COMETS boost and identity switch with rocket

Alan Pickup (alan@wingar.demon.co.uk)
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 21:16:45 +0000

Recent observation reports by Ed Cannon to SeeSat-L suggested that what
USSPACECOM was calling COMETS appeared more like the COMETS H2 rocket
and that what had traditionally been called its H2 rocket was "missing"
on the morning of March 20. It now appears that USSPACECOM have switched
the identity of both objects and that one of them, presumably COMETS
itself, was boosted between March 19 and 22.

After the first few days in orbit, both had been following quite stable
orbits, though #25176 may have been manoeuvring very slightly. Between
98078.28 and 98081.50 (March 19 and 22), however, it seems that #25176
was boosted from a 1857x250 km orbit into a mm=12.54 orbit of 2494x396
km. It was tracked in this orbit until 98082.22 and then the the orbit
was "reassigned" to #25175. I presume this is COMETS. Meantime, the
1862x249 km orbit of #25175 was switched to #25176 which I take to be
the H2 rocket. Analyses of the residuals confirm that the object which
is now #25176 is identical to that which had been called #25175, and
that all the recent elsets showing a mean motion of 12.54 refer to the
one object (COMETS?).

Here are annotated recent elsets for both objects:

COMETS H2 r?                                     1865 x 249 km
1 25175U 98011A   98078.66010190  .00065673 -19172-5  70029-3 0   382
2 25175  30.0405 170.0286 1086705  31.6893 334.4704 13.54194529  3567
COMETS H2 r?                                     1863 x 249 km
1 25175U 98011A   98080.65090646  .00071002 -16095-5  75271-3 0   397
2 25175  30.0398 159.7383 1085972  48.0276 320.7862 13.54467572  3836
COMETS H2 r?                                     1862 x 249 km
1 25175U 98011A   98081.60922609  .00081200 -13574-5  86481-3 0   403
2 25175  30.0375 154.7729 1084990  55.8716 314.0082 13.54637167  3967
COMETS ?       (reassigned from #25176)          2493 x 397 km
1 25175U 98011A   98082.46074763  .00003650  00000-0  41875-3 0   413
2 25175  30.0448 154.1642 1339900  61.3006 311.5602 12.54753264  4073


COMETS ?                                         1857 x 250 km
1 25176U 98011B   98078.27730963  .00096550 -14227-5  10487-2 0   360
2 25176  30.0543 171.8468 1081242  28.8801 336.7785 13.55172241  3517
COMETS ?    (after boost)                        2494 x 396 km
1 25176U 98011B   98081.50443771  .00063652  00000-0  73370-2 0   374
2 25176  30.0442 158.3808 1340579  54.5938 311.8416 12.54760877  3949
COMETS ?                                         2493 x 397 km
1 25176U 98011B   98081.58522858  .00026900  00000-0  31209-2 0   387
2 25176  30.0359 157.9978 1339946  55.2432 316.7283 12.54749599  3957
COMETS ?                                         2493 x 396 km
1 25176U 98011B   98082.22196247  .00004845  00000-0  55700-3 0   408
2 25176  30.0440 155.2047 1340066  59.6381 312.9542 12.54754957  4032
COMETS H2 r ? (reassigned from #25175)           1861 x 249 km
1 25176U 98011B   98082.56740608  .00081715 -12784-5  87283-3 0   412
2 25176  30.0350 149.8010 1084094  63.7419 307.0464 13.54795329  4087
COMETS H2 r ?                                    1862 x 248 km
1 25176U 98011B   98082.86221107  .00080272 -12830-5  83597-3 0   438
2 25176  30.0372 148.2897 1085577  66.0388 304.9876 13.54838988  4122
COMETS H2 r ?                                    1861 x 248 km
1 25176U 98011B   98083.23069200  .00077604 -13074-5  81153-3 0   447
2 25176  30.0366 146.3773 1085055  69.0865 302.2291 13.54890584  4178
COMETS H2 r ?                                    1860 x 248 km
1 25176U 98011B   98083.52547360  .00068978 -14290-5  72715-3 0   457
2 25176  30.0346 144.8527 1084358  71.5400 299.9843 13.54912264  4214

Alan
-- 
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