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Bush to blast toxic slushie out of sky

DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
edited February 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
Bush to shoot down U.S. spy sattelite in apparent cock-waving measure towards Chinese, who we condemned for shooting down one of their own last year.

UPDATE Friday 2/15: The military explains that it's got the potential to be the worst slushie ever.
MSNBC wrote:
WASHINGTON - President George Bush decided to make a first-of-its-kind attempt to use a missile to bring down a broken U.S. spy satellite because of the potential danger to people from its rocket fuel, officials said Thursday.

Deputy National Security Adviser James Jeffries, briefing reporters at the Defense Department, did not say when the attempted intercept would be conducted, but the satellite is expected to hit Earth during the first week of March.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the same briefing that the "window of opportunity" for such a shootdown, presumably to be launched from a Navy ship, will open in the next three or four days and last for seven or eight days. He did not say whether the Pentagon has decided on an exact launch date.

Cartwright said this will be an unprecedented effort; he would not say exactly what are the odds of success.

"This is the first time we've used a tactical missile to engage a spacecraft," Cartwright said.

He said a Navy missile known as Standard Missile 3 would be fired in an attempt to intercept the satellite just prior to it re-entering Earth's atmosphere. It would be "next to impossible" to hit the satellite after that because of atmospheric disturbances, Cartwright said.

A second goal, he said, is to directly hit the fuel tank in order to minimize the amount of fuel that returns to Earth.

Cartwright also said that if an initial shootdown attempt fails, a decision will be made whether to take a second shot.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said that Bush made his decision during the past week and asked experts to come up with a way to destoy the satellite. He made the decision to shoot it down because the satellite was carrying the rocket fuel hydrazine, Perino said. Initally the administration believed that the danger from the falling satellite did not pose a large problem, but decided it was best to shoot it down when experts decided that the unused hydrazine did pose a danger.

Asked about the matter, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said, "We have been looking at ways to mitigate the possible risk to human lives and to demonstrate our continuing commitment to safe and responsible space operations."

The disabled satellite is expected to hit the Earth the first week of March. Officials said the Navy would likely shoot it down before then, using a special missile modified for the task. The Navy will fire two or three SM-3 missiles from a cruiser and destroyer off the Northwest coast of Hawaii.

The SM-3's which are more of a medium-range interceptor have to be modified — more fuel and new software — to reach the disabled spy satellite in orbit. If the intercept and kill are successful and the satellite is destroyed, it appears most of the debris will become orbitting "space junk" and not reenter Earth's atmopshere.

Shooting down a satellite is particularly sensitive because of the controversy surrounding China's anti-satellite test last year, when Beijing shot down one of its defunct weather satellites, drawing immediate criticism from the United States and other countries.

A key concern at that time was the debris created by the Chinese satellite's destruction — and that will also be a focus now, as the U.S. determines exactly when and under what circumstances to shoot down its errant satellite.

The military will have to choose a time and a location that will avoid to the greatest degree any damage to other satellites in the sky. Also, there is the possibility that large pieces could remain, and either stay in orbit where they can collide with other satellites or possibly fall to Earth.

It is not known where the satellite will hit. But officials familiar with the situation say about half of the 5,000-pound spacecraft is expected to survive its blazing descent through the atmosphere and will scatter debris — some of it potentially hazardous — over several hundred miles. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The satellite is outfitted with thrusters — small engines used to position it in space. They contain the toxic rocket fuel hydrazine, which can cause harm to anyone who contacts it.

Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, who heads U.S. Northern Command, told The Associated Press in late January that the size of the satellite suggests that some number of pieces will not burn up as the orbiting vehicle re-enters the Earth's atmosphere and will hit the ground.

"We're aware that this satellite is out there," Renuart said. "We're aware it is a fairly substantial size. And we know there is at least some percentage that it could land on ground as opposed to in the water."

A U.S. official confirmed that the spy satellite, which lost power and no longer can be controlled, was launched in December 2006. It carried a sophisticated and secret imaging sensor but the satellite's central computer failed shortly after launch.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret, said the satellite is designated by the military as US 193, but it never reached its final orbit and the Pentagon declared it a total loss in early 2007.

