Monday, February 18, 2008

Satellite attack planned for Feb. 21 - right during the lunar eclipse?

A Notice to Airmen has been issued closing a zone near Maui for air traffic on the morning of Feb. 21 from 2:30 to 5:00 UTC - and the to-be-hit satellite USA 193 is crossing that very zone around 3:30 UTC. Furthermore it has been noted that this is during totality of the total lunar eclipse that night which may aid the optical tracking of faint fragments.

Since the space shuttle Atlantis will land on Feb. 20 no matter what, a Feb. 21 date for the first shot makes sense; also it's smack in the middle of the best week for the 'engagement' as defined in the Feb. 14 press conference. So if you want to see USA 193, you better hurry up!

Two noteworthy items in connection with the operation: NASA Administrator Griffin who participated in that briefing was himself a 'star warrior' in 1986 when he arranged a collision between two satellites in the Delta 180 experiment - and there was (at least) one case of an NRO satellite falling into 'wrong' hands, in 1964 ...

In other news the third GLOBE at Night activity will commence on Feb. 25: "Both the 'classic' GLOBE at Night exercise that anyone can have fun doing with their unaided eyes, and a digital effort to obtain precise measurements of urban dark skies are offered again this year, in anticipation of a massive coordinated global effort with both versions during the International Year of Astronomy 2009."

15 comments:

RDale said...

Any systems problems on the shuttle could keep it in orbit until Thursday as they have one contingency day... But odds are good it'll be down Wednesday.

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If my handy dandy UTC-to-Local time converter works, 3:30 AM UTC is 5:30 PM Wednesday eve in Maui.

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