Video of HST/STS-103 + water dump

Sun, 26 Dec 1999 07:57:53 -0600

I had planned to be in the UK this weekend but luckily that was cancelled.
In view of many other emails on this topic, I will add my own video
observation of last nights pass of the STS-103 orbiter and HST during a
water dump (26 December 1999 at 0115UT); it has been many years since a
water dump has been observed from Houston. From our site in Clear Lake City,
it appeared that the HST and orbiter were separated by about 2 seconds in
time but were both at an altitude of 371 st.mi. (596km) as they passed from
west to east reaching a maximum elevation of 63 degrees above the south
horizon. I did not know beforehand that the water dump was to occur and it
seemed at first like an artifact on the video; the curved appearance is
plainly evident from the tape as an arc about a degree in length with the
hint of a straighter component. The dump appeared to be in the downward
(toward the earth as seen from the shuttle) direction with those particles
in lower orbit moving ahead of the orbiter as would be expected.  Both
objects initially were visible to the unaided eye separated clearly even as
they made their way out of thin cirrus clouds from the west. Video wil be
shown at Eurosom 4.

By accident, 24799 (DFH-3 2 rocket) was seen flashing every 3 seconds or so
between magnitude 0 and +3 at 1234UT.


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