Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Flaming Space Junk Narrowly Misses Jet

An airliner heading for Auckland, New Zeland was rattled by a Russian satellite deorbiting.
Pieces of space junk from a Russian satellite coming out of orbit narrowly missed hitting a jetliner over the Pacific Ocean overnight.

The pilot of a Lan Chile Airbus A340, which was travelling between Santiago, Chile, and Auckland, New Zealand, notified air traffic controllers at Auckland Oceanic Centre after seeing flaming space junk hurtling across the sky just five nautical miles in front of and behind his plane about 10pm last night.

According to a plane spotter, who was tuning into a high frequency radio broadcast at the time, the pilot "reported that the rumbling noise from the space debris could be heard over the noise of the aircraft.
The article goes on to say that the Russians had warned the Airline about two weeks in advance, but the satellite came down about a half hour sooner than predicted in the warning. I wonder if it's routine for airlines to be notified of space junk?

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