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New Images of Tumbling US Satellite From Theirry Legaullt

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the steady-hands dept.

NASA 100

The BBC reports that "An amateur astronomer has recorded images of the out-of-control US satellite as it tumbles back to Earth. Theirry Legault, from Paris, captured the video as the satellite passed over northern France on 15 September. The six-tonne, 20-year-old spacecraft has fallen out of orbit and is expected to crash somewhere on Earth on or around 24 September. The US space agency says the risk to life from the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) is 1 in 3,200. Mr Legault, an engineer, used a specially designed camera to record the tumbling satellite through his 14-inch telescope, posting the footage on his Astrophotography website." (Previous, equally impressive work from Legault include his photos of Atlantis's final re-entry and the ISS, sun and moon in one shot.)

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Thanks SD for the "tumbling" reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482538)

NASA is FINALLY using the word "tumbling" thanks to this video. They have been omitting that detail which has great importance in predicting its decay from orbit.

1 in 3200? (5, Funny)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482540)

Oh... my... GOD! Does that mean that 2.1 million people are going to die?

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482568)

1 in 3200 odds of any person in the world being hit, so basically 1 in 3200 x 7 billion gives you your personal odds.

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482620)

1 in 3200 odds of any person in the world being hit, so basically 1 in 3200 x 7 billion gives you your personal odds.

I've been trying to figure out why that felt wrong since I read it from the Bad Astronomer earlier today. I think the problem is that it only counts cases where exactly one person is his by debris. There's a small but not vanishingly small chance that if one person is hit, more will be hit as well, so the real odds of an individual escape satellite doom aren't quite as good as your calculation suggests.

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482872)

Imagine if it hit a clown car.

Or a clown car convention!

It would be like 9/11 times one hundred!

Yes. Ninety-one thousand one hundred...

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483346)

Imaging if it knocks out power and some milk goes bad somewhere.
I'd wager the chance of any one person dying it the ensuing zombiepocolypse is far greater than 1 in 3200.

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37483360)

Imagine if it hit the World Trade Center!

Oh wait...

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483982)

My calculator says 81.81...

Re:1 in 3200? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482890)

That's still orders of magnitude higher than ANY terrorist threat, why isn't the country in a massive panic?

Re:1 in 3200? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482964)

You know... they aren't sure why the satellite decided to fall now. Perhaps it WAS terrorists?

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483288)

Or maybe it's just that nobody's figured out how to make a profit from it yet.

I remember people selling "Skylab Helmets" on the streets of New York back in the 70's...maybe something similar?

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483776)

alien invaders realize they can save their ammo by just letting us drop or own crap on our selves.. they are not in a hurry and rather like the fun of watching us move forward to our inevitable doom.

Re:1 in 3200? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37490808)

Threat fatigue. Or everyone has decided they win the lottery if they get taken out by a satellite fragment. Think of the cash your family can extort from the Feds for killing you with their "Mother of all space projectiles".

Re:1 in 3200? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482604)

How many people die on an average day?

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482640)

Due to falling satellites? ...Not many.

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482842)

Falling satellites? No, not many. Satellites don't fall on us very often.

But rocks do. Mother Nature throws rocks at us from the sky every day, and some of them survive the atmospheric heating and reach the ground. Of those, some would give you a nasty bruise and some would kill you.

In 1955, a woman in Alabama was getting out of her car when a rock came through the garage roof and broke her arm. More recently, another lady was sitting at a red light when there was a mighty clang, and her car trunk was caved in by a smoking-hot rock. Those are the only ones I know of...it's a great big planet and we're little bitty people. Worry about lightning.

rj

Re:1 in 3200? (2)

kryliss (72493) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483164)

It's a great big universe and we're all kinda puny, like a tiny little speck about the size of Micky Rooney........ (Animaniacs)

Re:1 in 3200? (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37485920)

No human has ever been killed by a meteorite, at least within historical record. The only known case of a death is a dog that was killed in Egypt in the early 20th century by a meteor. The number of known injuries (as with the Alabama woman in 1955) can probably be counted on one hand. It's really an astronomically small possibility that any one person might be killed by a meteorite.

