After Echo I Was Launched

After Echo I Was Launched

Date: August 16, 1960

Location: Austin, TX

After Echo I was launched on August 12, 1960, many people subsequently enjoyed watching it pass overhead at night.

The newspapers in Austin, TX, reported good times to see it locally, so my parents and I went out to our back yard to watch it about 9:00 p.m., one night later that month.

I was 8 years old at the time.

Less than 5 minutes before Echo I was scheduled to appear, we all saw a medium-dull glowing orange pass silently across the sky.

The object's apparent size resembled that of a pencil eraser at a distance of about 6'.

Its angular velocity across the sky was several times faster than that of Echo I, which appeared on schedule perhaps 3 or 4 minutes later.

The object crossed the entire sky in a few seconds, circa 4 seconds, as I recall.

Its path through the sky was quite close to the path that Echo I followed a few minutes later, and both objects were traveling in roughly the same direction southeast to northwest.

Its appearance, including color, brightness, size, and shape, never changed until it disappeared from sight behind some trees.

There were no sparks, tail, visible structure, or other details.

We phoned the weather bureau at the Austin Municipal Airport to report the sighting, and were told that many other citizens were also phoning in their reports.

The local newspaper ran a small story on it the next day (on the front page, as I recall.

And reported that hundreds of citizens had phoned in their observations to the police department, the local Bergstrom S.A.C. Air Force Base.

The object was thus high enough to be seen all across the city.

I always guessed it was a meteor, except it was slower, redder, and duller in appearance than any other meteor I have ever seen or heard of.

And did not change color, shape, or brightness throughout its flight.

No explanation was ever reported.

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