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mn90403

October 11 Fireball Event 4094

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On my way to Rye Patch last Thursday morning about 1:17 AM I was on 395 and observed a meteor or 'fireball event' that was just incredible.  I now see that there is a video that does not do it justice.  Before I put a link to that video and those reports let me tell you what I saw and how I reported it.

This is what I saw:

About 20 minutes north of Ridgecrest on 395 I had just gotten out of my car.  As soon as I opened the door I could see it coming.  It was several objects burning in the sky with 6-7 separate streaks.  It was a dark night and no moon.  It was perfectly clear where I was and I thought I was just looking at a huge screen TV.  The height seemed to be that of a commercial jet but this was much larger.  It didn't remind me so much of a meteor as it did space junk.  I guess we'll find out more about that later.

It was just a coincidence that I stop at this particular time and place.  I probably would not have seen it or I would not have seen as much of it if I was still in the 4Runner.  Most of my report is in the report itself.  

So, what do you do when you see an 'event' of your own?  Well, I drove all night to go looking for some gold at Rye Patch so that is what I did.  That night I had to sleep.  The next night I had a chance to get on the computer and ask the question 'What was that?'  Where do you go, what do you do online to report something?  As it turns out you go to REPORT A FIREBALL at the American Meteor Society.

https://www.amsmeteors.org/

When you get there you can click on Report a Fireball.  You will get asked a series of questions to describe what you saw in a technical way that will let the software develop a map of the event as you and hopefully many others saw it.  You can upload pictures and video.  You can also search for events from all over the world.

So, I reported and I didn't see my report with the others.  As it turned out there is a pending report file and if you don't state it as they are compiling it then your report will not be added.  I now knew my event number was 4094 so I edited my report and it was added to the 29 others and still counting.

It was a very, very neat experience.  The video now posted on YouTube is only 1/100th of what I saw.  I had better than a front row seat.  I was in the middle and there were no heads or clouds in my way!

Here is the report link:

https://www.amsmeteors.org/members/imo_view/event/2018/4094

Here is the video:

https://www.amsmeteors.org/videos/?video_id=1445

 

Mitchel

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I saw the same thing from my front pourch here in Catheys Valley Ca. at fist I thought it was an airplane crashing, it was so bright, and fire was was trailing behind it, I'm pretty sure it might have gone as far as the Baha coast before it landed in the ocean. . Grubstake

 

Edited by grubstake

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Yep, was prob. it . Grubstake

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Will you hunt the triangulated fall area?

 

        Ben

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On 10/18/2018 at 4:29 PM, grubstake said:

I saw the same thing from my front pourch here in Catheys Valley Ca. at fist I thought it was an airplane crashing, it was so bright, and fire was was trailing behind it, I'm pretty sure it might have gone as far as the Baha coast before it landed in the ocean. . Grubstake

 

Grubstake,

The event 4094 was headed in a northerly direction.

The pieces described landing in Hanford could very well be part of what we saw.  It came from south to north.   Where I was north of Ridgecrest would put it in line of going over Bakersfield before it slowed down and stopped burning ... or at least some of it.  I think other pieces would be much farther north.

Mitchel

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3 hours ago, Regmaglitch said:

Will you hunt the triangulated fall area?

 

        Ben

Ben,

Hi ... been a while.

Where did you get the area of the fall?

The tank in the walnut grove would certainly be on private land.  That would be a problem.  What's the value of Iridium 70 pieces right now?

I'm thinking they don't say much about this space junk because they don't know how 'hot' a particular piece would be after bouncing off the atmosphere.  It 'could' make a lot of news here but they are kinda keeping it under the radar.

Mitchel

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Hydrazine contaminated parts are nasty. I buried a whole aircraft carrier steam system in the New Mexico desert because a sailor put too much in the boiler system.

Hydrazine was spilled on the ground during tests at the Las Cruces facility and contaminated the entire aquifer. We drilled hundreds of wells and pumped all the ground water out of the ground, filtered and cleaned it with UV light, and then pumped it back into the aquifer. 

One of NASA's biggest fears is a hydrazine tank falling back to earth. There is a plan in place in case that ever happens.

No joke buddy. If you can smell it you have been overexposed for life. That tank is nothing to be fiddling around with. The people who found it and are handling it are running a big health risk.

I was part of the effort to collect the Challenger Disaster junk and a big part of my work at NASA was dealing with hydrazine contamination. The fuel tank and piping were of utmost importance to the recovery effort. They washed the parts in detergent, exposed the liquid to UV light and then evaporated the water to clean the stuff. Every part that had ever been in contact with fuel was decontaminated in this fashion before handling.

 

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Thanks for the info ... I know there are more pieces of 70 out there but I don't know if they are hazardous but the makers must know and put out a warning to responder types of people who need to protect the public.

They track this space junk and I think someone KNEW this one was coming back and they were tracking it.  If some of these pieces hit someone or something it could kill so they could warn us or 'hope' that it doesn't hit us.  Perhaps it's just a small threat ... like winning a bad lotto of getting hit by a piece of this stuff.

