USA 144

From: Edward S Light (
Date: Sat Mar 18 2006 - 11:21:56 EST

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: USA 144"

    Has anyone seen USA 144 (25744 = 99-028A) recently?  I'm wondering
    because last night I saw "USA 144 debris" (25746 = 99-028C) easily
    despite its range (6th magnitude at 4000km) and then waited in vain
    for USA 144 whose TLE (dated 2005 Nov 30) implied it would follow
    the "debris" by about a minute and a quarter.  (Neither object has
    TLE available from SpaceTrack, and classfd.tle only has 25746).
    In 6 (binocular) observations in 1999 (Jun 19 through October 17), I
    had no trouble seeing USA 144 at apparent magnitude from 5 to 6-1/2,
    corresponding to quicksat intrinsic magnitudes of 2.0 to 3.4.
    My two observations of "USA 144 debris" (25746/99-028C) last month and
    last evening were about 6th magnitude at ranges from 3820 to 4031 km,
    corresponding to quicksat intrinsic magnitudes near 2.5 . 
    Is there any chance that what I now see as 25746 is the same object as
    the 25744 of 6-7 years ago?  My limited data imply essentially the
    same brightness and the latest TLEs I have give extremely similar
    orbits (i.e. almost the same inclination, argument of perigee,
    eccentricity, and period).
    Just curious!
    Clear and dark skies!
       Ed Light
    Lakewood, NJ, USA
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