Various news media are reporting that the Shenzhou 5 was launched on 2003
Oct 15 at 09:00 Beijing Time = 01:00 UTC of the same date.

If Shenzhou 5 exactly repeats the launch trajectory and orbital manoeuvres
of Shenzhou 3 and 4, then these search elements should be accurate to within
about 1 min in time, and a fraction of a degree in predicted sky track. Of
course, it would be prudent to begin observing several minutes early.



1. Elliptical Parking Orbit until 2003 Oct 15 at 07:50 UTC

The spacecraft and rocket body will be in nearly same orbit for the first
approx 6 h and 50 m after launch. Below is the search elset of the rocket.
My guess is that the spacecraft will trail a short distance behind the
rocket during this period.


Shenzhou 5 r 15.5 3.4 0.0 4.4 d

1 70000U 03288.67587361 .00788058 82648-5 58603-3 0 31

2 70000 42.4069 26.2082 0099929 134.5463 16.8336 16.04205144 103


2. Circularized Orbit after 2003 Oct 15 at 07:50 UTC


The spacecraft will circularize its orbit as it passes through apogee for
the 5th time, approx 6 h and 50 m after launch, whereupon it will be in this
orbit:

Shenzhou 5 7.8 2.5 0.0 5.4 d

1 70001U 03288.67700930 .00036000 00000-0 19749-3 0 17

2 70001 42.4080 26.2791 0004797 163.8920 321.6647 15.78791273 101



3. Visibility Windows

Observers between about latitude 33 N and 50 N will have fair to excellent
morning visibility.

Observers between about latitude 33 S and 50 S will have fair to excellent
evening visibility.

Less favourable visibility will extend for several degrees outside this
range.

Ted Molczan