RE: satellite ID

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Thu Aug 27 2009 - 13:25:08 UTC

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "bright flashes from iridium 33"

    Tony Beresford wrote:
    > I am trying to ID a satellite picked up by John Vetter from
    > the Mugdee Observatory ( 32.57S, 149.58 E  ) near Siding Spring obs
    > It was observed for 36 minutes tumbling at 2.5 flashes per second
    > with a maximum brightness of mag 8.
    > The only suspect I get is intel602 ., 89 87A 20315.
    > This satellite is geosynchronous and inclined ( See Heans-above).
    > Does anybody on the list have definite status on this object?
    > Even if its a spinning comsat the rotation rate should
    > be around 5 rev/minute.
    Intelsat 602 is a member of the Intelsat VI series, which are spin stabilized by
    means of a spun section, designed to rotate at 30 RPM. The 2nd generation SDS
    were built on the same bus (Hughes HS-389), and they have been observed to flash
    with a period between about 1 s and 1.5 s, but that is quite a bit slower than
    the 0.4 s of the UNID. However, a sensitive detector may detect flashes from
    various small structures around the circumference of the satellite, resulting in
    a much faster period than implied by the satellite's rate of rotation. If there
    is any doubt as to the ID, I would be pleased to review the observational data.
    Ted Molczan
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