Small USA 129 manoeuvre

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Thu May 11 2000 - 19:08:22 PDT

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    USA 129 appears to have manoeuvred early on 5 May 2000 UTC. I have not had time
    to perform a through analysis, but it appears that the apogee was lowered by
    about 1.5 km, which decreased the orbital period by about 0.94 s.
    Coming so close after major manoeuvres by USA 129 and sister spacecraft USA
    116, I speculate that this small manoeuvre was intended to fine-tune the
    synchronisation between the two.
    An alternative speculation is that perhaps USA 129 needed to manoeuvre to avoid
    collision with another object. I have not checked that, but it should not be
    very difficult to do with the available software.
    Here is my best estimate of the current orbit, based on observations by Russell
    Eberst and Mike Waterman, between 5 and 9 May UTC:
    1 24680U 96072A   00130.88160880  .00021086  00000-0  30083-3 0    04
    2 24680  97.9002 194.5027 0514477 105.0203 260.8524 14.74496207    07
    Ted Molczan
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    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu May 11 2000 - 19:08:54 PDT