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Thread: Artificial satellites and ISS

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    Artificial satellites and ISS

    I have done some checking and from various sources understand there are over 4000 man-made satellites in orbit around earth. Given images from the space shuttle years back and also images from the ISS it seems odd never to see one - or can someone post links?

    In addition, isn't the ISS in danger of being holed by micro-meteorites, not to mention a collision with a satellite or piece of orbiting space junk (of which I gather are numerous and untracked)?

    Lastly, the way these people on the ISS act cavalier and perform silly stunts in the company of (often) a mass of loose suspended wiring along with a plethora of laptops just does not ring true. This does not appear to be an effective working environment, more like a playground.

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    The ISS is repositioned frequently to avoid satellites and debris, which are tracked by ground-based radar.

    Grant Hutchison

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    When you did your careful checking, how much volume did you find these circa-4000 objects to reside within?

    And that comes out to average how many cubic kilometers per object?
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
    [COLOR="#f9f9f9"]Testing... 1... 2... 3...[/COLOR]

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    Even something as large as the ISS is difficult to see from passing satellites, given that it is deliberately avoiding them - correspondingly much harder to see the smaller satellites from the ISS.
    As an example, here is a view of the ISS from Landsat 8 - you wouldn't know it was there unless you knew it was there.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Here is a chip taken out of the cupola window of the ISS by debris impact, and here is NASA's page on how space debris is tracked and impact risk mitigated.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunzlepug View Post
    I have done some checking and from various sources understand there are over 4000 man-made satellites in orbit around earth. Given images from the space shuttle years back and also images from the ISS it seems odd never to see one - or can someone post links?
    I don't know what you are claiming.

    Are you claiming never to have seen a satellite? I've seen them numerous times. There are websites that will tell you where and when to look up. I've also just happened to be looking up and seen one go by, they are actually pretty easy to spot.

    Are you claiming never to have seen the ISS (and thus the ISS is fake)? Again, I've seen it go by numerous times. Amateur astronomers have gotten images of the station from the ground. (LINK)

    Are you claiming that people on the ISS haven't seen other satellites in orbit around the Earth? I don't know if that is true or not; but what does that prove.

    Lastly, the way these people on the ISS act cavalier and perform silly stunts in the company of (often) a mass of loose suspended wiring along with a plethora of laptops just does not ring true. This does not appear to be an effective working environment, more like a playground.
    I've seen messier working environments in labs on Earth I've worked in. Again, what does that prove.

    As far as silly stunts, that is a tiny fraction of what the people working on the ISS do, and a lot of your so-called "silly stunts" are to generate PR, or to educate school children.
    Last edited by Swift; 2017-Jun-15 at 02:09 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Are you claiming never to have seen a satellite? I've seen the numerous times. There are websites that will tell you where and when to look up. I've also just happened to be looking up and seen one go by, they are actually pretty easy to spot.
    Indeed. If you go outside on a clear night and look up at the stars, you can't not see several in just a few minutes.

    They looks like stars, but the move slowly across the sky in a straight line.

    I've used Heaven's Above website to pull some pretty spectacular stunts on friends and strangers by knowing exactly where and exactly when (to the second) to point.

    Once, at a birthday party on a farm, they had some fireworks. And as the fireworks ended, I stepped up and - with great pomp and circumstance - declared that I had ordered the Heavens themselves to shine with fireworks just for the birthday boy.
    I paused, pointed, and an Iridium Flare appeared right on schedule, glowing so bright you could read by it, before fading away.

