RE: Milstar 5 on OIG

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Wed Jan 16 2002 - 17:28:44 EST

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    Antonin Vitek pointed out that USA 164 has been assigned to Milstar 5,
    despite USA 163 not having been assigned to a payload. 
    To make matters more confusing, hobbyists are tracking two payloads from
    the 2001-040 launch, yet only one (USA 160) has been catalogued. We know
    that there are two payloads, because both objects have manoeuvred
    roughly a half dozen times since launch. Both objects were deployed soon
    after launch, long before the launch of 2001-044A.
    Here is a summary of recent launches:
    2001-040A  USA 160
    2001-040B  Atlas 2AS CENTAUR R/B
    2001-040C  USA 160 DEB
    2001-044A  USA 161
    2001-046A  USA 162
    ?????????  USA 163
    2002-001A  USA 164
    Perhaps the object catalogued as debris (2001-040C) is in fact the
    payload, incorrectly catalogued.
    Could it be that USA 163 has been assigned to the second 2001-040
    payload, but not yet catalogued?
    The simplest explanation could be that USA 163 should have been assigned
    to 2002-001A, but someone lost count, and assigned USA 164. As for the
    second 2001-040 payload, either there has been a cataloguing error, or
    it has been decided to delay cataloguing it, even though the object is
    readily trackable.
    Ted Molczan
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