DAY / TIME : 18.10 2013 , 08:30 UTC
MOOD : "almost like in 2009"
this one goes way back ,
exactly 4 years on the day,
and therefore you might not be necessary interested, but it is something that has followed me from October 2009 onwards, and only over the last couple of weeks have I been able to solve the
During one of my previous transatlantic voyages, which I have not documented as much and extensively as the recent one,
I came about an event in the sky that left not only me but also my fellow sailors stunned and somehow flabbergasted.
You can read about it in my blog from 2009 "What a fantastic world this is " ,
and my logbook stated for a position south of Vilamoura, Portugal, on our way to Madeira :
Sunday, October 18, 2009, around 20:30h UTC .
Sensation: we can see a Comet.
Coming from the east,
first a diffused light, growing fast, with 2 luminous rings in front of its centre,
passes by to the North.
Through our binoculars well visible. Have to investigate in Madeira what it was.
Looks beautiful, but also a bit scary.
And all against the most beautiful backdrop of the Milky Way . "
Because neither in Madeira nor else did I ever figure out what it was......until 2 weeks ago !
Can you believe this. And that purely by accident.
I stumbled on the internet across a web page by a German guy called Jan Hattenbach,
who writes about everything that moves through our sky, on his web page "Skilogs".
And he reports about a supposed UFO sighting on October 18th 2009, which it wasn't of course.
However it was a rocket from the american military :
"An Atlas V launched the Air Forces Defence Meteorological Satellite Program F18 (DMSP F18) mission Oct. 18 (2009) from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. at 9:12 a.m. PDT. "
I even found the launch film of that specific rocket.
Not only that however, because here comes the reason
why WE SAW IT in the position WEST of Gibraltar :
After the rocket had delivered its load into orbit, it had some remaining fuel on board, so
Space Control decided to do an unscheduled test for the remaining Centaur rocket-booster.
It ignited the rocket engines again some 3 hours after its initial take-off ,
all in all for roughly 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
And that what the moment when we saw it !!!!
I am sure that not many of you know the web page of
' United Launch Alliance ' ,
where all US based launches are advised, controlled, commercialised. From that page the route of the launch from October 18, 2009 was copied by
Jan Hattenback one day later.
On this chart you can see the flight path of the rocket and you can see that the ignition of the remaining fuel
( Disposal Burn , green marking ) started above North Africa, and finished above France.
Beautiful and scary, as we did not know what it was.
As I wrote in my blog in 2009 :
If WE were stunned already,
how would ancient people have reacted,
seeing comets for instance,
or indeed......rockets ?!?