Shenzhou 6 - preliminary search elements and visibility

From: Ted Molczan (seesat@rogers.com)
Date: Mon Sep 26 2005 - 14:14:22 EDT

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    Agence France-Presse reports that The China News Service reports that Shenzhou 6
    is expected to be launched on 2005 Oct 13, at 03:00 UTC, "but the time could
    change due to weather and ongoing preparations".
    
    http://www.spacedaily.com/news/china-05zzzzzzzn.html
    
    The launch time is in close agreement with Phil Clark's estimate, posted
    recently to FP-Space:
    
    http://www.friends-partners.org/pipermail/fpspace/2005-September/017901.html
    
    Shenzhou 6 is expected to carry a crew of two, on a 4.8 day mission.
    
    Below are search elements and visibility prospects, for the above launch date
    and time. I will issue revisions as new information may warrant.
    
    Predictions should be accurate to well within one minute of time during the
    first 24 h of the mission. Actual elements should become available well before
    then.
    
    1. Elliptical Parking Orbit until 2005 Oct 13 at 09:53 UTC
    
    The spacecraft and rocket body will be in nearly same orbit for the first approx
    6 h and 53 m after launch. Below are search elsets for both.
     
    Shenzhou 6 r    15.5  3.4  0.0  4.4 d
    1 70601U          05286.17264995  .00809611  00000-0  60000-3 0    05
    2 70601  42.4153  58.5491 0102545 130.0626 230.9292 16.03716253    03
    
    Shenzhou 6       7.8  2.5  0.0  5.4 d
    1 70600U          05286.17266368  .00794136  00000-0  60000-3 0    05
    2 70600  42.4153  58.5491 0106040 130.0626 230.9292 16.02866600    07
    
    The rocket's apogee will be nearly 5 km lower than Shenzhou's, as a result of
    its separation manoeuvre upon orbital insertion. Therefore, Shenzhou will trail
    a short distance behind its rocket.
     
    2. Circularized Orbit after 2005 Oct 13 at 09:53 UTC
    
    Shenzhous 1, 3, 4 and 5 manoeuvred to raise their perigee as they passed through
    apogee for the 5th time. Shenzhou 1 raised its perigee by only 8 km; Shenzhous
    3, 4 and 5 raised it more than 130 km, to nearly circularize their orbit, and
    Shenzhou 6 is expected to do the same. Approx 6 h and 53 m after launch,
    Shenzhou 6 should be in this orbit:
    
    Shenzhou 6       7.8  2.5  0.0  5.4 d
    1 70600U          05286.42182953  .00072180  00000-0  40000-3 0    06
    2 70600  42.4207  56.9499 0002833 248.3475 111.7085 15.78579562    03
    
    3. Visibility Windows
    
    The following is only a rough guide to visibility. Prospective observers are
    encouraged to use the above elements to determine their visibility prospects
    with certainty.
    
    Northern hemisphere observers well south of about 45 deg N latitude will have
    morning visibility. The visibility window will move north during the mission, so
    50 deg N observers are likely to have some visible passes.
    
    Southern hemisphere observers well south of about 30 deg S, and north of about
    55 deg S, will have evening visibility. 
    
    Ted Molczan
    
    
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