Re: Mir or Atlantis?

Philip Chien (
Sun, 31 Mar 1996 07:38:42 -0400

Clement Drolet <> asks:

>I have just observed the Mir-Atlantis couple (Mar 29th 8h50 UT) they were
>separated by about 7-8 degrees. Am I correct in assuming that STS 76 was
>the leading one?

You are correct sir!

When you do an orbital change after leaving a space station it's a fairly
good assumption to make that you're on your way home.  To go home you have
to go in to a lower orbit.  (unless you have a really, really long distance
to travel home).  When the shuttle in a lower orbit its move faster, so it
gradually moves ahead of the space station.

Of course if it was to stay up long enough for it to go half a world away
from Mir, then it would start to 'catch up' with it -- in terms of relative

>BTW they passed over a bright elongated fuzzy star ;-) impressive

If you didn't take a photo then you're going to get shot!  You do realize
that -- don't you? said:
> However, on the previous STS-Mir mission, within a few hours of separation,
>Mir was clearly ahead of the Shuttle when it made its pass for us in

err - not unless you were viewing it from a *really* strange angle (like
from above and upside down?)  When the shuttle departs Mir the shuttle will
*ALWAYS* appear to be travelling ahead of Mir.

Philip Chien, Earth News - space writer and consultant  PCHIEN@IDS.NET
   __                                 __^__          __________
  |   \                          +---/     \---+    (=========
  |____\___________              +---\_____/---+     //
  >____)|        | \__                    \  \______//___
 >/     |________|    \                   [         _____\
 >|____________________\                   \_______/
 Roger, go at throttle up         CHR$(32) the final frontier