RE: another rocket fuel tank (or what?) -- Australia

From: Ted Molczan (ssl3molcz@rogers.com)
Date: Fri Mar 28 2008 - 14:44:23 UTC

  • Next message: David Brierley: "DMB Obs March 27 a.m."

    Ed Cannon wrote:
    
    > According to the story he found it last year (800 km/500 
    > miles west of Brisbane), but it's just getting reported.  
    > There are three images of it:
    > 
    > http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSSYD8466320080328
    
    "Farmer James Stirton found the odd-shaped ball last year on his 40,000 hectare
    property, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) west of the northern Queensland state
    capital of Brisbane."
    
    Certainly looks similar to the Atlas Centaur pieces shown on Paul Maley's web
    site (see Atlas Rockets):
    
    http://www.eclipsetours.com/sat/debris.html
    
    To make an ID with certainty, we need to know the date it fell, or the earliest
    and latest possible date. The following article is helpful in that regard:
    
    http://news.theage.com.au/outback-farmer-finds-space-junk/20080328-2257.html
    
    "James Stirton found the 54cm wide, 20kg, burnt-up ball on his 40,500-hectare
    property in Cheepie, west of Charleville in the state's south-west in November."
    
    According to this article, it may have been spotted within a week of its fall:
    
    http://regnirts.blogspot.com/2008/03/space-junk-found-out-back.html
    
    "It was just off the road and I had been going up there every couple of days to
    feed cattle so I would be surprised if it had been there more than a week," Mr
    Stirton said.
    
    And this:
    
    "... aerospace industry sources who contacted Mr Stirton believe it to be part
    of a rocket launched at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1998"
    
    A single Atlas Centaur launched from Cape Canaveral decayed in 2007: 98016B /
    25259, on 2007 Oct 24 UTC. Decay date is in reasonable agreement with the above
    facts.
    
    Propagating 98016B's latest elements with Satevo 0.51, and then computing its
    ground track and altitude, I find some possibility that it could have begun its
    terminal descent on 2007 Oct 23, about 23:47 UTC. According to Heavens-Above,
    Cheepie is at 26.633 S, 145.017 E, which is very close to the terminal track;
    decay would have been sometime around 00:09 UTC, on Oct 24.
    
    Ted Molczan
    
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