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Dr La (1342733) writes "On request of the Dutch government an independant company (Fox-IT — no relation to the TV network whatsoever) investigated the situation at Diginotar, the hacked Dutch company at the center of the fraudulent SSL certificates scandal. The report contains some amazing observations. While the company is active in the internet security business, Diginotar was extremely sloppy regarding it's own security to internet threaths.
The report (http://www.scribd.com/doc/64011372/Operation-Black-Tulip-v1-0) mentions that:
a) No antivirus software was present on Diginotar's servers;
b) "the most critical servers" had malicious software infections;
c) The software installed on the public web servers was outdated and not patched;
d) all servers were accessible by one user/password combination, which was "not very strong and could easily be brute-forced".
Diginotar did appear to have run a firewall though." top
The Delta II rocket in question launched a military satellite duo, parts of the STSS program, intended for space-based detection and tracking of missiles.
The fall of the rocket stage was followed by amateur satellite trackers in the months leading up to the February 19 decay over Mongolia. Based on their final orbit determinations just hours before the decay, the decay must have occured near 3:32 UTC on February 19." top
Dr La writes "SpaceFlight Now breaks the story
about a collision between two satellites on Tuesday 11 February. The
satellites were a commercial Iridium satellite (providing satellite
telephone service) and a defunct Russian Kosmos satellite.
Amateur satellite sleuths at the satobs.org list were quick to
deduce that it concerned Iridium 33 (Norad #22675) launched in 1997 and
Kosmos 2251 (Norad #24946) launched in 1993. The collision occured at
16:56 GMT (11 February) over the arctic of Northeast Siberia, at 98.156
E, 72.462 N, 788.58 km (490 mile) altitude.
The collision resulted in a large amount of fragments, which will
gradually disperse and form a band of debris at about 800 km altitude,
the operational altitude of many satellites. They will not endanger the
International Space Station, as this orbits at a much lower altitude
(about 350 km)." top
Dr La writes "Following close on Oberg's defense of it in IEEE Spectrum, which was recently covered on/., the online Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has published an essay by Harvard astrophysicist Yousaf Butt with a very critical view of the official reasons given for the shootdown of the failed USA 193 spy satellite.
Butt filled a request through the Freedom of Information Act and obtained the report featuring the re-entry model and analysis that was used. And found it to be flawed and on closer look not quite supportive of the alledged 'danger' of the re-entry of USA 193's hydrazine fuel tank. The report is very cautious and it's authors already note that some of the model assumptions are not realistic. Importantly, it shows that even with these assumptions maintained, much of the tank's titanium outer layer will ablate according to the model (remember how Oberg denied this in his essay?!), leaving only a very thin outer shell 1/5th or less of the original thickness. This assumes uniform ablation (which is not realistic).
Butt argues that when more realistic assumptions are made, this suggests the tank would likely have been destroyed upon reentry. The implications are that the 'danger' was very small indeed. And hence the 'concern' given in the official reasoning behind the shootdown, overstated.
You can read the essay here, and it includes a link to the report pdf.
The essay highlights (taken verbatim from the essay introduction itself):
A NASA study on the survivability of USA-193's hydrazine fuel tank used an oversimplified model, leading to an overly optimistic assessment of the tank's survival.
But even this study showed how the tank would have burned up when reentering the atmosphere.
Therefore, Washington's contention that the tank would have hit the ground intact, posing a health hazard, seems questionable.
Another thing to note is that the tank was not completely filled with fuel, but 76% filled. That turns out to be an important factor in the assessment of what would have happened to the tank upon reentry."