Re: SZ-2 module (and rocket)

From: Jonathan T Wojack (
Date: Thu Jan 18 2001 - 07:47:43 PST

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    > As to the SZ-2 "module" (26687 = 01-001C), as it was rising near 
    > Deneb
    > (23:16.7 UTC), it appeared between 3.5 and 4 magnitude (bad phase 
    > angle)
    > but by the time (23:17.6 UTC) it sailed some 12 degrees above 
    > Polaris,
    > it had become as bright as that star.  I guess enough of this 
    > satellite
    > "was left" in orbit to remain a naked-eye object.
    The "module" is an instrument package that detached from Shenzhou-2 right
    before the deorbit burn.  It will remain in orbit for several months.  I
    know nothing of its size.
    At about 23:11 UT, Jan. 11th, I saw the Shenzhou-2 (my first sighting of
    any of the objects in this series).  (There was animals onboard by the
    way, so only by a technicality was it "unmanned".)
    At ~ 23:05 on Jan. 16th, I saw the Shenzhou-2 Rocket (CZ-2 R/B; 26665;
    01001B) for the first time.  Fortunately for me, I was able to see one of
    the very few flashers that I have seen in my life.  Due to its relatively
    long period (26.63s, +/- 1s), I was only able to make one timing.  My sky
    was still very bright (LM ~ +2.5), but I was able to see the tumbling
    rocket.  At its peak brightness (and altitude), it was at 0 to -1
    magnitude.  What was the period of the rocket the last time someone
    checked (for comparison purposes) ?
    Do spinning objects in orbit (such as CZ-2 R/B) increase in their period
    of rotation, essentially, because the gravitational force (or whatever
    you want to call it) of the Earth has a damping effect on the spinning
    motion of such a satellite (I think this would be a case of the Earth's
    gravimetric field absorbing the rotational energy of the spinning
    satellite)?  It's kind of hard to put this into words, but like the
    satellite must MOVE through the Earth's gravitational field, which
    (according to my hypothesis) will transfer energy (rotational energy)
    AWAY from the satellite?
    Jonathan T. Wojack       
    39.706d N   75.683d W  
    5 hours behind UT (-5)
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jan 18 2001 - 08:43:58 PST