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back to article Pentagon: Bullseyed turkey-sat pieces will all burn up

The US military says it is corporately very pleased with the results of last Thursday's missile intercept of a malfunctioning spy satellite above the Pacific. According to American space radar, only small fragments of the bus-sized spacecraft remain in orbit, and they will all burn up as they re-enter. America's number-two …

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Wot no UserFriendly wiggle?

Shame - I was looking forward to hearing how life imitated art with Pitr and Dust-Puppy's "satellite wiggle". Ah well.

(For the uninitiated, check the last week of UserFriendly.org.)

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Stop

The size of a football

Is he talking about Association or Rugby football?

You know, I bet he is talking about the abomination of men in plastic armour taking 4 hours to play a silly girls game. The one where the players have to wait for the TV networks to come back from adverts before they can "play on".

Silly game, silly country. God bless the Queen and the Queen Mum who single handedly won the war by waving at poor people in the east end during the blitz.

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Black Helicopters

True?

1st thing, has anyone independantly verified the Americans story? Or are we all just taking their word for it [that that it's been destroyed].

2nd'ly, this whole episode has been about the Americans wanting to and demostrating their ability to "shoot down" a satelite; but "An American warship in the Pacific, USS Lake Erie, fired a modified SM-3 missile which lobbed a small kinetic kill vehicle into the dead satellite's path. The crippled spacecraft destroyed itself as it smashed into the vehicle at several miles per second." doesn't actually say they shot it down! They basically dumped the "kinetic kill vehicle" in it's path and let nature do the rest.

I feel cheated :-/

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c(l)over up

We all know that they shot it down because they fear it'll disturb a deep sea beast that will come and trample all over Manhattan.

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Anonymous Coward

If this story is only stale and not dead

yet, that can only mean the same goes for the satellite's bits. So, keep sittin' on the dock of th'ebay guys.

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Jon
Paris Hilton

RE: Size of a Football

You are correct, Size of a football is not a El Reg SI Unit.

Are these pieces larger or small than a bulgarian airbag?

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Kinetic kill vehicle

I think I'll file "Kinetic Kill Vehicle" (KKV) in my list of "Names for my Rock Band if I ever join one".

Or for my next Guitar Hero marathon.

-dZ.

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@Richie M

"""They basically dumped the "kinetic kill vehicle" in it's path and let nature do the rest."""

Yeeeeah, dumped. The kill vehicle was probably moving with a substantial velocity component in a direction not towards the sat, so managing to get the two to collide would have been a little harder than 'extremely damned tricky.'

Plus I imagine that the faster the kill vehicle was going, the more energy would get put into the collision, so they'd want to get that thing really hauling.

Honestly a kinetic kill vehicle has a lot more in common with a bullet than a brick, so they still shot it down. Too bad the sat was rather low... It's not much of a demo if they can't shoot down something that's actually orbiting properly.

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football sized...

Hmm... I wonder how small the space debris is they can pick up (and track) by radar these days.. 10cm used to be the limit in the 90s, but while I think that was diameter I can't say for certain. Might have been radius, so "Football sized" might just mean "we can't see anything very reliably sir, so it must be small". Reminds me of the infamous gap - space station designed to survive an impact of anything up to 1cm; ground based radar could track anything bigger than 10cm (time to move the orbit a bit guys...). The gap between they couldn't spot and couldn't survive. Ouch.

Oh, and then there's the number of "certain death" meteoroid/debris impacts expected per person-year of space walk - about 1.

Puts you off going into space, really.

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Won't stop em

Do you really not think that some "'official' spy-sat wreckage!!" won't appear on Ebay anyway next week?

Buy now!

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Of COURSE it'll all burn up

All we need now is for a decent sized, moderately recognisable chunk to land somewhere very public and embarrassing.

Is the Pentagon anywhere under the orbit path?

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Coat

Football

@Jez - Yessiree-Bob, that's gonna be a ball from one a them 4-hour girlie games. Ya might call it "A 'Merkin Football."

Grabbing my coat - the one with the "Born to be Crude" patch...

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Anonymous Coward

Kinetic Kill Vehicle?

That would be a big rock then?

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@Richie M

Well, nothing simply stays up there, in the sat's path. It has to be in orbit, i.e., to move, to stay up there. Otherwise gravity does its dirty job and brings it right back down.

So, I'm guessing that it was effectively in orbit at the same altitude as the sat. Probably going the other way around, so they actually meet. In which case, it was as much coming at the sat as the sat was coming at it.

In other words, you can stop feeling cheated, mate ;)

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Re True? Well, yes...

That's how an orbital kill works - things bump into one another. Kind of like tossing a brick in front of a car.

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Alien

I don't believe it...

I went out the very next evening and looked at the time and place when the small bits and pieces should have been going over head. I expected at least a few streaks of light as some of the broken rivets and small paint flecks re-entered the atmosphere at 7 miles per second. Nothing. Did anyone see anything burn up? Nada.

So, I'm going to stick with the "Meeting the Alien Space Fleet on the Opposite Side of the Globe from the Lunar Eclipse at Exactly the Same Time While the Astronomers are all Looking the Other Way" theory for now....but I'm open minded.

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Flame

@ Richie M

Firstly, every amateur astronomer on Earth can verify the kill independently. If you haven't done so, it can only be due to your inability to operate binoculars, or a preference for impugning the skills of the US military versus verification of facts.

Secondly, no one but a complete cretin would have said that the Erie was trying to "shoot down" a satellite. One doesn't do that with anything less than an equal-momentum vehicle moving on an opposite trajectory.

But I suppose simple maths and orbital dynamics are a bit much to expect from the products of modern "education," since they have been exposed primarily to psychobabble and social conditioning instead of useful skills.

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Boffin

@Jez Caudle

You are a fool. It were "Our Gracie" and Vera Lynne (singing a song written by two Americans) that won the war. Oh, and 40 million Russians coming in from the east with a very bad attitude.

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Happy

Same Old

@Daffy the Duck

So the Russians aint changed at all then?

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Gold badge

eBay record.

Of course, to really make some money on eBay what you need is a piece of Top Secret Spy Satellite melted on re-entry so as to look like the image of Jesus Christ when squinted at from certain angles in a bad light.

I find the idea of the Russian and Chinese military in a bidding war with Golden Palace quite amusing.

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Coat

mission seems to have achieved its aim

Hmmmmm. The press report cant possibly be genuine - there's not a single use of the word awesome.

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