The decay of the DM-3 Stage.

From: Harro Zimmer (
Date: Fri Nov 29 2002 - 13:07:00 EST

  • Next message: Alan Pickup: "Decay watch: 2002 November 29"

    2002-053B (#27588) DM 3 - Stage
    In my last message "Fireball or reeentry..." I had say
    the decayer wa loaded with "tons of fuel".This may be not
    fully correct. Sid Olin send me this message about the
    BLOK DM-3:
    "You might be interested in this piece of news about the 
    Blok-DM3 by RIA Novosti, posted on 27 November 2002":
    "The Russian Space Troops /KVR/are now determining and
    controlling the new orbital parameters, the RIA Novosti correspondent was told by the KVR. ...In the next few days
    the DM -3 acceleration unit may enter the upper atmosphere 
    and burn because the orbit is still very low, said the KVR. 
    'To make it weigh less and fully to burn in the atmosphere
    15 tonnes of the unit's unused propellant has been jettisoned
    and it is now a mere 3-tonne metal case', said the KVR."
    Vladimir Agapow send me a message a couple of hours ago:
    "The stage was not loading with tons of fuel at the time of
    reentry. The fuel had been venting immediately after the 
    spacecraft and the stage separation.The venting had been
    completed within 24 hours after the launch. So the burning
    stage was empty and had a mass of about 2.5 tons."
    Let me show some question marks: The important second burn
    of the stage was planned for Nov 26, 00:17.22 UTC. It is 
    plausible that the control people was working at this problem
    for one hour or so.
    The first very early released ELSET for the DM stage had an
    epoch 04;46 UTC. Also the following ELSETs shows no indication
    for a fuel dump. Remember: They had to vent rougly 14 - 15 tons
    hypergolic fuel.
    Could they had done it within a few hours? What have they done with the 2 BOZ motors?
    Many reports from Oregon, Washington State and others mentioned
    a extreme large number of decaying  pieces - unusual for a
    "normal" decayer - indication for an explosion?
    It would be very interesting to hear from the Russian Space
    Troups some more details about there preparations for the decay
    of the DM-3 stage.
    BTW: The ballistic coefficient calculated during my reentry
    forecasts looks like a more massive object in comparison with
    an empty DM -stage. An explanation could be a constant spatial
    orientation of the stage until shortly before decay.
    Berlin, Germany
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