Re: Decay watch: Iridium 19 Delta 2 rocket (and others)

Thu, 16 Apr 1998 09:06:52 EDT

With a co-worker, I saw Iridium 19 Delta rocket #24970 (97056F) 
at 12:12 UTC (5:12 AM local) 16 April 1998.  According to my 
tracking program (STS Plus), it was to come out of shadow high
in the northern sky going south to north.  Looking high facing north
I didn't see it until Darryl pointed it out.  It was lower than where I
was expecting to see it first.  It passed about 1-3 degrees east of
Polaris at 12:12:15 UTC + or - a second or so.  My watch was within
a sec. of true time (WWV).  It was about the same magnitude as
Polaris.  Darryl said it was the fastest satellite he'd ever seen. I had 
possibly seen one faster near perigee once thanks to a tip from Craig 
Cholar.  Seeing Iridium 19 Delta r involves a special dimension for me 
since I saw it launch from Vandenberg 27 Sept. 1997 from about 6 
miles away.  I remember it launched into a cloud bank above the pad.

-- Jake Rees
  Burbank, Calif., USA
  (34.164 N, 118.341 W)