Sunday, April 01, 2007

NASA: "UFO Was Not Russian Space Debris"

UFO Nearly Misses Jetliner
NASA doubts falling Russian space debris was at fault for scaring Chilean plane

By William Atkins

Reports have been coming in about a Lan Chile Airbus 340 with hundreds of people onboard having a near miss with a Russian space object. However, new information has been announced that disputes this story.
     According to NASA officials, the Russian space object—which supposedly made the near-miss collision with the Chilean airplane about four hours southwest of Auckland—actually re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on schedule and well outside the time as reported by the Chilean pilot.

However, the crew of the Chilean airplane, who was flying over the Pacific Ocean from Santiago, Chile, to Auckland, New Zealand, did have a near miss with something that was described as sounding like a loud roaring noise and visually as several fireballs with falling debris passing within about 9 kilometers (6 miles) of the plane.

The actual identify of the “unidentified falling object” (UfO) is still being decided.

Earlier, Russia officials had issued an air-space warning in the southern mid-Pacific Ocean. They relayed information to the world’s aviation community that a Russian Progress 23P cargo freighter (a supply ship) had been released from the International Space Station at 2:11 p.m. EDT (eastern daylight savings time) on Tuesday, March 27, and was scheduled to re-enter the upper atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday at about 5:40 p.m. This procedure has been performed on numerous occasions in the past as supplies are delivered to crew members of the space station and waste materials are removed and burned up (along with the supply ship) in the Earth’s atmosphere.

This event was reported worldwide such as in the Spaceflight Now report “International Space Station supply ship undocks”.

However, the fireball was observed by the Chilean pilots about 12 hours before the time interval that the Russians reported for the Progress ship was scheduled to burn up in the atmosphere. It is now reported by the Russians that the Russian ship de-orbited and burned up in the atmosphere as scheduled. It is assumed that Chilean and New Zealand aviation officials mistakenly thought that the Russian supply ship had come down early, and was the cause of the incident.

Reports that Russia was also deorbiting an old communications satellite around this time and in this same Pacific area seem also to be wrong.

This area of the Pacific Ocean is often used as an area to crash space junk because it is almost without human presence.

NASA officials say that the Chilean pilot and crew could have seen one of many different types of objects descending into the atmosphere. They say that a meteorite is very likely to be the culprit. Around 50 meteoroids leave outer space each day and enter the Earth’s atmosphere, where they are then called meteors. Those that hit the surface of the Earth are called meteorites. Only about 150 artificially made objects re-enter the atmosphere each year.

Officials with the New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are now performing further investigations of the cause of this in-flight incident.

For additional history on continuing problems between Russia and Chile with regards to Russian space debris coming down off the Pacific coast of Chile, please read the very interesting and informative MSNBC article by NBC news space analyst James Oberg. The article called “Fireball fears stoked by space history: Chileans often see the results of Russian orbital debris” is found at

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