Re: My UNID - 25-Feb-98, 21:30 UT

Jason Hatton (jason.hatton@etss.u-strasbg.fr)
Wed, 04 Mar 1998 09:06:53 +0000

I cross checked my observations with predicted positions for Norad
6779/71116B/67001X & Norad 25074 / Astra 1G rk which were possible
identifications of the unknown flashing satellite I observed suggested
by Mike McCants. The Astra 1G rk would have been too far east at the
time of observation, but 71116B / 67001X fits exactly the timing &
trajectory of what I observed.;

Look Angles Ephemeris Data: 67001X - Sat#  6779 Date: 02/25/98
Time (UT) Az.   El. Rng(km)    Right Asc.   Decl     Lat    Lon  Alt(km)
21:30:00 188.6  35.5  11665.2 7h 54m 52s   -5.6    12.8    2.6   9848.3
21:35:00 183.2  36.5  10354.8 8h 17m 43s   -4.9    14.8    5.9   8673.4
21:40:00 175.6  37.1   9029.7 8h 47m  8s   -4.3    17.1   10.1   7467.6

The satellite entered eclipse at 21:40:30, which explains why there was
no sign of it when I tried looking for it again with binoculars once I
had the telescope set up to look at Gorizont 23 around 21:45.

As Daniel Karcher points out it is an interesting satellite to look for
since its flashes are bright enough to be seen in binoculars under
favourable conditions & frequent enough to be found easily.

There was article in Space News (Feb 9-15, Vol. 9, No. 6, pg 8), which
might be of general interest, on the BMDO Mid Course Experiment (MSX)
satellite being used to track satellites with a visible light sensor.
The satellite has fulfilled its primary mission, but some of its sensors
are still functional. So it was decided to use it to test the
possibility of tracking objects in high earth orbits (primarily
geosynchronous) which are potentially beyond the range of ground based
sensors. Sounds like a good idea, since at least they don't have the
weather messing up an observing session!

Best wishes,

Jason Hatton

48.538N / 7.731E / 143m