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Vanguard 1 spotted, still circling the early nearly 54 years after it was launched

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posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 12:43 AM
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It's like spotting a metallic grapefruit in Las Vegas while standing in Washington DC. As far as I can tell, it's the only video out there showing direct tracking of Vanguard 1.

It's the oldest satellite still in orbit. NASA didn't even exist yet when this satellite was launched. It turns 54 this year. An identical backup satellite can be seen on display in Kansas. I put my hand up to the display to give an idea of the scale.




posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 12:57 AM
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reply to post by ngchunter
 


What was the little satellite used for?



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 01:02 AM
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Study the effects of the space environment on a satellite and perform geodetics by monitoring its orbit. It was a very simple satellite, just a couple transmitters, a mercury battery, and a few solar cells.
edit on 31-1-2012 by ngchunter because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 01:09 AM
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reply to post by ngchunter
 


Gotcha I figured it couldn't be too advanced to to the date of launch but wasn't quite sure. If I recall correctly Sputnik was basically just sending radio signals right?



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 01:29 AM
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Heh, I'm so used to seeing the original Vanguard fall-back/explosion, I was actually surprised when the rocket in your video left the pad!

Great tracking footage. Congratulations!



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 02:09 AM
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Cool thread. SnF. Nice work op.

Probably an easy answer, but what is moving by so fast?


Also..Got me curious now.. what is your favorite vid, that you made?



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 04:19 AM
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Great tracking work ngchunter, I'm kind of surprised an 8" could see the tiny satellite, but I don't own a telescope beyond a department store toy. Nice illustration of the slower speed required for higher orbits.

WIki on its orbit.

The three stage launch vehicle placed Vanguard into a 654 by 3,969 kilometres (406 × 2,466 mi), 134.2 minute elliptical orbit inclined at 34.25 degrees on March 17, 1958. Original estimates had the orbit lasting for 2,000 years, but it was discovered that solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag during high levels of solar activity produced significant perturbations in the perigee height of the satellite, which caused a significant decrease in its expected lifetime to only about 240 years.


What altitude do you think you were able to locate the little bugger at?



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 07:48 AM
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Originally posted by rbnhd76
Cool thread. SnF. Nice work op.

Probably an easy answer, but what is moving by so fast?

Thanks! Those are stars. The long exposures of the camera needed to detect the satellite cause extreme motion blur of the stars as the satellite flies by them.


Also..Got me curious now.. what is your favorite vid, that you made?

That would be this one, hands down. Tracking the final space shuttle mission docked to ISS in broad daylight:

It wasn't just a once in a lifetime opportunity, it was the last in a lifetime opportunity.



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 07:53 AM
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Originally posted by Illustronic
What altitude do you think you were able to locate the little bugger at?

The altitude was around ~3,300 km. It basically went right over head, about 89 degrees high at the start of the video (while it was rising I was tracking it with the exposure length maxed, which doesn't make for as interesting a video, so once it hit the zenith I decreased the exposure length as much as I could while still detecting the satellite). The line of sight range from me to the satellite was a little over 3,300 km. That's pretty close to its current apogee height of 3,842 km.



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 12:16 PM
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Originally posted by ngchunter

Originally posted by rbnhd76
Got me curious now.. what is your favorite vid, that you made?

That would be this one, hands down. Tracking the final space shuttle mission docked to ISS in broad daylight...


I am SO going to make stereo pairs with that!



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 06:56 PM
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Thanks for the post o.p. I never knew about this little satellite, thank you for enlightening us.



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 08:38 PM
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Hehehe.....when you think about it, the old saying "Sure don't make 'em like they used to." seems to really apply here when I see this old satellite and then think of Skylab, the recent failed Russian Mars probe, etc.......



posted on Jan, 31 2012 @ 11:51 PM
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Originally posted by ngchunter
It wasn't just a once in a lifetime opportunity, it was the last in a lifetime opportunity.
Both this and the OP videos are really good NGChunter!

Is this where you got your avatar from or was that from an earlier mission?

Did you mean to say that Vanguard 1 is circling the Earth? I didn't quite get the "early" part of the title.
edit on 31-1-2012 by Arbitrageur because: fix typo



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 12:09 AM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur

Originally posted by ngchunter
It wasn't just a once in a lifetime opportunity, it was the last in a lifetime opportunity.
Both this and the OP videos are really good NGChunter!

Is this where you got your avatar from or was that from an earlier mission?

Did you mean to say that Vanguard 1 is circling the Earth? I didn't quite get the "early" part of the title.
edit on 31-1-2012 by Arbitrageur because: fix typo

Thanks! My avatar is a stacked image from the same video.

The title typo was a mistake. I meant to say "earth" but in my exhaustion I got ahead of myself (mixing "earth" and "nearly" into one word which ended up coming out as "early"). Of course, spell checker wasn't going to stop me on that one.



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 12:15 AM
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Originally posted by ngchunter
Thanks! My avatar is a stacked image from the same video.
Very nice. What kind of software do you use for the image stacking?



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by Arbitrageur

Originally posted by ngchunter
Thanks! My avatar is a stacked image from the same video.
Very nice. What kind of software do you use for the image stacking?


For that, Registax.
www.astronomie.be...
For deep space images I use Deep Sky Stacker.
deepskystacker.free.fr...



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 12:33 AM
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Thanks OP.
Great stuff you have here.
I'm going to try & find some more of your vids.



posted on Feb, 4 2012 @ 02:16 AM
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reply to post by ngchunter
 


I did a lot of research on the 'grapefruit' when I was a kid and found a lot of info. It was supposed to be the 1st American artificial satellite as they thought "Explorer I" would make orbit first (hence the name Vanguard, Explorer was the upper stage of a rocket and was long and cylindrical) as it turned out it the "grapefruit" became our 2nd satellite) also it only had a simple transmitter that beeped, they were going to use batteries but during testing solar cells were developed and they put these (I believe 7 small panels) and they figured a few weeks at most they would receive the signal but it beeped for 6 or 7 years! They had put it in such a stable orbit there is no danger of re-entry for something like 100K years!
When they were testing it during an attempted launch they said it 'popped' out of the nosecone (it had a spring to 'pop' it out once orbit was reached) and the receiving station (which wasn't in direct contact with the launch crew) reported they were getting a good signal not knowing the launch was scrubbed. It was said an engineer walked into the communication building carrying the small satellite!
During another satellite launch, they were tracking the trajectory of the rocket and all the electronics in the room went dead! A little later they came back on... the cause? A soft drink company was putting a coke machine in the break room and accidentally shut off the power to the room!
These stories came from a first hand account that was published in a book in the mid 70's called "a funny thing happened on the way to the moon!" my brother bought me the book and I don't know if it's still available but it is full of funny stories like this showing how crude our first steps in space exploration was!


edit on 4-2-2012 by wulff because: (no reason given)



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