RE: NROL-34 - NOSS 3-5 pair spotted tonight from Austin, TX

From: Ted Molczan (
Date: Sun Apr 17 2011 - 17:10:54 UTC

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    Mike McCants wrote:
    > I estimate they were about magnitude 5.5 at an elevation of 53 degrees
    > and an azimuth of 240 degrees.
    Predicted mag for a NOSS 3 was 5.6 +/- 1.
    > The two objects were very close together - about 0.3 degrees or so.
    Angular velocity was 0.33 deg/s at that point, so the temporal spacing was about 1 s, 1.95 days after launch. The four
    NOSS 3 pairs typically were at least ~10 s apart by that point in the mission. That and the ~20 km greater altitude,
    suggests a change in the deployment sequence, perhaps indicating the first of a block 2 of the 3rd generation, or even a
    fourth generation, or. Optical and radio characteristics will be important in the evaluation.
    Weather continues to be bad here, so probably no observations tonight.
    Ted Molczan
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