    Another time, I was in a parking lot at a train station and I declared loudly: "ISS!" - and pointed. Sure enough it appeared right on schedule and sailed across half the sky.
    Last edited by DaveC426913; 2017-Jun-15 at 01:13 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunzlepug View Post
    I have done some checking and from various sources understand there are over 4000 man-made satellites in orbit around earth. Given images from the space shuttle years back and also images from the ISS it seems odd never to see one - or can someone post links?
    You also have to remember that the different objects are in different orbits. For example, there are ones that are orbiting quite low, and others, like geostationary satellites, that are in much higher orbits. So they would never see one another.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by gunzlepug View Post
    Given images from the space shuttle years back and also images from the ISS it seems odd never to see one - or can someone post links?
    Satellites are not very big and are kept very far apart. They are especially kept far away from manned missions like ISS and Shuttle, for obvious safety reasons. So you need quite big telelenses or telescopes to find one from ISS and Shuttle, and those kinds of lenses are not normally used to take images from stuff around the ISS. But you can find lots of pics of Shuttle and satellites real close: even to the point of the sats being grabbed by the Shuttle's arm.

    Quote Originally Posted by gunzlepug View Post
    In addition, isn't the ISS in danger of being holed by micro-meteorites, not to mention a collision with a satellite or piece of orbiting space junk (of which I gather are numerous and untracked)?
    Larger pieces of debris are tracked. ISS does have some shielding against micrometeorites.

    Quote Originally Posted by gunzlepug View Post
    Lastly, the way these people on the ISS act cavalier and perform silly stunts in the company of (often) a mass of loose suspended wiring along with a plethora of laptops just does not ring true. This does not appear to be an effective working environment, more like a playground.
    I think here you might need a good look at what your expectations are based on. Do you expect a space based combined living and working area to look like something similar on Earth? Or like how spacecraft are depicted in SF movies? In 0 G you don't need tables or chairs. Cables won't fall so less cableducts are needed. Cupboards? Filing cabinets? Unlikely, when every gram of weight has to be lifted at quite some cost.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunzlepug View Post
    I have done some checking and from various sources understand there are over 4000 man-made satellites in orbit around earth. Given images from the space shuttle years back and also images from the ISS it seems odd never to see one - or can someone post links?
    I've seen many, many satellites including ISS and shuttle.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgoVGWazev8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPdZmRpk0rY
    I've even independently determined the orbits of some of these satellites and have used that data to make accurate predictions about things they would see in the future.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0drXymCZkTk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFlBVBoTHQw
    It's worth noting that even NASA did not announce when that particular eclipse season would start. I determined it for myself completely independently and my prediction was correct.

    *My mistake, I realized after the fact you were asking for images of other satellites from ISS, not images of ISS and other satellites. Here, you have to know where to look for satellites (towards the limb of the earth just before sunrise or just after orbital sunset when the satellite can be seen moving against the stars). Here's an example:
    http://h.dropcanvas.com/j2kus/sat1.gif
    In addition, isn't the ISS in danger of being holed by micro-meteorites, not to mention a collision with a satellite or piece of orbiting space junk (of which I gather are numerous and untracked)?
    Large debris is tracked. Small micrometeorites hit it all the time. Just look at the radiator panels on Atlantis sometime at KSC. You can see circular patches where MMOD damage was repaired between missions. The pressure vessel is shielded to protect it from impacts with small debris.
    Lastly, the way these people on the ISS act cavalier and perform silly stunts in the company of (often) a mass of loose suspended wiring along with a plethora of laptops just does not ring true. This does not appear to be an effective working environment, more like a playground.
    If I ran the zoo fallacy. Your opinion of what "rings true" does not constitute evidence. It is up to you to prove it is faked.
    Last edited by NGCHunter; 2017-Jun-15 at 02:46 PM.

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    You know, I didn't see that this thread was in conspiracy theories at first and thought it was just a normal Q&A question about whether the ISS crew often saw other satellites and wondered why everyone was being so hard on the OP.

