The Ghost of Cosmos 2343 - again

Phillip Clark (psclark@dircon.co.uk)
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 07:38:51 +0100 (BST)

When I posted my earlier comments about Cosmos 2343 disintegrating I
did not have the break-up details at hand, but the main details
are:-

Breakup time:            2208 GMT on 16 September 1997
Altitude:                ~230 km
Location:                58.2 N, 157.5 E
Pre-event Orbit:         64.8 deg, ~225 km by 285 km
Known Large Debris:      27 (early head count; 200 or more likely)
Debris El Sets Created:  17 (as of mid 17 Sep)

This information is courtesy of Nicholas L Johnson, the chief space
debris scientist at the Johnson (no relation !!) Space Center.

The original break-up notice indicates that the highest apogee for a 
piece of debris was 910 km but does not give any other orbital data for 
the debris pieces.

What is interesting with the six sixth generation satellites is that
the break-up has always taken place on an orbital pass which would
have permitted a recovery in the standard landing area in Kazakhstan.
However, no de-orbit is attempted (obviously !) for the satellites and
there is no evidence that a small re-entry vehicle has been ejected
for recovery before the spacecraft explodes.   It seems likely that
the Russians decided to carry an explosive on the spacecraft rather
than carry propellant to permit a de-orbit burn to be completed (like
the Progress craft or the fifth generation Yantar satellites which
have debris which might survive re-entry dropping into the Pacific
Ocean).


Phillip Clark

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Phillip S Clark                                       25 Redfern Avenue
Molniya Space Consultancy                             Whitton
Compiler/Publisher, Worldwide Satellite Launches      Middx   TW4 5NA
Editor, Jane's Space Directory                        U.K.

Specialist in "space archeology" - the older and more obscure the more 
interesting it is !
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