Sunday, 20 May 2007

IGS-es, USA 193, and other stuff during beautiful clear nights

SatTrackCam Leiden just experienced a few beautifully clear, dark & transparent nights. The result is a fine batch of positions on several objects, including Keyholes (USA 161), Lacrosses (3, 4 & 5), USA 193 and the old & new Japanese IGS-es. The latter include my first positions on IGS 4A/R2 (07-005A).

The first capture of the latter object was when I was waiting for its rocket launcher (IGS 4r/R2r, 07-005C) on the night of May 17-18. Suddenly a bright (+2) object appeared 2 minutes before 07-005C should, following a similar trajectory. I made a photograph and then found out it was the A component.

Due to a goof from my side I initially thought it was the optical satellite (due to it having the "A" designation, analogue to IGS 1A, 03-009A) and hence was surprised to find it was so bright. Only later I realized it is the (intrinsically brighter) radar sat.

Keyhole USA 161 (01-044A) was observed flaring on the 18th at 00:12:50 UTC (-1.5, slow) and 00:14:13 UTC (-1, short).

USA 193 (06-057A) was bright.

Lacrosse 5 (05-016A) was elusive. On the 18th, it initially was +2 low in the sky but then quickly faded beyond vision for much of the pass.

Below are trail images of the "new" IGS 4A/R2, it's rocket 4R/R2r cruising through Lyra, Lacrosse 3 cruising amongst the Coma cluster stars, and an Iridium flare in twilight.

(click images to enlarge)

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Hello there,

I just stumbled across your site by accident and found it most interesting. I've been watching satellites for the past few years using the heavens-above website and other web-based prediction sites.

I have only just figured out how to run my own predictions using the WXTrack software and downloading TLE data from the Space-Track website, but the Space-track catalog does not include the Lacrosse satellites and other interesting ones that I have accidentally spotted before (EG the NOSS satellites).

Please could you point me in the right direction for getting a more comprehensive TLE database.

Many Thanks
Daniel from TeamTGF