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Mysterious East Coast Boom Was Falling Russian Rocket

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posted on Mar, 31 2009 @ 04:43 AM
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Mysterious East Coast Boom Was Falling Russian Rocket


www.space.com

The mysterious boom and flash of light seen over parts of Virginia Sunday night was not a meteor, but actually exploding space junk from the second stage of a Russian Soyuz rocket falling back to Earth, according to an official with the U.S. Naval Observatory.

"I'm pretty convinced that what these folks saw was the second stage of the Soyuz rocket that launched the crew up to the space station," said Geoff Chester of the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

Residents of the areas around Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Va., began calling 911 last night with reports of hearing a loud boom and seeing a streak of light that lit up the sky, according to news reports.

Chester heard about the incident this morning; the Naval Observatory gets plenty of reports of such fireballs and Chester investigated whether it could be a meteor or whether there were "any potential decays of space junk that were coming up," he told SPACE.com.

He checked the listing for debris that were expected to enter the lower atmosphere from their decaying orbits around this time period and found that second stage of the Soyuz rocket that launched last Thursday was slated to hit during a window that started at 8 p.m. last night.

The Russian-built Soyuz rocket lifted off Thursday from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to launch a new crew and American billionaire Charles Simonyi - the world's first two-time space tourist - to the International Space Station. The spaceflyers arrived at the space station on Saturday.

Chester ran a satellite tracking program that showed that the rocket debris should have come down exactly in the area where the fireball was spotted.

"This is just too much of a coincidence to be coincidence," he said.

Chester said that U.S. Space Surveillance Network had not yet confirmed that this was the case, but said that he was "99 and four one-hundredths [percent] convinced that this is what it is."
(visit the link for the full news article)



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posted on Mar, 31 2009 @ 04:43 AM
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Orbital mechanics is a precise enough discipline that a re-entry event over inhabited areas should not have happened. An airliner passed directly under the detonation, close enough that the flash filled the cockpit.

Either the Russians are getting sloppy or this was another one of Putin's "in your face" incidents, like the Bear bomber patrols off Scotland and other NATO territory and the threats and intimidation over the ABMs in Poland. In any case, I have one thing to say to Putin and his flunkies - yob tvoyu mat'!

www.space.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Mar, 31 2009 @ 04:53 AM
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Interesting story


On a side note, I wonder how much, if any, of our space junk has crashed over Russian territory?




posted on May, 20 2010 @ 02:56 PM
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Originally posted by Kaytagg
Interesting story


On a side note, I wonder how much, if any, of our space junk has crashed over Russian territory?



Our launch trajectories take our lower stages either over the Atlantic or the north Pacific; in neither case would we de-orbit over Russian territory.

I find it very curious, similarly that a Russian launch would send lower stages over North America - they launch from Central Asia or the Arctic Circle; in either case, it would take extra energy from a normal launch to get their lower stages de-orbiting over the US East Coast. That's why I remarked that this might be muscle-flexing on the part of the psycho in the Kremlin.

Now, satellites are another matter entirely. We tend to either hope they burn up on re-entry (now, we can take them out on re-entry with the new Standard Missile-3 on US Navy guided missile frigates and larger ships, as we did a few years ago with a spysat which had a full tank of hydrazine, making it a potential bomb) or place them into a "graveyard orbit" 22,000 miles above the Earth until it can either be guided into a destructive re-entry orbit or serviced by the Shuttle or other satellites (DARPA has a new "tanker" robot satellite that can re-fuel other satellites in development).

De-orbiting satellites over Russia or China isn't an option, because of the unstable and trigger-happy Russian air defense system (which has nearly launched nuclear weapons at us on three or four occasions because of false alarms or badly designed early warning satellites).

We TRY to set our sats down in parts of the ocean we control, like the Kwajalein Test Range; Skylab, which was huge in satellite terms, re-entered at approximately 16:37 Zulu time on 11 July 1979.

The footprint for its re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere was a narrow band (about four degrees of latitude wide) beginning at about 48°S 87°E / 48°S 87°E / -48; 87 and ending at about 12°S 144°E / 12°S 144°E / -12; 144, an area covering portions of the Indian Ocean and Western Australia.

Debris was found between Esperance, Western Australia, and Rawlinna, Western Australia, from 31° to 34°S and 122° to 126°E. The largest piece was found on a ranch in Western Australia called the "Rock and Roll Station."

The Soviets, by contrast, either didn't care or couldn't control the re-entry path of their big spy satellites; Cosmos 954, a huge radar satellite with a large nuclear reactor on board, re-entered above three Canadian provinces, scattering highly radioactive uranium and plutonium throughout the area in 1978. They wound up paying Canada $3,000,000 for the clean-up operation, which wound up incompletely recovering the nuclear material from the satellite, even with help from the American firm Edgerton, Grier & Germanhausen (EG&G), which also handled nuclear material recovery for the US Department of Energy and the US military.

[edit on 20-5-2010 by Murky]




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