Renuart added that, "As it looks like it might re-enter into the North American area," then the U.S. military along with the Homeland Security Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will either have to deal with the impact or assist Canadian or Mexican authorities.

Military agencies, he said, are doing an analysis to determine which pieces most likely would survive re-entry. But he cautioned that officials won't have much detail on where or when it will crash until it begins to move through the atmosphere and break up.

Renuart added that there does not as yet appear to be much concern about sensitive technologies on the satellite falling into enemy hands.

"I'm not aware that we have a security issue," he said. "It's really just a big thing falling on the ground that we want to make sure we're prepared for."

The satellite includes some small engines that contain a toxic chemical called hydrazine — which is rocket fuel. But Renuart said they are not large booster engines with substantial amounts of fuel.

Initial estimates were that the satellite would take years to degrade and re-enter the atmosphere.

Video images of the satellite captured by John Locker, a British amateur satellite watcher, show it to be about 13 feet to 16.5 feet across. Locker calculated its size with data on its altitude and location provided by other amateur satellite watchers, using the international space station as a yardstick.

Satellite watchers — a worldwide network of hobbyists who track satellites for fun — have been plotting the satellite's degradation for a year. They estimated it at an altitude of about 173 miles in late January, and Locker believes it is dropping about 1,640 feet a day.

Where it lands will be difficult to predict until the satellite falls to about 59 miles above the Earth and enters the atmosphere. It will then begin to burn up, with flares visible from the ground, said Ted Molczan, a Canadian satellite tracker. From that point on, he said, it will take about 30 minutes to fall.

In the past 50 years of monitoring space, 17,000 manmade objects have re-entered the Earth's atmosphere.

How dangerous do you think the tiny amount of rocket fuel left in the sattelite can be? What are the chances that anything on the thing would survive re-entry at all? Is this a calculated move to tell the Chinese that we can knock down sattelites as well? Is there anything on this so-called "spy sattelite" that we want to ensure doesn't survive?

Dracomicron on
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Posts

  • an_altan_alt Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    What do the Chinese have to say about it? Actually, how the hell does an article that long not ask the question?

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  • DickerdoodleDickerdoodle Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    an_alt wrote: »
    What do the Chinese have to say about it? Actually, how the hell does an article that long not ask the question?

    I read this as ...how does Long not ask that question.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Gnome-InterruptusGnome-Interruptus Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Interesting since the US has had a ban on Anti-Sattelite weapons since 1985.

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  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    an_alt wrote: »
    What do the Chinese have to say about it? Actually, how the hell does an article that long not ask the question?

    Good question, I honestly don't know at this point.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • DickerdoodleDickerdoodle Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Interesting since the US has had a ban on Anti-Sattelite weapons since 1985.

    We used to ban torture too.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Interesting since the US has had a ban on Anti-Sattelite weapons since 1985.

    We used to ban torture too.

    The US does not employ anti-satellite weapons.

    I can't say what weapons we do employ, lest we embolden satellites, space debris, and our other enemies.

    eokNV.jpg
  • FunkyWaltDoggFunkyWaltDogg Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Everything I've read about this thus far makes it sound like we're shooting it down so it doesn't crash into North America and hurt someone. Were it not for the incident with China, I wouldn't see any problem.

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  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Interesting since the US has had a ban on Anti-Sattelite weapons since 1985.

    Incorrect. The US has had a ban on testing air-launched anti-sat weapons against targets in space since 1985. Since this is probably not (strictly speaking) a test of an anti-sat weapon, and it is (according to the article) a surface-launched weapon, it's legal.

    It's kinda silly regardless. We've had anti-sat missiles for a long frakking time, and F-18s can go damn-near trans-atmospheric to deliver them.

    sig.png
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    There's some amusingly paranoid speculation that the "weather satellite" that the Chinese shot down was actually our "experimental spy satellite." So they winged it and destabilized it, and now we need to blow apart the rest?

