Re: Tulsa woman struck by satellite

From: Joseph A. Dellinger (
Date: Mon Jan 17 2000 - 18:52:42 PST

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    	I lived in Tulsa and was a member of the Astronomy Club of Tulsa
    at the time of that incident. The woman was invited to come to our next
    club meeting. She brought along the samples of what had hit her, and I talked
    to her, and got to see and touch the samples.
    	As I recall, the woman (who was not THAT big, come on) saw the
    re-entry and shortly afterward was struck by something. I was suspicious
    because she saw the re-entry as a streak across the sky, not as a "point
    source" as you would expect if it were aimed at her. However, perhaps the
    debris that hit her took a separate trajectory? The "debris" itself was
    _very_ light and very fragile, a crispy half curled up black rind, about
    5cm by 10cm. It looked like it had been some sort of plastic mesh before
    becoming carbonized.
    	Club members found out from her exactly where she had been and checked
    the direction of the wind that day. They discovered that she had been directly
    downwind of a trash incinerator. We all agreed that it was more likely that
    she had simply been struck by a piece of incompletely incinerated trash,
    shortly after having seen the re-entry streak by overhead on it way to
    crashing near San Antonio.
    	As long as we're verifying stories:
    	A friend of mine at Stanford claimed to have gotten to see a piece of
    Skylab that "crashed in a drive way in Pennsylvania". According to the story,
    "the piece crashed in the drive way of an old woman, who was completely
    uninterested in it" and gave it to my friend's friend. "NASA folks came out
    and verified it, but the woman had waited too long to say anything so it was
    too late to win the contest and get the money." (There was some sort of contest
    for the first person who could produce a verifiable piece of skylab. Some place
    in Australia won.) "The piece that landed in Pennsylvania was small and
    aerodynamic and skipped, and that's why it landed so far from Australia."
    	Any possible truth to this story?
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