posted on Sep, 23 2011 @ 10:07 PM
Originally posted by Turkenstein
Originally posted by Meekbot2000
the old "whoops we have been calculating this satelite for 30 yrs and we accidently slipped up" trick, it works everytime
Especially when the "calculations" got them there and sustained them for thirty years. Not to mention all of the docking and undocking proceedure
that surely took "calculations"
The problem isn't predicting where UARS (or anything else in a stable orbit) will be. The problem arises when things depart a stable orbit. A lot of
people are under the (mistaken) impression that the Earth's atmosphere suddenly ends at some altitude..at "x-1" feet, you're in atmosphere, and at
"x" feet, you aren't. It's not nearly that clear-cut. The atmosphere fades away, becoming less and less dense as altitude increases. It's also
not perfectly spherical. Any number of meteorological phenomena can cause 'bumps' in the shape. Add these things together with an object that is, to
be charitable, lacking in aerodynamic shaping, and you get random aerodynamic drag subtly changing the orbital path on every pass. It doesn't take
too many of these random changes in atmospheric effects, and random orientation of the satellite, to render any detailed prediction of an exact impact
That lack of ability to predict the impact points of uncontrolled reentries is exactly why NASA and the ESA (and probably other launch agencies) now
make detailed plans to de-orbit everything they launch (yes, including the International Space Station) while they retain some vestiges of control
over the descent.