International Space Station flyover

Iain McFadyen mcfadyenusa at
Sun Nov 14 15:05:04 CST 2004

Tracking satellites and the International Space Station is probably becoming 'old hat'. But I wanted to bring to your attention that, as long as the weather remains clear, there is a great opportunity to view the International Space Station flyover, later today (Sunday). 
So, if you have young kids, and want to introduce them to the ISS, you might wish to take a walk outside with them at 18:05 this evening: You can teach them all about points of the compass, angles, and orbiting objects!
At the risk of frustrating all those people who routinely track and view the ISS on a daily basis, let me give you some of the relevant details for one of today's passes:
Acquisition of Signal: 18:05 local time in Washington DC.
Direction of acquisition: 270degrees. (i.e. West)
Max elevation, 36.5 degrees, at 18:10 clock time. In a direction of 327degrees (NorthWest)
Loss of signal: 18:15,   in a direction of 45degrees  (NorthEast).
As the space station will still be in direct sunlight during the pass, but here on 'Terra Firma' it will be dark, the ISS should be glowing!
>From an Amateur Radio perspective, the payload on board has been in 'packet' mode for several weeks, since the last change of crew. The payload always downlinks on 145.800, whether it be in packet mode, repeater mode, or talk mode (i.e. astronaut to terrestrial Ham conversations). If you want to listen for this, remember to start off at 145.802, at AOS time (18:05). To stay properly in tune, you should tune back to 145.800 at around 18:10, and then tune down to 145.798 by around 18:15. Generally though, you can leave a Rx on 145.800 and not miss much, because the downlink is FM, always. (With SSB on the other spacecraft, tuning is one of the biggest headaches!).
Those living near Dulles might have trouble discriminating between the ISS and the landing lights of all the aircraft on approach.... but once you've witnessed the flyover of the ISS, the speed and clarity is unmistakable.
The ISS will be passing within radio range several times today: Acquisition of Signal (AOS) for each of the passes are as follows:
16:30  S through South East to NE: Max 17 degrees elevation)
18:05, as discussed above.
19:42  same trajectory: W through N to NE but max el is 10degrees
21:18  NW  thrugh N to NE
22:54  NW through N to E
00:29  NW through N to SE, max el= 47 degrees
02:06, W, through SW,  to S  max el only 3 degrees
  then no more passes till 15:24 Monday.
Iain   KI4HLV   McLean VA.

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