The news sloooowly seeped out Thursday that sometime on Tuesday a "defunct" Russian military satellite had crashed into a US communications satellite over Siberia smashing both to smithereens.
Accidental. Right. Sheer chance.
In the vastness of space, with all the billions of potential orbits, ranging from 50 or 60 miles above earth's surface to hundreds of miles above earth's surface, these two just happened to bump into each other.
Over the arctic. Over the Russian arctic to be more specific. Over Siberia to be be exact. At 18,000 miles per hour. Kaaaablooooey!
The US satellite was owned, according to news reports, by Iridium Satellite LLC. The news says Iridium provides voice and data communications services to a smallish network of some 300,000 customers in far flung places of the world.
But a picture of one of those customers on the Products page of Iridium's website shows a military man, purportedly a US military man, in a very dusty environment, in full combat gear, making use of Iridium's data and voice communications facilities.
So, what was Russia hiding out there in the Siberian wilderness that they didn't want us to know about? Siberia - that frozen wasteland that is only a few miles from Alaska depending on where you are standing. How many customers does Iridium have in Siberia, and what exactly are they doing?
Hey, don't bust my chops about these questions. Don't think for a minute that the Russians aren't already asking the same questions. They aren't stupid you know. And Siberia is still Russia the last time I looked.
So who do we have there? Or near there? And what are they doing?
Has anyone seen Vladimir Rasputin lately? Last I knew he was shooting tigers, invading countries that were formerly coerced to be part of the defunct USSR, and harassing Europe by turning the natural gas spigot off and on during the coldest part of the winter.
But what has he really been up to?
Did you happen to note that little comment I made the other day in the article I wrote about this bogus "economic stimulus" bill that The Prez Obama is trying to push off on the American public? I called it a diversion, a distraction.
Looks like I was right doesn't it? Because the news about bumper satellites has really, really been downplayed while the papers, Internet and airwaves are chock full of political news.
A spokesman said this is all very innocent. We have to forget the Big Sky concept, the official said, meaning everyone no longer thinks space is a final frontier. There just isn't enough room out there for everything that has been launched into space since Sputnik went up on October 4, 1957, according to this line of reasoning.
Well, excuse me for a minute won't you while we look just a bit closer. There are approximately 18,000 man-made objects orbiting around us at any one time. But if all those objects were in orbit over the Earth's equator, at exactly the same altitude, right down to the inch, there would still be approximately 1.4 miles between each of them.
Lots of room to avoid collisions. Lots. But remember, they all aren't over the equator, there are billions of other places they could be, at widely differing altitudes, and there is virtually no reason for any of them to "accidentally" bump into each other.
Oh, the military also is claiming there are too many satellites and other objects in orbit over the earth - remember 18,000 of them - to keep track of them all! So, no one saw this collision coming!
Really? Well, Mr. Misinformation Master, how many damn airplanes are over the US at peak moments on any given day?
How about Europe? South America? I see. Quite a few more than 18,000, with much less room to maneuver in, and yet, we rarely have mid-air collisions. So we can do flight tracking for dozens of private Piper Aircraft flying over the Everglades, the heart land, the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Pacific Coast, Mexico, Canada, and God knows where else, while thousands of commercial flights are buzzing between major cities here and around the world, but not for satellites in known orbits?
Iridium's website has another tab that says you can send a satellite message. I have one they should sent to all the rest of their satellites.
The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! Look out! Duck! Run! Hide!
And I'm not kidding about that.
Thursday, February 12, 2009