Re: mars express

From: Tony Beresford (
Date: Tue Jun 03 2003 - 04:32:44 EDT

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    At 16:41 3/06/03, Josef wrote:
    >Hi all
    >does  anybody have the tle elements from the mars express who launched yesterday?
    >Is the flight to mars visible all the time at the northern hemisphere? What about the
    >at the start and how change the visible magnitude to the flight to the mars (1/R^2). Is
    >it possible with CCD camera or mintron video camera to observe the whole flight. How
    >far does the tle elements function.Are tle elements only for objects arround the earth?
    >I hope we all can observe this satellite.
    >Have a nice day
    >Josef Huber
    >Munich Public Star Observatory
    all man-made objects are far to small a surface area to track visually beyond 1 million Km range
    1. There will be no TLEs since it was only temporarily in Earth orbit.
    2. It has a catalog number, as can be seen from the OIG reply
    27816 MARS EXPRESS No TLE found.
    27817 FREGAT D/S R/B No TLE found.
    3.By now its quite likely beyond the lunar distance and something like mag 20-21 already,
    It will be mag 26-27 by the time of the mars encounter. So following it up is quite 
    impractical unless you can sweet talk the controllers into a sunglint off the solar panels,
    a procedure done on NEAR. Then Gordon Garradd ( MPC 422) imaged it at 32 million Km with
    a 0.5m newtonian and a CCD.
    4. TLE models only work in elliptical and circular earth orbits, and I suspect the original
    specifications would have imagined any use much beyond GEO . 
    5. Knowing the launch time and the arrival time you can calculate an approximate heliocentric
       orbit, because you have 2 positions and the time between them. Its approximate because
       the actual trajectory has some correction manouvers as well, but it should show dstances
       from Earth & Mars to 3 figures.
    Tony Beresford
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