Iridium 5 and Iridium 51 confusion

Elsets from the Orbital Information Group (OIG) released between August 11, 2001 and August 20, 2001 appear to show the same object being tracked under both identities.

See the discussion threads on SeeSat-L:
Iridium 5 moved to non-operational orbit starting at and Iridium 5 & 51 "merger" starting at

By August 21, 2001, Iridium 5 was being reported as back on station. See

So, the constellation was complete once more, but this still left open the question of whether Iridium 5 had remained on station all the time and was merely temporarily confused with Iridium 51, or else Iridium 51 in fact replaced Iridium 5 on August 11. Subsequent analysis suggests that the satellitles were NOT exchanged. OIG is now showing Iridium 5 and Iridium 51 as separate objects once again! .

[Rod Sladen's Iridium Page] [Rod Sladen's Astronomy Page] [Rod Sladen's Home Page]