Broken Satellite Will Be Shot Down

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PostPosted: February 14, 2008 4:01 PM 

I just watched the Pentagon briefing on shooting down the broken spy satellite and wondered what everyone thought ,do you think it's the best option ?

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 15, 2008 2:00 AM 

The Pentagon plans to shoot down disabled U.S. spy satellite

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon plans to shoot down a disabled U.S. spy satellite before it enters the atmosphere to prevent a potentially deadly leak of toxic gas from the vehicle's fuel tank, officials said on Thursday.

President George W. Bush decided to have the Navy shoot the 5,000-pound (2,270 kg) minivan-sized satellite with a modified tactical missile, after security advisers suggested its reentry could lead to a loss of life..... read more

This fact sheet answers the most frequently asked health questions about hydrazines.


danajohnson Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 15, 2008 12:31 PM 

In the article 'Improving power plant efficiency using analytical instrumentation', from ABB, in describing the methods of controlling the chemistry of the water boiler piping operations in the coal plant power industry, is the mention of a general public exposure process for the chemical.
In the 'Controlling contamination' section of the link, sixteen paragraphs from the bottom of the page, is this interesting note about one of the effects of using hydrazine in boiler operations.
High pressure boilers consume millions of tons of water as steam, and reducing metals with hydrazine can protect the piping maze which runs through the vast boiler rooms.

"Hydrazine is also ideal as it reacts with soft haematite layers on the boiler tubes to create a hard protective magnetite layer which acts to protect the tubes from further corrosion."

The quantity and frequency of use are not discussed in the link I read, but the coal fired power plant industry keeps large vats of this chemical for use in bringing the plants up to operating temperature and high pressure.
They cannot separate the chemical from the liquid in the piping before venting.
The article here discusses 3:1, hydrazine to oxygen, in effective use to reduce available oxygen in the pipes.
It seems we are exposed in the region of coal fired plants to a dosage of the chemical during it's decay cycle when it is released in the atmosphere at steam stacks.
A direct satellite fall might give a high local exposure to very close populations, but this chemical has a current low concentration presence in the air of various regions around the country either periodically, or continuously.
Very agressive warning labels are placed on the containers, but the general low value emmissions are not common knowledge once the steam hits the open air.
Scrubbers are used in the coal plant industry to reduce the quantities of emmissions of some steam contaminants, and the quantity of the material which can condense into fog or rain locally would be interesting information if someone can find a figure to add here, aiding in understanding the general exposure of the public to this chemical.

A limit in the exposure before degradation to less harmful chemicals was suggested as being 'a few hours or days'. The longer time limit(days) was discussed as a water based release, the shortest(hours) as a direct evaporate chemical release. The condition of a container source would be the real determining factor in a release by impact.

Any environmental students or scientists here have a good link for quantity of public exposure in volume figures?

Interesting the chemistry of use in the particular industry, as the minerals are under study on Mars in the NASA MER program.

danajohnson Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 15, 2008 1:26 PM 

Hydrazine thrusters as a landing tool for Phoenix Mars lander. An oxygen scavenger and a water-iron chemical soup mix heat experiment to add to the uncertainty principal built into lander study of the basic Mars residual 'bio' signatures which might turn up near the surface.
With a lifetime of days at high ambient temperatures such as on Earth, in water, presumably much longer lifetime at the lows of Mars, nearly no available oxygen to scavenge at the surface, with some ice present to vaporize below the surface, and plenty of iron mineral basics to alter, this adds 'fuel' to the mix, bringing the landing into the realm of a 'recent venting of hot gases'.
An unpublished experiment, perhaps?

Would the experiment be to sterilize, or alter the mineral chemistry basics?

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 16, 2008 1:06 AM 

Thanks for the links Dana they were interesting allthough I am unable to be of any help I have not got any scientific background ,a quick search showed that someone called Richard Dworkin was involved in the research heres a link but it doesn't mean anything to me .


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PostPosted: February 16, 2008 7:37 PM 

OK, you no-good piece of space junk. You just try to re-enter and see what happens.

Go ahead - Make my day.

I wonder if we'll see another article similar to this one:

[link] ?nav=rss_print/asection

It makes you wonder. What's the risk from the release of a relatively small quantity of hydrazine (which would burn up in re-entry) compared with the risk of space debris?

What's the real agenda here?

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 16, 2008 8:53 PM 

Aldebaron on this link it does say :
"The spacecraft contains 1,000 pounds of hydrazine in a tank that is expected to survive re-entry and a fuel tank liner made of beryllium."

Operation Rogue Satellite: The Latest


It also mentions the cost

"The attempt by the U.S. Navy to use an anti-missile missile to shoot down a potentially hazardous satellite will cost between $40 million and $60 million, Pentagon officials told CNN. "The missile alone costs almost $10 million"

I think they will go for it quite soon once the shuttle is down so not long to wait .

*looks for hard hat * Very Happy


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PostPosted: February 17, 2008 12:33 AM 

They also say that they expect the fuel tank to be breached, which will mean that the vast majority of the contents will vaporize and flare off. Hydrazine produces NOx when burnt. It is of course highly toxic, with a Threshold Limit Value (TLV) of 0.1ppm (ACGIH) It has a Boiling Point of 115 degrees C, similar to water.

