Wednesday, October 20, 2010

15 on 10-20

After managing to see a couple of Orionids this morning, I spent a good hour and half outside on the evening of 10-20-2010. It 57 degrees and a bit windy. I was without a coat, and I have to admit I started to get a bit chillllllly towards the end. Around 8:30pm was about the time I started shivering , but I wanted to try to catch Lacrosse 2 and Lacrosse 3 since both were going to be fairly bright, so I would keep telling myself... (insert teeth-chattering noise) "Ok, there's only 5 minutes til the next satellite"... "Ok, only 20 more minutes until I see Lacrosse 3".

Here's the time-line of this evening:
Date: 20-Oct-2010 Wednesday

7:30pm - Cosmos 2219 Rocket - 2.2 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1992-076-B
This object is a Zenit-2 rocket body which launched Kosmos 2219, a Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite.

7:32pm - Cosmos 1626 - 2.4 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1985-009-A
This object was the Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite, Kosmos 1626.

7:34pm - Gbstr 26 Dl Rocket - 4.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1999-041-E
This object was a Delta 2 rocket body. This particular rocket launched four Globalstar satellites which are used for satellite phones and low-speed data communications. of note, Globalstar had four Delta II launches in 1999 - all of which were successful.

7:36pm - Shijian 7 LM Rocket - 3.1 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2005-024-B
This was a Long March 2D rocket body (also known as Chang Zheng 2D) which was used to launch Shijian 7, an 'experimental' satellite.

7:39pm - Cosmos 2056 Rocket - 3.4 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1990-004-B
This object was a Kosmos-3M rocket used to launch the Russian Strella-2 government communications satellite Kosmos 2056. This is my first sighting of this rocket.

7:41pm - MeaSat 3 BrTnk - 2.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2006-056-B
This object was an upper stage Briz-M tank from a Proton-M rocket which was used to launch MeaSAT 3, a Malaysian geostationary communications satellite.

7:57pm - Helios 1B - 2.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1999-064-A
Helios 1B is a French photo-reconnaissance satellite. It was launched from the French Guiana aboard an Ariane 20 rocket. Unfortunately, due to power supply failures, it has been left to disintegrate (though, obviously, it is still in a decaying orbit).

7:57pm - IRAS Rocket - 5.1 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1983-004-B
This is my first sighting of this Delta 3910 rocket that was used to put the IRAS telescope into orbit.

8:10pm - Meteor 2-13 Rocket - 5.1 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1985-119-B
First sighting! This object is a Tsyklon-3 rocket body which was used to launch a Russian Meteor-2 weather satellite.

8:16pm - Resurs 1-4 Rocket - 2.1 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1998-043-G
I'm starting to lose count.... sighting #10?

8:41pm - Cosmos 1025 Rocket - 3.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1978-067-B
This is my first sighting of this object. This object is a Tsyklon-3 rocket body which was used to launch ... Kosmos 1025 which was a boilerplate test. (A boilerplate is basically a mock-up that is used to test size, weight, aerodynamics, etc. Kosmos 1025 (the boilerplate itself) decayed recently (10 March 2007).

8:46pm - OrbitalEx Cn Rocket - 2.6 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2007-006-G
This object is the Centaur second state for an Atlas 5 rocket. This particular rocket had six different payloads. The site I use named it after one of the more interesting payloads which was, I guess, called OrbitalEx which NASA describes as "an American military (DARPA) minisatellite ... intended to test capabilities for autonomous rendezvous, refueling and component replacement". Cool! Oh, and... first sighting!

8:49pm - Iridium 41 - 6.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1997-069-B
This one of many Iridium satellites. But this is my first sighting of Iridium 41.

8:49pm - Lacrosse 2 - 1.7 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1991-017-A
One of the goals of this evening was to catch the remainder of the existing Lacrosse satellites. There have been five Lacrosse satellites, but only four are still in orbit (Lacrosse 1 decayed in 1997). I can say that this evening I accomplished that goal. This is Lacrosse 2.

9:04pm - Lacrosse 3 - 3.5 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1997-064-A
And this object is Lacrosse 3.

And a first for both of those!!!

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