However, interestingly, your chances of dying from an asteroid strike are actually much higher than many other accidents which have claimed far more lives throughout history. In fact, your chances of dying by asteroid are greater than your chances of dying by terrorist attack, even though no one (known) has ever died by asteroid, while thousands have died from terrosts: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/10/13/death-by-meteorite/ [discovermagazine.com]

This is because, if a giant asteroid were to strike the earth, it could wipe out a whole city, or even the entire species (depending on the size and speed of the asteroid). This isn't just some vague possibility, it's actually happened before: just ask the dinosaurs. They're all extinct (except for the birds) thanks to a giant asteroid that struck modern-day Mexico. It's only a matter of time before another big one hits, and while we watch its approach (assuming we even see it before it hits us), we'll be kicking ourselves for not developing a program to handle this threat. There's even one asteroid already known, called Apophis, which has made several close approaches. Whether a big one comes in 10 years or 1000, I have no confidence humans will develop the technology in time to counter such a threat.

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Deadstick (535032) | more than 2 years ago | (#37486654)

The only known case of a death is a dog that was killed in Egypt in the early 20th century by a meteor.

Interesting to note that there is one death attributed to manmade space hardware: a cow in Cuba in the 1960's. I believe the US government wrote Castro a check.

Indeed, the danger from small objects is trivial, simply because the fraction of the Earth's surface that has human flesh on top of it is a rilly, rilly small number. As for a major asteroid impact, I think the best program to deal with that is to go outside with a bottle of your best Scotch and enjoy watching that sucker come down.

rj

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37486888)

As for a major asteroid impact, I think the best program to deal with that is to go outside with a bottle of your best Scotch and enjoy watching that sucker come down.

I hope you're not serious. Any major asteroid can be easily deflected, the trick is you have to know about it well ahead of time so you can use a little bit of energy pushing it and making a big difference in its final trajectory. But that means having an active program looking for and cataloging all asteroids over a certain size and predicting their trajectories, so that you can see a threat that's a few decades away. This stuff is all well within our technology, but requires funding and development of hardware. Not doing it is basically like not bothering to build your house to withstand hurricane-force winds because it costs a little extra, even though hurricanes do hit near your area every 5 years or so and the technology to deal with them is fairly trivial.

chicken little, much? (1)

rocket rancher (447670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37490794)

Dude, the sky is not falling. We've had Jupiter sweeping out the solar system for billions of years; the extinction-level event that you are referring to occurred 65M years ago, and there are no impact events even remotely on that scale since. Indeed, current theories [wikipedia.org] now suggest that the die off took much longer than previously believed, and that many other factors were involved that contributed to the event, significantly reducing the role played by the impact event. We are far more likely to wipe ourselves out before another impact can do it for us.

Re:chicken little, much? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37493452)

We've had Jupiter sweeping out the solar system for billions of years; the extinction-level event that you are referring to occurred 65M years ago,

65M years is not very long in geological terms. In fact, that's less that 2% of the planet's age.

and there are no impact events even remotely on that scale since.

There's been impacts all over the world, with craters to prove it. I live a 4-hour drive from one of them, located in northern Arizona; watch the movie "Starman" and you can see it. It's relatively recent, as it's so well preserved (unlike the Chicxulub crater which is pretty hard to see now, except for the geological evidence around its rim); Wikipedia says it's only 50,000 years old. And only 103 years ago, an asteroid struck Tunguska, Siberia with the force of 5-30 megatons of TNT, about 1000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

Here's a whole list of impact craters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_impact_craters_on_Earth [wikipedia.org]
but this list only shows the largest ones (with a rather large one being only 5 million years old); the smaller ones like Meteor Crater are on regional pages, and there's quite a lot.