The highest risk would be that the tank could land intact in a populated area with some hydrazine residue present.

I notice that the orbit goes over my area, so I'll probably get a further briefing about it should they change their minds about taking it out. (I act as a Hazmat Adviser for our local emergency services.) The satellite has a 261 x 263 km, 58.5° orbit, and the perigee is current dropping at the rate of about 10km a week. Re-entry should occur at about 100km.

I was involved with a previous satellite that re-entered complete with nuclear source, about 10 years ago.

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 17, 2008 2:00 AM 

It does seem a bit OTT if the Hydrazine is mostly going to have burnt off.
Do you think they will tell us when they are going to fire at it or we will just see the action replay on the evening news ?

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 20, 2008 4:41 AM 

The US military has issued a warning notice barring flights above a large area of the northern Pacific for two and a half hours early on Thursday morning. The stricken spy satellite marked for destruction by US warships will pass over the taped-off area just at this time, indicating that the first shot will take place then.

KPM Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 20, 2008 9:14 AM 

I think it is a little bit more than the Hydrazine that is motivating the shoot down, technology issues and other data onboard may make it best to put it into a thousand pieces rather than a salvagable lump falling into the wrong hands. Two things about the shooting:

1) Bring it down and you have just told the rest of the world you can take out incomming mavrick or controlled stuff from Space.

2) Miss and you've done nothing but talk up your capability to knock out objects in orbit but you cannot demonstrate it neither can you control and make safe objects you have put there in the first place.

No pressure lads but whatever you do don't miss!

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 20, 2008 2:24 PM 

You may be right KPM I have seen the various speculation but I really don't know enough about it to judge ,I have to admit to finding the excercise quite interesting I wonder if they will have a camera on the missile for us to watch the action ,I will have withdrawal from no more shuttle coverage ,I have so enjoyed this mission so I reckon with all that spare airtime they should put it on Nasa TV for me to watch . Wink

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 20, 2008 3:55 PM 

Pentagon says high seas may delay mission until at least Thursday

MSNBC News Services
updated 10:24 a.m. ET Feb. 20, 2008
WASHINGTON - High seas in the north Pacific may force the Navy to wait another day before launching a heat-seeking missile on a mission to shoot down a wayward U.S. spy satellite, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 21, 2008 1:52 AM 

Missile hits dying US spy satellite

dx Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 21, 2008 8:58 AM 

...and what a 'glorious hit for the Empire' it was.



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PostPosted: February 21, 2008 8:53 PM 

I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with this one.

Congratulations to the U.S. military on an apparent direct hit.


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PostPosted: February 22, 2008 12:01 AM 

I think they shot it down because this was a good chance to show they could. Kinetic Kill Vehicle is really glorified shot gun pellets. Standard Missile has been around since the 50's! Many electronic up grades!

Ixt Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 22, 2008 12:56 AM 

Raw Video Shows Navy Missile Destroying Doomed Satellite

[link] /50894.html

danajohnson Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 23, 2008 4:23 AM 

This has been done many times with lower flying aircraft, but it was a 'clean' kill, no loss of lives, and still made the movie scene for a day.
This was an occasion where we could argue the cause was a defense posture only against our own self endangerment. Making tests against orbital objects is apparently a tough PR problem normally.
To perform this against nuclear weapons just doesn't make sense, even though there are few other options.
Is it possible to make a standing system like this work only for non-nuclear emergencies?
Will a system be deployed to protect political allies from local threats eventually?
Maybe viewing this as a single event is reasonable in the short term, but I used to watch the 1960's tests of anti-missile missiles, outside Las Vegas in the sky, as they made the most peculiar zig-zag and spiral pattern contrails I could ever imagined. Seeing twenty or thirty changes of direction at sharp angles up to 90 degrees is impressive.
A strike with a heavy payload would be a reasonably direct path due to impulse/momentum developed in flight.
Is the method selected only a PR battle, or, is this a better method for doing this work?

danajohnson Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 23, 2008 1:25 PM 

I couldn't get the link on reply #17 to work, and this may require you either login to Yahoo, or register to view, as I was delayed by a login request.
PR, and a little video view of the impact.
US news coverage comments with similar video clip.
The published executive reasoning for the shootdown, issued prior to the action, best viewed last in sequence for a better adjusted understanding of the various reasonings stated. Downed satellites are watched closely for several reasons. In this case the satellite had become a public spectacle, well watched in advance.
Looks like a success story in several perspectives.
Mention of larger pieces orbiting for forty days yet, but contrary mention of the pieces being not large, rather, as small as a football. Anyone hear of remaindering pieces still orbiting?
It has been a few days now. Any reports of fallen items?

Mizar Author Profile Page

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PostPosted: February 23, 2008 6:42 PM 

I think there is more concern of the satellite itself than only the hydrazine tank alone. But Pentagon shows the capability to make this hit, and this is quite a spectacular mission. I'm wondering about the explosion, which could send fragments out to elevated orbits and produce more long lasted space junk ?

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