Thursday, 12 February 2009

Satellite Collision Highlights Growing Threat

The fault for a collision between a pair of Russian and US satellites has kick-started a controversy not only over which is the correct orbital direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise) but also who was on the wrong side of the galactic highway.

While space travel vehicles are supposed to comply with international / EU road standards, the Russians still drive on the left while the Americans drive on the right, or the left, depending on which of the 50 States they’re in and their level of intoxication.

The spacecraft were travelling towards each other at speeds far exceeding the recommended T<2>G*1 /+/- 186,000 mph limit for congested areas when they crashed into one another. A NASA spokesman told the media that this type of orbital velocity is what is termed as “very very fast.”

There are about 17,000 man-made objects above the size of a normal household toilet that orbit Earth - and the tally is constantly increasing. This in turn raises the risk of collisions between objects the size of a bog bowl and up to a garden shed, to levels of underwriting that no Earth-bound insurer wishes to consider.

Many of the old-style Low Earth orbit satellites are approximately the size of a Mini Cooper, while several actually are Mini Coopers, (or garden sheds) converted for space use due their light weight and aerodynamic shapes being easy to stuff with senseless electronic ‘see what the Russians are doing’ spy gear and Gaffer tape the entire caboodle to the top of a booster rocket for launch.

In this latest orbital disaster, apparently the US “NosyCunt” spy satellite hit a Russian “SeeYou” spy satellite at an altitude of 800 km over space’s equivalent of “No Man’s Land” on Tuesday, NASA told a reporter from the science section of the Duck Stretchers Weekly News.
As both spacecraft had plutonium fuel core cells there will doubtless be a rise in the incidence of cancer-related diseases in Europe (including impotence, infertility and patent baldness) where the majority of the radioactive debris from the disintegrated satellites is calculated to fall.

Blame for the collision is being pointed at both sides, and by both sides. Russian satellites, since the days of the original Sputnik 1, have traditionally been piloted by Huskies, while American satellites have been manned by Chimps.
So the core question now lies with : who is better at piloting satellites and avoiding collisions : the sled-puller or the banana-eater?

Here the story takes on a scent of the unique.

The US Iridium 17 “NosyCunt” satellite’s ‘Monkeynaut’ had docked earlier that day with the International Space Station, where he stocked up with toilet tissue (edible type), mangoes, bananas and monkey nuts (ready-salted variety), then spent two hours in the space station’s duty-free bar debating the dubious virtues of electing a black Kenyan as the new US President.
After consuming six beers and a bottle of tequila he then staggered off to pick up his freshly-serviced satellite (oil and filter change plus a new fan belt).

The Russian craft, piloted by their latest robotic Huskienaut, Bow-wow-ski, was on its normal orbital trajectory, with the canine automaton pilot gnawing on a virtual reality yak bone, when the Iridium 17 satellite came across an intersection faster than a speeding meteor and struck the oncoming Russian satellite broadside, which resulted in both spacecraft going into terminal burn-up re-entry modes. Insha-Allah and / or Amen.

The UN’s Space Highways arm are planning on authorising orbital traffic lights once they have eventually succeeded in enforcing war crimes sanctions against Israel.

In the immortal words of broadcaster Ed’ Morrow : “Goodnight, and good luck” (and watch your heads).

No comments: