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From: TerryMosel@aol.com
Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 20:31:06 EST
Subject: Mystery object nr ISS, radio, NEAT etc

Hi all,

1. Some of you will already be aware of the following observation, which was 
reported to me at the time, but did not seem significant then. However in 
view of latest NASA reports that something may have broken off or detached 
from the Columbia Shuttle before re-entry, it now seems possibly important.

Report by Mrs Valerie Canty, Ballincollig, Co Cork, Lat 51 deg 54' North, 
Long 8 deg 36m West, who is an experienced amateur astronomer. She was 
observing the passage of the ISS on 1 February at 19.03 GMT, when she noticed 
another 'starlike' object travelling ahead of the ISS, in the same orbit. She 
estimated that it was a bit less than 2 degrees ahead of the ISS, and 
considerably fainter. She estimated the apparent magnitude of the ISS as 
magnitude -2, and that of the other object as about magnitude +1.5, 'slightly 
brighter than Bellatrix'. The objects maintained this relative separation 
until they disappeared into the Earth's shadow some 4 minutes later.

This was long after the Shuttle Columbia had begun re-entry so it was not 
immediately apparent what this object could be.

However if it was travelling in roughly the same orbit as the ISS, then it 
would have been in a similar orbit to that of the Shuttle before the latter 
began de-orbiting.

Did anyone else see that or anything similar travelling in roughly the same 
orbit as the ISS on that passage, or on the later one that evening? (the 
later pass was not visble from Belfast, so I couldn't check it). If so, 
please let me know asap.

2. You might like to note a programme on Thursday 13th Feb. called "Leading 
Edge", BBC Radio 4, 21.00- 21.30pm. which looks at the growing problem of 
light pollution and the CfDS movement to restore darkness to the night sky.  

3. Comet NEAT is still brightening, but so is the twilight.... Catch it while 
you can!

4. Finally, and belatedly, a very big THANK YOU to all the members of the 
Cork Astronomy Club who presented me with a magnificent Cork Crystal vase, 
which they are now having engraved, to mark the naming of Asteroid 16693 
Moseley, at my lecture last Monday. Although I'm a member of the CAC, it was 
totally unexpected, and VERY much appreciated! (I'm giving the lecture again 
to the IAS in Dublin next Monday [if the Aliens don't get me first] - more on 
that later)

Terry Moseley


From: "Dr John Mason" 
Subject: Re: Object near ISS after Shuttle re-entry
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 07:40:07 -0000

Dear All,

I raised this issue, here in the UK, immediately after the Shuttle disaster.

Apparently, the object seen 'keeping pace' with the ISS on its evening
pass on Saturday, 1st February was a Progress cargo freighter which had
undocked from the ISS docking port on Saturday to make way for the
replacement Progress freighter, originally due for launch on January 30th,
but which was delayed and only lifted off at about 1300 hours today, Sunday,
2nd February.  This docked with the ISS on Tuesday.

This information was posted on the website,
and was brought to my attention by Nick James.

All the best,

John Mason


From: Alan Fitzsimmons 
Organization: QUB Astrophysics
Subject: Re: Object near ISS after Shuttle re-entry
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 09:56:26 +0000

Hi Terry,

As far as I recall, the Columbia's orbit was at a significantly different
inclination from the ISS. Hence anything following the same path as the
ISS would be unrelated to Columbia.

Best Wishes

Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons                 Tel: +44 (0) 2890-273124
APS Division                         Fax: +44 (0) 2890-438918
Dept. of Pure & Applied Physics   e-mail: a.fitzsimmons@qub.ac.uk
Queen's University Belfast           WWW: http://star.pst.qub.ac.uk/~af/
Belfast BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland


From: Neil Bone 
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 10:23:57 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Object near ISS after Shuttle re-entry

Hi Terry/Alan et al,
             I seem to recall reading that the ISS was due to be
serviced by a Progress spacecraft bearing freesh supplies within 24
hours of the Shuttle incident. Perhaps this was the presumed co-orbiotal

        Neil Bone


From: "Leo Enright" 
Subject: Progress 9  (was:  Object near ISS after Shuttle re-entry)
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 11:28:56 -0000

International Space Station Status Report #03-4
8 a.m. CST, Sunday, February 2, 2003
Expedition Six Crew

A Russian Progress 10 resupply craft lifted off today from the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying supplies and new scientific systems
hardware to the International Space Station.

The cargo ship was launched on time at 6:59 a.m. CST (1259 GMT) and
successfully reached orbit nine minutes later with its solar arrays and
navigational antennas fully deployed. The Progress is due to dock to the aft
port of the Zvezda Service Module on the ISS Tuesday at around 8:50 a.m. CST
(1450 GMT).


The stage was set for today's launch of the new resupply ship through
Saturday's undocking of the older Progress 9 craft, which reached the ISS
last June. A few hours after its undocking, the Progress 9 was commanded to
deorbit, and burned up in the Earth's atmosphere.


Awaiting the arrival of the Progress, Expedition 6 Commander Ken Bowersox,
Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit
spent a quiet day in orbit, their 71st day in space, and their 69th day
aboard the ISS. They were informed of the loss of Columbia and its crew
yesterday about an hour after the Shuttle broke up 16 minutes before its
scheduled landing.

The new Progress 10 is loaded with a ton of supplies for the Expedition 6
crew, most notably, replacement parts for the Microgravity Science Glovebox
in the Destiny laboratory, which experienced a power failure back in
November and has been dormant during Expedition 6. Pettit plans to install
the new parts and test the Glovebox as soon as the Progress vehicle is
unloaded. If it works, the Glovebox will be used to support all of the
experiments planned for this Expedition before the crew returns to Earth in

Information on the crew's activities aboard the space station, future launch
dates, as well as station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth,
is available on the Internet at:


Details on station science operations can be found on an Internet site
administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:


The next station status report will be issued on Tuesday following the
Progress 10 docking, or earlier, if events warrant.

Last Revised: 2003 February 11th
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