Re: Large number of debris objects from Delta 4 Rocket

From: Mike McCants (
Date: Mon Nov 20 2006 - 14:56:10 EST

  • Next message: David Brierley: "DMB Obs November 20"

    I posted:
    >My analysis of the elsets for a few
    >of these objects leads me to the conclusion that an explosive
    >event happened many minutes after the rocket performed its
    >maneuver to enter a decay orbit.
    Ted performed an analysis of some of the debris elsets and came
    to a different conclusion.
    So I fixed the blunder in my program and re-ran the analysis.
    My results now agree with his.
    All of the elsets with reasonably small drag values converge to
    a time of Nov. 4 about 14:08-14:11 UT.  The timeline after launch
    (at 13:53) was shutdown at T+15 (14:08) and payload separation
    at T+18 (14:11).  So the "event" occurred near that time.
    All of the elsets have "less orbital energy" than the rocket and
    the payload had at that time.  This indicates that the event ejected
    debris in the direction opposite to the direction of motion.
    So, the payload was "out front", the rocket was "behind" and the debris
    objects were ejected "to the rear".
    Apparently this event did not affect the rocket, since normal firing
    of the rocket to cause re-entry into the ocean occurred one orbit later
    on schedule. (about 15:44)
    Mike McCants
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