Thursday, February 12, 2009

Posting Something About Satellites That Crash

But I dunno what. I really wanted to figure out how come Cheyenne Mountain* didn't see this one coming a little in advance -- it's their job, after all. Then it turned out maybe they did. Earth orbit's not Main Street but the sky's gettin' a tad crowded. (Note linked data is NORAD-sourced but via Celestrak, a very useful service). Even so, whattaya gonna do? The Russian bird is a dead duck and the Irid-Chapter 11-ium can't dodge much even if it's got the Stoff to do so. (Not a lotta thrust there, and only so much propellent -- the oil truck, it does not stop by in orbit. Also, Iridium went Tango Uniform once already and the new owners, not so much with the ready cash). So, cross fingers and whups.

14 Feb: Update from Reuters with some, er, interesting non-comments. Oh, to have been a fly on some select walls for this one!

--You'd'a thunk one of the starship companies would have sent up a squirt-booster to salvage the Russian scrap, but hey, remember, it's a sooper-sekrit program and that sort of thing tends to tip the hand.
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* A commenter -- and Wikipedia -- points out that the US/Canada sat-tracking guys and gals, best in the world, mostly do their thing from other locations these days, one at an Air Force base near Colorado Springs but not under a mountain. Which is sad but it's been awhile since even a mountain was good enough shelter if somebody really wanted to smash what was under it.

7 comments:

D.W. Drang said...

Trying to explain to Mrs. Drang my chuckling at the "stoff" line. Hopeless.

WV: penyqgav. Looks Welsh, to me...

Mikee said...

The US Military owns Iridium now, having gotten it from Motorola almost as inexpensively as the Turks got their mobile phone system from Motorola....

Just wonderingz: is taking out a nominally military satellite considered an act of war or just piss-poor guidance commands?

Roberta X said...

Only nominally military, Mikee. As I read it. .mil does not, at least officially, own Iridium, they just happen (dah da dee dah dah, o what a co-inkydink) to be leasing a huge chunk of it.

D.W., I came very close to saying "the Right Stoff," but reconsidered. Looking at the list, it is kinda important to not use the wrong Stoff!

Anonymous said...

Most of the functions of Cheyenne Mountain have been moved, to Vandenberg AFB, CA (Space Command), and Peterson AFB, CO (NORAD).

Just sayin,'

I hope the mountain is still open for tours. Always wanted to see it.

WV: fiess, "N" less finess?

rickn8or said...

Hmmmmm. Just how out of "control" was that Russki satellite, anyway?

Amazing co-inky-dink that the collision occurred while Iridium was over Russia. (Or so I understand it.)

Butch_S said...

AGI has a couple of videos available depicting the debris clouds created by the collision. Low-res video on youtube at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o7EKlqCE20

Hi res versions available for download at:

http://www.agi.com/corporate/mediaCenter/news/iridium-cosmos/

On a different subject, that walker thingy isn't much more advanced than those two legged wind up toys. Neatest one I've seen is a six legged prototype developed by Timberjack for forestry operations.

Video of it here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD2V8GFqk_Y

dock said...

Stoff! yessss.

I like you even more, Ms. X...