    Sounds like an episode of Alias.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
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  • mobiusptcmobiusptc Registered User
    edited February 2008
    i also do not see what is wrong with it. the Chinese blew up their satellite at an altitude that made it so a ton of debris is still floating around instead of 1 big thing. this one is already going to fall but hte chances that it will fall and create general environmental hazard due to the fuel it has on board so they are shooting it as to allow the atmosphere to do its busyness. as much as i hate bush and seriously disagree with 99% of what he does, this is not one of em.

  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    OP updated with toxic slushie explanation.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
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  • TachTach Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Yeah, 2 weeks ago, this wasn't a hazard to anyone, or to national security. Oh- but now- it's going to release poisonious, toxic gas and kill millions unless the mightiest warriors on Earth hurl their javelin and put it out.

    If they miss... I'm gonna fucking laugh my ass off.

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  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Hydrazine is pretty intense stuff.

    The Satalite is currently 5,000lbs pounds. Approx half of the satilite is expected to burn up on re-entry (this estimate was gauged from historical evidence of other derelict stuff plummeting). That means a 2,500lb hunk of metal that may still have an intact fuel tank full of a half ton of Hydrazine is going to hit somewhere on Earth.

    Calculating the odds, there's about a 40% chance it'll hit land, and a much MUCH smaller chance it will hit an urbanized area. If it were to hit one, though, it would undoubtedly kill thousands.

    I'd shoot it down too.

    TiSBcast.com - Home of This is Serious Business, a weekly roundtable podcast involving media, beer, and general merriment.
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Heartlash wrote: »
    Hydrazine is pretty intense stuff.

    The Satalite is currently 5,000lbs pounds. Approx half of the satilite is expected to burn up on re-entry (this estimate was gauged from historical evidence of other derelict stuff plummeting). That means a 2,500lb hunk of metal that may still have an intact fuel tank full of a half ton of Hydrazine is going to hit somewhere on Earth.

    Calculating the odds, there's about a 40% chance it'll hit land, and a much MUCH smaller chance it will hit an urbanized area. If it were to hit one, though, it would undoubtedly kill thousands.

    I'd shoot it down too.

    The use of hydrazine seems like such a strange choice. I understand that there's probably not a lot of selection of rocket fuels, but doesn't that stuff freeze at a higher temperature than water? Granted, space is fucking cold anyway, but they're not hedging their bets with a heater error much.

    Gary Gygax wrote:
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  • juice for jesusjuice for jesus Registered User
    edited February 2008

    The use of hydrazine seems like such a strange choice. I understand that there's probably not a lot of selection of rocket fuels, but doesn't that stuff freeze at a higher temperature than water? Granted, space is fucking cold anyway, but they're not hedging their bets with a heater error much.

    Wiki to the rescue!
    Wikipedia wrote:
    In all hydrazine monopropellant engines, the hydrazine is passed by a catalyst such as iridium metal supported by high-surface-area alumina (aluminium oxide) or carbon nanofibers,[13] or more recently molybdenum nitride on alumina,[14] which causes it to decompose into ammonia, nitrogen gas, and hydrogen gas according to the following reactions:

    3 N2H4 → 4 NH3 + N2
    N2H4 → N2 + 2 H2
    4 NH3 + N2H4 → 3 N2 + 8 H2
    These reactions are extremely exothermic (the catalyst chamber can reach 800 °C in a matter of milliseconds[13]), and they produce large volumes of hot gas from a small volume of liquid hydrazine,[14] making it an efficient thruster propellant.

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  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    My take is that this is less 'blow it up so that it doesnt land on civilians' heads' and much more 'blow it up so that nothing survives the landing and can be stolen'

    Though what are the chances of anything surviving impact?

    Is thousands dead legitimately a good estimate for the force of this thing hitting a city?

    scarab you have mental problems
  • DracomicronDracomicron Registered User regular
    edited February 2008

    The use of hydrazine seems like such a strange choice. I understand that there's probably not a lot of selection of rocket fuels, but doesn't that stuff freeze at a higher temperature than water? Granted, space is fucking cold anyway, but they're not hedging their bets with a heater error much.

