Re: Orbcomm Sat
Wed, 6 Jan 1999 15:48:59 -0500

Yes, the Orbcomm satellites are small -- 8" x 40" disks with a single
antenna structure (coming off the edge of the satellite) that doubles as a
gravity-gradient boom ~7 feet long.   In addition, there are two solar
panels that when deployed are perpendicular to the body of the spacecraft,
but the bottom sides are black.

I believe the pictures on our website show the deployed view. Looks like a
lollipop with ears! I'll try and dig up a better drawing/picture and post
it somewhere if there's a want.


Edward S Light <> on 06-01-99 12:50:12 PM
 cc: Eric Rosenberg/OCCVA)      
 Subject: Re: Orbcomm Sat                                     

John ( recently wrote ...
> What is the estimated mag. of  an Orbcomm Sat? I have looked for these,
> and have never been able to see them.
We've attempted to see them (using at most 7x10 and 10x50 binoculars) and,
like you, have not had much success.

In 09/1995 we saw 23545 = 95-017A = Orbcomm FM1 naked eye at apparent
magnitude +2-1/2 (a flare?).

In 1998, we observed several of the 97-084 objects (Orbcomms FM 8-12) at
apparent magnitudes +5 to +8 (typical value being about +6-1/2).

However, the only 98-046 object we were able to see was 25414 = 98-046B =
Orbcomm FM 18 once at about +7-1/2 magnitude.

I recently "complained" about their invisibility to Mike McCants and he
wrote me saying ...

> The Orbcomms are thin disks.  They are usually about 7.5 or 8th
> even under favorable angles, but are sometimes much brighter when the
> disk is reflecting the sun just right.

Clear and dark skies!
   Ed Light

Lakewood, NJ, USA
N 40.1072, W 074.2317, Hgt +21 m (69 ft)