Thursday, 27 November 2014

[UPDATED] Re-entry of Soyuz third stage 2014-074B from Soyuz-TMA 15M launch observed from the Netherlands and Hungaria.

Update 23 Dec 2014: further analysis of imagery in new post
(28 Nov 2014, 10:45 UT: updated with more imagery)

click image to enlarge

Today Carlos Bella alerted the seesat list that Hungarian amateur astronomers had captured imagery of a re-entry in the early morning of November 26.

It concerns the re-entry of 2014-074B, the Soyuz third stage from the launch of Soyuz-TMA 15M which launched expedition crew 42 to the ISS on 23 November 2014.

Below is one of several casual phone-camera video's also shot from Hungaria Serbia, showing the fragmenting fireball:

(video by Aleksandar F, Belgrade)

According to the TIP message of  JSpOC, the re-entry happened near 3:39 UT on the early morning of 26 November, 2014, near 47 N,  17 E. This perfectly fits the Hungarian observations. See also the map above, which shows the predicted trajectory of 2014-074B resulting from processing the last known orbital elements with SatAna and SatEvo.

Moreover, the speed determination by the Hungarian meteor camera network, 7.4 km/s, confirms this is not a meteor but a re-entry. The speed is too low for a meteor (which are always faster than 11.8 km/s, the earth escape velocity) but matches the speed of an object re-entering from Low Earth Orbit.

Realizing that the rocket stage made a pass over the Netherlands/Belgium only minutes earlier,  I asked the operators of the DMS All-Sky meteor cameras to check their imagery of that morning. As it turns out, three Dutch All-sky stations did capture the re-entry: Bussloo (Jaap van 't Leven), Oostkapelle (Klaas Jobse) and Ermelo (Koen Miskotte).
Detail of the Bussloo Public Observatory all-sky image (courtesy Jaap van 't Leven)

Detail of the Cyclops Oostkapelle all-sky image (courtesy Klaas Jobse)

Detail of the Ermelo image (courtesy Koen Miskotte)

Parts of the three Dutch images (courtesy Jaap van 't Leven, Klaas Jobse and Koen Miskotte) are shown above. All stations have it very low above the horizon at elevations of 20 degrees or lower.

The Oostkapelle image shows that the incandescent phase of the re-entry already started over the UK, as the image shows the trail well to the west (and Oostkapelle is on the Dutch West coast).

As soon as I can find some time, I will analyze the imagery to see whether I can get altitude data from them. It would be nice to document the last minutes of this rocket stage in this way!

So stay tuned for an update....

UPDATE 23 Dec 2014: new post with a further analysis with trajectory and altitude reconstructions based on observations from the Netherlands, Hungaria and Germany now available

(I thank Jaap van 't Leven, Klaas Jobse and Koen Miskotte for permission to use their imagery)


Milbog said...

The video is from Belgrade, which is Serbia, not Hungary

SatTrackCam Leiden said...

You are quite right! I corrected it.