Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)
Space Shuttle, 11 February 2000 & 16-17 February 2001
In general, satellites are visible when they are in sunlight and the observer is in darkness or twilight. The Space Shuttle (formally the Space Transportation System or STS) was often visible in orbit when it flew to Mir or to the ISS (International Space Station).
Figures 1 and 2, taken on 11 February 2000, show the orbiter and external fuel tank of mission STS-99. The orbiter discarded the tank eight minutes after launch and the two were visible together again approximately 20 minutes after launch. Although the tank initially followed the Shuttle, eventually it fell into the Indian Ocean.
Figures 3 and 4, taken in mid-February 2001, show the orbiter of mission STS-98 and the ISS together in orbit.