USA 129 was making passes over Europe near its perigee, at no more than 300-310 km altitude. That is lower than the ISS! It resulted in a zipping fast speed, especially during zenith transits. It was very bright too, attaining magnitude +0 easily.
Below are two images of two such spectacular passes. One (3 Sept 2010) shows it in twilight low in the eastern sky, grazing the roof of my neighbours, at a distance to the observer of 800 km and an orbital altitude of only 305 km. The other image (5 sept 2010) shows it during a zenith pass, when it was at only 300 km orbital altitude at a distance to the observer of no more than 305 km! As can be seen, the FOV of my EF 2.5/50mm (about 24 x 18 degrees) was no longer adequate at that time! (the image shows the full frame: movement is from bottom to top).
Below diagram shows the geometry in question for the second image (based on elset 10248.82329557). The photograph was taken 30 seconds after perigee: during perigee itself, it could not be photographed as it coincided in time with emergence from the Earth's shadow.
A few nights later, USA 186 flared brightly to mag. +0 on September 9th at 21:15:10.7 UTC, yielding this nice picture plus brightness diagram (movement is from left to right):