RE: UFO, meteor or space junk reentry?

From: Ted Molczan (molczan@rogers.com)
Date: Tue Oct 12 2004 - 06:44:56 EDT

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    Kevin Fetter wrote:
    
    > Might it possibly be the decay, of the Proton-K Auxiliary Motor
    > 
    > http://www.reentrynews.com/28197.html
    
    Quite possibly. The above web site is operated by The Aerospace Corporation,
    which maintains some expertise related to satellite orbital decay. The object in
    question was one of two auxiliary motors from the launch of Raduga 1-7
    
    The above web page predicted the re-entry time of the Proton-K Auxiliary Motor
    as 10 OCT 2004 @ 19:56 UTC  20 minutes.
    
    Based on the final set of orbital elements issued by USSTRATCOM:
    
    1 28197U 04010E   04284.76891120 1.00000000  11868-4  35086-2 0  2079
    2 28197  46.9917 180.1065 0372345  66.0398 297.2808 15.77133512  4838
    
    I found that it could have passed within range of Fort Wayne, Indiana (where the
    video was shot) within the above prediction window. Culmination would have been
    in the NNW, at 20:12 UTC (4:12 PM local daylight time). 
    
    WANE-TV, in Fort Wayne, which originated the story, reported that the "pointed
    the camera North-Northwest"
    
    http://www.wanetv.com/Global/story.asp?S=2415755&nav=0RYnRsHf
    
    excerpts:
    
    "(WANE-TV  Fort Wayne, IN  October 11, 2004) Brandon McBroom used the family
    videocam to tape a strange looking object in the Sunday sky. He pulled over in
    the Croninger Elementary parking lot and pointed the camera North-Northwest."
    
    I will attempt to find out the time the video was shot. If it was within a few
    minutes of 20:12 UTC (4:12 PM EDT), then that would make it pretty much certain
    that it was the Proton-K Auxiliary Motor in question.
    
    I note that USSTRATCOM predicted decay at 19:12 UTC +/- 17 min, 44 minutes
    earlier than The Aerospace Corp prediction, and about 60 min before the
    predicted time of the Fort Wayne pass. Perhaps this was an earlier USSTRATCOM
    prediction. 
    
    Decays are extremely difficult to predict with certainty; however, the object in
    question had been in a highly eccentric orbit, with a very low perigee, a
    combination that makes it somewhat easier to narrow the time of decay, which
    should begin about the time the object passes below about 95 - 100 km, as it
    approaches perigee. 
    
    At the epoch of the final orbital element set, less than 2 h before decay, the
    object's orbit was 97 X 597 km. Its latitude of perigee can be computed from the
    inclination 46.9917 deg, and the argument of perigee, 66.0398 deg, per the above
    orbital elements:
    
    latitude of perigee = arc sin [sin(46.9917) * sin(66.0398)]
    
                        = 41.9 deg.
    
    Fort Wayne is at latitude 41.1 deg, very near perigee; therefore, well placed to
    have had a chance of seeing the decay.
    
    I have appended the ephemeris for Fort Wayne, which states the time as UTC.
    
    Ted Molczan
    
    
    10/10/ 4  19:00 - 24:00 UTC  J2000.0  EL >  0  Fort Wayne
    04010E         04010E   28197   Bull =  207    Fort Wayne
    SGP4  Age =    0.1 d
    
      TIME      %I   Mv?    AZ  EL     R.A.       DEC      FE    VANG  RANGE   ALT
    --------    --  ----   ---  --   --------  ---------  ----   ----  -----  -----
    20:09:50    11   6.0   254   0   10:31:42  -12:22:10   7.3   0.09    982     73
    20:11:16    13   3.8   269  10   10:24:12   05:32:13   8.0   0.54    357     73
    20:11:30    17   3.1   278  15   10:15:13   15:15:50   8.1   0.97    266     73
    20:11:38    21   2.7   286  18   10:05:24   24:09:29   8.2   1.42    219     73
    20:11:43    25   2.4   294  21   09:55:32   31:40:47   8.3   1.82    194     73
    20:11:47    30   2.2   302  23   09:43:49   39:03:01   8.5   2.19    177     73
    20:11:50    34   2.1   309  25   09:31:17   45:23:31   8.6   2.47    167     73
    20:11:53    39   2.0   318  26   09:13:22   52:19:00   8.7   2.72    159     73
    20:11:56    45   1.9   327  27   08:46:18   59:31:47   8.8   2.90    154     73
    20:11:59    51   1.9   336  28   08:02:44   66:27:20   9.0   2.97    152     73
    20:12:02    57   1.9   346  27   06:49:57   72:03:48   9.1   2.92    154     73
    20:12:05    63   2.0   355  26   05:01:17   74:47:14   9.3   2.75    159     73
    20:12:08    68   2.1     3  25   03:10:28   73:46:11   9.4   2.50    167     73
    20:12:11    72   2.2    10  23   01:54:35   70:20:27   9.5   2.22    177     73
    20:12:14    76   2.4    16  22   01:09:05   66:09:16   9.6   1.94    190     73
    20:12:18    79   2.6    23  19   00:34:00   60:41:59   9.7   1.61    209     73
    20:12:23    83   2.9    30  17   00:09:34   54:47:12   9.8   1.27    236     73
    20:12:29    86   3.2    36  14   23:53:01   49:05:47   9.8   0.96    272     73
    20:12:37    88   3.6    41  11   23:40:36   43:23:08   9.9   0.69    324     73
    20:12:48    90   4.0    46   9   23:31:24   37:51:44  10.0   0.46    399     73
    20:13:04    91   4.5    51   6   23:24:51   32:35:09  10.0   0.29    512     73
    20:13:30    92   5.2    55   3   23:20:46   27:23:33  10.2   0.17    701     73
    20:14:15    93   6.1    59   0   23:20:06   22:20:15  10.5   0.09   1033     74
    
    
    
    
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