Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)

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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.

20000211_STS99_1_NSE Fig. 1. STS-99 orbiter and external fuel tank, 11 Feb 2000.

20000211_STS99_2_NSE Fig. 2. STS-99 orbiter and external fuel tank, 11 Feb 2000.

20010216_STS98_NSE Fig. 3. STS-98 orbiter and ISS, 16 Feb 2001.

20010217_STS98_NSE Fig. 4. STS-98 orbiter and ISS, 17 Feb 2001.

Nigel Evans