Will collision fragments be "uncorrelated targets"?

From: Ed Cannon (edcannonsat@yahoo.com)
Date: Mon Feb 16 2009 - 09:32:10 UTC

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    Back in 2000, Allen Thomson sent a message 
    to SeeSat-L in which he talked about 
    uncorrelated targets -- tracked by SpaceCom 
    or StratCom but not made public.  Here's a 
    link to that message:
    Here's bibliographical information on an 
    article on that type of topic regarding a 
    European study:
    "Estimating the number of debris in the 
    geostationary ring", Rüdiger Jehn, Shahram 
    Ariafar, Thomas Schildknecht, Reto Musci, 
    and Michael Oswald.
    "Available online 30 May 2006."
    "Abstract - Two thousand seven hundred and 
    ninety uncorrelated targets brighter than 
    magnitude 18.5 were detected by the European 
    Space Agency (ESA) 1-m space debris telescope 
    at Tenerife during more than 1000 observation 
    hours between February 2001 and December 2004. 
    ...  It is estimated that there are between 
    450 and 540 uncatalogued objects brighter 
    than visual magnitude 18.5."  [That was at
    the end of 2004.]
    I'm guessing that a lot of the debris from 
    the Cosmos-Iridium collision might end up 
    being uncorrelated targets.  How will they be 
    able to determine to which object fragments 
    belong?  They collided at near right angles, 
    which must have yielded all kinds of velocity 
    vectors for the fragments.  
    On the other hand, how do they know if any
    given Fengyun 1-C fragment is from the 
    satellite or from the missile that destroyed 
    I'm puzzled along with others that apparently
    Iridium did not get any or enough warning of
    the potential/impending collision.  I would 
    think that they would have maneuvered their 
    payload if they had known long enough in 
    Last week Omid and Omid Rk both went over 
    here.  I just barely managed to catch the 
    payload with binoculars for a few seconds as 
    it passed near Procyon, when it tumbled to
    visibility.  On the other hand, the rocket 
    body was quite bright, about magnitude +1.5 
    -- very easy to see without magnification
    for its entire pass.
    Ed Cannon - Austin, Texas, USA
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