Re: 1957-001D

From: Fred Valcho (
Date: Thu Jun 24 2010 - 18:49:55 UTC

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    As I recall, the booster, the Sputnik, and the fairing all made it into orbit. After launch, I saw what I thought was the satellite pass over head in Scottsdale AZ, it was quite bright in the dessert air and zoomed across the sky relatively fast. For the only other objects to that point were high flying aircraft, and they were no where near this objects travel time horizon to horizon. Several years later I discovered the mag of the sphere was roughly 6, and the booster was a 1. I most likely witnessed the booster and not Sputnik, as the booster had reflectors installed for easier visibility, and the sat. was much smaller - something like 2 feet in dia.
    I also recall using binoc's to view the Sputnik and subsequent nights. I could see a rounding (a relative term) object of a lesser brightness than the first sighting. I believe this was the actual Sputnik. 
    I've been looking up ever since.
    From: George Olshevsky <>
    To: seesat-l <>; "" <>
    Sent: Thu, June 24, 2010 10:02:56 AM
    Subject: 1957-001D
    Been away from the List for quite a while, lots of catching up to do
    in the next few weeks. But I wasn't idle. I filled a number of holes
    in my Space World and Ad Astra collections, now need only six Space
    Worlds out of 317 and five Ad Astras out of 130. Got any you want to
    unload? My checklist PDF is available at
    In the book Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski (excellent book,
    reads like a suspense novel, but needs a little copyediting here and
    there), there is an account of the launch of Sputnik 1. Evidently
    Korolev had affixed some reflectors to the booster's core stage to
    increase its visibility in orbit, and the >final< command to the
    booster after the satellite and nose fairing were ejected was to
    detach the protective cover off the reflectors. I guess this cover
    would have gone into an orbit similar to that of the booster stage.
    Most early catalogues for this launch list the booster, payload, and
    nose fairing as orbited objects (only the booster stage and the
    payload have Space Track catalogue numbers, namely 1 and 2
    respectively), so the "reflector protector" would become the fourth,
    or 1957-001D. Any idea whether such an object was ever seen from the
    ground in those early months of the Space Age? Its orbit likely
    decayed in a matter of a week or two. It may have been mistaken for
    Sputnik 1 itself at times; I don't know how big it was.
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