A.21 Visible Earth Satellites
Mir Space Station Complex (MIR, 16609/1986-17A)
Mir is in an orbit 340km from the surface of the Earth and tilted 51.6 degrees to the equator. It was launched from Tyuratam on 1986 February 19. Mir appears very bright, at approximately magnitude 0, but it can reach magnitude -1, and occasionally shows flashes of around magnitude -3.
Space Shuttle (STS)
Space Shuttle missions are typically launched into orbits a few hundred kilometers up and tilted at perhaps 28 degrees to the equator. Missions to the Mir Space Station are tilted higher at 51.6 degrees. A Space Shuttle can appear very bright, at magnitude 0 or better. Missions are usually referred to by labels such as STS-71, where STS stands for Space Transportation System.
Hubble Space Telescope (HST, 20580/1990-037B)
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is in orbit 580km up and tilted 28.5 degrees to the equator. It was launched from a Space Shuttle on 1990 February 6.
Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS, 21701/1991-63B)
The Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) is in orbit 570km up and tilted 57.0 degrees to the equator. It was launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-48 mission, on 1991 September 12.
Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE, 20322/1989-89A)
The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) is in orbit 880km up and tilted 99.0 degrees to the equator; that is, in a polar orbit. It was launched from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on 1989 November 18. COBE appears at magnitudes between +1 and +3.
See the Mir.nb and Satellites.nb notebooks.