Re: Crew Dragon Visibility

From: Brad Young via Seesat-l <>
Date: Sat, 23 May 2020 07:46:06 +0000 (UTC)
Elements please? I have a few pots to try to catch it remotely...

Brad Young PE
Oberwerk 8 x 40 Mariner binoculars
Meade ETX-125 
22" f/4.2 UC Obsession
COSPAR 8336 =TULSA1 +36.139208,-95.983429 660ft, 201m
COSPAR 8335 =TULSA2 +35.8311  -96.1411 1083ft, 330m
Remote Imaging:
MPC I89 COSPAR 7777 38.165653 -2.326735 5150ft, 1650m Nerpio, Spain
MPC Q62 COSPAR 7778 -31.2733 149.0644 3400ft, 1122m Siding Spring, NSW, Australia 
MPC H06 COSPAR 7779 32.92 -105.528 7298ft, 2225m Mayhill, New Mexico USA 
MPC 323 COSPAR 7782 -32.008 116.135 984ft, 300m Perth, WA, Australia

On Saturday, May 23, 2020, 12:56:53 AM CDT, Richard Cole via Seesat-l <> wrote: 


Using on the DM-1 launch orbit parameters as a starting point to 
generate elements I make it as follows (it's not good).

9:02 ISS azimuth 0 deg max elevation 14 deg
9:21 DM-2 azimuth 18 deg max elevation 9 deg (so too low)

10:40 ISS azimuth 30 deg max elevation 34 deg (into eclipse)
10:53 DM-2 azimuth 333 deg max elevation 15 deg (into eclipse)

DM-2 will be maneuvering to achieve the ISS orbit by the time you 
indicate, so it may be a few minutes later than the times above (raising 
the orbit makes it come later). But it will be still be lower than ISS 
and I think the eclipse on the later pass will be difficult to beat.

When I have seen Dragon at reasonable elevations on the launch orbit it 
has been bright, mag 1 at least.


Richard Cole

On 22/05/2020 14:58, skywayinc--- via Seesat-l wrote:
> I have speculating on the possible visibility of the Dragon capsule
> from here in the New York City area.  As best as I can make out, the
> ISS will be passing closest to Cape Canaveral on a northeast
> trajectory next Wednesday at 20:08 UT (4:08 p.m. EDT), followed 25
> minutes later by the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.  Dragon is
> scheduled to dock at the ISS nineteen hours and 6 minutes after
> launch, on Thursday at 15:39 UT (11:39 a.m. EDT).
> According to Heavens-Above, the ISS is to make two passes as seen
> from NYC on Wednesday evening.  Both will peak in the northern sky at
> (respectively) 9:02 p.m. EDT and 10:39 p.m. EDT.
> My question is, how far behind the ISS will the Dragon capsule be?
> My "back of the envelope" calculations suggest that the Dragon will
> be trailing the ISS by roughly 17 to 19 minutes . . . and moving
> along basically the same path across the sky that the ISS had taken.
> I'm not sure if there is a preliminary elset to allow verifying this;
> I'd like to publicize a possible view of the first crewed mission
> launched to the ISS in nine years . . . something I know the general
> public would have an interest in . . . but I'd want to be sure of the
> prospective viewing circumstances.
> I recall comments here on SeeSat-L about how, in the past, it has
> been difficult obtaining sighting details for Dragon missions, even
> on Heavens-Above.
> The other issue is how bright the Dragon would be?  We all know that
> the ISS can shine as bright as magnitude -4, but the much-smaller
> Dragon capsule is considerably fainter.  From past Dragon missions, I
> have seen estimates placing it "as bright as Altair" (mag. +0.7) to
> as dim as mag. +5.  Most estimates place it somewhere in the +1.5 to
> +2.0 magnitude range.
> -- joe rao
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