Bus sized UARS satellite crashing back to Earth Friday

matrixshaman

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The UARS weather satellite will be crashing back to Earth sometime around Friday this week. They say there is a 1 in 3200 chance it will hit someone. Does this seem to you rather irresponsible? Oh and if you find a chunk of it don't touch it. It belongs to the U.S. Government. :hairpull: They say it will create a 500 mile debris field and it will not all burn up on re-entry. It is expected to land somewhere between Northern Canada and southern South America. For any geographically challenged members that puts the U.S. right in the target zone. WTF? Is anyone else feeling a little like your government doesn't give a shift? IMO this should be blown to bits before it has a chance to re-enter so that any debris will be small enough to burn up on re-entry. Or they could attach a small rocket and just give it a push out into space so it will never re-enter.
:tinfoil: Nah, better make that a titanium helmet :rolleyes:
 
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matrixshaman

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One other thing I find very odd about this is that they say even at 2 hours before it crashes down that they claim they will not be able to pinpoint where it will crash down at. Sounds to me like they don't want any scavengers waiting around to grab up pieces. They did mention this will NOT end up on eBay. That leads one to believe that is their bigger concern rather than who it falls on. :shakehead
 

JacobJones

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Money isn't it, why spend billions sending a rocket with explosives up to it and deal with it in a way that doesn't risk harming the citizens of your own country when you can let it plumet back to earth with a few prayers. it'll probably be too broken up by the time it lands to do much damage anyway, few broken windows perhaps
 

matrixshaman

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Oh I agree money to make this a non-threat is an issue. But they put it up there and they need to be responsible for keeping people safe from their space junk. We pay their salaries and personally I'm not okay with their current plan. I also find it hard to believe they are saying they can't pinpoint any closer than plus or minus 12000 kilometers (that's over an 8000 mile radius) even 2 hours before it crashes down. But in the past space capsules have Navy ships waiting for them within a few miles when they re-enter.
 

matrixshaman

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Maybe they're making it all up and they do have a pretty good idea of where the main chunk will land.

I'm leaning toward that idea and that they even may have planned for it to land on U.S. soil for easier recovery. There is fairly solid evidence that these satellites contain nuclear material and they don't want that getting into the wrong hands. There was something that crashed a while back in South America (I might be wrong on that but I believe it was somewhere around there) which left a small crater. Shortly after all the villagers were getting very sick and I think those who visited the crater were in bad shape. I am fuzzy on the details but it sounded very much like radiation sickness from a crashed satellite.

This is a very interesting document from NASA on this and the risk assessment : http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/585584main_UARS_Status.pdf
 
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LukeA

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Money isn't it, why spend billions sending a rocket with explosives up to it and deal with it in a way that doesn't risk harming the citizens of your own country...

And scatter literally tons of hypersonic orbital debris around at the same altitude as the ISS? Yeah...
 

Colorblinded

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And scatter literally tons of hypersonic orbital debris around at the same altitude as the ISS? Yeah...
The last thing we need is more orbiting debris. Deorbiting would still seem to be the best choice if we want to have any future to continue putting stuff up in orbit without it getting clobbered by spacejunk.
 

matrixshaman

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I was thinking more along the lines of one of our top fighter jets hitting it with a high power non nuclear rocket during it's descent into the top of the jet's altitude capabilities thus exploding it into small pieces that would likely all burn up or at least be a lot smaller pieces than what they currently predict. Although like I said before IF these have nuclear power that will be one reason they won't attempt it. I think the best solution would have been to have an on board small rocket that could be deployed at the end of it's useful life to simply give it a push out into space before it's orbit degrades much so it wouldn't take much power and once given a push it would just keep going or until it ran into the gravity pull of some celestial object.
 

matrixshaman

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BTW if anyone sees a whole lot of unexpected military vehicles or activity in their area around Thursday or early Friday you may be in the expected target zone. Report here so I'll know which helmet to wear that day.
:lolsign:
 

nbp

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Humans really are their own worst enemy. We can't do anything without screwing something else up.

