NOSS 2-3 objects

Mike McCants (mikem@mail.sterinfo.com)
Mon, 10 Jun 1996 11:01:22 -0500

I was able to observe what used to be called the 96 29A, B, and C
objects last night.

The 96 29B rocket was on time.

The 96 29A and C objects were also on time.  The A object was seen to
give off strobe-like flashes only when it was very low in my southeast
about one minute after acquisition.  The time difference between
A and C was about 3 seconds at culmination, but their tracks differ
by about 1/2 degree, so this is difficult to judge.

The A object was faint and flashing by only about 1/2 magnitude
when acquired.  These flashes increased in brightness until several
sets of strobe-like flashes were seen.  But these sets of strobe
flashes only had 3 per set instead of 5 or 6.  Also the 3 were more
widely spaced - perhaps .3 to .4 seconds.

After these flashes, the object went back to faint flashes and then
became constant.  Before culmination, the C object was about 4.5
magnitude and the A object was about 5.5.  After culmination they
became nearly equal at 4.5.

The objects were only about 2 degrees apart at culmination and even
less for most of the pass.

Down in my northeast, the A object began to show sinusoidal variations
in its light curve.  The period was measured at about 6.1 seconds.
This agrees with my measurements in the past.  Low in the northeast,
the C object became fainter and fainter down to 8th magnitude or so
while the A object varied from 7 to 9.

After a while of sinusoidal changes, the A object changed into sharper
peaks and became more like its usual form - constant with small flashes.
It went behind my northern embankment after I had watched it for 12 1/2
minutes.

-----

The "week21" report at OIG had:

    Newly Cataloged Objects

INTERNATIONAL          CATALOG OBJECT  LAUNCH  PERIOD  INCLI-  APOGEE PERIGEE
IDENTIFIER     NAME    NUMBER  SOURCE   DATE   MINS.   NATION    KM     KM

1996 029A    USA 119   23862     US    12 MAY      NO ELEMENTS AVAILABLE
1996 029B              23863     US    12 MAY      NO ELEMENTS AVAILABLE

-----

The "week23" report has "corrections" (below).

This time period does match the time that the A and C objects had the
same orbit and the A object maneuvered into a different orbit.

    Period: May 30 through June 05

    Newly Cataloged Objects

INTERNATIONAL          CATALOG OBJECT  LAUNCH  PERIOD  INCLI-  APOGEE PERIGEE
IDENTIFIER     NAME    NUMBER  SOURCE   DATE   MINS.   NATION    KM     KM

1996 029A   USA 119    23893     US    12 MAY       NO ELEMENTS AVAILABLE

   CORRECTION TO REPORT DATED MAY 23, 1996, NEWLY CATALOGED OBJECTS SECTION:
    1996 029A  USA 119  23862 US 12 MAY P\L SHOULD READ 1996 029D  USA 122
    23862 US 12 MAY P\L.

    1996 029B  USA 119  23863 US 12 MAY R\B SHOULD READ 1996 029G USA 119-122
    23863 US MAY DEB.

-----

So this says:

1) what used to be 23862 96 29A USA 119 is now 96 29D USA 122.
2) what used to be 23863 96 29B is now 96 29G USA 119-122 debris.
3) USA 119 96 29A is now 23893.

I'm confused.  If a "G" letter has now been assigned, are there
really 8 objects up there?  The "B" rocket obviously is the
original rocket.  Why would they try to call it "G" debris?
If 23862 is the D object and USA 122, what numbers were assigned to
USA 120 and USA 121?

Is NORAD this confused or has OIG lost a lot of meaning in their
translation of NORAD information?

Maybe NORAD will give us the correct numbers and designations in the
May Satellite Situation Report this week.

Mike McCants
mike@comshare.com