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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Feb > Feb 28

Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO -

From: James Smith <lunartravel.nul>
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2007 17:07:35 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
Fwd Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 07:03:51 -0500
Subject: Re: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO -

>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming6.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2007 11:56:11 -0600
>Subject: An E-Mail To BadAstronomy On Apollo 11 UFO

>I recently found out some interesting things about the object
>seen by Apollo 11 astronauts that make its identification as a
>panel ejeccted from the Saturn booster seem not so open and shut
>as some people believe, including Dr Phil Plait, who wrote a
>snarky article about it on his web site:


>That he later changed his story and identified the object as a
>booster panel is proof that astranauts aren't always on the
>level when they talk to the public about UFOs.

>Here's the email I sent to Plait:

>With reference to your article "First on the Moon: The Untold
>Story" concerning the identification of an object seen by the
>Apollo 11 astronauts on Day 2 of the mission, Buzz Aldrin now
>says that the object was a panel from the S-IVB booster. But
>this identification does not seem quite as conclusive as has
>been made out.

>First, according to NASA:


>"Once the panels have rotated about 45=C2=B0 from the centreline of
>the launch vehicle, the hinges disengage, allowing the springs
>within the hinge assembly to push the panels away at about 2.5
>m/s, leaving the LM exposed on top of the Saturn's third stage."


>The mission voice transcript indicates that the panels were
>ejected some time before MET Day 0 at 03:17. The astronauts
>queried mission control about the whereabouts of the S-IVB on
>Day 2 at 12:45. So it appears that 2 days, 9 hours and 28
>minutes elapsed between the panel separation and the sighting
>of the object.

>If the panels were traveling at a speed of 2.5 m/s relative to
>the Apollo spacecraft, the distance between the panels and the
>spacecraft would have been about 517 km, or 320 miles after
>that amount of time.

I don't think its so easy to deduce anything like this. The
panels are jettisoned while the spacecraft is still close enough
to Earth to have the effects of the atmosphere enter into it. So
you need to account for that.

Then there is the matter of midcourse correction. How does that
affect the position of the panels? Maybe it improves it or maybe
worsens it.

The document "Apollo 9 SLA panel jettison separation and
recontact analysis" (NASA TMX 69383), pg 14 states that the
panels are expected to deorbit between 3.5 and 5.5 hours after
CSM/S-IVB separation. Well, the report seems erroneous because
they use 641723 ft altitude for the panel jettison (beginning of
TLI ignition rather than the end of TLI firing), when the
altitude is 1103215 ft for Apollo 11. At such a high jettison
altitude, I think the panels did follow the Apollo 11.

Here's some data about the SLA (adapter panel). Its 2 inch
thick, 291 kg/panel, 253 inches long, one end about 121 inch
wide and the other end is 183 inch wide (corresponds to 154 and
233 inch diameter circles), the outer sufrace area for ONE PETAL
is 270 ft^2 but the reference projected area is 239 ft^2. The
tumbling drag coefficient is 1.7. The jettison velocity is 11 +-
3 feet/second.

The TLI burn starts from the parking orbit (183.8km by 186.5 km)
at 2:44 and ends at 2:50. At 3:17 separation occurs and 3:24
docking occurs so the jettison had to occur between those times.

Here's a nice webpage showing some groundbased images of the
panels following the Apollo spacecraft at 100000km range. The
panels got up to magnitude 9.


>Maybe the complexities of orbital mechanics could cause the
>distance of the panels to be closer to the spacecraft than 320
>miles, but this hardly seems to be a "case closed" situation
>regarding the identification of the object seen as an S-IVB

Yes, it needs more work.

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