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CGowen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 09:34 AM
Original message
Disabled spy satellite threatens Earth
Jan 26, 2008 19:30 EST

A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or early March, government officials said Saturday.

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. It was not clear how long ago the satellite lost power, or under what circumstances.

"Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation," said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, when asked about the situation after it was disclosed by other officials. "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 perhaps be shot down by a missile. He said it would be inappropriate to discuss any specifics at this time.

...

http://wiredispatch.com/news/?id=20763
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angrycarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
1. Most of the time they fall into the ocean
The real damage is that someone just named their price on a no bid contract to replace it. Billions more pour into the defense industry with no oversight.
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 09:43 AM
Response to Original message
2. Whis is this one so dangerous?
the article says many fall harmlessly. Why would the government use "dangerous" materials in this one and not others? Or is it just the info contained by the satellite that is dangerous?
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Good point. Are they saying: if it hits near you, do not go near it
in hopes someone won't find something out?

My guess is ALL falling satellites contain some dangerous materials. The computer I am sitting at does. Making a fuss about this falling satellite makes me curious about what it may have been doing up there.
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CGowen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. 1978 Canada
...

The most dangerous satellite disaster came in January 1978 when a fireball streaked through the skies of western Canada, heralding the demise of a Russian spy satellite.

The remains of the satellite came down over Great Slave Lake and fell across the North West Territories, Alberta and Saskatchewan spreading mildly toxic radioactive waste.

In the subsequent furore the then Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, accused the United States of failing to warn the Ottawa government of the impending danger.

...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/articl...
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. why would the US be responsible for warning them about Russian
equipment? Shouldn't Russia have their own warning system? So we've had 78 ton satellites fall with no harm done, but this 10 ton one is going to wreak havoc? Maybe we shouldn't put so much crap up in the sky?
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CGowen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. That's probably what people want, but not the gov. or the military
US, Russian citizens want weapons-free outer space: poll

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jan 24, 2008
Most Americans and Russians want their governments to ensure a weapons-free outer space and would back a treaty underpinning the move, a poll showed Thursday.

Seventy-eight percent of Americans and 67 percent of Russians said their leaderships should refrain from deploying any weapons in space as long as no other country does so, according to the poll by WorldPublicOpinion.org.

Eighty percent of Americans and 72 percent of Russians also favor a new treaty banning all weapons in space, said the survey conducted with the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM).

A overwhelming majority of Americans and Russians -- 86 percent each -- put a high priority on preventing an arms race in space, according to the poll of 1,247 Americans and 1,601 Russians surveyed over two weeks in September.


...

http://www.spacewar.com/reports/US_Russian_citizens_wan...
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ManiacJoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. The US tracks all and warns about all.
That is not to say that other countries are not also tracking all space objects.

The problem with this satellite is that the sat has gone dead and cannot be controlled from the ground. Normally ground control would use the rockets to control the reentry so that it crashes into the ocean. This sat is coming back uncontrolled and may not completely burn up before hitting the ground.
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ManiacJoe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 07:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Yes, it is all satellites.
If it crashes near by, you don't want to go near it because the vapors from the burning metals will cause serious medical problems.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-27-08 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
4. So, it's time for "The War on Satellites"? nt
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probablereason Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-13-08 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. Nuke reactors in space
It is within reason that the spy sat, which likely draws a lot of power needs based on a serious sensor platform, was powered by one of the really small reactors we have denied putting in orbit. The Russians lost a nuke sat over canada in the late 70's and the mess was a real problem. Supposedly, both us and the russians have developed some smaller reactors that have designs that address the deorbit dilemma, but its still proably not a cool thing to have happen.
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