Rocket bodies

From: James (
Date: Fri Jul 19 2002 - 08:47:32 EDT

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    I had a great night observing last night Ė the conditions were exceptional.
    I decided to take my laptop out armed with tracking software with the
    Mccants file and my 7x50ís. The computer system clock was synchronized to
    the US atomic clock.
    Iíve never seen so many satellites! Previously, I had just chosen several
    satellites to track with written timings at certain star waypoints. Last
    night I still used key stars as waypoints and saw a variety of passes, the
    highlights of which were the Noss 2-1 trio (fantastic sight through 7x50ís),
    the tumbling Iridium 914 and a few Cosmos rocket body flashers.
    Can somebody explain why the majority of rocket bodies I observed last night
    do not seem to be tumbling and hold a steady magnitude? I always assumed
    that LEO rocket bodies would be tumbling bits of space junk heading for
    eventual re-entry.
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