Sinosat 1 Rk (98-44B)?

Ed Cannon (
Sat, 23 Oct 1999 04:17:20 -0500

Friday evening (about 1:19 Oct 23 UTC) I was looking early for 
Cosmos 2172 and happened to see a tumbling object with about +5 
maxima, which turned out to have a period of about 6.1 seconds, 
going away to the east.  The best candidate seems to be Sinosat 
1 Rk (25405, 98-44B, a CZ-3B R/B with RCS=21.9 m^2).  There's 
nothing yet in the online PPAS data.  Has anyone else observed 
that object?  I've seen a few other CZ-3s, some flashing to
one-power brightness.

My Friend, the Oak Tree

Later I observed Cosmos 2172 and Gorizont 23 again -- with the 
help of an oak tree!  I positioned myself so that the Moon was
behind branches of the tree (which still has plenty of leaves), 
and given that both of these objects flash to about +4 (for a
little while at least), this crazy observing method worked.  
Observing site was 30.3068N, 97.7267W, 150m.

Cosmos 2172 (91-79A, 21789) is fading out a few minutes earlier 
each night.  Early today (Oct 23 UTC) I found it at about 2:22, 
and the last flash I was able to see in my 10x50s was at about 
3:06:06.  Wednesday evening (Oct 21 UTC), the last flash I was
able to see in 10x50s was at about 3:25:07, which would make it 
getting too faint about 9.5 minutes or so earlier each evening 
(including increasing moonlight?).  Thursday night (Oct 22 UTC) 
Mike McCants and I observed it in his 8-inch telescope, and the 
last flash I recorded, which was about +10, was at about 3:29:09.  

According to Mark Wade's Encyclopedia Astronautica, Cosmos 2172
is a "Potok" military communications satellite with a mass of 
2150 kg that originally was stationed at 13 degrees west with an 
inclination of 0.3 degrees:

I couldn't find Superbird A last night -- probably was looking 
at the wrong time.  The Moon was 15 or 20 degrees away, I think.

Ed Cannon - - Austin, Texas, USA

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