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USAF Missions


Tyneside, UK
2017 Dec 16
Saturday, Day 350

Maintained by:









Impact Areas for OTV 3 Debris

Navigation warnings cover three zones off Florida on a ground track across the Atlantic for parts of the Atlas V rocket.

OTV 3 impact zones

There are two things to note, One is that the zones do not line up perfectly so maybe indicate a slightly convoluted track out of CCAFS, Second is that the track is equivalent to about 34° orbit inclination.

The X-37B is likely to end up in an orbit at 40°+ inclination that will be achieved by the thrust of the Centaur upper stage being offset to 'bend' the trajectory.


Centaur Disposal

An area of the Indian Ocean was reserved for disposal of the Atlas upper stage. The times issued as part of a warning to shipping indicated that it would occur after about 1.5 circuits of the Earth, about two hours after lift off.

It proved very difficult to fit a potential Centaur orbit to the times issued as part of the warning. Calculations were pre-empted by an observation 35-40 minutes after launch by Greg Roberts in Cape Town, South Africa. It appeared to show the Centaur making the retrograde engine firing that would have precipitated a destructive re-entry, Any unburned fragments would have dropped into the area set out in the navigation warning at around 19:00 UTC.



Here is the approximate ground track as the Centaur re-entered.

OTV 3 impact zones


Page date: 2012 Dec 11
Updated: 2012 Dec 14

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