96072A and low perigee orbits

sbolton (sbolton@nbnet.nb.ca)
Tue, 31 Dec 1996 07:51:19 -0400

Just a few comments/ thoughts re the 96072A discussion.

Objects are seldom placed in deliberate very low orbit. However, an
exception was the first Mercury orbital missions, when it was decided to
keep perigee low enough to allow orbital decay without a retrofire prior to
oxygen/ life support depletion.
Glenn was placed in a 160 by 100 nm orbit, and if memory serves this would
ensure decay within a 24 hour period. No heating effects were noted on the
photographs during the mission.
Since 24681 currently has a 102 sm perigee- I doubt it experiences
significant heating.
Additionally, this perigee altitude supports the idea this is not the
primary payload.

As Ted  Molczan mentioned I had the pleasure of seeing the Raduga 33 r/b
make a 100 Km shadow pass last summer. It is a spectacular sight- leaving a
briefly glowing trail 2-3 degrees long.
Last night the perigee of 24681 was north of Burma, but get out there and watch.

As a side question- could one of the experienced group members guide me in
finding a search program to "flag" objects with a predefined(low) perigee.
                                                      Steve Bolton