USA 116 and 129 elements

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@home.com)
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 08:23:52 PDT

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    Pierre Neirinck produced the following elements, using observations by himself,
    Russell Eberst, Bjoern Gimle and Rob Matson and Jim Nix, from 30 April to 3 May
    UTC:
    
    USA 116         15.0  3.0  0.0  5.1 v
    1 23728U 95066A   00125.21706390  .00017000  00000-0  42369-3 0  2633
    2 23728  97.9019 237.1874 0454568 335.0541  22.6139 14.75030764    04
    
    USA 129         15.0  3.0  0.0  5.1 v
    1 24680U 96072A   00124.90899490  .00024789  00000-0  34440-3 0  4666
    2 24680  97.8707 188.6047 0519247 123.5479 241.5183 14.74002794    05
    
    It appears that USA 116 has maintained the higher than standard perigee height,
    of about 325 km, that it adopted sometime over the winter of 1998/99. An
    earlier eastern-plane KeyHole, 87090A, did the same during 1991-92, prior to
    its de-orbiting.
    
    The reason for the perigee-raising is unclear. Perhaps it is intended to
    conserve propellant, by reducing drag; however, the long-lived western-plane
    KeyHole, 88099A, maintained a nearly constant perigee height, so that is not an
    entirely satisfactory explanation.
    
    Ted Molczan
    
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