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US spy satellite could crash to Earth (Read 3336 times)
Steve
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US spy satellite could crash to Earth
Jan 27th, 2008, 10:11am
 
A "large" US spy satellite has gone out of control and is expected to crash to Earth some time in late February or March, government sources say. Officials speaking on condition of anonymity said the satellite had lost power and propulsion, and could contain hazardous materials.  
 
The White House said it was monitoring the situation.  
 
A spokesman said "numerous" satellites had come out of orbit and fallen back to Earth harmlessly over the years.  
 
"We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause," said Gordon Johndroe, who speaks for the US National Security Council.  
 
Questioned by The Associated Press, he would not be drawn on whether the US would try to destroy the satellite, perhaps with a missile.  
 
An unnamed official quoted by AP said the US government was keeping lawmakers and other countries abreast of the situation. The satellite contains the rocket fuel hydrazine, a government official told AP on condition of anonymity. A colourless liquid with an ammonia-like odour, the fuel is a toxic chemical and can cause harm to anyone who comes in contact with it.  
 
John Pike, director of the defense research group GlobalSecurity.org, said an uncontrolled re-entry could risk exposure of US secrets.  
 
Spy satellites typically are disposed of through a controlled re-entry into the ocean so that no one else can access the spacecraft, he was quoted by AP as saying.  
 
The military expert believes that shooting the satellite down would create debris that would then re-enter the atmosphere and burn up or hit the ground. In his estimate, the satellite weighs about 20,000 pounds (9,072kg) and is the size of a small bus. It is possible, he adds, that this one died as long as a year ago and is just now getting ready to re-enter the atmosphere.  
 
Another expert, Jeffrey Richelson of the National Security Archive, said the satellite is probably a photo reconnaissance satellite.  
 
AP notes that the largest uncontrolled re-entry by a US space agency (Nasa) craft was Skylab. The 78-tonne abandoned space station fell from orbit in 1979. Its debris dropped harmlessly into the Indian Ocean and across a remote section of western Australia, the US news agency says.  
 
In 2002, officials believe debris from a 7,000-pound (3,175-kg) science satellite hit the Earth's atmosphere.  
 
It rained down over the Persian Gulf, a few thousand miles from where they first predicted it would crash.
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Bobski
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Re: US spy satellite could crash to Earth
Reply #1 - Jan 27th, 2008, 11:49am
 
Every one can be re-assured that the British government will be issuing everyone in England a tin helmet just in case. Wink
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capper2824
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Re: US spy satellite could crash to Earth
Reply #2 - Jan 27th, 2008, 7:06pm
 
Just a small question,
 
If it lands in our garden, do I have the rights to it and can I negotiate any deals with the U.S.  
 
Rob.
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Re: US spy satellite could crash to Earth
Reply #3 - Feb 2nd, 2008, 4:10pm
 
Why would you want to negotiate with the US, Putin will pay more, I'm sure!  Grin Shocked Cool
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Bobski
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Re: US spy satellite could crash to Earth
Reply #4 - Feb 14th, 2008, 10:14pm
 
The story so far is............
 
''George Bush has ordered a broken spy satellite to be destroyed before it hits the Earth because of potentially deadly toxic gas in the vehicle's fuel tank ............Officials said the preferred option was to fire a missile from a US Navy cruiser and shoot the hi-tech equipment down before it enters the planet's atmosphere.''
 
Let's hope the missile goes off course and lands on some Taliban.  Wink
 
 
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Steve
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Re: US spy satellite could crash to Earth
Reply #5 - Feb 20th, 2008, 10:32pm
 
Message posted on the newsgroups by sat-guru John Locker
 
For some weeks now I have been working with various media organisations regarding the demise of this decaying spy satellite.
 
As a member of the Sat Obs group I have been watching it since the day
after it was launched ......... and failed in December 2006
Last September and again in December (2007 ) I managed to get some hi mag images of it.
In January 2008 the Pentagon admitted they had lost control of one of  
their classified birds and it would be re entering during March
 
A few days later they admitted it was USA 193.
 
They then came up with a plan to destroy the satellite as its orbit lowered, rather than let it decay naturally.
This was on the premise that the full ( frozen) tank of hydrozine might
survive re entry and crash down on a populated area.
Inclination of 193 is 58.5 degs so you can see that it passes over many of the main cities of the world at some time during its orbit(s)
 
The actual risk of being hit by a piece of satellite in infinitely small.
In fact in 5o years of satellite decays , not one person has ever been
injured by debris.
 
It may well be that rather than having our interests at heart , the Pentagon is more worried about sensitve information falling into the wrong hands , so the shoot down is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate its SM-3 BMD capability .
 
As soon as Atlantis is safely on the ground the window opens for the kill.
We have been looking at all the information and it seems that as from 0330 GMT tomorrow morning the "mission" will commence from the Pacific using three Aegis class cruisers.
 
One of the best sites to monitor info is http://mt-milcom. blogspot. com/
 
But the purpose of this mail is to suggest keeping an eye on Pentagon TV 13 east 11096H 28000 NTSC
All the Pentagon briefings will appear here.
 
The "kill" window opens each day for the next five days or so around the
same time.
USA 193 does fly over the UK and Europe each day and from tonight will be visible.However the weather isnt looking too good and if the Pentagon plans goes smoothly , there will not be much to see after tomorrow morning.
 
To check for visible passes , go to http://www.heavens- above.com where there is a special section about USA193
 
I have a feeling that NASA TV will also be covering the situation over the next few days.
 
John
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