NROL-22 observations

From: Greg Roberts (grr@iafrica.com)
Date: Wed Jun 28 2006 - 03:35:02 EDT

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    Observations 28 June 2006:
    --------------------------------
    
    Cosatrak 1 (Computerised satellite Tracking System).
    MINTRON low light level CCD surveillance camera (0.005 lux typical
    in non integration mode) and 0.00005 lux in STARLIGHT mode with 128
    frame integration.
    
    Used with ~70mm focal length f/1.85 lens,integrating for 48 frames
    which is equivalent to an exposure of 0.96 seconds per image.
    
    Lens field of view 4.3 x 3.4 degrees, showing stars as faint as
    magnitude 10. Weather 60-70% cloud- cleared almost totally 10 minutes
    before the pass was due to start! Not often I am this fortunate.
    
    Site 0433 : Longitude 18.51294 deg East, Latitude  33.94058 deg S,
    Elevation 10 metres - situated in Pinelands (Cape Town), South Africa
    
    
    
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042619500 56 15 0507114-211513 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042630200 56 15 0506554-201733 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042635900 56 15 0506451-194514 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042654800 56 15 0506173-181156 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042707500 56 15 0506017-170214 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042718100 56 15 0505483-160641 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042729700 56 15 0505426-151134 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042735400 56 15 0505329-144139 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042743100 56 15 0505295-140413 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042758400 56 15 0505273-125220 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042819500 56 15 0505249-111255 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042838700 56 15 0505239-094723 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042849300 56 15 0505202-090004 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042917100 56 15 0505324-065830 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628042938300 56 15 0505419-053130 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628043008500 56 15 0506095-032935 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628043033100 56 15 0506404-015447 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628043048100 56 15 0506587-005813 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628043108500 56 15 0507392+001857 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628043127700 56 15 0508063+012632 39
    99999 06 999A   0433 G 20060628043139700 56 15 0508166+021113 39
    
    Stray seen:
    --------------
    
    13770 83 003A   0433 G 20060628043033100 56 15 0510450-011335 39  +080 05
    
    
    Notes:
    ------
    (1) The above are positions obtained of the NROL-22 satellite launched
        this morning and were obtained whilst the mission was performing
        its second stage burn over Southern Africa whilst in range of the
        Overberg launch facility. The object appeared fan shaped with an
        apex angle of about 60 degrees, with the top edge of the fan
        being roughly parallel to the horizon and the other edge of the
        fan sloping down towards the horizon. Its rather difficult to
        estimate the magnitude but stellarwise it was about magnitude 8
        and appeared cloudlike. The approximate dimensions of the 
        triangular shaped cloud were as follows:
    
        04h27m30s UT  top edge 48 arc minutes,lower edge 1.3 degrees
        04h30m48s UT  top edge 35 arc minutes,lower edge 56 arc minutes
    
        Very difficult to estimate as it just blended into the very bright
        city lit sky and the pass ended for me at an elevation of 11 degrees.
        At start the first observed position was at elevation 23 degrees,
        about 3 degrees higher than Teds estimated orbit - also why I missed
        the start of the pass. The cloud showed small changes in brightness
        and I suspect the second stage burn was in progress whilst I was 
        observing. Up to the end of the pass all looked "normal" so I guess
        there is a good chance this will get to where it is going :-))
    
        The positions are of the head of the apex but due to the very diffuse
        nature of the image I am not certain of the centre so there will
        be some scatter. However I think Ive provided enough points to
        define the trajectory - if more are required can provide.
    
        I currently dont know the catalog number or international
        designation for the launch so sucked something out my thumb.
    
    (2) Many thanks to Ted for the search elements and to Kevin for
        providing the Boeing URL - with this I was able to follow the
        count down ,launch delay and subsequent launch. All in all very
        exciting and worth getting up for!
    
    Cheers
    Greg
    
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