[amsat-bb] Mystery Spacecraft Identified.

Joe nss at mwt.net
Thu Jun 13 06:38:02 PDT 2013

This was a very interesting journey.

To Summarize, A buddy of mine is a very active Amateur Astronomer. His 
telescopes and other equipment would equal to  one of the best Amateur 
Radio stations in the country.

Anyway while he was observing Saturn the other evening, he saw a object 
pass nearby very slowly. Far too slowly compared to most Satellites we 
have ever seen, and Far too fast to be an asteroid too. So it was an 
interesting Mystery. He made a posting on a local club message system 
about it, and that's when I came here to this list looking for help to 
identify it.

Someone, (Sorry do not remember who) suggested I go to the 
seesat-l at satobs.org E-Mail list and ask. Very interesting group.

Of course there was at first no answer to it, but no fault to them, but 
a fault of the original date of the observation, a typo had it on Jun 1 
instead of when it really happened Jun11.

After the correct date was posted it was no time when an identification 
was made. It was TERRESTAR-1.   It's a Geosynchronous communications 

Thats what somewhat fooled us, an Illusion. His scope of course has 
drives to make it follow the objects in the sky. So In his scope Saturn 
appears motionless.

And thats where we also got messed up,  the Geo bird is more or less 
Stationary in the sky.  It has a pretty good amount of vertical drift 
tho. it's orbital period makes it Geo Stationary. but it has a pretty 
high inclination so it drifts up and down in declination some.  But 
thats even slower motion.

What we saw as the object moving slowly, was not that but Saturn moving 
past the Bird!  DUH?

Anyway Now for the other reason for this E Mail today...  In this 
Mystery chase I learned a lot. And that seesat group helped out a lot 
and sent me to a cool program that displays the birds, all of them.

Now this totally amazed me. And it makes me wonder even more, why we can 
not get a ride to space.

Everyone is familiar seeing a image that shows an average daily air 
traffic congestion say above the USA like this.


But what amazed me is when using that Satellite viewing program is how 
many Birds are actually up there! look at this hemisphere shot!

It's CRAZY!!

Then a more detailed view looking south right now13:30 zulu,


It's NUTS!

Now what I can't understand is why, out of literally THOUSANDS of 
launches why we can't get a ride.

I can understand in like the 60's when launches were not very often. But 
even then we were getting rides every couple years.

Now with litterally Thousands of birds getting launched by the looks of 
stuff in this program, why in what decades? we havent been able to get a 
ride to a HEO type of orit? or even a LEO transponder type of bird.

Like WOW!


The Original Rolling Ball Clock
Idle Tyme

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