Re: Observing USA 193 - tips for beginners

From: Gerhard HOLTKAMP (
Date: Sun Feb 17 2008 - 22:14:46 UTC

  • Next message: Monte Allaman: "Re: Observing USA 193 - tips for beginners"

    On Saturday 16 February 2008 16:13, Allen Thomson wrote:
    > > Assuming the first kill attempt will take place around 1300 GMT on
    > the 21st
    > Reading the various entrails that have appeared in the press, I'd
    > expect the intercept to occur on a descending pass west of Hawaii, but
    > close enough that the space surveillance site on Maui will have a
    > fairly high-elevation look at the event. Probably it will happen as the
    > satellite is rising as seen from Maui (to the northwest) so that the
    > first few minutes of the evolution of the debris cloud can be imaged.
    I was wondering about that. At 1300 UTC on 21-FEB-08 USA 193 would be in 
    darkness so the Maui site would not be able to do visual observations. 
    Wouldn't it be better to use an ascending pass during daylight? A few minutes 
    after passing the Hawaiian islands the debris cloud would pass over the North 
    American continent and then be able to be tracked by all the radar they have. 
    Over the next consecutive orbits they then pass North America again for more 
    tracking of the debris cloud. They would also be within range of special 
    radar and optical sites often used by NASA space debris investigations. Thus 
    you could make a very valuable assessment of the breakup of the satellite 
    which would be of much interest to the military (but also to civilian space 
    debris research).
    If on the other hand you use a descending pass the first stations properly 
    equipped to asses the debris cloud would be stations in Russia (both optical 
    and radar). I wouldn't mind that scenario as it would give observers in 
    Europe an earlier look at it!
    Gerhard HOLTKAMP
    Darmstadt, Germany
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