RE: USA 116 search elements

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sat May 06 2000 - 07:14:00 PDT

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    Bjoern Gimle wrote:
    > Also, it is worth mentioning that Ted identified the time of
    > the USA 129
    > manoeuvre as 21:00:12 UTC on 26 April 2000, one day earlier.
    It had been my understanding that both spacecraft always manoeuvred within a
    few hours of each other, though I have not fully confirmed this myself. My
    prediction of 26 April as the most likely manoeuvre date for both objects, was
    based on USA 116's perigee having precessed to the equator on that date, but I
    did allow at least one day of tolerance, based on past history, so 27 April
    seems possible.
    I suppose a case can be made for a longer interval between both spacecraft's
    manoeuvres, on the basis that the differences in their orbital periods had
    caused them to drift too far apart in terms of node crossing times. A one day
    interval between their manoeuvres would have changed this by about 10 minutes.
    When I have some free time, I will analyze this possibility. I need to make
    more of an effort to better understand the orbital relationships between the
    two spacecraft.
    Ted Molczan
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