USA 160 & USA 160 C formation

From: Floyd Weaver (floyd@floydweaver.com)
Date: Sat May 11 2002 - 02:21:17 EDT


Tonight at 02:37UTC 5-11 I was looking for USA 160 and was surprised to see
two satellites in formation. Distance between them was typical of the NOSS
sats but I could not find a third sats, neither was I expecting a NOSS trio.
Using Skymap I discovered that the two sats were USA 160 and USA 160 C.
Magnitude was around 3.5. Both sats were basically the same mag and I
followed them from the big dipper until they entered earth shadow. Do these
satellites stay in formation? Looking at the elements they sure could not
move apart very fast. (Before sending this message I looked at older SeeSat
messages and found that the 160 duo does fly in formation.)

While I am writing I might as well ask what one of the other sats I saw. It
was either Badr_B or Meteor 3m r. Mag was up to 2 and it was flaring a bit
with a cycle of less than one second. Both these sats were on nearly
identical paths and I did not time anything accurate enough to figure out
which one I saw.

Had one of my best nights with 38 one power obs, including 5 iridiums. I am
having a major problem the last week seeing iridiums below 15 degree in the
west. Other years I had much better success. Not sure what is going on.

Floyd Weaver
Lebanon PA USA
40.4 north 76.4 west

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