Re: MIR LIT BY THE SUN and Mir Complex Configuration

From: Neil T. Clifford <neil_at_eeyore.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 1995 21:24:32 -0400

Alphonse Pouplier wrote:

|>The docking MIR-ATLANTIS is now sheduled on 23d june instead of 11th june
|>as previously said. If the date of 11th june had be respected, MIR would
|>have been a much longer time lit by the Sun during the Shuttle
|>approaching. Is that right?
|>

This is correct, largely (I'm presuming you mean longer time in terms of
days visible from one site as oppose to longer time spent in the
daylight portion of it's orbit). At higher latitudes (let us say 45 N
degrees and above - Canada, most of north and central Europe) the Mir
visibility window will close around the end of June; in other words
passes at these latitudes will be of only low elevation during the last
week of this window. If STS-71 had gone off on time (as per the schedule
prior to the Spektr delay) it would have been in orbit by now (I think
that's right) and we (ie I mean those of us at the limits of Mir's
ground track - I'm 52 deg. North) would have some great views (last
night I watched Mir arc over the moon and Jupiter when I witnessed a
beautiful flash off one or more of the surfaces; sustained for some
30-45 seconds around 2152 UTC 12th June. It outshone Jupiter with ease -
I guess around mag -4).

Folks in the US and southern Europe have a longer window as it were and
so the delays to STS-71 will not imapct them as much. The further north
you are the sooner you will lose the best passes into the sunset.
Further south eg Los Angeles about 34 North, gets at least one pass
virtually every day throughout July.

As it stands the situation is deteriorating for the more northerly
viewers. If the launch is delayed beyond the 24/25 June then viewing is
really marginal. Everything may well hinge on the outcome of the EVA on
16th June (I'm guessing). If the Russians manage to sort out the
unfurled Spektr solar array and can satisfy themselves as concerns the
leak (which appears to be at the -z docking port) then they can give
NASA the go-ahead; NASA are ready to get the ball rolling from 22 June
onwards. When the window closes as regards days I don't know but bear in
mind that STS-70 is set to go on 13 July.

I endeavour to keep tabs on the situation, updating the shuttle and Mir
web pages just off the url below in my sig.

Jeffrey C. Hunt wrote:

>Jonathan's Space Report #243 has an ASCII drawing showing the present
>configuration of the Mir Complex. Not surprisingly, it matches the
>description in the www.ipp-garching Mir Page. It confirmed my
>understanding of the x and y coordinates used in the description.

The description I've written is correct but the diagram on that page is
only valid for the STS-71 mission (if you forget that it also depicts
Priroda). I need to alter the diagram as shuttle dockings 2-7 will dock
at the -z port - Buran would have docked at the -x position as will
STS-71, had it flown to Mir (that's how I understand it anyway).

best wishes,

-- 
Neil Clifford        http://www.ipp-garching.mpg.de/~bdp/vsohp/satintro.html
<neil_at_eeyore.demon.co.uk>
Received on Tue Jun 13 1995 - 20:34:54 UTC

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