Re.: 98-63C in....

Harro.Zimmer (
Sun, 20 Dec 1998 15:24:25 +0100

The improbable short lifetime for 1998-63C (Ariane 42L R/B)- around 3 days - that 
Tristan Cools mentioned is a real interesting problem:
USSPACECOM had released only two ELSETs after launch, looking quite normal with 
no major differences in respect to the third stages ELSETs of other Ariane 
launches in the geostationary transfer orbit. The last ELSET shows a perigee
of 183.6 km and an apogee of 35756.6 km. I see no natural reason for an extremely 
rapid decay within less then 72 hours.
There are only two explanations for this discrepancy:
1) USSPACECOM is in error (misidentification or lost of the object)
2) Deorbiting of the third stage without every observational notice by US-
   SPACECOM  (Whatever was the cause)

I will try to clear the last point with my friends at ARIANESPACE.