BULLETIN: 96072A found, 96072B updated

Ted Molczan (molczan@fox.nstn.ca)
Tue, 7 Jan 1997 19:45:05 -0500

Both objects from the 20 Dec 96 Titan IV launch from VAFB are now
found, and being tracked.

Anthony Beresford was the first to report 96072B, having spotted it
on 24 Dec 96. On 6 Jan 97, Anthony was the first to provide an
accurate position of 96072A. There was a credible, unmeasured 
possible sighting by an anonymous observer 2 revs earlier.

Here are current orbits produced by Pierre Neirinck:

USA 129         15.0  3.0  0.0  5.1 v
1 24680U 96072  A 97 07.51605090  .00010000  00000-0  80311-4 0    04
2 24680  97.7361  73.3296 0573191 106.1310 260.2516 14.72177963    02
USA 129 r        9.8  3.0  0.0  3.0 v
1 24681U 96072  B 97 07.54926320  .00964146  00000-0  10965-3 0    06
2 24681  97.7600  74.2654 0492390 103.2964 262.2396 15.29637502    02

Anthony deserves a great deal of credit for taking the initiative
to look for these objects soon after launch. He received neither help
nor encouragement from me, but in hindsight, he should have.

These objects will be visible for a few more weeks, until precession, and
in the case of 96072B, drag, brings their altitude within the Earth's 
shadow. Further observations will be appreciated, and will be analyzed
to produce updated orbits. The orbit of 96072A is not yet precisely
determined, so additional observations of it are particularly important.

Clear skies!