Went out for about an hour this evening.
Here's the time-line of this evening:
Date: 21-Oct-2010 Thursday
7:49 PM - Cosmos 2228 - 3.4 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1992-094-A
First sighting! This object was the Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite, Kosmos 2228. It was launched into space using a Tsyklon-3 rocket.
7:52 PM - Resurs 1-4 Rocket - 2.7 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1998-043-G
(insert Eric Clapton song) Hello old friend. Sighting #11.
7:57 PM - AMC 23 BrzTank - 1.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2005-052-C
This object is a Briz-M upper stage tank from a Russian Proton-M rocket. This particular rocket launched two payloads. AMC-23 (or as the NASA page has it, AMS-23) is a communications satellite which underwent quite a bit of ownership changes. According to Wikipedia: "Originally ordered by GE Americom as GE-2i, transferred to SES Americom before launch and renamed AMC-13, then transferred to Worldsat as Worldsat-3 before being transferred back to SES Americom as AMC-23 in early 2005. Transferred to SAT-GE when it split from SES Americom in 2007." This is my first sighting of this object.
8:14 PM - ERBS - 2.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1984-108-B
This is my first observation of the Earth Radiation Budget Satellite. Unlike most objects I've seen, this satellite was deployed by Sally Ride from the Space Shuttle Challenger during mission STS-41-G in 1984. Read the wiki to find out about the many firsts accomplished during this mission. Back to the ERBS, it's original mission was planned for two years. But ERBS, like the martian rovers Spirit and Opportunity, completed its original mission goals and then remained active and provided data for more than twenty years. By the way, the 'budget' in its name is not about it being built for a low cost, it was actually studying a phenomenon known as the 'radiation budget'.
8:14 PM - SJ 12 LM Rocket - 4.1 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2010-027-B
This is the rocket body for a Chang Zheng-2D (str.). It's also known as a Long March 2D. Per Gunter's Space Page: "SJ 12 (Shijian 12) is a research satellite for rendezvous technology and satellite inspection. It made a rendezvous with SJ 6F in August 2010. Possibly physical contact between the satellites was established." Interesting.
8:19 PM - Helios 1B - 2.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1999-064-A
Hi! Remember me? I'm Helios 1, a French photo-recon satellite. Brush up on your mythology: In Greek mythology, the sun was personified as Helios. The end.
8:26 PM - shooting star??? - 3.0-ish Magnitude
Int'l Designator: nope
Honestly, this seems more like a flare than a shooting star... but nothing on the sites came anywhere near that area, so I don't have much choice but to call it a shooting star. For all I know, it could be something from the Orionids (though, at this time of night, I have no idea where Orion would be in the sky). Also of note, this is my 150th object observed.
8:27 PM - MeaSat 3 BrTnk - 2.3 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2206-056-B
This is one of the objects that I saw during the super mega session on Oct 8th. This is the Briz-M upper stage tank of a Proton-M rocket. This particular rocket launched the Malaysian MEASAT-3 communications satellite. It is one of four in the MEASAT Satellite Systems.
8:29 PM - OrbitalEx Cn Rocket - 2.3 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2007-006-G
I saw this yesterday (Oct 20th 2010). This object is the Centaur second state for an Atlas 5 rocket. OrbitalEx actually sounds a bit like Shi Jian 12 (recall NASA refers to it as "an American military (DARPA) minisatellite ... intended to test capabilities for autonomous rendezvous, refueling and component replacement". It appears that the name of the satellite was actually ASTRO for Autonomous Space Transport Robotic Operations satellite. Orbital Express was actually the name of the mission in which ASTRO and NEXTSat were launched and showed that ASTRO could dock with NEXTSat and refuel it.
8:34 PM - Cosmos 1455 - 2.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1983-037-A
This object is the Kosmos 1455 satellite, a Tselina-D model Russian ELINT satellite. It was launched into orbit by a Russian Tsyklon-3 rocket.