ESA REPORT #11

From: Greg Roberts (grr@telkomsa.net)
Date: Sun Feb 15 2009 - 09:47:23 UTC

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "flashing geo sat seen, while using my lens that gives a very wide feild"

    Good morning
    
    Rather a long posting but I hope of interest.
    
    Every year around about February the Space Debris Office of the 
    European Space Operations Centre, run by ESA, releases a report 
    called CLASSIFICATION OF GEOSYNCHRONOUS OBJECTS.
    
    Several years ago the amateur high altitude fratenity adopted 
    the satellites in this report that fall under the UNKNOWN category.
    
    Initially the observation/radio success rate was low as most of 
    these objects are small and thus faint. However as the groups 
    capabilities have improved so has the success rate so that today 
    probably less than a dozen have still to be located and tracked.
    In most cases this failure to locate is because we have no 
    observers in certain regions or the satellites may be frequently 
    moved.
    
    Introducing these satellites into the amateur catalog possed a
    problem since it introduced yet another naming convention. In 
    an attempt to minimize this once an ESA object had been tracked
    and its real identity determined, it was added under its correct
    name into the catalog. For those objects that could not be
    associated with any particular launch the number 96*** appears
    in the so-called CLASSFD.TLE maintained by the observational 
    amateurs.
    
    Although the element database is called CLASSFD.TLE not all objects
    are classified. The database is essentially a collection of elements
    for satellites that are not in the public domain or do not appear in the
    public SPACETRACK catalog for one or other reason.
    
    The motivation behind the ESA reports are simply to have as complete
    a representation of what happens in the GEO belt as possible.This
    area is becoming terribly over crowded and the situation is not
    improving. There is a real danger posed by objects in this region for
    which data is not in the public domain or available to satellite
    operators at a minimum. This was vividly highlighted by the DSP-F23
    incident which is not yet over and will present a threat for many years
    to come, so it is becoming increasingly obvious that one cannot allow
    the luxury of secret objects in orbit if they present a threat to any
    other satellite.
    
    Even when satellites are known collisions are inevitable as we have
    just seen with the IRIDIUM/COSMOS crash. In this case a major slip-up
    probably occurred as the IRIDIUM satellite should have been able to 
    move to avoid it but since such an incident had not knowingly occurred
    before vigilance was a little lax. I dont think this will be the case in
    future., but with "unknown" satellites flying about how does one take
    evasive action?
    
    Anyway be that as it may....
    
    ESA REPORT #11 has enabled the amateurs to correct several errors as
    well as add new objects and I believe the summary below is a reasonably
    accurate representation of the current situation. I suspect there may
    still be some errors and welcome corrections.
    
    Whilst it has been possibly to provide identities for many of the ESA
    objects some remain unknown . The ESA report gives a list of objects
    that are known to have been orbited but have not yet been identified
    so many of these objects are no doubt present in the ESA catalog of
    unknown objects. Some of these objects are bright ( brighter than 
    magnitude +12) so are obviously reasonably big objects and probably 
    the main payload, others flash at various rates so could be rocket 
    bodies or other large debri. Many of the objects are small - like 
    telescope dust covers,cooler covers,entry baffle covers,array restraint 
    cables etc - and are difficult to observe. Typically a 16th magnitude 
    object at geo distance is around 1/2 metre in size. Sometimes the 
    orbital period is also an indication of an operational payload.
    
    In the table below is the current situation for the amateur network and
    amateur elements,based on amateur observations, are maintained.
    
    The first colum is the amateur designation for an ESA object. ESA use
    UI001 to represent UNKNOWN OBJECT 001. The amateurs have 
    replaced the UI by 96 so pretty straight forward.
    
    The second column gives the International Designation number
    
    The third column is the COSPAR identification
    
    The fourth column is the amateur designation which has been in use for
    many years , ie 90 followed by a sequential number
    
    The final column identifies the object, if identity known
    
    ========================================================================
    
    
    
