The Sky is Falling The Sky is Falling

An out of control spy satellite that was reported as “crashing to earth” has experts assuring people that the chance you might actually be hit by the pieces of the satellite as “very slim”.

BBC: “In reality, a spy satellite heading uncontrollably towards Earth is not an uncommon event, says Dr Ruediger Jehn, a space debris analyst at the European Space Agency (Esa). He says that satellites come out of orbit and fall back to Earth harmlessly on average once a year.

Normally, when US spy satellites reach the end of their lives, they are disposed of through a controlled re-entry and dumped in the Pacific Ocean, so that no-one can learn their secrets.

But, Dr Jehn says older satellites are often more difficult to de-orbit properly.

‘When they re-enter they usually burn up in the atmosphere because a lot of heat has developed and there is a lot of friction,’ he says.

‘Only heat-resistant or very heavy objects will survive. There is a risk in this case that something will hit the ground, but given that the Earth is so big, the probability in this case that someone will be hit is really remote.’

US defence officials have released few details of the satellite because of its sensitive nature. Such spacecraft are used for reconnaissance and information gathering. No-one knows for certain how big it is but experts say it is probably a few tonnes.

White House officials told journalists on Saturday that a large US spying satellite, whose engine had failed, was falling from orbit.

Officials say they have no idea where it might land but that they are keeping other countries abreast of the situation. “

Sounds like pre-entry damage control to me. I wonder how much money your family gets if you get nailed by a piece of this? If one comes down near me I’m sticking my brother in front of it.