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The UFO Chronicles
For those of us that pay attention to these things, it comes to no surprise that the previous Unidentified Flying (Falling) Object(s) reported over Saudi Arabia last Thursday night, by local media followed by a flood of posts via social media, including a plethora of videos at YouTube was/were in fact space debris.
The Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies (CORDS), a corporate entity that monitors objects in earth orbit as well as developing “applications in the areas of space debris, collision avoidance, and reentry breakup,” accurately predicted the reentry of the rocket body from the Chinese communications satellite Chinasat 9, launched in 2008.
According to their web-site:
"CORDS was established in 1997 to focus the corporation’s research and technology applications in the areas of space debris, collision avoidance, and reentry breakup and to provide a single point-of-contact for organizations seeking to take advantage of Aerospace’s more than 50 years of experience in these and related technical areas.Specific to an orbital body returning to earth, they state:
Outer space presents a number of hazards to spacecraft. Temperature extremes, radiation, solar flares, and micrometeoroids have long been essential considerations in spacecraft and mission design."
"It is very difficult to predict where debris from a randomly reentering satellite will hit Earth, primarily because drag on the object is directly proportional to atmospheric density, and atmospheric density varies greatly at high altitudes. In general, we can predict the time that reentry will begin to within 10 percent of the actual time. Unfortunately, reentering objects travel so fast that a minute of error in the time is equivalent to hundreds of miles on the ground.The prediction for the Chinese satellite was as follows:
If a satellite or rocket body has propulsive capability, it can use its rocket motor to target the reentry into a desired area, such as the ocean. This technique was used by NASA to ensure that debris from the 14,000-kg Compton Gamma Ray Observatory impacted in the ocean."
CZ-3B Rocket Body
Type: CZ-3B Rocket Body
Int’l Designation: 2008-028B
Launched: 09 JUN 2008 @ 12:15 UTC
Site: Xichang Satelite Launch Center - Pad 2
Mission: Chinasat-9 Communications and Television
Predicted Reentry Time: 16 JAN 2014 19:42 UTC ± 1 hour
Prediction Epoch: 16 JAN 2014 17:33:06.529 UTC
Prediction Ground Track: (See image above)
Yellow Icon – location of object at predicted reentry time
Orange Line – area of visibility at the predicted reentry time for a ground observer
Blue Line – ground track uncertainty prior to predicted reentry time (ticks at 5-minute intervals)
Yellow Line – ground track uncertainty after predicted reentry time (ticks at 5-minute intervals)
White Line – day/night divider at predicted reentry time (Sun location shown by White Icon)
Pink Icon – vicinity of eyewitness sighting
Note: Possible reentry locations lie anywhere along the blue and yellow ground track.
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