Fw: Satellite passes in 1996

Chris Peat (Chris.Peat@dlr.de)
Mon, 12 Oct 1998 09:07:11 +0200

I just got this message from a user of our web site. Could anyone please
help him?

Chris Peat, Anite Systems
Currently working at the German Space Operations Centre near Munich

-----Original Message-----
From: fwestra@hetnet.nl <fwestra@hetnet.nl>
To: Chris.Peat@anitesystems.com <Chris.Peat@anitesystems.com>
Date: 11 October 1998 19:29
Subject: Satellite passes in 1996

>My question:
>Is it possible to retrieve similar data on satellite passes in the
>year 1996?
>On June 13, 1996, at about 23.03 UTC I observed a satellite moving
>from west to east, about 30 - 40 degrees above the horizon. My
>position was 52.17N 6.38E.
>The remarkable thing was that this satellite was being accompanied by
>ten smaller objects, seven in front, three behind. I had to use my
>binoculars to see this. They were all in the same straight line in
>which they moved to the east. The distances between the objects
>didn't change. I've been told that the smaller objects probably must
>have been debris from the satellite, which must have been in the
>process of decaying.
>However, I'm still wondering which satellite it must have been.
>From NASA's Spacewarn data I gather that it might have been an Atlas
>2AS Rocket stage (USSPACECOM catalog no. 23462). This one decayed on
>June 27, 1996. There are no other decaying satellites reported by
>Spacewarn in the period from June 13 till June 27. But I don't have
>any track data on 23462, so I'm not sure.
>Do you have suggestions how I could solve this small mystery?
>Thanks for your help!
>Best regards,
>Frits Westra -- fwestra@hetnet.nl