Sep 14

ISS – only a day away from HTV-7 launch

This morning I was only hours away from the launch of JAXA’s cargo spacecraft called HTV-7 – launch is at 9:59pm BST tonight. I was struggling with weather conditions lately in London, somehow every morning sky was cloudy or I did not have time to do imaging due work. HTV-7 supposed to fly on Monday 10th September but weather pushed the target launch date back to Friday 14th September. Not happy for that at all, the morning passes are ending within 3 days and the remaining flybys are super low (around 25°). So I had to go out this morning no matter what the weather forecast said. When I left the house it was clear except the northern part of the sky. So started the equipment setup and whilst I was really concentrating on taking the sharpest possible focus on star Aldebaran suddenly it started fading on my laptop screen. As I looked up then came the realisation that in the meantime clouds rolled in. Not full cover though but still bad enough. Surprise, surprise I guess….. Can’t deny that I got slightly angry….

By the time of the flyby clouds broke up a bit so I went for it. Not the best attempt, but I did what I wanted to do.

What I could identify on my photo is:

  • Soyuz MS-09 (which lately had a hole on it and causing all kinds of speculations from Roscosmos)
  • Progress MS-09 (cargo vessel)
  • Bigelow Expandable Activity Module or BEAM. It was way too cloudy to get more finer details.


I also marked the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module where HTV-7 will eventually berth (dock) on Monday if launch tonight successful. According to the timeline of the HTV-7 mission after staying berthed to ISS for 45 days, HTV will leave and stay on Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for another 7 days. So I will try to take a close-up photo as well as berthed to ISS if I will have flybys over London.

Skywatcher 250/1200 Flextube dobson
Zwo ASI224MC camera
TeleVue 2.5x powermate


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