    Wiki to the rescue!
    Wikipedia wrote:
    In all hydrazine monopropellant engines, the hydrazine is passed by a catalyst such as iridium metal supported by high-surface-area alumina (aluminium oxide) or carbon nanofibers,[13] or more recently molybdenum nitride on alumina,[14] which causes it to decompose into ammonia, nitrogen gas, and hydrogen gas according to the following reactions:

    3 N2H4 → 4 NH3 + N2
    N2H4 → N2 + 2 H2
    4 NH3 + N2H4 → 3 N2 + 8 H2
    These reactions are extremely exothermic (the catalyst chamber can reach 800 °C in a matter of milliseconds[13]), and they produce large volumes of hot gas from a small volume of liquid hydrazine,[14] making it an efficient thruster propellant.

    Good lord. That stuff fucking explodes.

    Didn't quite answer my question about freezing temperatures, though. :)

    Gary Gygax wrote:
    ''The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules.''
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I think given the size of the satellite and the tank of hydrazine its carrying, this is a valid reason to shoot it down.

    I'm sure the US also doesn't mind doing a little cock waving too though.

    And they dont want any pieces of their spy-satellite tech falling into the wrong hands.

    ragesig.jpg

  • TachTach Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Heartlash wrote: »
    Hydrazine is pretty intense stuff.

    The Satalite is currently 5,000lbs pounds. Approx half of the satilite is expected to burn up on re-entry (this estimate was gauged from historical evidence of other derelict stuff plummeting). That means a 2,500lb hunk of metal that may still have an intact fuel tank full of a half ton of Hydrazine is going to hit somewhere on Earth.

    Calculating the odds, there's about a 40% chance it'll hit land, and a much MUCH smaller chance it will hit an urbanized area. If it were to hit one, though, it would undoubtedly kill thousands.

    I'd shoot it down too.

    wikipedian_protester.png

    An NPR story I heard last night said that the gas itself would be harmful if you stood in a room and breathed it in for a few hours. I'd be worried about the chunk of metal, but not about exposure to the gas.

    BNsig.jpg
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited February 2008
    Shooting it down sounds reasonable, and if we hadn't chastised the Chinese for doing the same, this wouldn't even be a story. Does anyone know exactly why the Chinese shot theirs down? Was there a similar safety hazard they were trying to avoid, or were they just cock waving at us?

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  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Shooting it down sounds reasonable, and if we hadn't chastised the Chinese for doing the same, this wouldn't even be a story. Does anyone know exactly why the Chinese shot theirs down? Was there a similar safety hazard they were trying to avoid, or were they just cock waving at us?

    Pretty well a straight weapons test. They actually created more of a hazard, since the debris from that satellite is still chillin in orbit, and has just spread out over time instead of re-entering the atmosphere.

    Of course if the US blows up this satellite, it will produce a fair amount of debris as well, not all of which will return to Earth.

    ragesig.jpg

  • Irond WillIrond Will Dragonmaster Cambridge. MASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited February 2008
    How dangerous do you think the tiny amount of rocket fuel left in the sattelite can be? What are the chances that anything on the thing would survive re-entry at all? Is this a calculated move to tell the Chinese that we can knock down sattelites as well? Is there anything on this so-called "spy sattelite" that we want to ensure doesn't survive?

    Any fuel or interesting technology would be vapor and slag by the time it went through re-entry, let alone impact. My guess is that they're looking for an opportunity to test out their sat-killing missile.

    Wqdwp8l.png
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Irond Will wrote: »
    How dangerous do you think the tiny amount of rocket fuel left in the sattelite can be? What are the chances that anything on the thing would survive re-entry at all? Is this a calculated move to tell the Chinese that we can knock down sattelites as well? Is there anything on this so-called "spy sattelite" that we want to ensure doesn't survive?

    Any fuel or interesting technology would be vapor and slag by the time it went through re-entry, let alone impact. My guess is that they're looking for an opportunity to test out their sat-killing missile.

