Ground Control to Major Tom
Yesterday government officials said a large U.S. spy satellite has lost its power and could hit the Earth in later next month or early in March.
The unnamed satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret. It was not clear how long ago the satellite lost power, or under what circumstances.
He would not comment on whether it is possible for the satellite to be shot down by a missile. He said it would be inappropriate to discuss any specifics at this time.
Believe it or not this has happened before.
In 1979, Skylab, a 78-ton space station, fell from orbit, scattering debris over the Indian Ocean and remote western Australia.
In 2000, NASA was able to guide a 17-ton Gamma-Ray Observatory back to Earth by using its rockets to steer it to a remote area of the Pacific Ocean.
And again in 2002, the 7,000 pound Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer satellite fell out of orbit and apparently broke up over the Persian Gulf, thousands of miles from where scientists first expected it to strike.
No snow so far this winter but hey, we've got plummeting satellites!