The fact that we have nuclear-bomb-size asteroids hitting our planet within the century should be worrying. Sure, the damage will be minimal if it hits Siberia again, or an ocean, but there's a lot more people on the planet now than there were even just a century ago, and the havoc that would ensue if a Tunguska event happened in any major city like London, Washington DC, or Beijing, would cause serious repercussions worldwide, not to mention the millions of dead. There's dozens of known objects with a risk of hitting the earth. You can see the list here: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/risk/ [nasa.gov]
99942 Apophis is projected to come so close in 2029 that it will be under the orbit of our geostationary satellites. What if NASA is wrong, and some gravitational perturbation has a bigger effect than they calculated, and this puts it on a collision coarse with the planet? Worse, it's projected to swing around again for another fly-by, and "It is not currently possible to accurately predict the path of Apophis subsequent to the 2029 encounter because its present orbit is not yet known to a sufficiently high precision — very small differences prior to the planetary encounter can produce large differences in orbit after the encounter." So it's very possible it could collide with earth in 2036. If it does hit, it's projected to have an impact energy of 510 megatons, 10 times the power of the largest nuclear bomb ever exploded. That wouldn't be a planet-killer of course, but it would still be devastating. Some people are predicting it might strike Columbia and Venezuela, where it could have more than 10 million casualties. It could also strike in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, causing a massive tsunami, which could kill even more since so many people live on the coasts.

You think that's not worth developing an asteroid deflection strategy?

Re:1 in 3200? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37487656)

Falling satellites? No, not many. Satellites don't fall on us very often.

But rocks do. Mother Nature throws rocks at us from the sky every day, and some of them survive the atmospheric heating and reach the ground. Of those, some would give you a nasty bruise and some would kill you.

In 1955, a woman in Alabama was getting out of her car when a rock came through the garage roof and broke her arm. More recently, another lady was sitting at a red light when there was a mighty clang, and her car trunk was caved in by a smoking-hot rock. Those are the only ones I know of...it's a great big planet and we're little bitty people. Worry about lightning.

rj

I was going to mod you up - but then I remembered the great Russian radioactive trail across Alaska. Not that I know whether this satellite is likely to do the same.

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482752)

160 000, give or take.

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483180)

Yes, if the satellite falls 7 billion times

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 2 years ago | (#37484304)

there is a diminishing returns on there that i dont think we've accounted for

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37491980)

well yeah, but we correct for that by having more and more people proactively running to the crash zone as the population thins. Any remaining statistical outliers we can bean in the head with a satellite hunk, and it'll all work out

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37485434)

What if the pieces bounce?

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37491932)

You get a two-fer! bonus!

Re:1 in 3200? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37492612)

YES!

THIERRY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482606)

The name is THIERRY.

Re:THIERRY (2)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482638)

First thing I noticed. But do please note that the BBC has it spelled two different ways. Sloppy.

Re:THIERRY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37487658)

What should have happened at the BBC: wow this guy's name does NOT contain 'their' as a prefix -- better be careful so muscle memory doesn't cause me to mistype it!

What actually happened: Let me type 'thier' using muscle memory and then add 'ry'. Done.

Oh, great. (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482624)

From TFA:

UARS could land anywhere between 57 degrees north and 57 degrees south of the equator - most of the populated world.

Cool, I'll just drive a mile or two north, then.

eBay pieces (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482668)

How soon before pieces of it show up on eBay?

My prediction: pieces are already on eBay, because they are fake, as will be most of the pieces after it lands as well.

Re:eBay pieces (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482788)

selling a real piece on eBay would be moronic, it would be like putting the real Mona Lisa up there. You sell your Mona Lisa through a dealer, not eBay.

Re:eBay pieces (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482852)

I thought you had to first break into the Louvre in some overly convoluted scheme and then you would be stuck either sitting on it until the statute of limitations runs out, or selling it on the black market. I would say that people would try and sell actual pieces of it on eBay as you can find almost anything on there and it does reach a broad audience.

Re:eBay pieces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37484642)

Why wouldn't you sit on satellite parts for the SoL, or sell it on the black market? Stealing satellite pieces may not have the same glamour as stealing art, but it's still theft, and the cops will still come after you.

