Saturday, June 08, 2013

Another fine pass of ATV-4, and objects from a recent Russian Persona launch

 click image to enlarge

Following my observations of June 5-6 (see photo's and video here) and a visual observation on June 6-7, yet another fine sighting of the ATV-4 Albert Einstein was done yesterday around local midnight. First I watched the ISS pass, followed 17 minutes later by the ATV. The image above, which is a stack of six images of 5 seconds exposure each (Canon EOS 60D + EF 2.8/24mm, 640 ISO), shows the ATV-4 ascending over the rooftops as seen from the courtyard of my home in Leiden.

I also obtained video again using the WATEC. The video below shows part of the passof the ATV, and then continues with some footage of the earlier ISS pass. While the ISS is ascending over the roof, two other objects can be seen (from 1:28 in the video onwards), chasing each other from left to right just over the rooftops, in a trajectory perpendicular to that of the ISS:

These two objects are related to the launch of Kosmos 2486, a Russian military Persona satellite, the Russian version of the US Keyhole optical reconnaisance satellites. Kosmos 2486 was launched 3.5 hours before this sighting (at 18:37 UTC on June 7th) by a Soyuz rocket from Plesetsk. These objects have been catalogued as 2013-028A and B - the B object is the leading object in the video above. This would indicate the trailing object is the Persona satellite, the leading object the upper Soyuz stage.

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