Another one to search for along with Milstar?

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Sun, 02 May 1999 03:03:47 -0500

While we're talking about searching for potentially interesting 
objects in wrong orbits, there's also the new DSP.  As probably 
about everyone read, they're in control of it and trying to 
decide what, if anything, it could be used for in a totally 
wrong orbit.  As of April 30 the report was, "The current orbit 
remains highly elliptical."

 http://www.flatoday.com/space/today/043099e.htm

According to the fact sheet on the Space Command Web site (if 
this one fits the same profile), the DSPs are 7 meters in 
diameter and over 10 meters high -- with solar arrays deployed.  
There's an illustration with the fact sheet:

 http://www.spacecom.af.mil/usspace/dsp.htm

The one sitting south-southeast of Hawaii flashes every 2.5 
seconds (spin-stabilized, period = 10 seconds), with the 
brightest flashes at least +7 at a range of over 38,000 km 
(when it can be found at the right time)!  So I would think 
that the new one might be even more interesting at, say, 3,800 
km (wild guess, of course).  The Space Today report says in 
effect that it's spinning normally.

I wonder where it might be?  I guess it's a pretty sure bet
that it's inclination is less than 28 degrees.  What are the
chances that, if no use can be found for it, they might try to 
bring it down?

Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA