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#206993 - 15th Feb 2008 8:08am Out of control satellite
jonno40 Online   content
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Registered: 7th Jan 2008
Posts: 1237
Loc: wirral
Now after several American friendly fire incidents over the past years this could be worrying.

Roberts Reuters - Friday, February 15 01:39 amWASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon plans to shoot down a disabled U.S. spy satellite before it enters the atmosphere to prevent a potentially deadly leak of toxic gas from the vehicle's fuel tank, officials said on Thursday.

President George W. Bush decided to have the Navy shoot the 5,000-pound (2,270 kg) minivan-sized satellite with a modified tactical missile, after security advisers suggested its re-entry could lead to a loss of life.

U.S. officials said they were not trying to protect classified information on the satellite or to demonstrate their capabilities to China, which downed one of its own satellites with a missile last year, drawing criticism from Washington.

Some experts disagreed and questioned the risks associated with shooting down the satellite.

Two defence officials also cited disagreement within the administration over the action and said the decision appeared to have been strongly influenced by the White House.

The Pentagon hopes to strike the satellite just before it reaches the atmosphere and drive it into ocean waters. Officials would not estimate the likelihood of success, only calling it high.

Thousands of space objects fall to Earth each year, but they generally scatter over a huge area and there have never been any reported injuries.

What makes this different is the likelihood the satellite could release much of the more than 1,000 pounds (454 kg) of hydrazine fuel as a toxic gas, according to James Jeffrey, deputy national security adviser.

He said the satellite was unlikely to hit a populated area and described the danger from toxic gas as limited. But Jeffrey added, "There was enough of a risk for the president to be quite concerned about human life."

There is also no downside to trying, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said. If the missile misses, there is no change. If it just grazes the satellite, the satellite will start to re-enter the atmosphere, as it will soon anyway.

"There is almost nothing we can do here that makes it worse," Griffin said.

SIGNAL TO CHINA?

U.S. officials rejected suggestions that Bush opted to shoot down the satellite out of concern that classified material on board could survive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, and potentially land in the wrong hands.

They also said Washington was not shooting the satellite down in response to China's anti-satellite test last year, noting the United States had already demonstrated its capability to hit a space object with a missile in the 1980s.

China did not notify other countries before its test, marking a significant departure from U.S. efforts this week.

But some experts questioned Bush's decision and the calculation of the risks associated with shooting the missile down compared with allowing it to burn up upon re-entry.

Jonathan McDowell, astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics, called the decision "regrettable."

"Clearly someone in the administration who has the instincts of a cowboy has decided this is the perfect excuse to rattle our sabres and show the Chinese that we have the same capabilities," he said.

SATELLITE NEVER WORKED

The satellite is a classified National Reconnaissance Office spacecraft launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in 2006, according to four senior U.S. officials, who asked not to be named.

Defence officials said the satellite, known as L-21, was built by Lockheed Martin Corp. It cost hundreds of millions of dollars but the U.S. government will not say precisely how much, calling the figure classified.

Boeing Co played a role early in the project, but was relieved by Lockheed.

The satellite has been out of touch since shortly after reaching its low-Earth orbit. Since the satellite never became operational, it has toxic rocket fuel on board that would have been used to manoeuvre the satellite in space.

Officials said that without the shootdown, about half the satellite, including the fuel tank, would survive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and estimated a crash could spread toxic material across an area equal to two football fields.

The Pentagon has a window of about seven to eight days to fire the missile. That window opens in about three to four days, the officials said.
nono
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#207000 - 15th Feb 2008 8:36am Re: Out of control satellite [Re: jonno40]
StuyMac Offline

Wiki Master

Registered: 24th Nov 2003
Posts: 12002
Loc: Wirralshire
I doubt they will miss - this must be classed as friendly fire raftl


Edited by StuyMac (15th Feb 2008 8:36am)
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#207019 - 15th Feb 2008 10:14am Re: Out of control satellite [Re: StuyMac]
placidmaster Offline
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Registered: 1st Feb 2008
Posts: 1188
Loc: Lyon/Newcastle/Paris/Cape Town
please land in the US please please please
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#207091 - 15th Feb 2008 4:12pm Re: Out of control satellite [Re: placidmaster]
Wheels Offline
Wiki Veteran

Registered: 4th Jan 2005
Posts: 8795
Loc: Tranmere
ooh free fireworks show smile

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#210200 - 21st Feb 2008 7:56am Re: Out of control satellite [Re: Wheels]
Brocks Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 11th Jan 2007
Posts: 520
Loc: Wirral
Mission accomplised! what-ever that mission really was!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7254540.stm
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#210202 - 21st Feb 2008 7:57am Re: Out of control satellite [Re: Brocks]
jonah Offline
Forum Guardian

Registered: 29th Nov 2006
Posts: 3992
Loc: 1313 Mockingbird Lane, I live ...
did they get the right one, my bloody sky tv has gone off !!!!! raftl
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#210209 - 21st Feb 2008 8:18am Re: Out of control satellite [Re: jonah]
jonno40 Online   content
Forum Addict

Registered: 7th Jan 2008
Posts: 1237
Loc: wirral
lets face it its the yanks and they fook most things up
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