NASA STS75 "Tether Incident" - flightpath/velocity tracking of all unidentified objects (short demo)





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Published on Jun 6, 2009

This is an old demo - please click here for the new longer version http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2DVei...

The analysis of this footage was only made possible due to the diligent and time-consuming archiving efforts of Martyn Stubbs - aka 'secretnasaman' on Youtube. Please, check out his fantastic Youtube channel where you can see not only the full raw feed of this amazing STS-75 tether footage, but also hours of NASA footage showing other incredible segments shot by shuttle cameras over the years. http://www.youtube.com/user/secretnas...

One of the most controversial segments of video footage in the NASA archives is the now-famous TSS-1R "tether incident" footage shot during shuttle mission STS-75 in early 1996. As compelling as the original raw video is, the enhanced forensic analysis of that incident (a brief portion of which you will see here today) provides a totally new and far more revealing way of looking at what has already been considered by many to be some very impressive evidence.
This brief presentation here is merely an initial demonstration test that I put together while I was in the early stages of conducting an in-depth breakdown of this footage for another project I have been working on. What you will see here is a demonstration of object flightpath tracking being applied to two different "stable sequences" of tether incident footage (20 seconds and 53 seconds in duration respectively).

Obviously, the most important thing we are interested in when examining the tether footage is the movement characteristics of the many objects that can be seen flying around in the cameras field-of-view (FOV). Due to the large number of objects swarming around, it can be difficult to properly visualize individual object velocity vectors or apparent delta-v changes by examining just the raw footage alone. The high 'clutter factor' helps to hide the fact that many of these objects are experiencing some truly remarkable deviations in flightpath trajectory. In order to better visualize the movement characteristics of the various objects, I have built a series of flightpath tracking animations that were constructed from "stable sequences" of the original raw STS75 tether footage. For the purposes of this presentation, the term "stable sequence" refers to a segment of footage in which the camera platform remains perfectly stable - with no movement, shaking, or zoom interference that would serve to compromise the accuracy of the object flightpath tracks.

Rather than merely showing a basic continuous flightpath trace for each object from start to finish, I instead elected to employ a more dynamic display technique in this demo that allows for better recognition of not only the individual flightpaths for each object, but it also provides a real-time visual reference of the apparent velocity of each object at any given time. The length of the flightpath tail you see trailing behind each object is directly proportional to that object's speed - so simply put, the faster the object is moving across the camera's FOV, the longer the flightpath tracking tail behind it will be. If the object experiences an apparent change in velocity as it is moving around the scene, then the length of the flightpath tracking tail will adjust 'on the fly' to account for it. This display method allows for better visual recognition of any delta-v changes the objects experience. For the two different stable sequences shown in this presentation, I included both short-tail and long-tail flightpath tracking animations, with the only difference between the two versions being the length of the apparent velocity tail that marks each object's path.

As you will see, the flightpath tracking animations reveal that many objects experience some very impressive delta-v changes. Some objects appear to be floating across the FOV following delicate arcing trajectories, and others can be seen exhibiting far more dramatic changes in flightpath that in some cases result in abrupt perceived 180-degree shifts in the velocity vector. These flightpath deviations must be due to either some external force acting upon the object (push/pull), or alternatively, we must also consider that there could be an internal force or thrust being emitted from the object itself that accounts for the changes in trajectory and velocity observed (the second option could of course denote some level of intelligent control being involved). You will also witness some objects that appear to materialize and de-materialize directly into or out of the scene (or at least into or out of the sensitivity range of the low-lux imaging system that was being employed to shoot this footage).

In closing, I just ask you to please keep in mind that this is only a brief initial demonstration I am showing here, though I think you will still find it compelling. I hope you enjoy this in the meantime!
Cheers everyone!

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