    Dont be so sure on this one. This satellite is big enough that a significant amount of debris could make it to Earth, and while its not like it would be usable, it may contain enough for a foe to reverse engineer something. And "impact" wouldn't be overly traumatic here. It would be most likely to land in water, and even if it didn't a little bumping around wouldn't change much, you'd still be able to learn about the design of something even if its broken.

    ragesig.jpg

  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Tach wrote: »
    Heartlash wrote: »
    Hydrazine is pretty intense stuff.

    The Satalite is currently 5,000lbs pounds. Approx half of the satilite is expected to burn up on re-entry (this estimate was gauged from historical evidence of other derelict stuff plummeting). That means a 2,500lb hunk of metal that may still have an intact fuel tank full of a half ton of Hydrazine is going to hit somewhere on Earth.

    Calculating the odds, there's about a 40% chance it'll hit land, and a much MUCH smaller chance it will hit an urbanized area. If it were to hit one, though, it would undoubtedly kill thousands.

    I'd shoot it down too.

    wikipedian_protester.png

    An NPR story I heard last night said that the gas itself would be harmful if you stood in a room and breathed it in for a few hours. I'd be worried about the chunk of metal, but not about exposure to the gas.

    I should've specified. I think the 2,500 hunk of metal hitting an urbanized area at absurd velocity would yield the majority of the destruction, not the gas (though I'm sure the gas wouldn't help, especially if it were to ignite on impact).

    The best citation I can provide for the rest of my info was a press conference I watched on CSPAN.

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  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Irond Will wrote: »
    How dangerous do you think the tiny amount of rocket fuel left in the sattelite can be? What are the chances that anything on the thing would survive re-entry at all? Is this a calculated move to tell the Chinese that we can knock down sattelites as well? Is there anything on this so-called "spy sattelite" that we want to ensure doesn't survive?

    Any fuel or interesting technology would be vapor and slag by the time it went through re-entry, let alone impact. My guess is that they're looking for an opportunity to test out their sat-killing missile.

    Except that, again, sat-killing missiles have been around for a while. SM-3 is used for missile defense on AEGIS. The only thing they're really testing here is a software patch, which could be tested against an atmospheric target. I'm inclined to believe the line the administration is feeding us.

    sig.png
  • FuruFuru Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Why is everyone reading so much into "Hey we better make sure this big chunk of metal from space won't kill anyone and have us take the heat for it"? It seems like a pretty open and shut thing.

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  • EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2008
    I'm inclined to believe that it's merely an issue of not wanting a decent sized chunk of metal to "impact in a populated area somewhere and kill people" situation like Furu thinks.

    However, even if it's just a thinly veiled attempt to show the world that us cowboy Americans can shoot down satellites too, that's fine by me. I'm comfortable knowing that my country can shoot down a satellite, and hopefully that would be a discouragement against any other countries who would attempt to spy on the US from orbit. I'm glad that there is an opportunity to do it without wasting taxpayer money on putting a target into orbit specifically to be shot down.

    If it works, then I see it as both stopping a potentially dangerous object from impacting the Earth and causing death and destruction, and an opportunity to test out a defense system that may be important in the future, all the while letting other countries know that we are capable of shooting down sattelites that are a threat. Win/win I'd say.

    I'm no nationalist by any means, but sometimes a little harmless dick-waving can be a good thing. It reminds other governments that you haven't dropped the ball and discourages hostile action.

  • CommunistCowCommunistCow Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I would be inclined to think that there have been lots of satellites that have de-orbited in the past without causing huge problems. So why do we have to shoot this one down?

    On second look it sounds like a lot of satellites are put into a grave-yard orbit. I still can't find anything about other satellites that have re-entered orbit.

    Edit:
    NASA talking about uncontrolled descent of a giant satellite of theirs:
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast25mar_1m.htm
    NASA wrote:
    Debris from the reentry will be scattered over an area estimated to be 16 miles wide and 962 miles long. The center of the reentry area is on the equator approximately 2,500 miles southeast of Hawaii (about 120 degrees west longitude). A large portion of the satellite will vaporize as it transits the atmosphere, and most of the pieces that survive will be tiny, about the size of a pea or a grain of sand. However, Compton contains structures made of titanium, which are expected to fall as larger pieces. "Enough will survive to present a small but still unacceptable risk to populated areas if Compton were allowed to reenter in an uncontrolled manner," said Preston Burch, Deputy Program Manager for Space Science Operations at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. "NASA will work closely with aviation and maritime authorities to ensure the impact area is free from traffic during reentry."
    This satellite is 17 tons^

    The spy satellite is 5,000lbs.

