Thursday, October 26, 2006

Update on Progress-M58

The Progress-M58 cargo spacecraft which I imaged with my tracking camera Tuesday evening appears to be in trouble. Sensors suggest something appears to have gone wrong during docking to the International Space Station this afternoon. An antenna used in the docking process appears to have failed to retract. This means the connection between the spacecraft and the ISS cannot be closed airtight, as there would be a serious risk of puncturing the Space Station with the protruding antenna. More can be read here.

Update: docking seems to have succeeded after all: read update here.

Last Tuesday I reported a preliminary delta T of ~1.7s for my Progress-M58 positions. I am very happy to report that when comparing to a later obtained elset with epoch close to my observation time, the resulting deviations in delta T and position are as good as nil. I dropped my first position, as it probably is the moment of clearing the roof edge rather than the start of the trail. Two positions obtained by David Brierly in the UK simultanious with my position agree to a very high degree.

Bram Dorreman wrote that he thinks my estimate of mag. +1.5 is an overestimate, in which he could well be right given the observing conditions. The estimated the spacecraft at mag. +2.6.

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