CBERS 1 Debris Event

From: Mike McCants (mmccants@io.com)
Date: Sun Jun 03 2007 - 17:42:33 EDT

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    CBERS 1 (25940, 99-057A) was launched on Oct. 14, 1999.
    The Long March rocket (Spacetrack says CZ-4) is 99-057C (25942).
    
    The explosion of the rocket apparently took place on March 10, 2000.
    
    The first debris pieces were cataloged as CZ-4 DEB about April 1, 2000.
    
    The largest catalog number for an object called CZ-4 DEB associated with this
    launch is 99-057NM (29214).  This object was cataloged about a year ago.
    
    On March 12, 2007, Laura Grego posted:
    
    >I've heard a rumor of a breakup associated with the Chinese-Brazilian
    >satellite CBERS 1 (25940).
    
    >It seems that the primary satellite is still being tracked, but there
    >are 14 new pieces of debris associated.
    
    http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Mar-2007/0106.html
    
    About this time, 14 debris pieces 99-057NN to 99-057PB were cataloged by
    Spacecom as "CBERS 1 DEB" (not CZ-4 DEB).
    
    Then on April 29, 2007, Ed Cannon and I reported that we observed CBERS 1
    tumbling and flashing rapidly (period = 1.36 seconds) and that there was a
    change in the mean motion of CBERS 1 about Feb. 20, 2007.
    
    http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Apr-2007/0328.html
    
    Ed and I again found CBERS 1 flashing rapidly last night (period = 1.41 seconds).
    
    So now the question becomes: is there a debris piece that intersects the orbit
    of the payload before Feb 20, 2007?
    
    For this analysis, I selected elsets 07048.758 and 07064.732 for 25940 and
    elset 07073.596 for the debris object 30792.
    
    The latitude/longitude prediction for these 3 elsets agree for the time
    Feb. 18, 2007 about 10:00 UT (plus or minus an hour or two).
    
    So my conclusion is that there was a small "event" associated with this
    payload about that time.
    
    The April issue of NASA's "Orbital Debris Quarterly News" agrees with this
    assessment and mentions that about two dozen debris objects had been detected.
    
    Mike McCants
    Austin, TX
    
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