Re: missile observation?

From: ecannon@mail.utexas.edu
Date: Tue Feb 18 2003 - 00:17:34 EST

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    Early on February 6 (about 3:07 EST or 8:07 UTC) Svend 
    wrote:
    
    >Watched a red, very red object to the NNE of my 
    >location from 11pm-11:12apx began at 11 at apx 30 
    >degrees altitude and ended at 80 degrees. ( 38.7061N, 
    >121.3150W) 
    >Local Time:  Pacific Standard Time (GMT - 8:00)  
    >
    >my location in northern california.
    >
    >the object was very red and had a plume (this was the
    >red presumably)  as it ascended I distinctly observed 
    >the object split two times.  The part of the missile 
    >that dropped off moved south very rapidly then 
    >dissapeared both times.  The main part of this unknown 
    >missile after each split dimmed and then brightened 
    >again.
    
    Well, I found an interesting event that is pretty near 
    in time and date, at least.  That night a Terrier Black 
    Brant (also known as Black Brant IX) sounding rocket 
    was launched from White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, 
    and the mission date and time are given as Feb 6, 7:30 
    Zulu (23:30 Feb 5 PST).  The payload was to "map a 
    quarter of the sky in four wavelength bands using the 
    NUVIEWS sounding rocket experiment".
    
    http://www.wff.nasa.gov/~code810/pages/launched_missions.html
    http://wwr.wff.nasa.gov/~code810/news/current_news.html
    
    That rocket configuration has an altitude range of 150 
    to over 300 km. 
    
    http://www.nsroc.com/front/stable/rockets/bbix.html
    
    Of course even that is way too low, plus the direction 
    is wrong, to match the above description, but it seemed
    an interesting coincidence. The observer's site is in 
    the Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe, Calif.
    
    Kistler didn't launch something big from the Nevada Test 
    Site that night, did they?  (Just kidding.)
    
    BTW, there are night launches scheduled for White Sands 
    ("WS") in April, May, and September of 2003:
    
    http://www.wff.nasa.gov/~code810/pages/srpo_monthly_sch.html
    
    (On that schedule, "WI" is Wallops Island, Virginia, and 
    "FB" is Poker Flats, Alaska [near Fairbanks].)
    
    Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA
    
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