Re: Decay watch: January 27

Ed Cannon (ecannon@mail.utexas.edu)
Thu, 28 Jan 1999 02:19:33 -0600

Alan Pickup (alan@wingar.demon.co.uk) wrote:

> The latest elset for the ETS-7 H2 rocket ...

I managed to see it for several seconds Wednesday morning (just
before 13:00 UTC 27 Jan) before it was hidden by clouds for the 
rest of its pass.  (The same thing happened to the ISS a few 
minutes earlier.)  I was observing from the deck of the house 
of some friends for whom I was house-sitting.

Tuesday evening as I was looking for the COMETS H2 rocket 
(21576/98-11B) from the Univ. of Texas at Austin campus, I 
couldn't see it when first expected.  Then I saw a *very* 
bright flash about where it was supposed to be, and within a 
couple of seconds it did become one-power visible.  I noticed 
before with the TRMM/ETS-7 H2 rocket, especially at first, 
that it had a bright flash in the middle of a maximum, so I'm 
wondering if all H2s have a flat, shiny surface.
 
Alan also included:

> ROCSAT-1 OrbAdjMod                               555 x 133 km
> 1 25617U 99002B   99027.57642451  .09032928  15585-6  53824-3 0    70
> 2 25617  34.6905 281.0123 0313326 209.4838 148.7818 15.75297909    88
> 
> The latter object, the final (3rd) stage of the Athena 1 rocket, will
> decay at January 29.74 +-0.5d according to my calculations.

I was fortunate enough to see this one Wednesday evening (early 
Thursday UTC) from the parking lot of my apartment.  It was 
easy one-power for most of the pass, and in a hurry of course.  
It went over just after 00694/63-47A (perigee pass) and just 
before UARS (21701/91-63B), which was fainter than usual.

Thank you Alan for the "Heads up!" alerts on objects like these!

Ed Cannon - ecannon@mail.utexas.edu - Austin, Texas, USA