Re: Russia Confirms Korean Satellite

Brian Webb (
Mon, 14 Sep 1998 23:09:57 -0400



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Brian Webb

				Brian Webb, KD6NRP
			    Ventura County, California
	Web Page:

					    1998 September 13 (Sunday) 18:45 PDT
			    Wednesday Vandenberg Launch

A Minuteman III strategic missile is scheduled to be launched from Vandenberg
AFB early on the morning of Wednesday, September 16th. The ICBM is slated to
leave its silo at northwest Vandenberg at 01:01 PDT. The six hour launch window
runs from 01:01 to 07:01 PDT.

Following launch, the missile will climb rapidly and fly a ballistic (non-
orbital) trajectory. About 30 minutes after launch, one or more dummy warheads
should arrive at the impact area in the central Pacific.

The times of various flight events are as follows:

				       Time           Local Time
		Event                (min:sec)     (hr:min:sec PDT)

	Liftoff                        00:00           01:01:00
	Stage 2 Ignition               01:01           01:02:01
	Stage 3 Ignition               02:05           01:03:05
	Stage 3 and 4 Separation       03:05           01:04:05

Because the Minuteman will initially fly a steep trajectory and reach a maximum
altitude of more than 400 miles, the launch should be visible as far away as
Nevada, southwestern Utah, western Arizona, and northwestern Mexico.

If you want to know where to look to see the launch, you can enter the approxi-
mate coordinates of the silo as a landmark in a GPS receiver and then select Go
To mode. The silo is located within a several miles of the following point:

				       deg:min:sec   Degrees

		      Latitude (N):      34 52 00     34.867
		      Longitude (W):    120 37 00    120.617


				  Jupiter Rising

The planet Jupiter is now rising in the eastern sky during dusk and is conven-
iently placed for observation by 10:00 p.m. For the past few weeks I've been
taking advantage of the early rise time and unusually good seeing (stable air)
at my home to view the dynamic jovian atmosphere. Using my 8-inch Celestar
Schmitt-Cassegrain telscope and magnifications from 135 to 254, I've been able
to see a wealth of detail.

One evening last weekend in noticed the dark shadow of one of Jupiter's moons
and two odd dark spots in the planet's South Temperate Zone. They were equally
spaced and at the same latitude. This weekend I've seen the Great Red Spot and a
light colored oval in the South Tropical Zone.

During the last few nights I've observed Jupiter through various color filters,
including some not normally recommended. The results have been interesting.

It appears that a red (#25 or #29) filter slightly enhances the light colored
ovals. A violet (#47) filter made the dark belts stand out more. The effect was
much greater than that obtained with a blue (#38A or #80A) filter.

However, the image through the violet filter was too dim to be studied. What's
needed is violet filter with 60% more light transmission. Perhaps Orion or an-
other filter supplier could have their factory make a lighter filter by using
less pigment. Another option would be to buy another #47 filter and have an op-
tician grind it down to 40% of its original thickness.

				   Alan Shepard

Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space and the fifth man to set foot
on the Moon died recently. The news of his death brought back my memories of the
one and only time that I saw him in person

In July of 1975 I covered the meaningless U.S.-Soviet manned space flight from
the Johnson Space Center near Houston. Shepard was there as a consultant to NBC

I remember one afternoon we had a press briefing in the news center auditorium.
As the briefing ended, the moderator asked if there were any questions. Shepard
was walking down the asile and loudly asked in his rough voice "How about a
question from the pilot of MR-3." He then asked a question and perhaps cracked a
joke or two. He swaggered around like he somebody important (and he was).

During the same mission, I was in the news center one afternoon and saw Shepard
standing nearby. I went over and introduced myself. I remember asking him how
the ride on the Saturn V compared to the Redstone. He said that the ride on the
Saturn was actually smoother.


1. MR-3 is another name for Mercury-Redstone 3, the first U.S. manned space
2. The Redstone, a fairly small missile, launched Shepard on his first flight in
   1961. Tens years later he and Apollo 14 rode a massive Saturn V into space
   and onward to the Moon.

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