News today that the U.S. has blown up one of it’s dodgy spy satellites under the guise of “public safety”. This BBC article, complete with stock photos and diagrams describes, with the words of “experts” how this “threat” to humanity has been safely disposed of…
Er.. right! Let’s look at this closely shall we…
Satellite and Hydrazine
Apparently, we are told it’s a blob weighing about 2.3 tonnes and about half of it would survive re-entry. This is despite the fact that it’s chocka-bloc full of hydrazine, the rocket fuel (plus it’s un-named oxidiser). Let’s check the chemical properties of hydrazine, say on Wikipedia. Here’s a summary:
Appearance Colourless liquid
Density 1.01 g/mL (liquid)
Melting point 1 °C (274 K)
Boiling point 114 °C (387 K)
Flash point 37.78°C (closed cup)
As you can see the flash point is about human body temperature, and it’s lower than paraffin, diesel and jet fuel but higher than common petrol. Apparently, they reckon that because the automatic systems are broken, the hydrazine is frozen solid and won’t ignite as it plummets in the inferno as the satellites drops down through the atmosphere.
This, of course, is in complete contradiction of the evidence before everyone’s eyes of the space shuttle which overheated a bit and then set light to the on-board positional fuel systems (hydrazine based!). Representative articles on the OMS and RCS are here, here and here. From these sites you’ll understand that the hydrazine will ignite upon contact with it’s oxidiser – no spark needed!
Space Shuttle Comparative Evidence
Let’s have a reminder of this as well as the way frozen rocket fuel reacts to overheating:
These are the two space shuttles blowing up.
One going up (which happened because the frozen fuel got hot from a rocket exhaust) and one coming down (which happened when a hot area formed on the machine’s external skin, burrowed through and then ripped the internal tanks apart, setting off the fuel – boom).
So someone is lying. Rocket fuel either blows up quite readily as it’s an unstable substance – or it’s really stable and can withstand all sorts of rough handling including superheating and being mixed with hot sparky things as well as it’s design reactant.
Let’s also bear in mind that the space shuttle has an EMPTY weight of 68.5 tonnes and not much hit the ground intact. That is, it’s at least 35 times as big as the satellite and yet the argument from the “expert” is that it needed shredding to ensure it entered the atmosphere in safe little pieces!
Let’s see the words of “space expert man”…
Professor Richard Crowther, a space debris expert with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), said that if struck with the missile, about 25% of USA 193 is likely to survive the fall to Earth.
“The smaller the debris is the more likely you are to get burn-through. So if you fragment something before re-entry, less mass will survive to hit the Earth,” he told BBC News.
So he’s saying that the smaller the bits then the more likely they are to burn up. Now the shuttles blew up into quite small pieces, the largest was about the size of the spy satellite and even they got frazzled. The satellite is already that big, and once the heat gets through to the fuel and oxidiser then it’ll go boom – just the same as the shuttles did. Also, remember that the shuttles are designed as load bearing aerodynamic structures, just like aeroplanes they can withstand tremendous forces. The spy satellite on the other hand, is going to be just like all satellites; a twiggy looking box designed to keep the internal components in one place. It’s not designed to withstand tonnes per square metre of pressure or bending forces. It’s a egg box design in comparison to the space shuttle’s crash helmet design. It’s going to break up and explode regardless.
Conclusion and Truth Revealed
NO! If it looks like a lemon – it’s a lemon. Call a spade a spade.
The reasons to blow up the satellite are twofold:
- To make sure that the instrumental payload is destroyed so that it can’t be examined if it falls into the “wrong hands”
- As a public display that the USA can shoot stuff down in space, just like China and Russia. A warning shot across the bows, if you like, to prove, at least to the local citizenry, that the country still has an effect globally despite the public humiliation of failure in all recent conflicts and interventions that the US has instigated.
Public safety was never an issue. They really don’t care about you! Their past and current actions prove this is so! If you’re an American, it’s a well-known fact that if you need help abroad, don’t go to the American embassy! This is the complete opposite to what happens if you are a British subject/citizen… And if they care that little about their fellow citizens, then what do you think their opinion is of the global public? Get real folks.
It would probably be more correct to replace the words U.S. with either “Bush” or “CIA” as I’m sure most sensible Americans are completely aware of what’s going on.
Late today the US military did a big show for the world saying that they are pretty sure they “got the tank” using such cute science words as “spectrographic analysis shows that…” and such like. The “show” was in a room with six people and a TV cameraman. No doubt they were all carefully screened so as not to ask embarrassing questions. Maybe they were just office staff from down the corridor. Whatever, it’s been a carefully planned and managed news “event” lasting nearly a month now, starting with a instigation of worry in people’s minds, then moving to the level of worry about a possible success in “the mission“, then a bit of pre-announcement tension, and then, just like in a blockbuster movie, the successful climax with an explosion. Gosh!
It’s still a smokescreen and it’s still just to make Americans feel “safe” and to ensure that the spy payload is well and truly melted. Look at it this way:
Both the space shuttle and satellites use orbital and attitude adjustment rockets. Usually, one of the reactants is hydrazine, stored in a tank. The size of the tank is dependant on the power of the engine and how long it’s expected working life. The question is;
Would they really make a fuel tank stronger in a simple satellite than they would in a re-usable, human carrying, highly public and publicity sensitive spacecraft?
If the answer is no, then it’s obvious that the story is hokum. There would be no need for this farce and the tanks would disintegrate on re-entry.
If the answer is yes, then that tallies with other sentiments about the lack of care that the US government applies to the safety of it’s own citizens.
The only consistency in this whole ferago of twisted facts is the hydrazine. It’s poisonous although it’s never killed anyone. It’s also highly reactive and all it really wants to do is blow up! It’s actually quite hard to stop it doing so!
As in hypnosis, instead of a watch, everyone is watching the tank. The real story is elsewhere and as in hypnosis, the hypnotist has got everyone doing silly things.