A 1 in 3200 chance that I get hit by some satellite crap??? I was a bio major not a stats major, but that's a really high probability if you think about it. If you look at a chart like this, it's staggeringly likely that I am hit by this thing. I am an outdoorsman, and I live in Wisconsin, where we have very cold winters. Getting lost or injured outside and freezing to death is a *reasonably* likely way to die for me, and yet I am twice as likely to get hit by these satellite chunks than die that way? That's absurd. I am not truly concerned that I will be killed by UARS, but the numbers would certainly make a person think they should be. Seriously, how do they not plan for these kinds of events when they go launching all this junk up there in the first place??? :banghead:
 

Empath

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The "Estimated human casualty risk (updated to 2011): ~ 1 in 3200" isn't indicating a 1 in 3200 chance of a particular individual casualty. It's indicating the chance of any individual casualty. That extends chances in your favor by a few billion.

The fear-mongering and unsubstantiated blaming of the mysterious and unidentfiable THEY being blamed for this so called great threat is being presented like a tabloid article at the grocery store check out.

Direct your concern at the sky full of planes overhead that can, and often does, come crashing down with heart breaking casualties. The chances there of disaster is so much more.
 

Colorblinded

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Direct your concern at the sky full of planes overhead that can, and often does, come crashing down with heart breaking casualties. The chances there of disaster is so much more.
I'm more worried about other vehicles on the ground than I am planes.
 

nbp

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The "Estimated human casualty risk (updated to 2011): ~ 1 in 3200" isn't indicating a 1 in 3200 chance of a particular individual casualty. It's indicating the chance of any individual casualty. That extends chances in your favor by a few billion.


Ah, ok, that makes more sense, it seemed I was misunderstanding something.

Either way, it doesn't change my feelings that humans do an awful lot of stupid things to wreck the earth, the stuff on it, and apparently now the space around it. :shrug:

Currently, there are more than 20,000 pieces of debris larger than a softball orbiting Earth.

:ohgeez:
 

beerwax

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lets investigate this 1 in 3200 statistic. if that number has been calculated by a competent person it includes allowance for populated vs unpopulated areas. the vast majority of area is relatively unpopulated or lightly populated.

so if by bad luck it hits a densely populated area you would expect the 'chance ' of fatality to be far greater than 1 in 3200.

it would more informing if they quoted the chance of hitting a populated area, and then the damage they expect if it does. for example do they expect peices that could penetrate a house.

i think, correct me if i am wrong, a lot of insurance policies specifically exclude 'space junk' ?
cheers
 
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Steve K

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... There is fairly solid evidence that these satellites contain nuclear material and they don't want that getting into the wrong hands. There was something that crashed a while back in South America (I might be wrong on that but I believe it was somewhere around there) which left a small crater. Shortly after all the villagers were getting very sick and I think those who visited the crater were in bad shape. I am fuzzy on the details but it sounded very much like radiation sickness from a crashed satellite.

This is a very interesting document from NASA on this and the risk assessment : http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/585584main_UARS_Status.pdf

"fairly solid evidence that these satellites contain nuclear material"???

Please, would you share that with us?

For what it's worth, I was part of the group at McDonnell Douglas that provided the Modular Power Subsystem, which takes power from the solar panel, charged up the nicad batteries in our module, and provided the battery power to the rest of the satellite. The three batteries, which each weigh about 100 pounds, are on the list of the 26 chunks that are expected to make it back to the surface of the earth.

I had the pleasure of transporting one of the MPS electronics modules (I think it was the Power Regulator Unit) to Kennedy Space Center and helped swap it out for the one in the MPS (don't recall why). Pretty neat, and was in the clean room with the UARS satellite itself.
You can get some tech details on the MPS module from our simple sales literature here and here.

I'm not sure why the gov't doesn't want people to keep any debris... maybe just to discourage people from traveling into the impact area prior to the event and getting injured? Besides, some of the stuff in the satellite is toxic. Certainly the cadmium in our nicads is toxic. The beryllium used in some of the satellite structure is toxic too, if it has oxidized. BeO is not uncommon in power semiconductors, and the packaging often contains warnings.

Anyway, don't listen to the conspiracy theories or other craziness out there. Just stay indoors, and put on a hard hat... just in case you win the 1 in a trillion lottery. :)

Steve K.
 

Samy

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It's ok everyone! I'm on the other side of the world so i'll possibly maybe slightly be ok! :)

cheers
 

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