Re: SL-16 R/B 27006, USA 144

From: Tyler MacKenzie (
Date: Sat Aug 10 2002 - 13:35:14 EDT

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    Hi Björn, Janet and others,
    	I too have been interested in these Zenits, and I watched a great
    pass of SL-16 R/B 27006 last night from SE Canada.  Details for Björn's
    Location: 45.883° N, 64.350° W, alt c. 20m
    Date: 10 Aug 02 UT
    Picked up at 01:43:30 UT at c. 65d elevation.  It was flashing with triplet
    bright (0.5 to 1) speculars approx 0.2s apart with an intervening slow
    smooth minimum to c. 3.5mag.  I measured from the first of the triplet
    speculars 15 cycles for 44.4 seconds = 2.96s period.  This continued for
    about a minute after which the speculars faded rapidly to a single phase
    dim-bright-dim-bright of about the same period (3s) which continued until I
    gave it up at about 20d elevation.
    I also followed USA 144 on the UT morning of 9 Aug.  It was dim and
    tumbling, with a possibly complex period that I guessed at 65-70 seconds
    overall.  I saw what I think was a few minor specular flashes, but nothing
    remarkable.  I've never seen an operational payload like this.  Given the
    low std. mag., the tumbling, and the radiation pressure pushing it around
    so strongly (low density), I'm putting my (very amatuerish) vote on debris.
    Back to lurking...
    Sackville, NB, Canada
    45.883° N, 64.350° W, alt c. 20m
    >I have special suspicions about Zenith-2 (SL-16) rockets having multiple
    >reflecting surfaces, but on these recent observations I did not detect
    >having a higher period than 2*1.5 s.
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