Fuel dump "cloud" seen from Bombay, India

From: Mike McCants (mmccants@io.com)
Date: Wed Jun 08 2005 - 00:13:52 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "TJM obs of 2005 Jun 08 UTC"

    The following URL was sent to me by David Dunham:
    
    http://vegaclub.com/Unknown.htm
    
    The web page shows a "cloud" that moved from south to east
    on Feb 12/13, 2005.  It was first seen about 21:45 UT on Feb 12.
    (This is Feb 13 at 3:15 AM local time.)
    
    The below is from Jonathan McDowell's Space Report:
    
    Ariane 5 ECA
     
    Arianespace, CNES and ESA launched the second Ariane 5ECA, vehicle 521, from
    Kourou on Feb 12 at 2103 UTC.
    
    The main payload is XTAR-EUR, an X-band military communications
    satellite owned by Hisdesat/XTAR of Spain and built by Loral.
    
    ---
    
    So the sighting occurred about 45 minutes after the launch.
    
    I have generated predictions for Bombay using the tles for the
    Ariane 5 rocket in its transfer orbit.  The transfer orbit for the
    payload was only slightly different.
    
     Lat 19.0N Long 72.8E
    
    *** 2005 Feb 12 *** Times are UT
    
    NCat 28543 Ariane 5 rocket
    
    Hrs Min  Alt Azi  Mag    Hgt    R  A    Dec  Range (miles)
     21  45   36 171  7.4   2838  12 43.6 -34.9   3683
     21  50   37 155  8.0   3638  13 42.4 -29.3   4517
    
    Note: the report says that the cloud was over Theta Centauri
    at 21:50.  Theta Centauri is RA 14Hr 7 Mn, Dec -36 degrees.
    That appears to be about 8 degrees below this prediction.
    The prediction is near Pi Centauri.
    
     21  55   37 145  8.4   4430  14 19.9 -25.1   5392
     22   0   36 138  8.8   5203  14 46.5 -22.2   6257
     22   5   35 133  9.2   5954  15  6.7 -19.9   7094
     22  10   34 129  9.5   6680  15 23.0 -18.2   7897
     22  20   33 124 10.0   8056  15 48.1 -15.6   9397
     22  30   32 121 10.4   9336  16  7.2 -13.8  10762
     22  45   32 118 10.8  11087  16 29.4 -11.9  12589
    
    I assume that the first "cloud" seen was a short separation burn
    as the payload was released from the rocket.  Another possiblity
    is that it was the remnants of the actual rocket burn that placed
    the objects in a transfer orbit.  The cloud became visible as it
    moved from shadow into sunlight.
    
    I assume that the second "cloud" was generated when the Ariane 5
    released its extra fuel and oxidizer after separation.
    
    Mike McCants
    
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