Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Jules Verne and Through The keyhole.

St George's Day and time to reflect on the last few weeks !

On April 3 I managed to capture the first ground based images of ESA's Jules Verne space freighter just hours after it docked with the International Space Station.

A week later a gap in the clouds allowed me a glimpse of a US spy sat , USA 129
"129" is one of the Keyhole series of satellites used for near real time hi resolution imagery.
Long thought to be similar to the Hubble Space Telescope , but looking down to Earth rather than out into space , the image below clinches it....

Featuring a long optical tube , with solar panels either side , USA 129 is about four to five metres across .
To read more about the Keyhole series take a look at

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

More from the video archives...

On the front line , northern Iraq ,March 2003 . A TV
reporter and cameraman , so close to the action that
they couldn't use camera lights to illuminate the

As a result the satellite Control Room ( MCR ) back in
the UK could not see them.

The MCR has a video wall with dozens of active
screens.....the problem , getting staff at MCR to zero
in on the right screen!
They find a novel way to attract attention [ Low audio level ]

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Here's a bit of light relief for a Saturday afternoon , continuing the theme of Sir Arthur's legacy.

Standing on a rooftop in Baghdad , in the pouring rain during the Gulf conflict , waiting to go live , this Spanish reporter has some fun with an umbrella and reluctant assisitant!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Space shuttle Endeavour is nearing the end of its present stay at the International Space Station.

Earlier in the mission both ISS and Endeavour could be seen , naked eye , over the UK.

Take a look at the image ( right ) . It was taken on March 13 , using a webcam equipped telescope , about an hour after the two craft docked.

Flying into an orbital sunrise Endeavour is easy to see . We are looking at it end on , with the tail fin and darker OMS pods just visible.
You can see many other images and videos of spacecraft on my main website.
ISS will be a feature in UK skies again in early April .By then Endeavour will have departed , but ESAs Automated Transfer vehicle ( ATV ) will be making its first approach and docking.
Why not make a note in your diary to pop back to SATCOMBLOG nearer the time for further information.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Here is another clip of Sir Arthur , this time from March 1997 when , again via satellite link , he opened a new building at DERA , named after him.

I had hoped that my first Blog entry would be on a happier note , but the events of the last couple of days dictate that I start off SatcomBlog with a tribute to a man who influenced the world of satellite like no other. Sir Arthur Clarke.

What better way than to see him in action , during the mid 1990s ..... a satellite link up with NASA's JPL as he talks to , amongst others , Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.