RE: Satellite with a bright halo.

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Mon Sep 30 2013 - 10:19:57 UTC

  • Next message: Ted Molczan: "RE: Satellite with a bright halo."

    Assuming the reported time is MUT, then the objects from yesterday's launch by SpaceX, from California, were passing at
    about the time, and on the path described. I suspect the phenomenon was due to venting of unused fuel from the 2nd stage
    of the rocket, perhaps related to a manoeuvre to reduce the perigee of the orbit.
    Twenty (20) objects from that launch have been catalogued by the US Air Force. The first is 13055A / 39265. It is too
    soon to be certain which one is the rocket. All were still fairly close together at the time of the observation, but
    only the rocket could produce the phenomenon.
    The orbit passed near the tail of Scorpio near 20:59 MUT, a little later than reported, but reasonably close if it was
    estimated after the fact.
    All of the pieces passed near the apogee of their somewhat elliptical (~300 X ~1500 km) orbits during the time of the
    observation. It was their second passage through apogee after launch. If it was intended to reduce the perigee of the
    rocket's orbit to hasten its re-entry, then the manoeuvre most likely would have been planned for an apogee. So it is
    possible that the phenomenon was at least in part related to such a manoeuvre.
    Ted Molczan
    Seesat-l mailing list

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