Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Tracking Prowler

Last week I imaged Prowler again, the classified spacecraft we amateur trackers indicate with the informal Cospar code 2009-097E. The object (no longer operational) is in a librating geosynchronous disposal orbit located over the eastern Pacific. It is hence not visible from the Netherlands. I therefore use a 'remote' telescope in the US to observe it.

Prowler is (or was) one of the most secret and enigmatic objects in existence. It was probably an experimental satellite for close covert inspection of Soviet geostationary satellites. I have posted on the background story of this object in more detail before. Clandestinely launched from Space Shuttle STS-38 in 1990, its launch and existence have never been acknowledged by the US government.

The images below were made on October 25 and 27, using the 61-cm F/10 Cassegrain of Sierra Stars Observatory in Markleebergville, California.

click image to enlarge

Both images have an exposure time of 30 seconds. The brightness difference between the two images is mostly due to a difference in phase angle.


RussianHillCosmist said...

"Markleeville", actually. :-)


SatTrackCam Leiden said...

Indeed! Thanks for catching that one, have corrected it!