Ofeq 3

Craig Cholar (3432P@VM1.CC.NPS.NAVY.MIL)
Wed, 11 Mar 98 13:49:11 PST

Alan Pickup said...
>Exceptionally, SeeSaters might note that the satellite OFEQ 3 (#23549 =
>95-18A) with its 143 deg inclination appears to be heading for decay
>this summer.

Ofeq 3 is currently making evening passes in the northern hemisphere,
favoring those near lat 36N, and of course the southern hemisphere
is getting the morning passes.  I had a great 85 deg pass Tuesday
night, slant range 392km (244 sm), steady, easily seen at about mag 4.

For newcomers who haven't had a look at a satellite with an extreme
retrograde orbit, this one is probably the easiest one to see right
now.  To avoid launching to the east over Jordan or Saudi Arabia,
Israel had to launch it westward, hence the unusual orbit.

Some background on Ofeq 3:
   http://leonardo.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/QuickLooks/ofeq3QL.html

More info, including an interesting table of other extreme retrograde
launches, is available in this back issue of Jonathon's Space Report:
   http://hea-www.harvard.edu/QEDT/jcm/space/old/news.237

Ofeq 3           1.0  0.0  0.0  6.3 v            533 x 347 km
1 23549U 95018A   98070.25609858  .00084121  00000-0  13101-2 0  8367
2 23549 143.3566 178.4859 0134501 139.0920 222.0029 15.42526972162912

 Craig Cholar    3432P@VM1.CC.NPS.NAVY.MIL
 Marina, California
 36 41 10.3N,  121 48 17.9W    (36.6862, -121.8050)      UTC -8