98001 found

Matson, Robert (ROBERT.D.MATSON@cpmx.saic.com)
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 13:22:04 -0800

Hi All,

In between flashes of Gorizont 14 Tuesday night, I spent my time
trying to reacquire pseudo-ID 98001, a Pacific GEO flasher that
I don't think has been seen since October 1st.  I used the following
search orbit, which is a slightly tweaked version of that which
appears in MOLCZAN.TLE:

1 98001U          98201.73894482  .00000180  00000-0  16686+0 0    04
2 98001   3.9000  58.4786 0001000  81.0331 278.9668  1.00225000    07

The mean-motion is wrong in this element set -- the actual mean
motion should be close to 1.0027 since we know from observation
that this satellite is geostationary.  However, 1.00225 was
necessary with the old epoch date (98201.7) to get the satellite
in the correct longitude ballpark to match last fall's observations.

This strategy paid off.  The satellite was found at 20:30 PST on
23 February, flashing at about magnitude +7.2.  By 20:40 it had
dropped below magnitude +8.5, and I could no longer track it.
I checked again from 21:00-21:20 and 21:35-21:45 without
success.

Fortunately, I timed its conjunction with a dim star (mag 7.36):

HP #022499, HD #030781, 4h 50m 28.1s, -3d 52' 03" [J2000]

Conjunction occurred at 20:32:30 PST, which was 24 Feb 1999
4:32:30 UT.  Observing coordinates were 33.7602 N, 118.1295 W,
5m.  This information should be sufficient for one of our experts
to refine the orbit.

Cheers,
Rob