Unusually bright, flashing debris NOAA 3 rocket reported.

Ted Molczan (molczan@fox.nstn.ca)
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 09:39:50 -0400

Pierre Neirinck has reported unexpected visual characteristics of
73086R, a piece of debris from the long ago exploded NOAA 3 rocket
body.

On 27 Aug 96, at about 20:10 UTC, the object was magnitude 2.5 and
steady - very unusual considering its small RCS (radar cross-section),
less than 1m, and range of nearly 1700 km. As the object faded to
magnitude 7.5 over next few minutes, Pierre noted that it was 
flickering rapidly - about 15 times per second, reminiscent of the
USA 32 and USA 81 ELINT satellites. That is very unusual for such
an old object, which should have lost much of rotational energy by
now due to the damping effect the geomagnetic field.

I have added this object to my database, and it will be in future
weekly xxx.n2l files. The 2 m diameter given in the elset below,
fits Pierre's mag 7.5 point.

NOAA 3 r R       2.0  0.0  0.0  6.9
1 07025U NOAA 3 r 96247.05015392 -.00000027  00000-0  10000-3 0    07
2 07025 101.9111  99.0625 0463648 154.4168 208.0589 11.54210362    08

Ted Molczan