Tuesday 28 April 2020

The reentry of the Soyuz r/b 2020-026B over Spain and Portugal

This morning, Jon Mikkelson (@Itzalpean) drew my attention to this Twitter message:

The movie was shot from A Coruña in NW Spain this morning (28 April 2020) around 6:45 local time, which equates 4:45 UT. It clearly shows space debris reentering and breaking up.

Here are a few screenshots from the video:

A brief look in the CSpOC TIP messages showed a very clear candidate: 2020-026B, the upper stage from the Soyuz rocket that launched Progress MS-14 to the ISS on 25 April.

The CSpOC TIP lists the reentry for this object at 4:45 +- 1 minute UT for 28 April, near 38.4 N, 15.5 W, west of Portugal. This matches both time and location of the Spanish movie well.

Below is a map I created showing the final revolution of this rocket stage. The red circle is the nominal CSpOC position for the reentry (we suspect these "+-1 minute" positions are based on SBIRS detections). A Coruña where the video was shot is also indicated in the map.

Note that an observer in A Coruña looking towards the trajectory would see it move from right to left (towards the east), and this matches the video. Also note that while CSpOC gives an instantanious time in its TIP messages, reentries in reality take some time (several minutes). The object would pass A Coruña about 2 minutes after the nominal CSpOC time, which is well within a typical reentry duration.

click map to enlarge

Addition 17:15 UT (28 April):

For clarity: the trajectory above was created by taking the last available orbital elements for 2020-026B (elset 20119.06935500) and evolving these to a final decay orbit with SatEvo.

Here is a second video of the event:


Unknown said...

He grabado yo el vídeo y esa trayectoria no me parece la correcta puesto que se desplazaba hacia la torre de Hércules y es la dirección opuesta a la que indicais

SatTrackCam Leiden said...

Unknown: On both video's you can see that the object is moving towards the point of sunrise (a clear bright dawn sky where it disappears). So the object is moving towards the East-Northeast, which fits the rocket stage trajectory.

cnj said...

Witness it