RE: NROL-30 search elements

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 12:38:10 EDT

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    Lift-off from CCAFS occurred on 2007 Jun 15, at 15:12 UTC, 8 min later than
    planned. The launch vehicle was an Atlas 5-401.
    I suspect that the target plane is close to that of NOSS 2-3 (96029C, D and E).
    Assuming the same ascent trajectory as NOSS 3-3 (05004A and C), which launched
    from CCAFS aboard an Atlas 3B-SEC, and that the 8 min delay would not affect the
    RAAN (right-ascension of the ascending node of the orbital plane), then this
    would be the orbit of the leading payload at the first ascending node:
    NOSS 3-4         0.0  0.0  0.0  4.9 v
    1 70002U          07166.70111494  .00000011  00000-0  20000-4 0    07
    2 70002  63.4420  42.8917 0107863 182.7436 177.3009 13.39714521    00 
    The plane of the above orbit happens to be about 2 deg east of the 96029 plane,
    and I suspect it to be within +/- 5 deg of the intended plane.
    I recommend allowing at least 5 min prediction time uncertainty.
    The second payload will trail the above by a short distance. The Centaur may
    also be nearby.
    I have a pass tonight, Jun 16 near 02:28 UTC, low in the west, late in twilight.
    The weather forecast suggests a definite slim chance of seeing low Earth orbit.
    Ted Molczan
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