Failed Russian Rocket Breaks Up Over Australia—Leaves Dangerous Debris and Nice Pictures

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Near space is getting filled up with lots of junk that menaces productive activities in space. Last month the Chinese government blew up one of its old satellites to prove that it could reach the satellites of other nosey countries if it wanted to. According to Space.com:

The satellite's destruction is now being viewed as the most prolific and severe fragmentation in the course of five decades of space operations.

Last night, a Russian Briz-M rocket that had failed to carry a communications satellite into orbit broke up over Australia, leaving behind a similarly large cloud of debris and some nice pictures.  

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  1. Well, we all know that some subset of those crazy scientists will kill us all sooner or later: http://www.kressworks.com/Science/A_black_hole_ate_my_planet.htm

    😉

  2. There is a lot of crap in low earth orbit. More and more every year. There’s so much space though, the density is still almost zero. Thing is, all that stuff is going it’s own way. So getting hit by a gum wrapper is one thing. Getting hit by a gum wrapper traveling at a relative 10,000mph is a serious problem. And remember, in space, nothing is biodegradable so pick up after your dog.

  3. Failed Russian Rocket Breaks Up

    Dammit. I never got to see them play live. I’ll have to wait for the reunion tour.

  4. Ahem.

    As we all know, Pavel Bure was “The Russian Rocket” and he retired from hockey in 2004.

  5. “The satellite’s destruction is now being viewed as the most prolific and severe fragmentation in the course of five decades of space operations.”

    Does this sentence even make sense in context?

  6. Speaking of Russian boosters:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3289607813395929536 (KMGH Channel 7)

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6788557452413466195 (KDVR Channel 31)

    via http://science.slashdot.org/science/07/01/05/0018206.shtml

    Russian Rocket Hits Wyoming
    Posted by CowboyNeal on Thursday January 04, @09:05PM
    from the slightly-off-course dept.

    Harmonious Botch wrote in with a CNN story that opens: “A spent Russian booster rocket re-entered the atmosphere Thursday over Colorado and Wyoming, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said. NORAD spokesman Sean Kelly said the agency was trying to confirm a report that a piece of the rocket may have hit the ground near Riverton, Wyoming, at about 6 a.m. Kelly said military personnel had not yet reached the scene. No damage was reported and the debris was not believed to be hazardous, NORAD said. Eyewitnesses reported seeing flaming objects in the sky at the time the rocket was re-entering, Kelly said.”

    To save the videos for off-line viewing, click on the following links:

    http://xrl.us/DenverCh31Reentry20070104 (KDVR Channel 31, 2.8 MB .mp4 file)

    http://xrl.us/DenverCh07Reentry20070104 (KMGH Channel 07, 6.3 MB .mp4 file)

    .mp4 files require QuickTime 7 (free) or a video iPod (not free) to view

  7. The Chinese have been playing with anti-satallite weapons for over a decade. Its just that recently they decided to be a little more public about it.

    The Russians? Well, they seem to have always had a few more of their rockets blow up than we have. Kind of like the same story with nuclear reactors.

    But for those who really think they can stop the weaponization of space — what you ought to do is go fill earths orbit with gum wrappers. With enough 10k per hour gum wrappers floating around up there, nobody will be able to put anything in place.

  8. And if you use the shiny foil gum wrappers, they’ll reflect the sunlight and thus reduce global warming. 😉

  9. I see Ronald is shilling for Big Stellar Flotsam & Jetsam.

  10. Finally! Something interesting happens near our home.

    Apparently, people in SE Queensland also spotted something that night:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/australia/qld/toowoomba/200702/s1851801.htm

    Tuesday, 20 February 2007. 08:01 (AEST)
    Strange lights seen over southern Qld
    Stargazers have been reporting a strange sighting in the skies over southern Queensland last night.

    Numerous residents on the Darling Downs have called the ABC to report a milky glowing cloud and lights moving slowly across the night sky between 3am and 4am AEST.

    Former meteorologist and amateur astronomer, Mark Yandle, from Millmerran says he thinks it could have been an explosion in space.

    “High in the south-west there was a cloud of gas about twice the size of a full moon and as you watched it over, say, the course of an hour it moved slowly north-eastward and gradually got larger and at the centre of this cloud there was even brighter bits to me that sounds as though it was an explosion of some sort in outer space,” he said.

  11. Wow you people are out of the loop…. This was no accident just like the chinese “test” was no test. Let’s just say the USA’s ol’ “sattelites doing nice things in space” line has gone as far as it can go. Time to go back to the think tank.

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