Iridium 91 manouvering?

From: Rod Sladen (satellite@rod.sladen.org.uk)
Date: Fri Oct 21 2005 - 20:10:53 EDT

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    As of mid-October, 2005, Iridium 91 (27373, 2002-005B) appears to be
    manouvering.
    
    In mid-October 2005, Iridium 91 has been raised from the parking orbit
    (673 x 670km) to the engineering orbit (754 x 743 km), and its orbital
    inclination has been increased, so that it will drift away from orbital
    plane 3.
    
    The intention may be to drift Iridium 91 to another orbital plane. Orbital
    plane 5 has been without a spare satellite since Iridium 86 (25528,
    1998-066B) took the place of Iridium 16 (24841, 1997-030F) in the
    operational constellation in April 2005, and orbital plane 6 has been
    without a spare satellite since Iridium 77 (25471, 1998-051E) took the
    place of Iridium 17 (24870, 1997-034B) in the operational constellation in
    August 2005.
    
    Iridium 98 has been on the move from orbital plane 4 towards orbital plane
    5 since mid-June, 2005.
    
    The rate of drift is such that it would take about a year for a satellite
    to drift between adjacent orbital planes. Perhaps Iridium 98, which is
    already moving from orbital plane 4 towards orbital plane 5, will now
    continue to orbital plane 6, while Iridium 91 will move from orbital plane
    3 to orbital plane 5.
    
    I have updated my Iridium Constellation Status page at
    http://www.rod.sladen.org.uk/iridium.htm
    
    Beeston, Nottinghamshire, UK
    52.923N, 1.208W
    
    
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