Re: SNAPShot - was re: Misc. Obs.

Philip Chien (
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 21:20:28 -0500

Philip Chien wrote:

>> But since this particular object has a fairly low NORAD number it's
>> presumably a small rocket body, or part of the system which was discarded
>> when it was raised in to its parking orbit.


>It's listed as ordinary Debris.  Its RCS of 1 indicates a small, but not the
>very smallest piece of debris.  There are other much larger pieces.
>1389 1965-027  D 650403    .9655   110.4  89.8     784    762 OPS 4682 DEB
>1316 1965-027  C 650403    .4112   110.1  90.2     777    749 OPS 4682 DEB
>1315 1965-027  B 650403    .2202   111.4  90.2     817    788 SECOR 4 (EGRS-E)
>1314 1965-027  A 650403   8.1370   111.5  90.2     819    789 OPS 4682

The key thing which caught my attention was the serial number - 1389.  It's
far after the primary objects.

A's the primary satellite, B's the secondary payload.  I'd assume that C is
the rocket's Agena upper stage or possibly an additional stage.

I've got some reference which indicates the reactor operated for 43 days
and there was some kind of spacecraft anomaly.  But it was raised in to its
storage orbit.

I would guess that after that orbit raising whatever system was used to
raise the altitude (solid motor or boost stage) was ejected and that's the
D object.  But that's just a guess until somebody looks at the elements
from that period and sees if when 1389 was cataloged is shortly after the
MM of the A object was decreased.

The additional objects since then would indicate that *something* happened
which caused the pieces to be released.  Whether this related to any
problems with the reactor, the spacecraft, or unrelated I don't know.

Philip Chien, KC4YER
Earth News
world (in)famous writer, science fiction fan, ham radio operator,
all-around nice guy, etc.