Orbital Evolution of Salyut Garbage Bags

Jonathan C. McDowell

Garbage Plots

Salyut-4 and -5 objects
Salyut-6 objects
Salyut-7 objects
Salyut-7 objects - subset with odd eccentricity increase
Mir objects

The plots on the pages linked above show the orbital behaviour of tracked objects associated with the Salyut space stations. Many of them are understood to be garbage bags ejected from the trash airlock. (No comparable objects are associated with missions prior to Salyut-4, either because the trash airlock was not present or because NORAD did not track the objects).

In each plot, the green line shows average height vs time for the object. The red and blue points show apogee and perigee heights. Normal behaviour is for the eccentricity to be low and decrease towards circularity over time. A subset of objects released in 1984-85 from Salyut-7 which show discrepant behaviour are noted.

Plots are provided for all objects with the relevant international designation for the launch, including the stations themsleves and satellites deployed form them. The plots show only the first five months after deployment for each object.