Optical Calibration Sphere Experiment (OCSE)


The OCS was a 3.5 meter (12 foot) diameter highly reflective kapton/aluminum inflatable balloon satellite which was launched on January 27, 2000 at 03:03 UTC from Vandenburg AFB aboard a Minotaur Rocket which consists of a Minuteman II/Pegasus 4 stage solid fuel rocket.

OCS was assigned the catalogue number of 26062 (Cospar 00004B) and was in a 100.2 degree inclined (near polar) orbit. Initially placed in a 807 x 750 km orbit, so as to remain in orbit for at least two years, it decayed around March 6, 2001.

The OCS was one of 11 small-mass satellites put into a near polar orbit on this JAWSAT launch and was the only one naked-eye visible due to it's relatively large size.

OCS had a standard visible magnitude of +5 and required a dark sky for it to be observed. Initial orbital altitude of 750 km was to allow at least a two year lifetime before re-entry but it seems solar activity only allowed a little over a year lifetime.

The USAF used a low powered laser at the Starfire Optical Range, Kirkland AFB in New Mexico to improve the US military's ability to track and image satellites.

Related Links

Pico-,Nano-, Mico-satellites

Orbital Element & Prediction Resources

Links: to the VSO Home Page, observing guide, satellite predictions.

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