Re: Looking for Sputnik 1 elsets

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Mon Aug 27 2007 - 16:46:55 EDT

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    A few years ago I put together a set of elements for Sputnik 1 and its booster 
    by using observations, contemporary newspaper reports and an observatory 
    logbook from what used to be East Germany. The Sputnik 1 elements I got by 
    starting out with the R/B elements and taking into account the newspaper 
    reports about the radio contact times over various places on Earth. A mean 
    drag coefficient I arrived at by running a numerical simulation for the R/B 
    and Sputnik so that their reentry times (dates) came out alright. The 
    following TLEs seem to be good to within 3 minutes or so for most of October 
    Sputnik 1 R/B
    1     1  57001A   57277.80972234 0.00629914  00000-0  27300-2 0     4
    2     1  65.1000 339.9400 0510880  70.1160 334.6900 14.93980000     8
    Sputnik 1
    1     2  57001B   57277.80972234 0.00352343  00000-0  15670-2 0     1
    2     2  65.1000 339.9400 0510880  70.1160 334.6900 14.93980000     9
    The elset for the R/B agrees particularly well with a picture taken at 
    Rodewisch school observatory (50.53 N, 12.42 E) at 3:51 UTC, 13-OCT-1957 
    which shows the booster passing UMa. This is probably the first picture of a 
    satellite trail taken in Europe (my guess is that some folks in Australia 
    might have taken pictures two or three days earlier as Sputnik had a good 
    evening visibility there - does anyone know about earlier pictures? If you 
    live down under could you check your newspaper archives?).
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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