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Rise or Fall


Tyneside, UK
2017 Feb 24
Friday, Day 55

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NOTAMs for the FIA Radar Launches

The first FIA Radar satellite went into a highly retrograde orbit. When the NOTAM for the launch vehicle debris zones were published for the second satellite, it confirmed immediately that the speculation as to its nature was correct.

The first FIA Radar satellite was launched using an Atlas V rocket 2011 September 21. A NOTAM was issued prior to launch defining the danger zones. They are the areas marked in cyan/turquoise on the map.

When a similar NOTAM was published for the NRO L-25 mission to orbit another satellite 2012 March 28, there was already speculation that it would be a second FIA Radar satellite. Plotting the danger zones on the same map (in yellow) shows how they line up and indicate that the new satellite is going to a similar retrograde orbit at 123° inclination. They do not overly the zones from the earlier launch because, on this occasion, the rocket is a Delta 4 and has different burn times for its stages compared with the Atlas V.

The reason the Atlas and Delta zones do not line up exactly is because the Delta launch pad is to the south-east of the Atlas pad. To achieve the same inclination from both pads results in a pair of near-parallel tracks out of Vandenberg.

FIA Radar NOTAM


Delta Upper Stage Re-entry

A maritime navigation warning notice was issued (see further down the page) for the re-entry zone of the Delta upper stage. It is to be de-orbited and any unburnt fragments are expected to impact the Indian Ocean near Antarctica - Apr 4 between 01:38 and 01:48 UTC.

For comparison, details of the FIA Radar 1 de-orbit of the Atlas V upper stage are also shown. The notified area was much larger, suggesting maybe that actual the de-orbit rev was not settled at the time of launch launch?

The tracks shown are approximate.

FIA Radar Upper Stage


Published NOTAM for NRO L-25

Because of launch delays, several sets of NOTAMS were issued over a period of days. This is the relevant one for the actual event:
03/198 (A1347/12) - AIRSPACE DCC 2 ROPS AIROP DO-1203 
STATIONARY RESERVATION WITHIN AN AREA BNDD BY 
1602N/13614W 
1622N/13643W 
1839N/13502W 
1819N/13433W 
WITHIN AN AREA BNDD BY 
2648N/12705W 
2726N/12800W 
2847N/12650W 
2808N/12555W 
SFC-UNL. 03 APR 22:49 2012 UNTIL 03 APR 23:59 2012. 
CREATED: 31 MAR 14:56 2012

Published Warning for Delta De-orbit
( 300030Z MAR 2012 )
HYDROPAC 909/2012 (61,75)  
SOUTHERN INDIAN OCEAN. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS.
1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS 0130Z TO 0204Z DAILY
   03 THRU 06 APR IN AREA BETWEEN
   56-45S 57-45S AND 085-00E 093-00E.
2. CANCEL HYDROPAC 854/12.
3. CANCEL THIS MSG 060304Z APR.


Page Date: 2012 Apr 4

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