    7521745260_e8e0fc52b8_o.jpg
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  • L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Whoever was asking about Hydrazine's freezing point before (wiki):
    Melting point: 1 °C
    Boiling point: 114 °C

    It also says that the flashpoint is 37.8°C, I'm not sure what the insulation on satellites is like, but I dare say that it will reach this temperature inside fairly easily, but then again there won't be any oxygen in the fuel tank. If the fuel tank is exposed to the air during breakup (which seems very likely), the Hydrazine will combust to make ammonia, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen. I seriously doubt that it will kill thousands of people.

    And unless it is some super-duper full titanium satellite cast in one piece, I also doubt that any considerable chunks will remain to hit the ground. Wouldn't NASA be able to predict roughly where it will land?

  • EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2008
    I would be inclined to think that there have been lots of satellites that have de-orbited in the past without causing huge problems. So why do we have to shoot this one down?

    On second look it sounds like a lot of satellites are put into a grave-yard orbit. I still can't find anything about other satellites that have re-entered orbit.

    Edit:
    NASA talking about uncontrolled descent of a giant satellite of theirs:
    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast25mar_1m.htm
    NASA wrote:
    Debris from the reentry will be scattered over an area estimated to be 16 miles wide and 962 miles long. The center of the reentry area is on the equator approximately 2,500 miles southeast of Hawaii (about 120 degrees west longitude). A large portion of the satellite will vaporize as it transits the atmosphere, and most of the pieces that survive will be tiny, about the size of a pea or a grain of sand. However, Compton contains structures made of titanium, which are expected to fall as larger pieces. "Enough will survive to present a small but still unacceptable risk to populated areas if Compton were allowed to reenter in an uncontrolled manner," said Preston Burch, Deputy Program Manager for Space Science Operations at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. "NASA will work closely with aviation and maritime authorities to ensure the impact area is free from traffic during reentry."
    This satellite is 17 tons^

    The spy satellite is 5,000lbs.

    I yellowed the parts you seem to have glazed over.

    That satellite was suspected to hit in the middle of the ocean. If the dirty rumors are true, this satellite is expected to end up somewhere in North America. So, it's pretty important to make sure that there are absolutely no chunks of red hot metal flying down into a city and killing people (unless it's in Canada). Unless Atlantis had risen and was located "approximately 2,500 miles southeast of Hawaii ", destroying the larger Nasa satellite wasn't really that much of a priority concerning the most it would take out would be a few unfortunately located sea creatures.

    And, once again, even if not... what's the big deal? It's not like Bush has some nefarious plan. If it's showing the Chinese (and the rest of the globe) that we can shoot down spy satellites also, that's good. It means they probably won't try sending any our way.

    The reason we "have to shoot this one down" is because it might end up landing, in pieces, on people.

  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    There's not a safer way to bring it down than to shoot a missile at it? Aren't they concerned about where it's going to land?

    JKKaAGp.png
  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Here is an article that is rather critical of the stated reason for the satellite being shot down. Its a good article, I would recommend reading it.

    http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/02/fishy-rationale.html
    But, as we noted yesterday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright cast the threat from the satellite in much less dire terms. Even if the hydrazine were released, he noted, the effects would likely be mild -- akin to chlorine gas poisoning, which can cause burning in the lungs, and elsewhere. The area affected would be "roughly the size of two football fields [where you might] incur something that would make you go to the doctor."
    Having the US government spend millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives is comedic gold.

    ragesig.jpg

  • AdrienAdrien Registered User
    edited February 2008
    There's not a safer way to bring it down than to shoot a missile at it? Aren't they concerned about where it's going to land?

