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Look Out, Mookie!!!

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Look Out, Mookie!!!

Postby StlSluggers » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:45 am

The sky is falling!

CNN.com wrote:WASHINGTON (AP) -- A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday.

A senior government official says lawmakers and other nations are being kept apprised of the situation.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret.

"Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council.

"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."

He would not comment on whether it is possible for the satellite to be perhaps shot down by a missile. He said it would be inappropriate to discuss any specifics at this time.

A senior government official said that lawmakers and other nations are being kept apprised of the situation.

The largest uncontrolled re-entry by a NASA spacecraft was Skylab, the 78-ton abandoned space station that fell from orbit in 1979. Its debris dropped harmlessly into the Indian Ocean and across a remote section of western Australia.

In 2000, NASA engineers successfully directed a safe de-orbit of the 17-ton Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, using rockets aboard the satellite to bring it down in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean.

In 2002, officials believe debris from a 7,000-pound science satellite smacked into the Earth's atmosphere and rained down over the Persian Gulf, a few thousand miles from where they first predicted it would plummet.
Last edited by StlSluggers on Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby Madison » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:06 pm

Odds are it will land in water, but if they are really concerned, I'd just shoot it down with a rocket like the article mentioned. Vaporize it, and then there's nothing to worry about. And surely that's got to be possible to do. :-?
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby knapplc » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:50 pm

How hard would it be to park four satellites in orbit around the planet whose sole function would be to go up to these kinds of dead satellites, latch on, and guide them down to Earth safely?

Relatively speaking these things could be done on the cheap - all they would need is a rocket, a rudimentary navigation system and a grappling arm. Make the whole thing remote-control and you can operate it from Houston. They could launch them on the next shuttle mission.
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby slomo007 » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:51 pm

knapplc wrote:How hard would it be to park four satellites in orbit around the planet whose sole function would be to go up to these kinds of dead satellites, latch on, and guide them down to Earth safely?

Relatively speaking these things could be done on the cheap - all they would need is a rocket, a rudimentary navigation system and a grappling arm. Make the whole thing remote-control and you can operate it from Houston. They could launch them on the next shuttle mission.


Or you could blow it up for a fraction of the cost. That would be more fun, too. :-D
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby knapplc » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Blow it up how? With a current missile? I don't know that we have that capability right now (I think all of our space-going missiles are ballistic once they leave the atmosphere?).

I have no idea how much my idea would cost compared to any other, but ANY idea has to be better than to just let these things float down on their own. Yeah we're 2/3 likely that it won't do any damage, and probably 4/5 likely considering land usage, but still. There has to be a better way.
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby thedude » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:51 pm

knapplc wrote:Blow it up how? With a current missile? I don't know that we have that capability right now (I think all of our space-going missiles are ballistic once they leave the atmosphere?).

I have no idea how much my idea would cost compared to any other, but ANY idea has to be better than to just let these things float down on their own. Yeah we're 2/3 likely that it won't do any damage, and probably 4/5 likely considering land usage, but still. There has to be a better way.


The US tested anti-satellite tactics up until 1985, using missiles to destroy old satellites. China recently conducted their own test and successfully one of their old weather satellites with a ballistic missile.
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby knapplc » Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:58 pm

thedude wrote:The US tested anti-satellite tactics up until 1985, using missiles to destroy old satellites. China recently conducted their own test and successfully one of their old weather satellites with a ballistic missile.

Maybe we should elect Hillary so the Chinese could return the favor of secret space technology that Bill gave up to them. :-D
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby CadensDad » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:35 pm

knapplc wrote:
thedude wrote:The US tested anti-satellite tactics up until 1985, using missiles to destroy old satellites. China recently conducted their own test and successfully one of their old weather satellites with a ballistic missile.

Maybe we should elect Hillary so the Chinese could return the favor of secret space technology that Bill gave up to them. :-D


Good idea!
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby jlm53089 » Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:03 am

What are the odds that someone sues the government if it falls on their house?
And I wonder how much gets broken up on re-entry.
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Re: Look Out!!!

Postby Half Massed » Tue Jan 29, 2008 5:31 am

The chances of injury are slim, but still, imagine looking up and seeing a huge satellite coming straight for you. :-o

They could always build a machine to divert it that operates on random rolls of a 20-sided die...
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