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Jens
2012-Aug-14, 01:55 AM
I was listening to this song called "A New England" by Billy Bragg, and apparently he wrote the song after seeing "two satellites traveling together." The song came out in 1985, so I guess it would have happened around that time. Anybody have guesses about what he might have seen? It seems odd to see two satellites traveling together. Could it have been a supply mission for Salyut 7?

John Jaksich
2012-Aug-14, 02:23 AM
I was listening to this song called "A New England" by Billy Bragg, and apparently he wrote the song after seeing "two satellites traveling together." The song came out in 1985, so I guess it would have happened around that time. Anybody have guesses about what he might have seen? It seems odd to see two satellites traveling together. Could it have been a supply mission for Salyut 7?

When I think of two satellites traveling together--I am reminded of the Vela satellite pairs (launched to monitor the nuclear test ban)--but ultimately also spied "the first discrete gamma ray burst". Otherwise I am not to sure? I will try my hand for a search online?

Jens
2012-Aug-14, 02:35 AM
When I think of two satellites traveling together--I am reminded of the Vela satellite pairs (launched to monitor the nuclear test ban)--but ultimately also spied "the first discrete gamma ray burst". Otherwise I am not to sure? I will try my hand for a search online?

Thanks for the info. I looked around, and it seems to me that Vela satellites would be unlikely. For one thing, apparently they were in very high orbits, like a quarter of the way to the moon, so they wouldn't be visible from the ground. Also, it sounds like the pairs were orbiting on opposite sides or the earth.

Van Rijn
2012-Aug-14, 08:02 AM
My off-hand guesses would be Salyut plus capsule, one of the Shuttle missions (looking back on the missions around that time there were a number of satellite deployments from the cargo bay) or a NOSS triplet (recent ones only have two spacecraft in formation but even back then two could be brighter, more obvious, and closer to each other).

But there would have been other stuff up there, including spent stages, so it could have been something else entirely.

Jens
2012-Aug-14, 08:22 AM
one of the Shuttle missions (looking back on the missions around that time there were a number of satellite deployments from the cargo bay)

Right. That makes sense too, and I hadn't though of it.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Aug-14, 03:00 PM
If memory serves (and I'm generally good with lyrics) it was, "I saw two shooting stars last night/I wished on them/But they were only satellites/It's wrong to wish on space hardware/I wish I wish I wish you cared."

I'd always supposed they were bits of decaying satellites burning up, as they otherwise wouldn't resemble shooting stars. But now I'm having to think again.

Incidentally I never liked Billy Bragg's version (or the man himself) but loved Kirsty MacColl's version. She died too young! I've used one of her other song titles in English lessons, showing how formal language becomes informal and how relative pronouns are dropped in speech: "There is a man who works at the chip shop who swears that he is Elvis" -> "There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis".

Rhaedas
2012-Aug-14, 04:37 PM
Google says you got the lyrics correct, Paul. I don't see how the lyrics can imply that both shooting stars were together. The basic meaning I get is that shooting stars are something that would grant a wish, but since it's reality, and they were just satellites, that the love is not anything that can be magically gotten back.

Or something like that.

speedfreek
2012-Aug-14, 09:30 PM
The lyrics don't imply the satellites were together - that comes from a BBC article/interview with Billy Bragg.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/soldonsong/songlibrary/indepth/newengland.shtml

And for the record, the Kirsty MacColl version is one of my all time favorite songs. :)

eburacum45
2012-Aug-17, 01:05 PM
Mine too.

schlaugh
2012-Aug-17, 02:49 PM
By the end of 1985 the Shuttle had launched more than 20 times and some of those launches included satellite deployments, plus one repair mission to Solar Max. So it's possible he saw one of those missions where the two craft were near each other, either before or after rendezvous.