RE: Shuttle Reentry Observations

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sun Feb 02 2003 - 23:20:16 EST

  • Next message: Robert G Fenske Jr: "Re: STS-107 from Mt. Hamilton pictures posted"

    Rick Baldridge wrote:
    > I have seen, photographed and video taped four Shuttle re-entries over
    > California, starting with STS-63.
    > Believe me, NONE of them show even the slightest indication of brightenings
    > in the trail or small pieces coming off.
    Your experience, supported by recorded imagery, cannot be ignored.
    > When I looked at my video, there were very fain but definite pieces 
    > coming off, with the first piece seen on the video at 5:53:45am PST +/- 1 
    > second. A had made a time-hack as I always do to obtain timings, and 
    > this hack was synchronized to WWV.  As far as I know at this time, I 
    > was the furthest west observer on the re-entry track to get a video.
    Few, if any folks bother to record an accurate time reference, so I'm sure 
    that NASA will appreciate having this detail.
    > NASA has been given a copy of the tape.  They may want the master of 
    > course to analyze further.
    Perhaps shuttle program manager Ronald Dittemore referred to your imagery 
    in this comment at this afternoon's press conference:
    "In addition, Dittemore said images taken by an observer in California
    that appears to show an early trail of debris behind the shuttle will
    be examined and compared with the actual telemetry. 
    I believe I also heard him state that they had interviewed the professional 
    astronomer in California who made an eyewitness report of objects trailing
    > I also took two still photos, one through a 16mm lens that shows the 
    > entire visible trace of the Shuttle and BOTH photos show definite 
    > brightenings in the trail that corresponde to brightenings the video shows.
    > Again, I have NEVER seen this activity before STS-107.  The photos will 
    > be scanned today and posted, after I get a copy to NASA.
    To provide the strongest possible basis for comparison of STS 107 versus
    normal re-entries, I believe that everyone who has clear, reasonably well 
    documented images or video of a past shuttle re-entry should notify NASA of 
    their availability.
    By reasonably well-documented, I mean the STS flight number and the 
    co-ordinates of the location from which the imagery was taken. Given the high
    speed of a re-entry, that information will narrow the time of the event 
    considerably. If an accurate time record is also available, so much the 
    Ted Molczan
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