posted on Jan, 26 2008 @ 08:03 PM
Originally posted by ZeroKnowledge
My question is why they ARE telling it to the public now.
If they could fix it - they would wait for shuttle mission and tell us
only if it fails.
If they can't fix it- why there is a month window for a crash?
It's not too complicated to calculate an orbit taken that you know where it was.
Also it must have some propulsion capability, they do not say that
something hit it, so why it left it's orbit in the first place?
They're telling the public so that a sudden bright streak across the sky doesn't cause a sudden logjam of UFO / Scalar Weapons / Assorted Bad
Science of the Month calls to every Air Force base, government office, and conspiracy board in the world :-D.
The reason for the month long window on reentry is simple. The upper edges of the Earth's atmosphere aren't defined by razor-sharp boundaries. There
are rises and dips up there that cause unpredictable amounts of friction if an object's orbit is low enough. That's why NASA couldn't give a
definite time / place for the Skylab impact...they could analyze the friction losses on each orbit, and generate a sheaf of probable impact areas, but
not a specific target. Same thing here. They can analyze the satellite's behavior and make some informed projections, but given its lack of control,
the precise point of impact is totally under the influence of a random process.
The satellite might have (in fact, probably does have) some form of thruster system for attitude control and / or orbital adjustment. If it's out of
fuel, that doesn't help in the least. If it's totally lost power (and therefore, the ability to communicate with ground control) it could have a
full load of fuel, but be unable to receive the command to light the thrusters.
They don't say that something hit it....which doesn't rule out an impact. Heaven knows there are enough bits of crap up there to make that a
possibility. It's not, however, the only possibility. Upper-atmosphere drag could cause it to decelerate out of orbit (See also: Skylab), as could
(over time) the 'solar sail' effect on any solar panels the satellite has.