Link.On the evening of 2017 Nov 02 UTC, Russell Eberst made new observations of the bright UNID he spotted on the morning of 2017 Oct 03 UTC, that we suspect is OTV 5.
The following circular orbit fits Russell's timed positions, one each on Oct 03 and Nov 02:
OTV 5 suspect 403 X 404 km
1 77203U 77203A 17306.77911249 .00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 08
2 77203 63.5883 190.6553 0001000 0.0010 0.1122 15.54162386 02
It should be recovered easily in the above orbit. The eccentricity could be somewhat greater, in which case there will be small time and cross-track errors.
I would like to perform a bit more analysis to assure myself this is OTV 5, before I assign the ID: OTV 5 (USA 277), 2017-052A / 42932.
OTV 5 most likely was inserted into an approximately 43 deg parking orbit. My guess is that the second stage of its Falcon 9 booster performed the manoeuvre to change the inclination, which I intend to attempt to verify.
Russell's relevant observation reports:
Russell, what was its approximate magnitude on Nov 02, prior to entry into the penumbra?
http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2017/0011.htmlI did an attempt this evening. Unfortunately, the sky deteriorated rapidly after
sunset. Quite hazy conditions, but stars visible on the photographs and video.
Video (WATEC + 1.8/50 mm) and photo camera registered nothing around the 18:20
UT pass. I had shadow ingress predicted for 50 degrees elevation in the N-NW
near 18:21:00 UT.
If weather cooperates, new attempts tomorrow and the day after tomorrow (when I
should have a good near-zenith pass).
http://www.satobs.org/seesat/Nov-2017/0015.htmlThe search orbit I posted for the 63.6 deg inclined OTV 5 suspect is too far
in plane from the estimated 43 deg parking orbit of OTV 5, to have been
manoeuvred there by the Falcon 9 second stage. The burn angle would have
been nearly 45 deg, requiring an orbital manoeuvre with delta-V in excess of
Falcon 9 v1.2 is said to be able to send 5500 kg to GTO, with first stage
recovery. Delta-V to GTO is ~2400 m/s.
The mass of X-37B is believed to be about 5000 kg, and OTV 5's Falcon 9
first stage was recovered. Performance to a 43 deg parking orbit would be
less than to 28.5 deg, so I doubt that the available delta-V in parking
orbit would be much more than the 2400 m/s of a GTO launch. Therefore, I do
not believe that a 5800 m/s plane change was feasible. I recall that OTV is
believed to have considerable delta-V of its own, but I doubt it would be
sufficient to make up the ~3400 m/s shortfall of Falcon 9.
Russell Eberst and David Hopkins report that the OTV 5 suspect was a no-show
in the search TLE that I posted, which casts serious doubt on the
reliability of that orbit.
Russell has suggested that his Nov 02 UTC sighting may have been of an old
NOSS object. NOSS 1-7 (E) (86014E / 16624) appears to correlate. I offer the
following search TLE:
1 77777U 77777A 17306.79899306 .00000911 00000-0 10280-3 0 06
2 77777 63.3235 189.6500 0900000 59.0987 43.7000 13.45667686 01
Hi Gregory,flateric said:Giuseppe, you are famous now - AF has stole your drawings and labeled 'em as Boeing's!
https://twitter.com/Marco_Langbroek/status/988003409688178688The secret X-37B/#OTV5 space plane passing over the Netherlands earlier this evening. It changed its orbit earlier in the week, and the amateur satellite tracking network has been hard at work determining its new, lower, orbit.
Imaging the X-37B Space Plane OTV 5 post-manoeuvreNew blog post: "OTV 5 or Zuma? A brief explanation why this object is OTV 5 and not Zuma"
No way to tell. Don't be confused by the multiple images here. They are all processed or annotated versions of the same raw image (lower center), which doesn't show anything free flying nearby.Hmmm at a guess its payload appears to be some mini satellite?
Sure, hmm is the payload doors open or not?No way to tell. Don't be confused by the multiple images here. They are all processed or annotated versions of the same raw image (lower center), which doesn't show anything free flying nearby.Hmmm at a guess its payload appears to be some mini satellite?
I worked on that project back in 2011. Nothing too exciting, just a way to make satellites more modular and cheaper. Back then it was going to be flown on Zero-G planes, cool to see it ended up flying on the X-37B. Coincidentally, at the same time I caught one of the X-37Bs on the highway outside of Kirtland AFB.We know one experiment that's going to aboard this flight.
The Air Force said it intends to continue building “upon its fourth mission collaboration with experiment partners. The mission will carry the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader (ASETS-11) to test experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipes in the long duration space environment.”It will be the fifth mission for the Air Force's advanced spaceplane, and the first time it hasn't lifted off aboard a ULA rocket.spacenews.com
Wait, not so fast.....O.K., this vehicle is even better than I had originally thought. In this article regarding former SecAF Wilson'd comments on the X-37B, it uses the upper atmosphere to change it's orbit. I thought it just did that through the maneuvering rockets, but it's brilliant to use it that way. She also points out, it changes the timing of it's orbit, so it doesn't show up when they're, whoever we're spying on, expecting it.
So if the X-37B indeed can use a drop into the upper atmosphere to make use of it wings to significantly change orbital plane, they so far do not seem to have clearly demonstrated this capability.
It's relative: the Kinetic energy is accumulated outside the atmosphere at less energy cost. If they have a Hall thruster for example and days b/w each shot as they do, it does seems feasible. Then they can use their yoyo manoeuvre to accumulate a lot of potential difference (electricity), hence battery storage time... to feed the thruster.
NSF who?Not according to NSF.
The spacecraft is powered by Gallium Arsenide Solar cells with lithium-ion batteries, and it has thrusters for orbit maneuvering and de-orbiting but has no engines to travel long distances in space or for powered flight through the atmosphere. The spacecraft are controlled by the 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.