Friday, January 13, 2012
Phobos/Grunt Watch The Waiting Begins
Spaceflight 101 launched their "Phobos Grunt Entry Blog" Their maiden voyage entry says: "Satellite Trackers and Amateur Observers might be essential in pin-pointing Phobos-Grunt's Re-Entry Time and Location"...
That's us people!
Spaceflight 101's blog links their own tutorial: "Observe Phobos-Grunt" It's good advice on how to see Phobos/Grunt in orbit, and if the stars align...to witness it's fiery reentry.
After several tries in the past month, most featuring problematic "seeing" due to big moons or cloud cover, I finally caught a Phobos/Grunt pass overhead. Even at Mag 1.3 near morning twilight, the spacecraft was easy to find as it passed overhead.
According to Heavens-Above, I get a shot at one of the predicted final orbits in the evenings of January 14, 16, and 17 Given the latest predictions, that's lookin' like one shot...the 14th!
While composing this blog, I found a new quirk on Heavens-Above. Be sure to click on Type of passes to include: ALL when you're searching a satellite. I did and found a visible pass just two hours from now! It wasn't listed in the Visible results...there that's my "Learn Something Every Day" requirement for today!
European Space Agency Coordinates International Satellite Reentry Campaign for Phobos/Grunt
Stay tuned, and Good Luck Phobos/Grunt Watchers!