Will a Spy Satellite Fall on my head? I don’t see the Spy Satellite Clause in my Insurance Policy?
Is a Spy satelite and act god or Government? Oh, I know Government thinks its and act of God,
Im Screwed Right?
Edited By Albert N. Milliron
Hi, It’s Me. Chicken Little.
i09 probably sums it up better than I could: the military is going to shoot a freakin satellite out of the sky…oh, and it’s TOTALLY NOT A BIG DEAL. Nope. Man-made objects the size of a bus carrying hazardous materials in an unknown trajectory fall to earth all the time, people.
What are the odds of it landing on Britney Spears? Just wondering.
Where Will U.S. Spy Satellite Fall?
By now, if you’re even the least technically inclined person, you’ve heard that a large U.S. satellite in orbit above us has lost the ability to control its position and is slowly drifting back to earth. U.S. officials conveyed the information to major news outlets, such as the New York Times and the Associated Press, on Saturday under anonymous conditions. Though the officials were cautious to categorize the nature of the machine, independent space experts quickly pegged it as a crippled spy satellite.
“Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,” Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, replied when asked about the matter after the news was leaked. “Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause.”
Beyond that, he would not comment on the status of the satellite or what measures might be employed to control its descent.
However, one intelligence expert who would go on the record, John Pike, told an AP reporter that spy satellites typically are disposed of through a controlled re-entry into the ocean to render the spacecraft inaccessible and he discounted any notion that the U.S. would try to destroy the object in orbit with a missile, as that would create an even more uncertain outcome for it.
Pike, the director of the defense research group globalsecurity.org said the vehicle in question is most likely an NROL-21 earth imaging satellite, which failed in its mission shortly after lift-off a year ago. For purposes of comparison, he told the AP that the slowly descending object is about the size of a small bus.
On its Web site, globalsecurity.org described the situation in these words:
A Delta II lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on 14 December 2006, carrying the NROL-21 USA-193 satellite. The NROL-21 spacecraft failed within hours of its launch. By January 2008 the satellite was expected to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere in late February or March. Although some of the spacecraft would burn up on reenty, the uncontrolled reentry could result in some heavier pieces of debris reaching the Earth’s surface. The odds were about three in four that the debris would hit an ocean area. Although the safety hazard of the impacting debris was small, there was some concern that secrets of the spacecraft could be compromised if the debris were recovered by a hostile intelligence agency.
As to why the satellite failed in the first place, another expert told the New York Times it was essentially a matter of communications. “It’s not necessarily dead, but deaf,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
In light of the toxic substances spy satellites use in their missions, he added: “For the most part, re-entering space hardware isn’t a threat because so much of the Earth is empty. But one could say we’ve been lucky so far.”
With a timeline of a month or so before the orbit of the NROL-21 decays to a point where it plummets through the atmosphere, there will be plenty of opportunitiy for scientists to calculate its probable crash site. The odds are good, though, that it will not be situated near your neighborhood or anyone else’s.
Broken satellite will be shot down: Could we call Russia before we do this?
WASHINGTON – President Bush has ordered the Navy to shoot down a broken spy satellite hurtling toward Earth with a large supply of toxic fuel onboard, giving the Pentagon a chance to show off decades of controversial research into space weapons – and raising new concerns that it could effect an escalating military competition in outer space.
Bush made the decision this week only after his national security advisers concluded it was the safest way to prevent the spacecraft, which is carrying more than 1,000 pounds of deadly hydrazine, from endangering humans on the ground, military and government officials said yesterday.
“Our objective here was to reduce the risk,” General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters during a briefing yesterday. He said the malfunctioning satellite “has no aerodynamic properties” that can be used to predict its trajectory.
Unlike other expired satellites that have reentered the atmosphere but can be controlled from the ground, Cartwright said, “Once [this satellite] hits the atmosphere, it tumbles, it breaks apart; it is very unpredictable.”
The military plans to launch a missile from a ship just as the satellite is expected to enter the atmosphere, or about 130 miles up, Cartwright said. The military’s intent, he said, is to force the minivan-size, 5,000-pound spacecraft – an advanced reconnaissance satellite – to break apart and come down safely in the Pacific Ocean or blow up the fuel tank before it enters the atmosphere, eliminating the hydrazine threat.
The unprecedented mission to shoot down an object hurtling toward Earth from space calls for three Navy Aegis destroyers positioned in the Pacific Ocean to fire a single Standard missile at the satellite and then be prepared to launch two backup missiles if the first shots miss. The Standard missiles are designed to stop enemy aircraft and missiles but have the range to reach the lower levels of space.
Experts in the Pentagon and at NASA predict that their best shot at the satellite will come within the next three or four days. Not long after that, however, the satellite will enter the atmosphere, likely break up, and then become nearly impossible to track accurately.
“It is a relatively small window,” Cartwright said.
Officials said the launch will occur after Atlantis, the space shuttle currently in orbit on a mission to the International Space Station, returns to Earth, easing concerns that it could be damaged by satellite debris.
Wow another oppertunity to put our life in the hand sof the US Government.
U.S. Spy Satellite, Power Gone, May Hit Earth
“Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,” Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement. “Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause.”
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