Sunday, October 23, 2011

ROSAT down over the Indian Ocean [RENEWED UPDATE]

ROSAT is no more.....according to a TIP bulletin by SSC issued at 03:41 UTC, it reentered at 1:50 UTC +/- 7 minutes, placing it over the Indian Ocean (and far away from any eyewitnesses, bar maybe some ships and maybe Ceylon, Sumatra and Birma/Malaysia/S-China if it survived into the second half of the given window: and of course the US tracking facility at Diego Garcia).

See update 2 below for latest map version (update 1 below now deprecated)

update 1 - deprecated. 
[Below two map shows the final orbit and (thick red line) the reentry windows according two assessments:
- The first is with the last available TLE (issued over a day before the reentry) propagated with SatEvo.
- The second, is made by adjusting the time (by about 5 minutes) so that the satellite position matches the nominal position for the reentry given by SSC in the TIP bulletin: 7 N, 90 E]

click maps to enlarge

[As can be seen there is some difference between these two. This is the result of there currently being no recent TLE available: the last available TLE dates 24 hours before the reentry. In the 24 hours between that last issued TLE and reentry, the orbit evolved fast. Without the availability of more recent elements, it is difficult to assess where the satellite exactly was along its orbit. That uncertainty is no more than a few minutes in time, but that amounts to over 2000 km in position....]

UPDATE 2: SSC released a new tle, with an epoch dating to two hours before the decay (about 1.5 revolutions). This allows this map to be created, which closely tallies with map 2 above:

click map to enlarge

It shows the difference a new TLE much closer in time to the decay makes, with regard to locating the satellite in its final moments....

(note: thanks to Daniel Fischer for inquiring about the differences between my map and Simone Corbellini's map, and to Simone for communications on the why of the time offset)

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Blogger Jonathan McDowell said...

I did the same calculations with the new TLEs and agree with your results. So: Indian Ocean, Andaman Sea, Burma/Laos, China.

23/10/11 18:01  

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