Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Satellite Demolition Factoids

Where's the Superfriends when you need them? With the US-193 coming home to roost, it looks like the US will have to resort to shooting some missles at it in order to minimize the impact to our Mother Earth. Actually, when you think about it, the firepower might make for a great fireworks show. But I just wish that we had a laser cannon to vaporize the free-fallin' disaster just to be safe. So, in an effort to ignore the possible cataclysm, those jokesters at FEMA have compiled some fun facts about the incoming US-193:

Satellite Summary:

  • A U.S. Satellite has malfunctioned and is expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere sometime between the last week of February and the first week of March. Right now it is in an uncontrolled decent and as a result, the exact date, time and place of impact can not yet be determined.
  • The satellite weighs approximately 5000 lbs and about 50% of it will most likely survive re-entry.
  • The fuel tank, lined with Beryllium, contains 1,000 lbs of Hydrazine and will likely survive re-entry. Both are considered hazardous materials.
  • On a conference call held on Thursday, February 14, 2008 DHS stated that there is a 28% probability that the satellite will hit land and a 21% probability that impact will occur near a populated area.
  • Debris field expected to be 100 miles long by 60 miles wide
  • Final impact area projections will be more defined within two hours of impact
  • DoD will attempt to intercept satellite via missile after February 20th, 2008.
  • FEMA will be standing up 1 ERT-A per FEMA Region to facilitate a timely federal response
  • State EOC will possibly move to a level 2 activation closer to impact – this has the potential of being a no notice event
  • Plans/Ops will be reaching out to all sources to obtain and push out information as it becomes available.
  • – unofficial satellite tracking webstie
  • Space Shuttle landing is schedule for Monday, February 20th

History of US-193:

  • NROL 21 (or USA 193) is the cover name for one-off classified satellite.
  • Constructed by Lockheed Martin operated by the National (NRO)
  • Launched December, 14 2006
  • A few weeks after launch reports emerged, that ground stations were unable to communicate with an expensive experimental U.S. spy satellite launched last year by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
  • In August 2007 the satellite has been declared a complete loss and will be allowed to decay from orbit.

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