    They can't keep it up.
    Spoiler:

    tmkm.jpg
  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Here is an article that is rather critical of the stated reason for the satellite being shot down. Its a good article, I would recommend reading it.

    http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/02/fishy-rationale.html
    But, as we noted yesterday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright cast the threat from the satellite in much less dire terms. Even if the hydrazine were released, he noted, the effects would likely be mild -- akin to chlorine gas poisoning, which can cause burning in the lungs, and elsewhere. The area affected would be "roughly the size of two football fields [where you might] incur something that would make you go to the doctor."
    Having the US government spend millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives is comedic gold.

    While I agree that spending my tax dollars and something like this is probably a waste of time and money, I can't help but think of how they'd handle it if they decided not to. "Don't worry, it's just like chlorine poisoning! There will be some burning in the lungs and maybe elsewhere, and you might have to go to the doctor. But it's fine, we promise."

    JKKaAGp.png
  • EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2008
    Satellites are going to play a much greater role in National Security and (hopefully not) warfare in general in the future.

    Letting potentially two football field's worth of people in a populated area become seriously ill (mind you, this is the scenario that is one away from best-case, with worst-case being considerably worse) will give the public considerable ill will against the whole idea of dangerous things flying in the sky carrying weapons and dangerous chemicals. This could very well turn the public's perception from "The President is putting satellites into the sky to protect us from hostile action from other countries" to "The President is putting giant timebombs into the sky that could fall and kill me at any minute" pretty quickly.

    I'm curious as to what the situation would look like if it was a Russian/French/British/Canadian Satellite that was in the same position, especially if it really is slated to land somewhere in NA.

  • [Tycho?][Tycho?] Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    [Tycho?] wrote: »
    Here is an article that is rather critical of the stated reason for the satellite being shot down. Its a good article, I would recommend reading it.

    http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/02/fishy-rationale.html
    But, as we noted yesterday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright cast the threat from the satellite in much less dire terms. Even if the hydrazine were released, he noted, the effects would likely be mild -- akin to chlorine gas poisoning, which can cause burning in the lungs, and elsewhere. The area affected would be "roughly the size of two football fields [where you might] incur something that would make you go to the doctor."
    Having the US government spend millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives is comedic gold.

    While I agree that spending my tax dollars and something like this is probably a waste of time and money, I can't help but think of how they'd handle it if they decided not to. "Don't worry, it's just like chlorine poisoning! There will be some burning in the lungs and maybe elsewhere, and you might have to go to the doctor. But it's fine, we promise."

    Satellites fall from orbit all the time, and as the article points out, hydrazine has also fallen back to Earth before, but of course had no effect on anyone.

    ragesig.jpg

  • ZombiemamboZombiemambo Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    It would still be a cause for concern, though. If I was told my area might get it, I wouldn't be happy at all.

    JKKaAGp.png
  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    There's not a safer way to bring it down than to shoot a missile at it? Aren't they concerned about where it's going to land?

    If they shoot it down they can estimate where it is going to land and aim it into the ocean. Why cant they just use the extra fuel to power it down into the ocean?

    Maybe they want to scare china too.

    You haven't given me a reason to steer clear of you!
  • L|amaL|ama Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Adrien wrote: »
    There's not a safer way to bring it down than to shoot a missile at it? Aren't they concerned about where it's going to land?

    They can't keep it up.
    Spoiler:

    'Erectile disfunction sufferers worldwide slaughtered by US Navy missiles'



    Yeah I'm pretty sure this is just 'hey we can do that too' towards China, with safety as an excuse.

  • EinhanderEinhander __BANNED USERS
    edited February 2008
    JebusUD wrote: »
    There's not a safer way to bring it down than to shoot a missile at it? Aren't they concerned about where it's going to land?

    If they shoot it down they can estimate where it is going to land and aim it into the ocean. Why cant they just use the extra fuel to power it down into the ocean?

    Maybe they want to scare china too.

    The satellite is non-responsive. They can't just send it a signal to start up an engine and start moving. If they could, then they would just move it into a stable orbit and we wouldn't have had this thread.

    Jesus.

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