Sighting of Chinese spacecraft (fwd)

From: Bart De Pontieu (
Date: Tue Jan 09 2001 - 18:12:07 PST

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    Here's Paul Maley's message:
    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001 17:36:53 -0800 (PST)
    From: J. Lynn Palmer <>
    Subject: Sighting of Chinese spacecraft
    This is Paul Maley sending a message from my wife's email. While talking on
    the phone to Jim Oberg, he told me that the Chinese had launched a
    spacecraft today into LEO, possibly a precursor to a manned launch vehicle.
    Around 2330UT Jan. 9, I queried OIG and found an elset for 26664. After
    downloading it, I ran predictions and was startled to find a viewing
    opportunity here in Houston at 0017UT Jan. 10 just 47 minutes later. The
    sky was just getting dark but the pass was low elevation, reaching only 17
    degrees elevation above azimuth 142. At the correct time and position, the
    object was spotted first using 25x150mm binoculars at magnitude +2,
    altitude 170 st. mi, range 490 st. mi. moving toward the east. I then went
    to naked eye observation. It was tracked for  71 seconds before entering
    the shadow of the earth. During this time it varied slowly from +2 to +3.5
    to +3; easily visible to the naked eye and barely above the tree line.
    Launch time according to Jim Oberg was about 1700GMT, 7 hours 17 minutes
    before my sighting. No other objects were sighted.
    Paul Maley
    Bart De Pontieu -- --
    (650) 424-3094  --  Lockheed Martin Solar & Astrophysics Lab, Palo Alto -- 3251 Hanover St., O/L9-41, Bldg. 252, CA 94304 
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