David Kirkpatrick

January 29, 2008

Spysat reentry

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:55 pm

Yowza. A US spy satellite is coming home the hard way in February or March. What makes this event exciting (not the good type of exciting) is we’ve lost control over the craft so it can’t be guided safely into the ocean.

The real trick is satellites don’t completely disintegrate on reentry, they dump some amount of debris on Earth’s surface. And they tend to leave a trail of various chemicals through all the layers of the atmosphere.

All this means is this is an event to at least keep up with because there is some measure of danger, however very, very tiny that danger might be. Odds are high any debris will hit one of the oceans anyway.

Very unlike the overhyped TU24 asteroid event which poses absolutely no threat to our beautiful planet.

(Find an update to the spysat story here.)