Re: Confusing Sats
Fri, 10 Nov 95 09:19:57 -0700


Walter Nissen wrote:

>I note that recent messages reflect some uncertainty about the identity of
>the various pieces from the 95-59 launch.

>Confusions about the vulgar name are routine in the immediate post-launch
>period, and the timely distribution of elsets on the net to a growing
>number of observers actually increases the extent of the problem.

>It would bring me great comfort if observers would identify satellites
>by including the elset (TLE) used to locate the object.

I think this idea has merit for new satellites, yes.  But for established,
firmly identified, known satellites there seems to be little benefit.  The
cost would not only be longer postings: it would make postings more
work to write and make them less readable on the receiving end.  To
carry this to the absurd, are you suggesting we include the TLE of Mir
each time Mir is the subject of a post?

I suggest a restrained version of Walter's proposal:

 1) Always include the TLE in a post about a new satellite until
    USSPACECOM links the name to the catalog number/id _and_
    the name shows up in the Kelso/Molczan sets.

 2) Always include the TLE in a post about an older satellite
    if that satellite is not in the Kelso/Molczan sets.  This isn't
    to prevent an identification problem so much as it is to provide
    a service to readers.  In other words, if you write about an
    obscure piece of debris whose ID is deep into the alphabet,
    the TLE should be provided to forestall a stampede of logins at
    the OIG BBS.

Now the other issue is what to do about names of new satellites.  For
my posts about RadarSat, I used the convention: RadarSat(?).  A problem
could arise if the name is long and the TLE gets put into QuickSat,
for the (?) gets truncated in the output.  Perhaps the convention
(?)RadarSat would be better?  I don't know.  Regardless, there needs to
be a way of signifying that the satellite name in the TLE name field
is an assumed name.

> This practice would provide all three names

Technically, a satellite has a catalog number, an ID number and only
one name.  And I have yet to see a name of a satellite I would consider
vulgar :)


 -- Jim

Jim Varney, P.E.                                           Sacramento, CA
Civil Engineer