Re: 12044A / 38744: altitude increasing?

From: Bob Christy (bob@zarya.info)
Date: Thu Aug 09 2012 - 12:13:53 UTC

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    I've put together some thoughts on this that suggest the leaky object 
    might be the Auxilliary Propellant Tank (APT). It involved using 
    SpaceTrack data so I'll not post the detail to Seesat.
    
    Apologies, but a hiccup yetserday when an updated version of the page 
    was loaded to the web server meant that this, and some other pages 
    showed as blank: http://www.zarya.info/Gallimaufry/120707ProtonFailure.php
    
    Bob Christy
    
    
    On 09/08/2012 11:38, Ted Molczan wrote:
    > The latest three USSTRATCOM TLEs of 12044A / 38744 exhibited consecutive small increases in altitude. I refer to the
    > three TLEs ending with that of epoch 12222.23327559. Earlier TLEs exhibited large variations of rate of decay, which I
    > initially attributed to the typical process of converging to a more or less steady rate of decay. I now suspect that the
    > object may be thrusting, perhaps due to leakage of propellants.
    >
    > Observations by Russell Eberst and Mike Waterman reveal the object to be fairly bright:
    >
    > http://satobs.org/seesat/Aug-2012/0084.html
    >
    > http://satobs.org/seesat/Aug-2012/0095.html
    >
    > Ted Molczan
    >
    >
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