    96001 26880 01033A  90031     DSP F21 USA 159
    96002                         not yet observed
    96003 90066 05667A  90066     Unknown 050616
    96004 26356 00024A  90033     DSP F20 USA 149
    96005                         observed
    96006                         observed
    96007 26635 00080A  90043     SDS 3F2 USA 155 GREAT BEAR
    96008 23223 94054A  90054     MERCURY 1 USA 105
    96009 10941 78058A            VORTEX 1
    96010                         observed   
    96011                         observed 
    96012                         observed
    96013 27169 02001B            MILSTAR 5 r
    96014 90049 05605C  90049     Unknown 050415
    96015                         observed 
    96016 90048 05605B  90048     Unknown 050415
    96017 90030 05544A  90030     Unknown 050213
    96018 19976 89035A  90055     VORTEX 6
    96019                         observed  
    96020                         observed  
    96021 90008 00838A  90008     Unknown 001203
    96022                         observed  
    96023 11558 79086A  90051     VORTEX 2
    96024 90075 05605D  90075     Unknown 050415
    96025                         observed 
    96026 14675 84009A  90053     VORTEX 4
    96027                         observed 
    96028                         observed 
    96029                         observed
    96030 18583 87097A  90071     DSP F13 USA 28
    96031                         observed  
    96032                         observed 
    96033                         not yet observed
    96034 15453 84129A            DSP F12 USA 7
    96035 05204 71039A            DSP F2
    96036 04376 70032A            INTELSAT-3F7
    96037 14930 84037A  90003     DSP F11
    96038                         observed  
    96039                         observed
    96040                         observed 
    96041                         not yet observed
    96042 90073 07569A  90073     Unknown 070310
    96043 05851 72010A            DSP F3
    96044                         not yet observed
    96045 12339 81025A  90050     DSP F9
    96046 13086 82019A            DSP F10
    96047                         observed
    96048 06691 73040A  90002     DSP F4
    96049                         observed   
    96050                         observed 
    96051 90074 06585B  90074     Unknown 060326
    96052 08916 76059A  90041     DSP F6
    96053 11397 79053A  90069     DSP F8
    96054                         observed   
    96055                         observed 
    96056 08482 75118A  90072     DSP F5
    96057 09803 77007A  90067     DSP F7
    96058                         observed  
    96059                         observed
    96060                         observed
    96061                         observed
    96062                         observed 
    96063 27168 02001A            MILSTAR 5 (MILSTAR-2F3 USA 164)
    96064 27712 03012B            MILSTAR 6 r
    96065 25967 99063A  90036     UFO F10 USA 146
    96066 22915 93074A  90042     DSCS 3-8 USA 97
    96067                         not yet observed
    96068 23132 94035A            UFO F3 USA 104
    96069 22787 93056A  90034     UFO F2 USA 95
    96070                         observed
    96071                         observed 
    96072 27938 03041B            USA 171 r
    96073 23855 96026A  90016     MERCURY 2 USA 118
    96074 25336 98029A  90013     MENTOR 2 USA 139
    96075 90005 99804A  90005     Unknown 991031
    96076                         observed
    96077                         observed  
    96078                         observed 
    96079                         observed  
    96080                         observed
    96081                         observed 
    96082                         observed 
    96083 20929 90095A            DSP F15 USA 65
    96084                         observed  
    96085                         observed
    96086                         not yet observed
    96087                         not yet observed
    96088                         observed
    96089                         observed
    96090 90022 04764A  90022     Unknown 040920
    96091                         observed 
    96092 20963 90097B  90063     SDS2 F2 USA 67
    96093                         observed
    96094                         observed
    96095                         observed
    96096 12046 80087A  90029     FLEETSATCOM 4
    96097 15543 85010B  90037     MAGNUM 1 USA 8
    96098 11890 80060A            EKRAN 5
    96099                         not yet observed
    96100                         not yet observed
    96101 10669 78016A            FLEETSATCOM 1
    96102                         observed
    96103                         observed 
    96104                         DSCS 3-11  
    96105 26575 00065A            DSCS 3-12 USA 153
    96106 27691 03008A  90035     DSCS 3-13 USA 167
    96107 27875 03040A  90024     DSCS 3-14 USA 170
    96108 28158 04004A            DSP F22
    96109 27711 03012A            MILSTAR 6 (MILSTAR-2F4) USA 169
    96110                         not yet observed 
    96111 25258 98016A            UFO F8 USA 138
    96112 26715 01009A            MILSTAR 4 (MILSTAR-2F3) USA 157
    96113 25501 98058A            UFO F9 USA 140
    96114                         GEOLITE ? not yet observed
    96115                         DSCS ? not yet observed
    96116 23967 96042A            UFO F7 USA 127
    96117 28117 03057A  90038     UFO F11 USA 174
    96118 27937 03041A            MENTOR 3 USA 171
    96119                         not yet observed
    96120                         DSCS 3-F7
    96121 23467 95003A            UFO F4 USA 108
    96122 23589 95027A  90009     UFO F5 USA 111
    96123                         DSCS 3-F6
    96124 23712 95060A            MILSTAR 2 (MILSTAR DFS-2) USA 115
    96125 24737 97008A            DSP F18 USA 130
    96126                         observed   
    96127                         not yet observed
    96128 23567 95022A            MENTOR 1
    96129 12930 81107A            VORTEX 3
    96130 20253 89077A            FLEETSATCOM 8 USA 46
    96131                         not yet observed 
    96132                         observed
    96133 21805 91080B  90068     DSP F16 USA 75
    96134                         FLTSATCOM-7
    96135 13637 82106B            DSCS 3-F1
    96136 20355 89090B            MAGNUM 2 USA 48
    96137                         observed
    96138                         not yet observed
    96139 90007 00653A  90007     Unknown 080229
    96140 29242 06024C  90078     MiTEx U/S r USA 189
    96141 32287 07054A            DSP F23 USA 197
    96142 22988 94009A  90023     MILSTAR 1 (MILSTAR DFS-1) USA 99
    96143                         not yet observed
    96144                         observed 
    96145                         observed 
    96146 90076 07761A  90076     Unknown 070918
    96147 32288 07054B            USA 197 r
    96148                         not yet observed 
    96149                         not yet observed  
    96150                         not yet observed  
    96151       01046A            SDS 3-F3 USA 162 
    96152       07046A            WGS-F1 USA 195
    
    
    As Bugs Bunny (I think?) used to say "Thas all Folks!"
    
    Cheers
    Greg
    
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