Transit 4A rocket fragments

From: George Olshevsky (
Date: Sun Jan 29 2006 - 16:03:28 EST

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    I've been rummaging through old elsets of the 1961 Transit AbleStar
    rocket breakup and noticed that the earliest elsets for 1961-015EE
    somehow got mixed up with those of the ED fragment. From circa
    1962-1964, the ED elsets describe two distinctly different orbits, one
    higher and more eccentric and one lower and more circular, more or
    less alternately, first one and then the other, and there are no
    elsets for EE at all. Then in 1964 EE gets its own elsets, and,
    surprise, surprise, they follow on from the lower, more circular
    orbits previously attributed to ED, while the ED elsets stop
    alternating between two kinds of orbits and just stay with the higher
    orbit. Go to Space Track and ask for the elsets for objects 404 and
    405 from 1962 through 1965, say, and you'll see what I mean. I gather
    this sort of thing happens from time to time with long series of
    fragments. Quite amusing.
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