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Canada Hit By NASA Satellite? NASA To Be Hit By Littering Bill From Canada?

Posted by pwl on September 24, 2011

Update 4: It seems that none of the following can be substantiated. Initial data are often wrong.


Canada again. What are we a friendly target or what? Looks like Alberta near Calgary. Let’s see 26+ counts of littering.

“The 6-ton UARS satellite — the biggest piece of space debris to fall from the sky since Sky Lab in 1979 — fell back to Earth early Saturday morning. Debris is reported to have been found near Calgary, Canada.”
Canada Hit by Nasa Junk Satellite at Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, near Calgary

This video seems to be showing the satellite broken up and reentering and burning up above Alberta. It doesn’t show any coming down crashing into Alberta.

Update 1: It looks like the satellite passed over Alberta on it’s way to the Pacific Ocean splash down.

Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics said the spacecraft entered the atmosphere around 12:15 a.m. EDT over the coast of Washington. He said much of the debris likely fell over the Pacific Ocean, though its trajectory suggests some of it could have fallen over more heavily populated areas in the U.S. and Canada, including Portland, Ore.; Seattle; Calgary, Alberta; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

“Pieces are falling off of this flaming fire ball, and some of it has enough momentum to go hundreds of miles,” he said.

Cole said that was possible because the last track for the satellite included Canada, starting north of Seattle and then in a large arc north then south. From there, the track continued through the Atlantic south toward Africa, but it was unlikely the satellite got that far if it started falling over the Pacific.

Cole said NASA was hoping for more details from the Air Force, which was responsible for tracking debris.

But given where the satellite may have fallen, officials may never quite know precisely.

“Most space debris is in the ocean. It’ll be hard to confirm,” Cole said.

Some 26 pieces of the satellite representing 1,200 pounds of heavy metal had been expected to rain down somewhere. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds.
NASA Says Satellite Fell to Earth Over Pacific Ocean

Update 2 Could it be that the video is a hoax. It looks impressive however… possibly the video is real but the reports of the debris landing in Alberta are the hoax.

Last night there was a report of long streaks on the Environment Canada Radar in the Calgary area. Here is a image I captured from their site. Unfortunately only one frame of the radar had the streak on it. I don’t know if the direction is wrong. I don’t know if the radar would see the satellite pieces either. They’d have to be within the radar’s range which I don’t know the parameters of, especially the full extent of the vertical range.

The time seems wrong though showing 11:30pm MDT in the Weather Radar image and the satellite “fell back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 23, and 1:09 a.m. EDT Sept. 24.” Since “Mountain Time (Canada) (Daylight Savings) is 2 hours behind Eastern Time (Canada) (Daylight Savings)” that means that 9:23 pm MDT to 11:09pm MDT is the time period of the reentry. Maybe it could have been delayed and come in just after Nasa’s estimated window? Hmmmm… don’t know at this point.

Well the Google Map of Okotoks, Alberta puts it in the weather radar zone between High River and Calgary right under the path in the radar image, so maybe this was the satellite captured on the radar? It’s in the same area anyway.

Slashdot reports.

Update 3:

“1820 GMT (2:20 p.m. EDT)
Nick Johnson, chief scientist with NASA’s Orbital Debris Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, says the space agency has received “no credible” reports of observers seeing the UARS re-entry. Officials think the satellite most likely fell into atmosphere over the open Pacific Ocean around 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT) and the surviving debris would have landed in the sea before reaching North America.” – SpaceFlightNow.com.

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6 Responses to “Canada Hit By NASA Satellite? NASA To Be Hit By Littering Bill From Canada?”

  1. Anthony Watts said

    The time is wrong for the radar, and the line is a beam interference artifact, commonly seen in Doppler weather radars. Note that it points exactly to the + in the center, a real track would not have that condition except by a nearly impossible coincidence.

    The video originally showed up on WUWT saying it was from SE of Oklahoma city, I flagged it as crap then too.

    Nick Johnson, chief scientist with NASA’s Orbital Debris Program at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, says the space agency has received “no credible” reports of observers seeing the UARS re-entry. Officials think the satellite most likely fell into atmosphere over the open Pacific Ocean around 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT) and the surviving debris would have landed in the sea before reaching North America.

    Sorry, but this doesn’t hold up. Nice try though.

  2. pwl said

    Thanks, it’s certainly interesting sorting through all the claims and misinformation, one learns a lot that way too even if none of what one investigated pans out as correct. Didn’t know about that type of artifact on weather radar.

  3. Anthony Watts said

    Here’s what a spacecraft burnup looks like on weather radar. This is the Columbia Space shuttle, about twice the size of the UARS, note the high intenisty echoes.

    http://www.sas.org/e-bulletin/2004-01-02/mimsci/art/Columbiaradarimage.gif

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