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    Hubble images show trails from other satellites (or more often and less distinguished, orbital debris) frequently - most published images result from combining multiple exposures, mostly to reduce the effects of cosmic rays, so you don't notice this. Several per cent of long exposures have a trail in them; for big objects one can sometimes work out what it was. This example is from one of a pair of (2015, IIRC) exposures centered on a backlit-galaxy pair (as a single exposure, it also shows lots of cosmic-ray events as bright specks). As Julianne Dalcanton worked out in the publication describing the huge PHAT survey of the Andromeda Galaxy, objects in low earth orbit are measurably out of focus in HST data.
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    Saw this recently and this thread reminded me of it:

    https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/flying...space-station/

    The ISS from LandSat

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Saw this recently and this thread reminded me of it:

    https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/flying...space-station/

    The ISS from LandSat
    I had not seen that. That's very cool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    Saw this recently and this thread reminded me of it:

    https://landsat.gsfc.nasa.gov/flying...space-station/

    The ISS from LandSat
    I had not seen that. That's very cool.
    I'm pretty sure I have seen it before... ToSeeked.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    I'm pretty sure I have seen it before... ToSeeked.
    Yeah, no-one reads I word I write. Some days I don't know why I bother.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yeah, no-one reads I word I write. Some days I don't know why I bother.

    Grant Hutchison
    I'm sorry Grant, I am pretty sure that it was your post that sent me to that page in the first place - anything else seems like it would have been too much of a coincidence. So a few hours later when I saw this thread again I thought "Oh, I saw something cool and relevant to that recently" but forgot where I had seen it. Blame my faulty memory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yeah, no-one reads I word I write. Some days I don't know why I bother.
    I've been guilty of that. Well, not necessarily your posts, but especially in here (and ATM) I'm often more focused on the OP's claims than the rebuttals. Which, all too often, we've already seen many many times. Especially if 6 folks answer the same question or silly claim.

    Anyway, gunzlepug, and I'm speaking as a moderator now, in the CT section you are required to answer questions asked of you, as poster of the thread. Refer to rule 13 if you need to. There seems to be some uncertainty about what exactly you are claiming. Or did you just wish to clarify the points you raised without claiming, insinuating or suggesting some conspiracy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaula View Post
    I'm sorry Grant, I am pretty sure that it was your post that sent me to that page in the first place - anything else seems like it would have been too much of a coincidence. So a few hours later when I saw this thread again I thought "Oh, I saw something cool and relevant to that recently" but forgot where I had seen it. Blame my faulty memory.
    No worries.
    I was channelling Eeyore and Calimero simultaneously, for comic effect. There didn't seem to be a suitable emoticon available.

    Grant Hutchison

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    In terms of unknowns--this link may be of interest:
    http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3259/1

    On the subject of "sat-a-logs" some can be overlooked...

    A Quote:

    An earlier story mentioned the reentries of two objects for which pieces were recovered, but for whom there was no alert issued to the population. (See “Time for common sense with the satellite catalog”, The Space Review, April 10, 2017.) People were alarmed by the reentry since they had not been informed that it might happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    In terms of unknowns--this link may be of interest:
    How exactly is an article by an author who is mostly complaining that some info is not publicly available for warning about Earth impacts of interest when discussing impact risks for the ISS?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Another time, I was in a parking lot at a train station and I declared loudly: "ISS!" - and pointed. Sure enough it appeared right on schedule and sailed across half the sky.
    Similar story - when my kids were very young, my wife & I took them for a drive on Christmas Eve to see all of the Christmas lights on the neighborhood houses. Knowing the ISS was making a bright pass that evening, I timed one stop so the kids would be outside as "Santa" made an appearance heading toward New Zealand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    How exactly is an article by an author who is mostly complaining that some info is not publicly available for warning about Earth impacts of interest when discussing impact risks for the ISS?
    Sometimes the right hand doesn't know what the left hand does. There is no one total sat chart--countries may have secrets--maybe stealth sub-sats.

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    Anyone wonder if the OP is going to return? Or was this another drive-by? Maybe he'll keep looking elsewhere until he finds people who are receptive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Sometimes the right hand doesn't know what the left hand does. There is no one total sat chart--countries may have secrets--maybe stealth sub-sats.

    You're welcome to your opinions and suppositions, but the article doesn't support any of those claims. And if you're afraid the ISS is in danger from "secret" satellites you can start your own CT thread. Once again, quit randomly posting off-topic and barely on-tangent links.


