Re: Satellite watching a recent event?

Ralph McConahy (
Sat, 13 Mar 1999 14:32:38 -0800

Phil Rogers at wrote:
>A few years before that (late '50s/early 60's) when they launched the
>Echo satellite, it became the popular craze at the time to stand around
>at sunset (time as specified by various news reporters) to see if it
>could be seen. Echo was the first ever communications satellite
>(of sorts - no beacons, just a huge metallized mylar bag to serve as a
>sky based reflector).

I too remember watching the echo balloon pass overhead at night when I was
young. It was launched in August 1960 and decayed in 1968. The person who
got me interested was my great-grandmother (she was born before the Wright
brothers flew and lived to see Apollo 11 land on the moon). She would get
the daily pass times from the newspaper then usher everyone who happened to
be visiting her home outside to watch the pass. Most family members felt
that after you've seen it once, all passes were the same. Seems like the
only ones who didn't share that sentiment was my great-grandmother and I,
because we ventured out into her back yard to watch every pass possible.
Years later, I worked at a NASA tracking station called the "Echo Station"
named after that project.

   Ralph McConahy
   34.8829N  117.0064W  670m