RE: Mir (16609) and Soyuz T-15 (16643)

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Fri Mar 11 2011 - 06:57:02 UTC

  • Next message: Bob Christy: "Re: Mir (16609) and Soyuz T-15 (16643)"

    Here are my transcripts of Mir (86017A / 16609) and Soyuz T-15 (86022A / 16643) 2-line elements, as requested by Igor Lissov, to
    fill a gap in the official archives at Space Track:
    Igor, in your message you recalled that Mir and Salyut 7 had been held nearly coplanar in the late spring of 1986, to enable the
    Soyuz T-15 cosmonauts to travel between the two stations. That brought back some memories.
    In June of 1986, I was planning to visit Winnipeg on business, which is at about 50 N - close to the northern apex of the orbits of
    Mir and Salyut 7, which happenned to be well positioned to observe several passes each night. I decided to run predictions for them,
    so that I could see several consecutive high elevation passes, something that cannot be done from my home latitude, near 44 N. One
    night, I set my hotel alarm to wake me just before each pass, and each time I hastily dressed and headed to a dark corner of the
    parking lot to observe. I recall seeing more than one spacecraft, but I no longer recall the specific ones. One of them may have
    been Progress 26, after it undocked. It was not the best thing to do sleep wise, but fun.
    To top things off, while reading the paper at breakfast on my final day in Winnipeg, I spotted a report from Russia, announcing that
    the Mir crew, which a couple months earlier had undocked from Mir and then rendezvoused and docked with Salyut 7, were leaving
    Salyut 7 to return to Mir that day. Announcing such operations in advance had been a very recent and exciting development, a result
    of Gorbachev's policy of glasnost.
    I knew that it could be an opportunity to see the Soyuz in close proximity to either Mir or Salyut 7. I managed to get home from the
    airport just in time to drop my suitcase and invite a neighbour to join me on the roof of my apartment building to observe. We
    spotted Mir first, rising in the west (June 26, 02:56 UTC). Several minutes later, we spotted Salyut 7 in the west, and as it became
    better illuminated we easily spotted the Soyuz leading Salyut 7 by something like 10 s in time.
    Ted Molczan
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