USA 193

Keep this to yourself

Launch, hard to hideLaunch, hard to hide
This we like. The underdog, the little man, David and Goliath, there are many ways of expressing the same thing. Which is, that the might of the state can be threatened, or so we are told, by just an ordinary citizen. And in the case of spy satellites, it would seem that a man on the balcony of an apartment block in Toronto, and another in his back garden in Cheshire equiped with no more than binoculars, stopwatch and webcam are, according to the 'big people' doing just that. Many years ago trainspotting was popular. Why that should be I simply don't know. Trainspotting has always served as a benchmark for similar hobbies, the Internet is awash with the websites of bus, plane and you name it groups offering opportunities to indulge in these simple 'passions'. But time moves on. Man the spotter has raised his eyes to the heavens, not to conventional astronomy, but something closer to home and has taken an interest in satellites, particularly one called USA 193.

From an article in the International Herald Tribune, see here, we learn that the US National Reconnaissance Office is not too keen on the satellite watchers telling all they know to the world via the Internet. However, the NRO has its own website here, and so is hardly hiding its light under a bushel. Also this 'secret' is reported by Scientific American, who think the satellite should be called L21 see here. But what is this all about? Well the US launched a satellite which has failed to do what it said on the tin, that is go in to orbit, so is now falling back to earth. Satellite failure is rare but objects falling from space is not. Scientific American say that about 17,000 objects of varying size fall each year, most burn up upon re-entry, but not a large fuel tank weighing over 500 pounds that landed 50 yards from a home in Texas. So what is this, story or non story? Danger or not? Nice imagery though for those of you with imaginations!

See also here and
here, but don't tell anyone else.

Only looking Only looking