Shuttle obs in shadow and engine pulse

From: Daniel Deak (
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 18:30:59 PDT

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    Hi all,
    I'm delighted ! I just saw something incredible for me !
    Using the predicted post-OMS-2 elset from David H. Ransom :
    1 99992U          00286.00371414  .00348491  50190-6  73937-4 0    33
    2 99992  51.5755 265.2023 0120666  10.6638 201.2638 16.13345086    13
    I tried to spot the shuttle at the end of its first orbit while it was in
    darkness. I was watching NASA TV and saw that the payload bay doors were being
    opened. I realized that while the doors get opened, the floodlights must be
    turn on and that MAYBE I could see something in my 20x80.
    My presumption was right ! At the predicted time and place, I saw a very fast
    dark orange light crossing my field of view. I tracked it without my usual
    tripod and very soon was sure it was the Shuttle. Wow ! In darkness !
    Its mag was around 6 or 7, hard to tell because of the speed and the fact that
    I have not been observing for a while.
    But that's not all ! At 00:59:02 UT  2 sec, I saw a one second engine firing
    that seemed to be directed at me or away from me since it completely surrounded
    the Shuttle. It was also dark orange in colour. It was awesome !
    The speed was because of its altitude of 200 km. This obs means that everytime
    we have an early or middle of the night launch of the Shuttle to the ISS, we
    should try and be able to spot it quite easily with binocs even in darkness,
    given the payload bay doors are opened, at the first North American crossing.
    This obs put an exciting note to an otherwise very busy work week.
    Daniel Deak
    representant, projet spatial Starshine
    Drummondville, Quebec
    COSPAR site 1746 : 45.8537N, 72.4857W, 90 m., UTC-4:00
    Site en francais sur les satellites:
    French-language satellite web site :
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