Nissen           dk058@cleveland.freenet.edu 
-81.8637, 41.3735, 256m elevation 
 
P.S.  Bart, I just read your message about the topicality of radio 
discussion in SeeSat-L, and hope that you believe as I do, that my recent 
radio discussion falls into one of two acceptable (but not overly 
encouraged) areas: 
1)  what you need to know to make good astrometric positional OBS   and 
2)  co-operation of monitors in different parts of the frequency spectrum.

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