Friday 24 February 2012

Space debris lands in Brazil village

Through Carlos Bella on the satobs mailing list, news broke today that an object which almost certainly is space-debris crashed in the Brazilian village of Anapurus on February 22, 2012, near 6 am local time (9 UTC). It landed about 6 yards from a house and damaged trees upon impact.

Photo's of the object can be see here.They show a spherical object that strongly resembles a spherical rocket fuel cell (tank) or a Helium pressurization tank. These are the most resistent objects among space debris and often involved in reported cases of space-debris reaching earth surface.

Ted Molczan quickly noted that date, time and location correspond well to the re-entry of 1997-016C, an Ariane 44L rocket stage from the launch of two geostationary satellites, Thaicom 3 and Bsat-1A, on 17 April 1997.

The Ariane 44L r/b in question re-entered at 9:09 UTC +/- 1 min on 22 February 2012, near 4 S, 312 E. This corresponds well with the time and location of the Anapurus event (3.7 S, 317 E). Anapurus is located right on the re-entry track and was passed within a minute of the estimated re-entry time (movement of the r/b was from West to East, i.e. to the right in the map):

click map to enlarge

Friday 17 February 2012

Lacrosse 5

For those arriving here through the link with Thierry's imaging of Lacrosse 5 on Spaceweather: a discussion of the Lacrosse 5 "disappearance trick" including a video of such an event, can be found here.

Friday 10 February 2012

The Iranian satellite Navid photographed

On February 3, 2012, Iran succesfully launched its third satellite into orbit, Navid (2012-005A), using a Safir rocket.

This evening was clear and I had a 86 degree pass of this new Iranian satellite. It is very small (a 50 kg semi-kube, only 50 x 60 cm large!) and hence faint. Using the 1.4/85mm SamYang lens, I nevertheless managed to photograph it, catching it as a faint trail just south of the alpha Persei star group on a 5 second exposure:

click image to enlarge

This is probably the smallest object in orbit I have ever photographed.

Navid is reportedly an imaging satellite, taking photographs from a 250 x 375 km orbit. At the time the photograph above was taken, it was at 316 km altitude.