SUPERBIRD; SATELLITE DESTRUCTION

Jay Respler (jrespler@injersey.com)
Tue, 2 Sep 1997 00:38:27 -0400 (EDT)

I checked, but at these times, no flashes were seen as bright as mag 8.

*** 1997 Aug 30/31   Sat evening/Sun morning  *** Times are EDT  
Hrs Min  Alt Azi  Mag    Hgt    R  A    Dec  Range
20040 Superbird A               M 3.5 ELDY 14 M2   -2
x 9  38   38 173 11.7  22357  19 39.4 -11.2  23669
x 9  52   38 173 11.7  22358  19 53.3 -11.4  23679

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This is an excerpt from the news that I'm sending to my Mail List.


Military Is Hoping to Test-Fire Laser Against Satellite

The developers of the nation's most powerful
military laser are seeking permission to fire the
laser's beam into space at a $60 million Air Force
satellite in what military officials say would be the
first test of its kind.

Space experts say the test objective is to slowly
increase the laser's power to gauge the brightness at
which the satellite's various systems would fail,
rather than trying to ruin the craft in a blinding
flash.

The former approach makes more sense experimentally and
would lessen the chance that the test would generate a
swarm of space debris, which are widely considered a
menace to working spacecraft.

The target is the Miniature Sensor Technology
Integration satellite, MSTI-3. The Air Force craft is
the third in a series of research satellites meant to
improve the tracking of missiles from space. The
satellite, about the size of a refrigerator and
weighing 450 pounds, has telescopes and cameras for
observing hot rockets as well as the cool Earth, its
imaging systems working much like those of spy
satellites.

Launched in May 1996 into an orbit of 260 miles, the
satellite has exceeded its planned lifetime of one year
and is scheduled to be switched off in the near future.

-----------------------------

It seems to me, that if the test doesn't work right, we can face a new cloud
of debris.


Jay Respler
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                JRespler@InJersey.com
     Satellite Tracker * Early Typewriter Collector
                Freehold,  New Jersey