Re:eBay pieces (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37491836)

All you have to do is convince the buyer that you have stolen the Mona Lisa, and the one still hanging in the Louvre is a fake. Cut the power and water, close the museum to the public for a few days, then save the newspaper article about the temporary closure for repairs. Of course they aren't going to publicize the real story that they were robbed. Make sure to decide ahead of time if you put up the fake that is now on display, or if they put up a fake as part of the coverup.

And while you are at it, sell your "real" Mona Lisa to as many people as you can before they can brag to eachother about their latest acquisition.

Bad Title -- Not Actually New (1)

evenmoreconfused (451154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482710)

These aren't "new", they're the same images that were floating around last week -- they're from the 15th, for heaven's sake!

Re:Bad Title -- Not Actually New (1)

MichaelKristopeit332 (1966804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482862)

slashdot = stagnated

Bad Title -- Name Misspelled (1)

Dr. Hok (702268) | more than 2 years ago | (#37489732)

Theirry != Thierry

Poor odds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482750)

I'm surprised no newspapers have picked up on the lousy odds. I presume it is cheaper to pay off a family that gets taken out than do something about the satellite.

How about a mobile apps to notify the public? (1)

verrol (43973) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482768)

since mobile devices have GPS. couldn't an app be written that would receive the latest information from NASA. as they get more info, they push it to the app. i f you are worried about getting hit, you install the app and monitor it. If you are in with X meters/feet of latest estimate, you get notified or your app makes a sound.

how hard is that to do? i would do the app part for android, but the data would have to be fed from a credible source.

Re:How about a mobile apps to notify the public? (2)

I Read Good (2348294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482972)

NASA could charge $.99 for the app... they'd be launching shit again in no time

Re:How about a mobile apps to notify the public? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37483062)

Slashdot User verrol,

Your design for an Android application described in Slashdot posting 'by verrol (43973) on Thursday September 22, @02:26PM (#37482768)' infringes on the following patents held by our firm...

Re:How about a mobile apps to notify the public? (1)

cababunga (1195153) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483336)

The latest information I know of is listed here: http://reentrynews.aero.org/1991063b.html [aero.org] and it's usually about 12 hours out of date (at least that was the case few years ago).

Re:How about a mobile apps to notify the public? (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#37485134)

When do you warn people and start the panic? As it is, the +-9hr windows makes the projected landing location of this thing hugely variable.

Also Nasa already has ios and android apps. They're kinda neat. :)

Previously hit by space debris (3, Informative)

popoutman (189497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482770)

Thierry Legault has done some wonderful captures of satellites as they've gone overhead. It's interesting to see the slow tumble of this particular satellite, which confirms that it's pretty much out of action (even though we already know that). Apparently the satellite had a possible minor collision with debris in 2007 (see page 15 of 52 of http://www.ucsusa.org/assets/documents/nwgs/securing-the-skies-full-report-1.pdf [ucsusa.org] ) which is the likely reason that this satellite is tumbling.

nobody has ever been hurt (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482818)

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482896)

Those are just normal entries.

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482930)

Re-entering suggests they were on earth prior to being in space. i.e., man-made space-things. Them links look to be meteorites.

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (1)

usmc4o66 (1605139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482994)

Key prefix: re- Meteorites enter from space, they do no re-enter.

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488650)

Unless they are fragments of earth, having been thrown into space when earth in its young days was being bombarded with things from space.
(see various theories about the formation of the Moon)

Aha! :)

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483052)

It's a quibble, I know, but those are not RE-entering. The original statement is correct.

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37483238)

the dinosaurs beg to differ

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483972)

which part of "re-entry" do you not get?
well, the core concept, obviously.

Re:nobody has ever been hurt (1)

Cyphase (907627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488480)

Meteorites don't.. ah. Looks like a few people beat me to it :P.

Thierry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37482892)

Thierry please. Not Theirry.

Summary (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482936)

"The six-tonne, 20-year-old spacecraft has fallen out of orbit"

Not yet. It is still in orbit, though a rapidly decaying one due to atmospheric drag.

