Posts tagged satellite
Hidden no longer
A commercial satellite operator says it has captured a rare image of China’s first aircraft carrier as it sailed through the Yellow Sea, after going through an exercise that’s the 21st-century equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack.
DigitalGlobe said the aircraft carrier showed up on a cloud-filled picture snapped on Dec. 8 by its polar-orbiting QuickBird satellite from a height of 280 miles (450 kilometers). An analyst spotted the ship while checking the image on Tuesday, said Stephen Wood, the director of the company’s analysis center.
“There is something that is always indispensable about having people involved,” Wood told me. The ship was identified “using a combination of the satellite imagery plus open-source material on the Internet, and geography,” he said, but “at the end of the day, it still comes down to a person.”
Experts have been hoping for months to get a glimpse of the aircraft carrier at sea. The former Soviet Union started building the ship, originally known as the Varyag, but never finished it. After the Soviet breakup, the Varyag ended up in the hands of the Ukrainian government. The ship was auctioned off to the Chinese in 1998. Since then, the Varyag, which has reportedly been rechristened the Shi Lang, has been under refurbishment for sea service.
“This is a ship and a story that has had legs for many years,” Wood said.
DigitalGlobe said this picture was taken during the carrier’s second sea trial, approximately 62 miles (100 kilometers) south-southeast of the port of Dalian. Wood said the picture indicates that the ship is “moving at a decent rate of speed, which would be expected in the middle of the ocean.” The U.S. military could no doubt glean more information about the Shi Lang’s status, from QuickBird’s pictures as well as from classified, higher-resolution imagery. source – MSNBC
Google map mystery of giant lines spotted by satellite in Gobi desert
“And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.” Revelation 16:12
A Google Maps satellite has spotted a series of bizarre structures during a sweep of the Gobi desert in China. The internet is buzzing with theories about what their purpose is, with suggestions ranging from giant QR readers to practise targets for military satellites.
To add to the intrigue, they are located on the borders of Gansu province and Xinjiang in northwestern China – an area that the superpower uses to build military, space and nuclear equipment.
In fact, some of the sites are less than 100 miles from Jiuquan, where China’s space programme headquarters and launch pads can be found.
Some internet users have been trying to overlay one of the strange structures on to various U.S. city maps, worried that there may be a sinister military purpose behind them. Others have pointed out that if China wanted to attack a U.S. city, it doesn’t need a practise map in the desert.
What’s also fuelling the mystery is that it’s just too difficult to tell what the structures are made of – whether they are painted on or dug into the landscape. However, upon zooming in, planes and burnt-out trucks can be seen on some of the photographs, which hints that they may indeed be targets of some kind.
This is the second time in a number of days that the search giant has published photographs of possibly secret facilities. Last week it published pictures of Iranian facilities which the UN says may be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Satellite images of Arak and Natanz show changes to the facilities in the areas when compared with images taken in October 2010.
The overhead pictures were released by Google following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which expressed ‘serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme’. source – Daily Mail UK
America on a collision course?
A Tweet on Nasa’s official Twitter account said ‘Re-entry prediction now later than expected – tonight or late Saturday morning,’ at just before noon Eastern Time.
It was the first sign that Nasa’s earlier prediction of a landing late this afternoon was wrong. A second update said, ‘predicted re-entry moving later.’
The official Nasa site reveals that the satellite’s orientation has changed during its plunge – and that its rate of descent was ‘changing’, making it difficult for Nasa computers to predict the time or place of landing.
The space agency said, ‘There is now a low probability debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States.’ Nasa says there is a one in 3,200 chance the falling space vehicle will hit someone.
The six-ton craft is being tracked by all available equipment including a giant radar at RAF Fylingdales on the North York Moors on its path towards our planet.
Nasa admits that it cannot predict the time or place of re-entry with any certainty – ‘but predictions will become more refined in the next 12 to 18 hours.’
A period of ’12 to 18 hours’ seems unnervingly close to when the huge Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) will break up on entering the Earth’s atmosphere, throwing chunks of metal weighing up to 350lb across hundreds of miles.
NASA said it will only know two hours before impact where it will land – and even that prediction will only be accurate to the nearest 6,000 miles. source – Daily Mail UK
September on my mind
My, my…in the last half of September we already had been planning for Palestine seeking statehood at the UN, the comet Elenin, Jewish feast days, massive solar flares, and now we hear from NASA that a 6.5 TON satellite will in fact fall from the heavens, make it through the atmosphere ‘ring of fire’, and land somewhere on Planet Earth. Y’all better be prayed up starting Monday.
The defunct bus-size spacecraft is NASA’s Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS), which launched in 1991 and was shut down in 2005 after completing its mission. The satellite was expected to fall to Earth sometime this year, with experts initially pegging a weeks-long window between late September and early October, then narrowing it to the last week of this month.
That window, NASA now says, has been trimmed to just three days.
“Re-entry is expected Sept. 23, plus or minus a day. The re-entry of UARS is advancing because of a sharp increase in solar activity since the beginning of this week,” NASA officials wrote in a status update today (Sept. 16). The projection is a day earlier than a previous forecast released by NASA yesterday. source – Space
Leaked Documents Reveal a Secret “Star Wars”
WikiLeaks has released documents to The Daily Telegraph that disclose a show of military strength by both the United States and China using space missiles to target satellites. China shocked the U.S. in January of 2007 when it took out one of its own weather satellites that was orbiting 530 miles above the Earth, and the U.S. responded.
“The American Government was so incensed by Chinese actions in space that it privately warned Beijing it would face military action if it did not desist.”
Officials working for then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice offered a stern warning to the Communist nation for making such a threatening move saying, “A Chinese attack on a satellite using a weapon launched by a ballistic missile threatens to destroy space systems that the United States and other nations use for commerce and national security. Destroying satellites endangers people.”
The warning continued: “Any purposeful interference with US space systems will be interpreted by the United States as an infringement of its rights and considered an escalation in a crisis or conflict. “The United States reserves the right, consistent with the UN Charter and international law, to defend and protect its space systems with a wide range of options, from diplomatic to military.”
Beijing justified its actions by accusing the Americans of developing an “offensive” laser weapon system that would have the capability of destroying missiles before they left enemy territory.”
Click here for the full story from The Daily Telegraph.
A year after China shot down its weather satellite a conveniently malfunctioning fuel tank on a U.S. satellite provided the perfect opportunity for the U.S. military to conduct a test of their own, which had not been done since 1985. The reason cited was that the faulty fuel tank would create an environmental hazard upon returning to Earth.
American Forces press service reported on the success of the missile fired to take out the U.S. satellite’s fuel tank:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2008 – The missile fired from a U.S. Navy ship in the Pacific Ocean that hit a malfunctioning U.S. reconnaissance satellite late yesterday likely accomplished its goal of destroying the satellite’s toxic fuel tank, a senior U.S. military officer said here today.
Preliminary reports indicate the SM-3 missile struck its primary target, which was a tank full of toxic hydrazine rocket fuel carried aboard the 5,000-pound satellite, Marine Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference.
“The intercept occurred. … We’re very confident that we hit the satellite,” Cartwright said. “We also have a high degree of confidence that we got the tank.”
Months following the U.S. test, the two nations engaged in tense talks over the matter, without significant resolve. The U.S. asserted that China is not considered to be an enemy, while China stated that it sees the two nations as “neither allies nor adversaries.” Deep concern remains over the ballistic missile programs, and no doubt the U.S. and China are watching one another very closely. China is said to have conducted further tests as recently as last year, but the U.S. has kept the new developments quiet.