RE: ISS-Shuttle Tail

From: Matson, Robert (
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 10:04:07 PDT

  • Next message: Igor Lissov: "ISS obs from Moscow"

    Hi Clement,
    > I had the most amazing sight of the ISS+STS complex last night (16/10/00
    > 23h57 - 23h59 UT). The complex had a magnificient tail of about 3 degrees
    > a strongly C shaped curve like a hook. ...
    Congratulations!  You saw a Shuttle waste water dump.
    > Can anyone explains me why it looked so strongly curved? It was so curved
    > that the end of the tail was almost leading the complex!
    It *was* leading the complex.  High drag on the water (which
    quickly becomes ice) causes it do drop into a lower orbit
    which in turn causes it to race ahead of the shuttle.  The
    lower the drop in altitude, the greater the velocity of the
    ice crystals -- this is what leads to the "C" shape.
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