"and is expected to crash somewhere on Earth on or around 24 September"

Its pretty much certain that it is going to crash on earth. There is no chance of it hitting any other planet.

Re:Summary (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483054)

Looks like it's headed for the Indian Ocean, anyway...

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37484720)

You Sir are the very reason Apple went Intel. It's people like you making these rash absolute statements "There is no chance..." that causes these nigh impossible things to occur.

Of course we all know it's not *likely* to hit another planet, but the more folks like you make such statements, the more likely it becomes that this object will miraculously veer off of some heretofore unknown buoy of gasses and launch itself right back into space...on a direct course for Jupiter.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37485342)

fallen out of its normal/intended orbit is the meaning intended, I think

September 24th? (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37482956)

wtf does 24 September mean

24 september (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37483072)

Back to school, though in many cases it's probably just malt liquor september

Re:September 24th? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37483158)

The rest of the world is calling. They're on the intertubes now.

Re:September 24th? (1)

White Yeti (927387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483560)

It means the Slashdot prediction is at least a couple of hours later than the official predictions.

Re:September 24th? (1)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37485040)

To be fair, 22:07 on 23rd September 2011 UTC is 24th September for a lot of us :)

Re:September 24th? (1)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37487002)

wtf does 24 September mean

It means you're very sheltered.

57 degrees! (2)

Stele (9443) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483136)

Shit! It's 56 today so I'm safe but tomorrow it's supposed to hit 58 and 60 on Saturday! I wish the pieces were landing today - could be a close call.

Re:57 degrees! (1)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483728)

Well done sir.

Why no sound? (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483202)

Why no sound? Don't all objects about to die a fiery death in atmosphere make those "whooosh" sound? In films everything in space makes some sound...

Re:Why no sound? (2)

MagicM (85041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483386)

It's far away. The sound comes later.

Re:Why no sound? (3, Funny)

pixelpshr (1004061) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483704)

Where is my kaboom? Where is my earth-shattering kaboom?

I appreciate the effort, but... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483272)

It looks like a screen saver for a tiny LCD. Very low resolution.

Solar Warming (1)

xdor (1218206) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483402)

"Experts say that a recent expansion in the Earth's atmosphere due to heating by ultraviolet radiation has been causing UARS to fall to Earth faster than expected."

So is this a backhanded endorsement of anthropogenic global warming or admission that it's the sun's fault?

Re:Solar Warming (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483996)

No, it's an example of the fact you don't know what global warming is.

Re:Solar Warming (1)

xdor (1218206) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488006)

Right, the greenhouse effect in a planetary body: trapped solar radiation hypothetically due to atmospheric particulate resulting in an increase in temperature on the planet's surface.

But why haven't we heard anything about atmospheric expansion before? Is the atmosphere of the planet actually reaching further into space? If this claim by NASA is proven: why not present that? Forget all the ice core samples and temperature readings: just show that the atmosphere is now so many miles higher than it was in 1980!

It just seems more likely that NASA is spinning this event for political reasons.

Re:Solar Warming (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488144)

Right, it's NASA spinning this.

NASA tries to explain the situation and happens to mention some random fact which goes against your "MY HUMMER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING BAD EVER!" dogma and you immediately go into spin-mode.

Or maybe you're just trolling...

Re:Solar Warming (1)

xdor (1218206) | more than 2 years ago | (#37495292)

Anthropogenic global warming aside: is NASA's explanation reasonable?

A satellite launched in 1991 with an apogee of 575km degrades orbit early, and NASA cites unexpected atmospheric expansion.

If atmospheric expansion has done this to a satellite launched just 20 years ago: should we not expect a veritable shower of near-earth vehicles? It seems reasonable that such a global characteristic would exert its influence on more than just this one satellite.

