RE: Unidentified Bright Tumbling Satellite

Ted Molczan (molczan@fox.nstn.ca)
Mon, 2 Sep 1996 01:24:42 -0400

Robert Sheaffer wrote:

>The object suggested by Ted Molczan, Cosmos 2322 r 23705U,
>seems to match the observed path quite well. The discrepancies
>seem to be: A) the object was observed to transit approx. 3
>minutes later than the prediction,=20

>So I'd assume it's Cosmos 2322 r that's running a bit late in
>its schedule.

I ran another ephemeris with the very latest elset available from =
NASA/GSFC/OIG:

1 23705U 95058B   96243.08136366 -.00000047 +00000-0 +00000-0 0 01164
2 23705 071.0241 115.8599 0013300 339.3969 020.6604 14.14164336042873

This one reveals a slight growth in altitude, and hence orbital period,
but produces culmination at 01:50:40 UTC on 01 Sep, some 2 minutes and
40 seconds earlier than your observation. I can produce culmination
at the time you reported by forcing ndot/2 to -0.0061, but such a high
value seems rather unlikely. Venting or explosions can cause=20
accelerations, but that would almost certainly have affected the flash =
period. A check of my records reveals that Russell Eberst observed the =
object on 14 Aug 96, and reported a 2 s flash period, the same as you=20
reported, so there has been no significant change.

How confident are you in the culmination time you reported?

Ted Molczan