Questions about upcoming SpaceX launch

From: Skywayinc@aol.com
Date: Tue Oct 02 2012 - 04:31:48 UTC

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "Re: Questions about upcoming SpaceX launch"

    I thought that I would throw this out to the SeeSat-L group and hopefully  
    get some confirmations or even a few better answers,  My editor at  
    SPACE.com E-mailed me on Monday afternoon, noting that: 
    
    "I just realized  that Sunday night’s SpaceX launch from Florida is a night 
    launch and wondered if  there’s a chance for folks along the U.S. East 
    Coast to see it.  Similarly,  I’d be interested to know if the Dragon Space 
    Capsule can be seen in the Night  Sky."
    
    Certainly, SpaceX is probably going to be launched into the same  
    51.6-degree inclined orbit that the Shuttle would have taken, so I would assume  that 
    after launch its trajectory should be very similar along the US East  
    Coast.  My question is . . . are the engines that power SpaceX bright  enough to 
    be seen at the distances that the Shuttle's solid rocket boosters and  main 
    engines were?  Also . . . when passing the latitude of NYC, the  Shuttle 
    reached MECO and pretty much disappeared from view; would something  similar 
    happen with SpaceX?
    
    As for the Dragon capsule, I noticed that  it's approximately 1/10th the 
    size of the Shuttle, so I suspect that we're  taking about a noticeably dimmer 
    object . . . something along the lines of  magnitude +2 to +3 (maybe 
    dimmer?).  
     
    North America will have evening passes of the ISS during the weekend and  
    early next week.
    
    I also assume that the capsule will be trailing  behind the ISS, but with 
    the schedule indicating that it will arrive  at the station around 11:30 UT 
    on Oct. 10 there would only be one chance as  seeing both objects separately 
    and that would be next Monday evening . . .  by Tuesday evening, both Dragon 
    and the ISS would be joined as one.
    
    If  anybody has any insights to this, I'd be very appreciative!
    Kindest  Regards
    -- joe rao
     
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