Sunday, January 27, 2008

New lies for when a certain kind of satellite dies…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 2:29 PM Permalink

…comes from this article from the Huffington Post, which, it seems to me, is disinformation being put out to prepare the world for something altogether different from what is stated. The title is, "Disabled Spy Satellite Threatens Earth," which sounds pretty dire to me for what they represent this satellite to be:
A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and could hit the Earth in late February or early March, government officials said Saturday.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret. It was not clear how long ago the satellite lost power, or under what circumstances.[…and here's where it get "v-e-r-r-r-y in-ter-esting" in a Henry Gibson kind of way. Bill][…]

The spacecraft contains hydrazine _ which is rocket fuel _ according to a government official who was not authorized to speak publicly but spoke on condition of anonymity. Hydrazine, a colorless liquid with an ammonia-like odor, is a toxic chemical and can cause harm to anyone who contacts it.

Such an uncontrolled re-entry could risk exposure of U.S. secrets, said John Pike, a defense and intelligence expert. Spy satellites typically are disposed of through a controlled re-entry into the ocean so that no one else can access the spacecraft, he said.

Pike also said it's not likely the threat from the satellite could be eliminated by shooting it down with a missile, because that would create debris that would then re-enter the atmosphere and burn up or hit the ground.
Hydrazine is toxic and can, "…cause harm to anyone who contacts it," but seems to me that the several thousand degrees of heat generated by reentry would alone resolve that problem by exploding the rocket fuel long before it could possibly harm anyone on the surface of the planet.

The "government official" also ruled out shooting the satellite down and said that allowing it to crash could reveal U.S. secrets.

Why would this satellite pose such a problem to "Earth?" The debris field would be smaller than that of the shuttle which exploded during reentry, a shuttle by the way that was probably fueled with hydrazine. How many reports do YOU remember about the threat of hydrazine poisoning from the crashing shuttle?

This smacks of a different problem: a mini-nuclear reactor that has been powering this satellite, carrying enough plutonium that, if shattered and scattered into very fine particles, could be landing in a neighborhood near YOU.

Comforting thought, eh?

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