Saturday, 15 June 2013

ATV-4 and ISS, 15 hours before docking (and Progress too)

After a few cloudy and rainy days, it miraculously cleared in the afternoon of the 14th. This allowed me a last view on the ATV-4 before docking to the International Space Station ISS.

click image to enlarge

I observed two passes. The first was in very deep evening twilight (sun at -6 degrees altitude) at 22:56 local time (20:56 UT). ISS and ATV-4 passed almost right overhead, the ATV slightly over 2 minutes in time behind ISS and both easily visible. I had set up my video equipment, but forgot to press the "record" button....

The next pass was under a darker sky, at 00:32 local time (22:32 UT). I walked a few tens of yards to the city moat to see it (I have better view at low elevations there). ISS and ATV-4 attained a maximum elevation of 28 degrees in the S-SW. The photograph above is from that pass. Using the 2.8/17-50 mm Tamron at the 17 mm setting, I could just catch ISS and ATV in one image - with a stray old Russian military satellite as a bonus (Kosmos 1315 (1981-103A), a defunct Tselina-D ELINT launched in 1981. A Japanese H-2A r/b briefly became bright as well and is visible in some images (but not the one above).

I had also set up the video, filming from my GF's appartment. About 16 minutes before the ISS pass, I filmed Progress M-19M (2013-007A). This cargoship, now filled with trash, was undocked from the ISS a few days ago to make room for the ATV. It will reenter on June 19th. In the video above, while the Progess is passing, look for a brief bright flash just below the image center at 22:13:36. This is a flashing geostationary satellite (probably NSTAR A, 1995-044A). The video next cuts to the ISS pass 16 minutes later, followed by ATV-4 and a couple of bats in the last seconds of the video.

The image below is a stack of 28 photographs, showing ATV-4, the ISS, Kosmos 1315 (barely) and the H-2A r/b (top):

click image to enlarge

1 comment:

Björn G said...

Beautiful stills !