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Re: Re: [ans] AMSAT Special Bulletin

on 12/18/00 6:47 PM, Phil Karn at karn@qualcomm.com wrote:

>> The radar cross section was as expected with no other pieces found
>> nearby. This should end speculation of an explosion as NORAD found
>> only one object with a radar cross section that was consistent with a
>> satellite the size of AO-40.
> While this new radar tracking data is indeed heartening news, I must
> point out that it does not totally rule out an explosion.  It merely
> says that IF an explosion occurred, it did not blow the spacecraft
> apart or significantly change the orbit.


I don't want to start a fight over this, so I am not picking at you!  :-)

I had the exact same thoughts.  However, an explosion occurring without
throwing at least one piece of shrapnel out into space would be highly
unlikely.  Additionally, I think that if something had exploded, it would
have somewhat changed the shape of the craft.  For example, if an explosion
occurred, then one of the solar panels might have popped out.  Or you'd have
a mass of metal sticking out from somewhere.  Any of that would most
definitely change the radar cross section of the bird.  Using RCS to measure
stuff is really a pretty accurate way of telling what you have up there.

> Obviously, I sincerely hope that no explosion occurred. But I think it
> important to draw conclusions only when they are warranted by the
> available data.

In my mind if NORAD says that they see no evidence of an explosion and no
fragments of anything that shouldn't be there, then I think we can rest
assured that what NORAD says is correct.  This is true even though they are
part of the US government.



Jon Ogden
NA9D (ex: KE9NA)



"A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

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