Re: Sat ID request

From: Stephen Fels (
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 14:12:30 EST

  • Next message: Bill Mitchell: "Re: Sat ID request CORRECTION"

    > Could anyone help me id this please?
    It would appear Cosmos 1833 Rocket COSPAR 17590 1987-027B a Russian Zenit 2
    upper stage is your best candidate.
    > April 26, 2000
    > 03:10 UT
    > My location:
    > 42 4' 19" N
    > 80 8' 34" W
    > 733' ASL
    > While waiting for an ISS pass (one of my first) I saw a rapidly flashing
    > (2-3 per second) bright (-3ish) object travel almost the same path as the
    > ISS about one minute prior to the ISS.
    > These were the heavens-above details from that ISS pass for me (GMT-5):
    > Start 22:10:55 10deg NW
    > Peak 22:13:14 22deg NNE
    > End 22:13:17 22deg NNE
    I've repeated the ISS output from Satellite Hunting, in order to add the
    numeric Azimuth values...
    Local Time     Elev.    Azimuth    Mag
    10:10:50 PM    10  326 [NW]  2.3
    10:13:13 PM    22   021 [N]    1.3
    10:13:19 PM    22    024 [N]   1.3
    Cosmos 1833r
    Local Time      Elev.    Azimuth    Mag
    10:09:32 PM    10    342 [N]    5.4
    10:15:10 PM    62    064 [E]    3.3
    10:16:57 PM    41    124 [SE]   3.8
    > Obvious to me now is this was ISS debris or shuttle debris, but could
    > someone help me id this.  And if so please tell me how to do it.
    I went to FTP directory /pub/space/elements/molczan/cs-2000/ at and searched for the nearest TLE after your observation.
    Then, I loaded cs000427.Z (an April 27, 2000 TLE set) into Satellite
    Hunting, entered your coordinates and time and ran a set of predictions.
    Cosmos 1833r was in the right part of the sky at the right time, so I
    clicked on the COSPAR number, which told me it was a Zenit 2 and a bright
    variable flasher. Then I compared its path with ISS in the Plot Path/Stars
    screen. Facing North, the Cosmos would have appeared to move somewhat higher
    in the sky (they were on diverging paths), toward Ursa Minor. However, as
    you started watching ISS, the Cosmos rocket would have appeared almost
    parallel, moving ahead of ISS, through Cassiopeia. At the point ISS went
    into shadow, they would have been separated by about 20 degrees, as the ISS
    would have been moving on more of a left-to-right path.
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