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The Military Space News Science

Delta Rocket Crashes In Mongolia 53

Posted by kdawson
from the chicken-little-was-an-optimist dept.
Dr La writes "Two metal objects, one cylindrical and a smaller round one, crashed near Buren Soum in the Tuv province of Mongolia, in an empty field, on 19 February. They are parts of an American Delta II rocket stage (nr. 35939, 2009-052C) that launched the military STSS Demo 1 & 2 satellites in September 2009. Both articles linked above say that the larger of the two objects is 7.5 meters in diameter, but in this photo it looks more like 7.5 feet. It is marked with the serial number '02728.' (The military STSS program is intended for space-based detection and tracking of missiles.) In the months leading up to the February 19 orbital decay over Mongolia, the fall of the rocket stage was followed by amateur satellite trackers. Based on their final orbit determinations just hours before the decay, the decay must have occurred near 3:32 UTC on February 19."
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Delta Rocket Crashes In Mongolia

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  • by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:35AM (#31303676) Journal

    Sanford and Son in Mongolian?

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:39AM (#31303690)

    Not at a precise moment in time.

    before the decay, the decay must have occurred near 3:32 UTC on February 19."

    Probably occurred near 3:25, and 3:45 too, and probably yesterday, and the day before and the day before and pretty much the entire time between when the fuel stopped producing thrust and the time it hit the ground.

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      I estimate that the site of the fall is approximately 47.0 N, 105.2 E. Our
      final elset, available at the following URL, has the object passing close to
      the site within a few minutes of 03:32 UTC on Feb 19. The elements are based
      on observations by Tim Luton on Feb 18 near 23:30 UTC, and Jim Nix and Brad
      Young one rev later, on Feb 19 near 00:58 UTC.

      3:32 was the time that the object was predicted to be in the area of the field in which it crashed. Presumably the object wouldn't take too long to make its final

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:47AM (#31303722) Homepage

    It seems surprising that the tank isn't crushed, but other tanks have come down from space [ecoble.com] without being crushed flat.

  • by 1 a bee (817783) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @03:50AM (#31303742)
    I'm no expert in spaceships and such, so all I can go on are the linked articles. This passage from the Mongol News, however (the only article I could find that mentions anything about a Delta rocket) is not terribly trust inspiring:

    According to a team comprising specialists from defense, emergency and astrology, who inspected the object, the two objects described by local people as meteoroids, were parts of U.S delivery rocket Delta-2.

    I for one would take this with a pinch of salt. Especially if it comes from an astrologer, or from one who can't tell one from an astronomer.

    • I for one would take this with a pinch of salt. Especially if it comes from an astrologer, or from one who can't tell one from an astronomer.

      It could be that they do know the difference, but their language doesn't discriminate between the two. Chinese astrology isn't anywhere near as much concerned with stars and planets as Western astrology is.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday February 28, 2010 @04:05AM (#31303800) Homepage Journal

    It seems the UB post has been slashdotted.

    The squashed thing hasn't disturbed the ground at all. I wouldn't expect a crater but a few displaced rocks would be expected. Thats what happened on Mars when the rover backshells impacted anyway. So maybe somebody dragged it to the site where the pictures were taken. It certainly looks like it came down with a hell of a thump.

    Also the sphere beside the squashed thing looks like it would have either been previously inside or attached to the larger object, or it would have rolled and bounced away. The picture looks somewhat staged for that reason.

    Definitely orbital or launcher debris though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I've been to Mongolia. In the steppes and desert areas the ground is sometimes a *very* hard surface. Also it is possible the objects bounced or rolled a few metres before coming to a stop. There's not quite enough resolution in the pictures to tell for certain, but the lower left corner of the upper photo (below where the guy is bending over to look at the debris) looks a bit like there is a shallow pit and some whitish, crushed rock. It's also February -- the ground is probably frozen. In this pictur [www.mk.ru]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    from that rocket makes its way into Chinese appliances that we buy at Wal-mart.

    • I could believe that an EPROM or two might make their way to China's own space programme. I recall that the USSR once aborted a Soyuz launch on Chinese territory and had to rush to recover the vehicle.

    • by tloh (451585)

      How much do you think the Mongolians would demand for the tech transfer? You do know enough about geography to be aware they are two separate sovereign countries, right?

      On the other hand, they might value the thing a little differently than one would a tech asset.

      from the article:

      According to a team comprising specialists from defense, emergency and astrology, who inspected the object....

  • Next US war (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 28, 2010 @04:24AM (#31303886)

    On February 19th Mongolia declared war on the US after a missile attack that left one yak dead and several others startled. On February 20th Mongolia surrendered to the US and demanded war reparations totaling 20 billion dollars as well as one yak and roughly 10 gallons of milk lost from the startled yaks.

  • Rocket Crashes? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Woek (161635)

    That title is just a tiny bit sensationalist... I had images failed launch flashing through my mind. A final stage dropping to earth was a bit of a disappointment :-/

    • Heck what worried me was whether or not people were killed by the crash. Fortunately no one was hurt but it could have been tragic news. Most of the planet is reasonably uninhabited (ocean, desert, sparsely populated areas like siberia etc.) and so most of the time these objects won't fall into anywhere that you'd consider important like a city. Although wit hthe sheer quantity of garbage up there, I'm sure it is bound to happen at some point.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

        Fortunately no one was hurt but it could have been tragic news. Most of the planet is reasonably uninhabited

        I don't know about this Delta, but some of the rockets we send up are hydrazine powered. It can take a year for somebody to die from casual hydrazine hydrate contact.

        I wonder if these rocket sections are appropriately marked with skulls and crossbones, or such markings could even be seen upon landing. Or even if any of the toxins we employ can survive re-entry.

        If something fell out of space near me I

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wow, that was a near thing! Good thing this landing occurred in this empty field, otherwise it might have.... uhhhh.... fallen in the next empty field?

  • Lucky it landed somewhere so remote. On day a some rocket parts will land somewhere with a high population i fear.

    ---

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  • In the months leading up to the February 19 orbital decay over Mongolia, the fall of the rocket stage was followed by amateur satellite trackers.

    And what happens when one of these drops on Beijing? Or Vancouver? Or San Francisco? I thought the flight paths were calculated so the boosters dropped in the ocean?

    I used to think where they came down was no accident. Now I'm wondering if they're just playing the odds.

  • A little while ago [csir.co.za], but still interesting I think.
  • Space Junk (updated)

    she was walking all alone
    down the street in the alley
    her name was Sally
    she never saw it
    when she was hit by space junk
    in New York, Miami Beach
    heavy metal fell in Cuba
    Mongolia, Saudi Arabia
    on christmas eve said NORAD
    a Soviet Sputnik hit Africa
    India, Venezuela
    (in Texas, Kansas)
    it's falling fast Peru too
    it keeps coming
    and now i'm mad about space junk
    i'm all b

  • So, why didn't it burn up? Not enough velocity? Not enough mass?
  • Preferably through land-based detection and tracking of rockets.
  • What's up with the cannonball? So they just happened to carry a supply of these in the truck?

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