re;STS78 STRANGE OBSERVATION

Maley, Paul D. (PMALEY@GP808.jsc.nasa.gov)
Sun, 30 Jun 1996 09:44:17 -0500

The observation Willie Koorts made was definitely a water dump. I did make 
an error in my quick conversion from MET to UT as I was in a hurry at the 
time. The water dump time began at 180days 15h 55m and ended at 17h 12m UT. 
There was also a Flash Evaportor System (FES) core flush done earlier but it 
was out of the scope of your observation.

Explanation of the "j" shape is not what was forwarded to you by T. 
McDonald. In fact, the "j" shape is easily explained by the vertical 
orientation of the dump toward the earth. As water is propelled downward, 
the particles farthest down from the orbiter speed up in the forward 
direction. This is the same effect of ejecting a small satellite downward. 
Each water particle becomes a small satellite. In a lower orbit it will 
naturally accelerate faster than the orbiter. I first observed this about 12 
years ago and have a brief video of that which I will be showing at EUROSOM 
2.

The water dump particles freeze upon ejection into space, are dumped and 
spread out in a continuous stream which in the past have actually been seen 
(by the cockpit crew) on one occasion to recontact the orbiter. They can 
last a number of orbits before decaying.  I was the originator of  a 
Detailed Test Objective a number of years ago after observing the vastness 
of the water dump since it is indeed many kilometers long. This was not 
known until I observed it way back then. Since that time others have 
observed water dumps and describe varying lengths and appearances. They are 
always interesting to see and under a dark sky with no haze, clouds, moon, 
etc. give the impression of a small moving comet.

Paul Maley

pmaley@gp808.jsc.nasa.gov