Perhaps describing NASA's reasoning as spin is mildly hyperbolic, but I find their explanation illogical given the sheer number of satellites in low orbit

Re:Solar Warming (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#37488086)

'We' (human activity) emits infrared radiation (heat) and carbon dioxide (which traps infrared emitted by the Sun). If the source of heating you mentioned is indeed ultra-violet then it'll come from the Sun and would be above and beyond what we're doing.

Anyone know why the satelite is out of control? (1)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483642)

Standard operating procedure is to reserve enough fuel so that the satelite can be safely deorbited or pushed up to a safe parking orbit (common for geosync) at end of life. What happened here?

Re:Anyone know why the satelite is out of control? (3, Informative)

popoutman (189497) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483970)

To my knowledge, the amount of fuel remaining was used to guarantee that it would re-enter sooner rather than later (a 25kg of fuel burn was executed at the end of 2005). There were plans mooted to recover the UARS using the Shuttle, but this fell by the wayside with various budget cuts and safety concerns. It appears that there was no need to have de-orbit fuel kept when the shuttle was the recovery vehicle, and when the plans fell through there wasn't enough fuel left to de-orbit in a known manner. The advantage of using the fuel in hte meantime allowed a few more years of data gathering. The working altitude for UARS was never going to have a safe parking orbit, and the orbit of the ISS was close enough in 2010 that an avoidance manouevre was needed to reduce the possibility of an impact. The spacecraft was left in a known stable attitude, but as the tumbling has shown, there has been an outside influence to cause this level of rotation. Maybe a pebble-sized item collided, and this is what's causing the tens-of-seconds wobble.

Lousy spelling (as usual) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37483750)

It's Thierry, not Theirry!

Re:Lousy spelling (as usual) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37485798)

It's Thierry, not Theirry!

Louis called to say it wasn't his spelling mistake, and anyway it's the pot calling the kettle black if you think his name is spelled "Lousy".

informative troo7troll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37483768)

[amazingkreskin.co5m]

"Amateur" Astronomer? (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 2 years ago | (#37483924)

Is Theirry Legault really an "amateur" at this point? I believe he makes plenty of money from this now.

Rain of fire not for you, Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37484036)

As of 7 a.m. EDT Sept. 22, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 115 mi by 120 mi (185 km by 195 km). Re-entry is expected sometime during the afternoon of Sept. 23, Eastern Daylight Time. The satellite will not be passing over North America during that time period. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any more certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 24 to 36 hours.
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/uars/index.html

Shoot it, Right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37484692)

I'm a little confused why we don't just shoot it down. It's that what we did with the last satellite that was coming down? It seems like a legitimate time to practice instead of pretending like we're not capable and wondering if it might kill someone.

Re:Shoot it, Right? (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37491952)

I was wondering if China would offer to shoot it down for us, just because we are such good friends.....

Duck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37485050)

Well, it could be you!

shoot it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37485116)

If it's dangerous shoot it. That was the excuse last time wasn't it?

Lost opportunity (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37486558)

It's a shame NASA doesn't have control over the reentry point. They could fix that budget cut in no time. "Why yes, Senator, I'm sure that doubling our budget would be enough to prevent the satellite from landing on your summer home..."

No more allien-theories, eh? (1)

m1ndcrash (2158084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37486576)

I wish it was UFO....

last casualty of the Cold War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37489858)

Will the person who gets hit by this be classified as the last casualty of the Cold War? Just wondering.

Re:last casualty of the Cold War (1)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37491992)

How many people will get cancer from contamination left over from top-secret production facilities? In some places, closed military bases and outlying fields can't be given away because the fuel spills contaminating the soil would cost more to clean up than the land would then be worth - and that's just regular aircraft fuel.

S'il vous plait, ecrivez son nom comme il le faut! (1)

myvirtualid (851756) | more than 2 years ago | (#37490120)

The gentleman's name is Thierry, not Theirry. Bad enough to get it wrong in the article, but in the headline?

It matters not that others have misspelled his name. Is that our standard for quality? Fourth-graders pointing at each other saying "well that's how BEEB did it!"?

Oi.

Lottery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37492550)

It's like a crazy death lottery

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