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Serious Space Debris – US Command Fails Role As Traffic Cop

February 15, 2009

lsca_0001_0001_0_img0031Debris falling in Texas, possibly from satellites

DALLAS – The Federal Aviation Administration has received numerous reports of falling debris across Texas, which could be related to a recent satellite collision.

Some of the callers around midmorning Sunday reported what looked like a fireball in the sky.

FAA spokesman Roland Herwig said officials suspect the debris could be related to the collision, but he said that had not been confirmed.

The FAA notified pilots on Saturday to be aware of possible debris after a collision Tuesday between U.S. and Russian communication satellites. The chief of Russia’s Mission Control says clouds of debris from the collision will circle Earth and threaten numerous satellites.

Debris From Satellite Crash Possibly Fell Over Kentucky, Texas

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Space crash called “catastrophic,” lots of debris

This image provided by the European Space Agency shows and artist impression of catalogued objects in low-Earth orbit viewed over the Equator. Scientists are keeping a close eye on orbital debris created when two communications satellites — one American, the other Russian — smashed into each other hundreds of miles above Siberia Tuesday Feb. 10, 2009. The collision was the first high-speed impact between two intact spacecraft, NASA officials said. The debris field shown in this image is an artist’s impression based on actual data but not shown in their actual size or density.

(AP Photo/ESA)

Crash of US, Russian satellites a threat in space

MOSCOW – U.S. and Russian officials traded shots Thursday over who was to blame for a huge satellite collision this week that spewed speeding clouds of debris into space, threatening other unmanned spacecraft in nearby orbits.

A prominent Russian space expert suggested NASA fell down on the job by not warning of the collision. But U.S. space experts said the Russian has the wrong agency.

The U.S. military tracks the 18,000 objects in orbit, monitoring only certain threats because it lacks the resources to do everything, said Maj. Regina Winchester, spokeswoman for U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military’s Space Surveillance Network.

No one has any idea yet how many pieces of space junk were generated by the collision or how big they might be. But the crash scattered space junk in orbits 300 to 800 miles (500 to 1,300 kilometers)

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above Earth, according to Maj.-Gen. Alexander Yakushin, chief of staff for the Russian military’s Space Forces.

Debris From Space Collision Poses Threat to Other Satellites

The debris poses a greater risk to science satellites than to the International Space Station, which is currently home to two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut, since the collision occurred 490 miles (790 km) above Siberia. The space station flies in an orbit about 220 miles (354 km) above Earth.

What Happens When Satellites Fall

Satellite Collision Reveals Need for Space Traffic Control

“This collision underscores in a dramatic way the importance of instituting an international civil space situational awareness (SSA) system as soon as possible,” said Ray Williamson, Executive Director of Secure World Foundation.

Orbital Collision Won’t Be The Last

space_debrisHere we are 50 plus years after humans sent the first piece of hardware into orbit.  It took a long time for for it to dawn on those “Rocket Scientists” that the future would bring a massive orbital traffic jam.

This situation would be laughable if it weren’t so serious.  The first clue should have been the spectacular demise of Skylab.  Australia took it like a champ.  The publicity was good for that country.

Today brings another worry for a world already in shock from blanket mismanagement by world leaders.

“Thousands of nuts, bolts, gloves and other debris from space missions form an orbiting garbage dump around Earth, presenting a hazard to spacecraft. Some of the bits and pieces scream along at 17,500 mph.”

We are witnessing the unexpected failure of those brilliant space pioneers that have been our geeky heroes and stuff of great “B” movies.  Those responsible for overseeing traffic safety in our heavens have fallen asleep at the wheel.

With our political, financial, military, spiritual,  and now aerospace science scandals, we should be numb by now.  We are already cringing for the impact of earth’s environmental meltdown, caused by politics and industry tampering with science.  Where are today’s heroes?  Take a look in the mirror.  We are the victims and heroes.  We wear two hats.  We must gather all our strength and take responsibility for our own survival.  There is no government on earth capable of saving everyone.  Become knowledgeable about how to survive your economic and environmental stress.  Pay attention to the immediate threats to your own security.

Those in charge of safety beyond our control must be held accountable.  America has become a sloppy caretaker.  This condition is controlled by your vote and your voice.  You have used it once to elect a better option.  You have stated you are sick and tired of being spammed by your own government.  It is time to be active and call your elected voice in Washington, tell them to be responsible about the threat from space.    Space my be the final frontier, but it does not have to be the final nail in our coffin.  The old adage “GIGO”, garbage in, garbage out applies to our orbital debris threat.  Time to recognize we need an orbital garbage collector, too.

The US Strategic Command  oversees our Space Surveillance Network tracking thousands of pieces of space junk orbiting over our heads every day.  So, is this just a movie to them?  Shouldn’t they sound some kind of alarm when a collision is imminent?

Are you afraid to fly yet?

UPDATE:

Space Junk Clean-Up Program Launches

Melissa Eddy, Associated Press – Feb. 17, 2008 — Wary of the multitude of satellites in Earth’s orbit, the European Space Agency has begun a program to monitor space debris and set up uniform standards to prevent future collisions far above the planet, an official said Monday.

The $64 million program — dubbed Space Situational Awareness — aims to increase information for scientists on the ground about the estimated 13,000 satellites and other man-made bodies orbiting the planet, ESA space debris expert Jean-Francois Kaufeler told reporters.

The program was launched in January. On Feb. 10, the collision of two satellites generated space junk that could circle Earth and threaten other satellites for the next 10,000 years.

“What the last accident showed us is that we need to do much more. We need to be receiving much more precise data in order to prevent further collisions,” Kaufeler said of the collision.

BossKitty is impressed that someone took my Waste Management Collector idea seriously.

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