Transit 4A despin weights

From: George Olshevsky (
Date: Thu Jan 26 2006 - 16:56:16 EST

  • Next message: Brooke Clarke: "SuitSat 3 Feb 2006"

    I've been going over the lengthy series of fragments that resulted
    from the first on-orbit breakup, namely, 1961-omicron, or 1961-015 as
    it is now designated, and I suspect two of the supposed fragments from
    this launch are actually the despin weights from the Transit 4A
    satellite (1961-015A). How to tell? Well, I have a couple of Goddard
    Satellite Situation Reports from 1986-87 and in them two from the
    series have orbits listed separately from the inclusive "omicron
    3-271" (the series is a bit longer than 271 now) listing for the
    remaining fragments. This suggests that someone, somewhere at NORAD
    somehow managed to identify those two objects as >not< being from the
    on-orbit breakup. They are 1961 omicron 23 and 1961 omicron 39, now
    known as 1961-015Y and 1961-015AQ (catalogue numbers 138 and 154,
    respectively). The orbital elements indicate that 138 would be the
    high despin weight (thrown forward) and 154 the low one (thrown
    backward). (Jonathan McDowell's table suggests 015S and 013T are the
    despin weights, but with question marks; this is what got me to
    thinking about the despin weights in the first place.) Does anyone out
    there have any more information about this?
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