STS-103/HST observation

Robert Smathers (
Sat, 25 Dec 1999 19:39:22 -0700 (MST)

A really good pass was observed in Albuquerque tonight.

My first sign of good luck was that storm clouds stayed away long
enough to give me a shot at seeing the just separated (about 2 hours
prior) STS-103 and HST.

The pass was started at 6:06pm and ended at about 6:19pm with
a maximum elevation of 35 degrees.  I caught it as it came
out of the storm clouds towards the horizon.  I couldn't see
any HST/STS-103 separation at 1x, but with my 10x50 binoculars
I could see separation.  From NASA TV I knew the shuttle was
ahead of the HST, but this was another easy way to tell tonight
which was which.  

For only the third time in my life, I got to observe a shuttle during
a water dump.  At 1x, the shuttle didn't look as sharp as it usually
does, so in the binoculars I looked and found a faint cloud around
the shuttle.  Based on past experience, I immediately knew a water
dump was in progress.  It's very cool to see the point of light,
the shuttle, surrounded by a "nebula" like thing.  The HST was just
off the edge of the water dump cloud.

After the pass, I went inside and heard the "dump termination" call
given my mission control to the astronauts.

de fcc sgn, Robert Smathers  (   Albuquerque, NM USA
Robert's Satellite TV/Baseball page:
Proud owner, 5 TODYWEN(!) and 6 BUD-lites - Albuquerque Intl. Downlinkport
TVRO Audio Subcarrier/SCPC Guide columnist, MONITORING TIMES Magazine

Unsubscribe from SeeSat-L by sending a message with 'unsubscribe'
in the SUBJECT to