Questions about breakups and rocket bodies

Date: Sat Nov 05 2005 - 19:05:20 EST

  • Next message: Leo Barhorst: "Re: Questions about breakups and rocket bodies"

    Say a rocket body identified as 20xx-nnnB blows  up in orbit and generates a 
    flurry of fragments 20xx-nnnG-EX. What determines  which object retains the 
    identifier 20xx-nnnB after the blowup? Is it (a)  the largest or brightest or 
    most-radar-visible fragment, (b) the fragment  whose orbit is closest to that of 
    the rocket body 20xx-nnnB prior to the  explosion, or (c) simply a fragment 
    from the flurry picked at random? Would one  still call that particular object 
    "rocket body" and all the other objects  "fragments," or would it become just 
    another "fragment" like the  rest? Or would that depend on how much of the 
    rocket body remains intact  after the explosion?  
    Speaking of rocket bodies, what is the difference between a rocket body and  
    a rocket body >casing<, which sometimes occur separately in lists of  objects 
    from a particular launch? Is a "casing" the same thing as a "separator,"  that 
    is, a ring-shaped piece of hardware placed in between two successive  
    upperstages that is discarded when the higher stage pulls away from the lower  stage? 
    Also, what is the difference between a "rocket," a "motor," and an  "engine," 
    all three of which occur in various places in the RAE table? I presume  
    something like a third stage is a major "rocket" and not a "motor" or an  "engine," 
    whereas separate smaller auxiliary units would just be "rockets,"  "motors," 
    and/or "engines."
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