Re:Decay visible from Florida

Harro.Zimmer (
Wed, 8 Sep 1999 11:57:27 +0200

A local TV rport mentioned a satellite decay on Sept.7 "around 5:20 AM local"
visible from the "West Coast of Florida" and and associated it with an" SL-12 
rocket body, used to launch a Russian communications satellite".

It is a interesting but questionable case: For 1999-047C (#25898)we have
the following "final" decay announcements:
    SpaceCom:       07. September  08:51 UTC +/- 01 minutes (51.7N, 208.3E)
    MPM (Harro):    07. September  08:42 UTC +/- 13 minutes (33.3N, 155.6E)    
    SATEVO (Alan)   07. September  09:44 UTC +/- 45 minutes
If we accept a later decay the final orbit (rev 10) could be crossed actually the 
Gulf of Mexico.
For example: From Fort Myers (West Coast of Florida) there was a possible 
visibility at Sept. 7, between 09:01 and 09:05 UTC with a maximum elevation at
25.5 (220AZ).
 At this moment there are three reasons against the identification of the obser-
vation with the SL-12 RB decay:
1) SpaceComs very precise decay time  (+/- 01 minutes )
2) If a later decay correct the object must have crossed the USA from NW to SE
   and also the SpaceCommands Surveillance Network. There are at this time no
   other visual observations along this reentry path.
3) Calculations based on the last released ELSET and a "normal" decay        
   behavior shows  that the reported time is at least 10 minutes too late.

We can speculate about a piece of debris, separated in the final stage of the
decay with a later reentry... and so on. But let us wait for additional
informations and !!! observations !!!

Berlin, Germany