Low and bright!!

Wayne T Hally (meteors@eclipse.net)
Tue, 27 Apr 1999 21:00:50 -0400

I just witnessed an accidental pass of a very bright (~Mag +0.3) low orbit 
object at approx (like I said, it was accidental, so I didn't have a good 
timepiece) at approx 0046 to 0047UT from NW NJ (Lat 40.68 N, Long 
74.90W...decimal degrees), which I suspect might be Cosmos 808. If so it is 
several minutes late, much brighter, and much lower (based on magnitude) 
than expected. If that's not what it is, I have no idea...path was from S 
to NNE, thru the handle of the big dipper (plough). As a lurker (My meteor 
work takes most of the time), can any experts tell me what I saw?

Wayne

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From: 	Matson, Robert[SMTP:ROBERT.D.MATSON@cpmx.saic.com]
Sent: 	Tuesday, April 27, 1999 8:18 PM
To: 	'Seesat-L'
Subject: 	Ikonos launch

Hi List,

Ealier received this info on the Ikonos 1 launch that occurred
today (27 April) at Vandenberg (Space Launch Complex 6)
at around 11:22am PDT (UTC-7)...

Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Update for 3:56 p.m. EDT

"Lockheed Martin has just concluded its live commentary from Vandenberg Air
Force Base by saying signal from the Ikonos 1 spacecraft has not been
acquired.
No other details are available. We will now await further announcement from
Lockheed Martin expected later this afternoon."

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Later, I got the following info from the Space Imaging web site:

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., April 27, 1999 -- Space Imaging
and Lockheed Martin Astronautics have not successfully acquired telemetry
signals from the IKONOS 1 satellite following its launch this morning by a
Lockheed Martin Athena II rocket. The Athena was launched at 11:22 a.m.
PDT from Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) at Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif. Weather conditions for the launch were good and the countdown was
normal.

"We are gravely disappointed that we have not established contact with the
IKONOS satellite as of this time," said John Copple, Space Imaging's chief
executive officer. "We are working through the anomaly with Lockheed
Martin. Space Imaging had established contingency plans in case something
like this happened," he said. "Although our business plan will be delayed,
we
are confident that with the launch of IKONOS 2 we will achieve our goals."

Space Imaging and its prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Corporation, have
begun an investigation into the anomaly and will determine as quickly as
possible the appropriate corrective actions. IKONOS 2, an identical twin to
IKONOS 1, has already been built as a backup in case of an anomaly such
as this. No launch date has been set.

Lockheed Martin Astronautics built the Athena II launch vehicle. Lockheed
Martin Missiles & Space built the satellite for Denver-based Space Imaging. 

Reporters may hear a recording of the anomaly news conference for a
24-hour period beginning at 6:00 p.m. (PDT) by phoning 800-257-4607 and
then entering this reservation number: 12232977. Space Imaging's Mark
Brender (director of Washington operations) can be reached by leaving a
voicemail message at 703-558-0309 or by pager at 888-808-1927. Linda
Lidov (public relations manager) can be reached at 303-254-2106 or by
pager at 877-832-2195.

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