    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Anyone wonder if the OP is going to return? Or was this another drive-by? Maybe he'll keep looking elsewhere until he finds people who are receptive.

    As gunzlepug has been a forum member since 2014 there is a good chance that he may return. If you have concerns over a member's behavior, please report to the moderating team, don't call them out. For all we know, all he wanted was to get answers to some questions, there's no reason to comment on intentions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01101001 View Post
    When you did your careful checking, how much volume did you find these circa-4000 objects to reside within?

    And that comes out to average how many cubic kilometers per object?
    Out of interest, I did some quick back of an envelope calcs on this, looking at the volume of space between orbital heights of 100 to 500km (a typical range for most non-geostationary satellites) and using 10,000 satellites (as 4000 is probably a little low for orbital objects.)

    I'm coming up with roughly 1 satellite per 22 million cubic kilometres of space. And given you would only see these when the lighting was right, and you were looking/filming out of a window facing the right direction (typically, away from the Earth) at the right time, I would be surprised if observations of other satellites was frequent. Space is big.

    I suppose the question could be asked back to the OP in terms of: if there were only 4000 people (the number of people in a single small town or suburb) scattered roughly equally around the entire world, would you expect to frequently come across another person in your travels?

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    Nice analysis AGN Fuel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGN Fuel View Post
    Out of interest, I did some quick back of an envelope calcs on this, looking at the volume of space between orbital heights of 100 to 500km (a typical range for most non-geostationary satellites) and using 10,000 satellites (as 4000 is probably a little low for orbital objects.)

    I'm coming up with roughly 1 satellite per 22 million cubic kilometres of space. And given you would only see these when the lighting was right, and you were looking/filming out of a window facing the right direction (typically, away from the Earth) at the right time, I would be surprised if observations of other satellites was frequent. Space is big.

    I suppose the question could be asked back to the OP in terms of: if there were only 4000 people (the number of people in a single small town or suburb) scattered roughly equally around the entire world, would you expect to frequently come across another person in your travels?
    While that is a great analysis and all true, we do have to keep in mind that line of sight is also more likely to be achieved in orbit and satellites can be seen even hundreds of kilometers away if the lighting conditions are right. That last bit is really the key. If you look towards the direction of the sun when it is just beneath the limb of the earth the odds are good you'll spot another satellite in orbit. Of course in a 90 minute orbit the fraction of time when satellites can easily be seen is probably no more than a minute or two at most. But if you actively seek out those moments in ISS time lapse videos where "orbital twilight" is visible, you can find them. In searching for the latest ISS time lapse videos posted in the last year I found one on my third click. You can see a satellite rising out of the aurora and passing from left to right in the image right at 27:06 until about 27:12 or so in this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OiWoUNZ8kM
    It's a classic case where you can see orbital sunrise is about to occur, and in that moment you can see a satellite that is "ahead" of ISS and has line of sight to the sun as well as the station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NGCHunter View Post
    You can see a satellite rising out of the aurora and passing from left to right in the image right at 27:06 until about 27:12 or so in this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OiWoUNZ8kM
    It's a classic case where you can see orbital sunrise is about to occur, and in that moment you can see a satellite that is "ahead" of ISS and has line of sight to the sun as well as the station.
    Nice! Took me two times to spot it, but yes, obviously moving against the background of fixed stars.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NGCHunter;2410727In searching for the latest ISS time lapse videos posted in the last year I found one on my third click. You can see a satellite rising out of the aurora and passing from left to right in the image right at 27:06 until about 27:12 or so in this video:
    [URL
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OiWoUNZ8kM[/URL]
    It's a classic case where you can see orbital sunrise is about to occur, and in that moment you can see a satellite that is "ahead" of ISS and has line of sight to the sun as well as the station.
    That is beautiful. Actually, I think there are four moving objects visible there in just that 10 second grab, all in the same area to right of screen (the last is very brief, just right of centre toward the top).

    Stunning clip - thanks for sharing!

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