the other day I added a post to thread and have now done some research regarding what I have seen. Here is what I posted..
"I am fairly experienced in watching the night sky for various objects that tend to float around in it and I have recently been seeing two satellites
of some description orbiting Earth in a fashion I've never seen before.
Currently I'm located in the Philippines and have some free time, so I tend to spend a lot of the night observing the sky when there is no, or
partial, cloud cover.
There are two oddities about these satellites. Firstly, they both fly from North to South, and secondly, as the first one passes over and is about to
be lost from view, the second one comes into view. So they are quite close together.
I have witnessed them on 3 occasions now at approximately 3.30am Philippines time. (give or take half hour or so, I'm yet to establish exact
I can't understand why there would be a need for two satellites to be in such close proximity to each other and why they would both follow the same
Presumably they are global mapping or some form of spy satellites. Yes they could be for communications, but I doubt that they would be for public use
due to their North/South trajectories and their close proximity unless they are just relays of some description."
Now, here is what I have found after a few searches...
A polar orbit is one of the possible Low Earth Orbits. Unlike other classic orbits (that orbit in an east-west direction), the polar orbit travels
north-south and over the poles. Each orbit is about 100 minutes long and covers the entire globe in 14 days.
As a satellite in a polar orbit... well, as it orbits, the earth spins under it from east to west. The only east-west component of the statelite's
movement is from the spining of the earth and is not part of the movement of the satelite. This gives the satellite access to the entire surface of
the earth - one strip at a time. This orbit is classically used by remote sensing satellites and spy satellites.
The altitude for polar orbits around Earth is classically 600 miles up though may go down to 300 or lower. However, the lower the orbit, the faster
air friction takes a its toll upon the satellite and the shorter the lifespan.
The polar orbit is avoided by manned spacecraft because flying through or past the area above the magnetic poles poses a significant radiation hazard.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (CNN) -- Roaring into orbit, an Atlas 2AS rocket illuminated the night sky over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Wednesday,
carrying with it a satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, an agency that maintains spy satellites for the United States.
As is customary for the NRO, no details were released about the satellite, but experts told Reuters news agency that the type of rocket being used for
launch and the location of the launch pad indicated it was a relay satellite rather than one used to collect imagery.
The rocket was launched by International Launch Services -- a joint venture of U.S.-based Lockheed Martin and Russian companies Khrunichev and
The rocket lifted off at 10:32 p.m. EDT. According to a press release on the ILS Web site, the satellite separated from the rocket 29 minutes
"ILS is honored to have a role in enhancing our nation's security by launching this NRO payload," said ILS president Mark Albrecht in a statement.
"Every one of these missions is vitally important for national defense."
This was the third satellite launched for NRO in recent weeks. ILS launched a satellite for the NRO on September 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in
California. A Titan IV rocket was launched on October 5 from Vandenberg Air Force Base.