New Flasher? (confirmed sighting)

Ron Lee (
Fri, 18 Apr 1997 21:20:02 -0600 (MDT)

1997 12A is a DMSP military weather satellite.  Previous satellites in this
>series were launched with converted Atlas ICBMs, but they ran out of
>Atlases and this one was launched with a Titan II.

>Under this launch scenario the satellite's built in upper stage (A Star 37
>class solid motor) is used to accelerate the spacecraft to orbital
>velocity.  In some cases the solid kick stage is then ejected, in others it
>remains with the satellite.
>If the solid upper stage were to separate from the spacecraft it would
>result in two objects from the mission, but I'm at a loss to understand why
>there would be three.

>Philip Chien [M1959.05.31/31.145//]

I had no idea what this object was until your posting.  I just saw another
pass at 0302 UT (19 Apr) and saw #24753 (DMSP 14 ?) on time and on course.

after checking my watch for a time hack, I resumed the obs and noticed the
flasher about 3 degrees in front of #24753.  It was flashing quickly but
not always visible.

Obviously both pieces are from the same launch and on nearly identical 
orbits.  There may have been a slight increase in the separation of the two
objects from last night but not certain due to the very brief obs last night.

Did not see either of the other two catalogued objects.