Space debris puts Alberta officials on high alert

From: Eric Briggs (
Date: Sat Feb 14 2009 - 04:55:50 UTC

  • Next message: Thomas Goodey: "Space debris puts Alberta officials on high alert"
    CBC news: "Rural Alberta dodged impact with Russian space debris, according
    to the province's emergency officials. The North American Aerospace Defence
    Command was tracking the debris, estimated to be about the size of a school
    bus, after 10 a.m. local time on Friday. At first the debris was set to fall
    in Calgary, but officials later determined it would strike near Kneehill or
    Wheatland County, about 100 kilometers east of Calgary."
    The article continues to say that the debris ended up in the Atlantic Ocean.
    I'm simulating a 56 alt southward pass of Iridium 33's impact-epoch
    elements over Calgary at about that time.  Note that the impact epoch was a
    few days ago and anything fallen from a circular Iridium-altitude orbit will
    have spread out from the original time of pass.
    Possibly this is connected with a note I read on to listen
    in to US Air Force Space Surveillance Radar from Lake Kickapoo, TX at about
    midday today.  Now there is another note there to listen between 2:18 and
    2:28 am CST (0818 - 0828 UT) Saturday morning. Looks like that corresponds
    to a southward pass of the Cosmos 2251 elements.  The Progress SL-4 RB was
    at zenith in Calgary at 10:42 AM CST using elements from Celestrak.  The
    incident is likely from the SL-4 RB.
    Chatter about this seems nonexistent except on some Canadian mass media such
    as the Lethbridge Herald, note "Alberta Municipal
    Affairs would have warned the public not to touch any debris on the ground
    because it could have been radioactive."  Once bitten twice shy for anyone
    who remembers Cosmos 954.
    Eric Briggs
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