Re: Formations/groups

From: Björn Gimle (
Date: Mon Jul 14 2003 - 04:24:07 EDT

  • Next message: Ed Cannon: "NOSS 2-3"

    > >Recently my interest has turned to watching 'formations' of sats
    > > (i.e. 2 or more sats traveling together).  I am aware of, and
    > > have viewed, the NOSS triplets on a number of occasions, and
    > > have also seen the Grace 1 & 2 sats.
    > >Are there any other sats up there that travel together on a
    > > regular basis?
    > There are about 52 Globalstar satellites at 52 degrees, and some 86
    > Iridium satellites flying at 86 degrees, in formation.
    > Among the OIG published satellites the only grouping of any size is the
    > Cluster "constellation" comprising 4 ESA built, Russian launched
    > satellites studying the magnetosphere.
    The Globalstars are 6 satellites in 8 planes, that maintain a 19 minute
    separation within the plane. The remaining 4 satellites are out-of-plane
    and with varying orbital periods.
    The Iridiums are 11 satellites in 6 planes, and of the remaining 24, 7
    are known to tumble, 17 are "operational spares", most of them 100 km or
    less below the operational ones, but controlled to maintain the orbit
    Thus each day several satellites will overtake some others in some
    plane(s), and then appear to fly together.
    There are also a few Cosmos satellites (like 2333) close to their
    Zenith-2 rockets, that can appear together for several days at long
    intervals. Also 25730 Feng Yun 1C/25731 Shi Jian 5 (spring 2004), and the
    20792/20793 Atm canisters, but that will not be in a VERY long time.
    And do make an effort to see the Japanese IGS 2 to be launched in
    September! The IGS 1 objects were a spectacular group the first few days
    after launch, but it was only visible at my northern latitude at that
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