RE: Reentry of 14052B / 40142

From: Ted Molczan via Seesat-l <>
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2014 23:36:03 -0500
I just remembered an earlier incident of suspected damage due to space debris, which Pierre Neirinck brought to my
attention several years ago.

On 1968 Nov 20, minutes before 18:00 UTC, Cosmos 253 rocket (1968-102B / 3543) re-entered over the U.K., where it was
widely observed. Pierre played a key role in alerting skilled observers. At about the time of the re-entry, a stone
broke through the north window of the home of a woman in Southend. Here is a link to an account by Mr. Howard Miles,
Director of the Artificial Satellite Section of the B.A.A.:

The following is from the pdf obtained from the above URL:

"A letter enclosing a piece of stone approximately 3.5 cm long and weighing 25.6 gm was received from a person living
near Southend (Essex) (figure 3). The writer did not see the rocket pass over but did mention that at roughly the time
that it was reported to have passed over, a window in her house was broken by the stone enclosed and she enquired
whether the two events were connected. There is considerable circumstantial evidence to indicate a possibility that the
stone was part of the rocket. These points are summarised:

(a) the house lies on the track of the rocket (within 2 kilometres of the track given above);
(b) the window broken faces approximately north towards fields, where there was no possibility of stones being thrown up
by passing vehicles;
(c) the window was broken some time after 17.30 hrs;
(d) the window was not shattered but had a clean hole made in it, indicating a high speed;
(e) the stone has two surfaces covered with a black coating similar to that found on meteorites;
(f) geologists who have been consulted cannot recognise a natural rock having similar appearance and possessing a
density of 2.83;
(g) general appearance indicates that the rock has been heated to an exceedingly high temperature.

The rock is a ceramic, bluish grey in colour and very hard, and from an X-ray fluorescence analysis, the following
composition was obtained: iron 100 parts, barium 75 parts, strontium 30 parts, manganese 20 parts, zinc 10 parts, copper
5 parts, yttrium 5 parts. The above accounts for less than 5 % of the whole sample."

The final page of the pdf contains a good photograph of the object.

Ted Molczan

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Received on Tue Dec 30 2014 - 22:36:52 UTC

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