RE: Visibility of 96-72A

Ted Molczan (molczan@fox.nstn.ca)
Wed, 8 Jan 1997 15:34:07 -0500

David Brierley wrote:

>I find it very exciting that S hemisphere observers have acquired 96-72A.
>Using Pierre Neirinck's orbit of 97007.51605090 I find that at Edinburgh,
>Scotland, eclipse exit rises to 10 deg in the north as early as February 12,
>and to 30 deg by February 20.  Will it be possible to achieve a south to
>north handover?

By 12 Feb, the orbit will be almost totally in shadow
for the most southerly of the present Australian
observers, who is at 38.4 S, so a direct hand-off
wont happen unless significantly more southerly observers
come forward. Unfortunately, there is little habitable
land south of about 40 S. Southern New Zealand, The 
Falkland Islands and S. Argentina are the major places 
that come to mind.

However, this should not be a major problem as far as 
recovery in the N. hemisphere is concerned.
The rocket likely will have decayed by early-February
(SatEvo predicts 5 Feb, based on Pierre's 97007.5
elset). 

The payload's orbit is very stable, and it will be perhaps
7 months before it requires a re-boost, so as long as an 
accurate orbit, especially mean motion and decay, can be 
determined over the coming week or so, the prediction 
uncertainty in mid-February should be no more than 
several minutes.

Clear skies!
Ted