Mitchel

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Hi Mitchel, 

       Thanks for the link.   Very cool stuff.   Great finds if you avoid the

hazardous stuff. 

              Awesome!

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Hydrazine being way more then a simple volital , I'm quite sure any and all present on anything that came in was Vaporized in decent.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine

Edited by homefire

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1 hour ago, homefire said:

Hydrazine being way more then a simple volital , I'm quite sure any and all present on anything that came in was Vaporized in decent.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine

And I am quite sure all those "volitals" weren't vaporized in "decent".

The pieces are not going to hurt anyone. They are more of a legal liability than an actual health risk. But only a fool would get too intimate with the thing. It isn't safe. To make any assumptions that it was decontaminated during re-entry would not be wise.

Sometimes actual real world experience trumps the Google type of knowledge. Just sayin'.

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Yes, Sir !  Strange chit can happen.  The impossible is far from Impossible from time to time.    Hell a Cockroach could survive a trip like that.  LOL

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3 hours ago, mn90403 said:

Thanks for the info ... I know there are more pieces of 70 out there but I don't know if they are hazardous but the makers must know and put out a warning to responder types of people who need to protect the public.

They track this space junk and I think someone KNEW this one was coming back and they were tracking it.  If some of these pieces hit someone or something it could kill so they could warn us or 'hope' that it doesn't hit us.  Perhaps it's just a small threat ... like winning a bad lotto of getting hit by a piece of this stuff.

Mitchel

That schite is light. Mostly titanium alloy stuff. There is not enough weight to any of it to be much of a hazard. And there is probably not enough fuel left to hurt you if you licked it clean. So in reality there is probably little risk. 

I honestly don't think that anyone tracks that stuff after it becomes useless. Much of it is owned by companies that are long gone. Maybe some of it is. I have heard discussions about the problem of so much junk up there. You would think that the liability would be huge but the risk very small. I would imagine most of that junk burns up and the tiny bit that does make it to the ground they will deal with when the time comes. 

If a person handles a fallen NASA space flight article and has one tiny problem the government is the bad guy. It is cheaper to spend millions on cleanup and decontamination than to deal with the lawsuits and bad press. For a private company that may or may not even be in business anymore I bet the strategy is "let it fall".

I honestly think hunting space junk is going to be the hobby of the future. It is almost as cool as meteorites. And the falls and finds are just going to get more frequent. I'm betting an oriented Tesla brake rotor with a sweet fusion crust, flow lines and a roll over lip will be worth a pantload of frogskins someday soon.

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3 hours ago, homefire said:

Hydrazine being way more then a simple volital , I'm quite sure any and all present on anything that came in was Vaporized in decent.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine

If anything wasn't vaporized, and someone did handle it, would that be indecent exposure? 

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I once worked for a company that made something called "hydrazine". No doubt it's NOT the same thing that is used by NASA but there's probably a similarity. We used to use eye dropper to put a few drops into the keyholes of the lockers. Once dried, it would fizzle and give off smoke when the key was entered and turned. The friction set the hydrazine off.

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I recall havaing emergencies at Luke AFB due to leaks of hydrazine. I also recall how it smells and tastes. Of course we had leaking transformers laying all over the place too. Doesn't seem like Uncle Sam really gave a crap.

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39 minutes ago, Morlock said:

I once worked for a company that made something called "hydrazine". No doubt it's NOT the same thing that is used by NASA but there's probably a similarity. We used to use eye dropper to put a few drops into the keyholes of the lockers. Once dried, it would fizzle and give off smoke when the key was entered and turned. The friction set the hydrazine off.

Sounds like the Same Substance . 

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1 hour ago, Edge said:

I recall havaing emergencies at Luke AFB due to leaks of hydrazine. I also recall how it smells and tastes. Of course we had leaking transformers laying all over the place too. Doesn't seem like Uncle Sam really gave a crap.

Like ammonia and fish kinda blended together. 

Way nasty stuff. A guy that smells it is overexposed for a year or more. If you get it on your skin you get a check for the rest of your life. I know a couple guys who have had that happen.

If you have been in a spill so bad that you tasted it then it was quite the accident for sure. I think I would be looking for a lawyer. Concentrations like that definitely left some damage. 

There are a few different blends of that stuff. Some are used for hypergolic engines. Binary fuel engines that ignite spontaneously when the fuel and oxidizer run together. Then there is the engines that use just straight hydrazine and an ignition source. Those are used in atmospheres containing oxygen.

Straight anhydrous hydrazine is used in aircraft, boilers and even artillery rounds. Maybe keyed locks too.  In space where there is no oxygen they use  Aerozine, monomethyl hydrazine and UDMMH (unsymmtrical diethyl monomethyl hydrazine) in conjunction with nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer. No ignition source needed. It is hypergolic and fires when the fuel and ox comes in contact.

So out in space where there is no oxygen they use a different juice. And it mixes with an oxidizer. There is a difference between straight hydrazine and the rocket fuel kind. It is a different but similar compound with different properties.

There were two spherical tanks on the satellite. One with MMH and one with Nitrogen Tetroxide. They are manifolded to a switch/valve apparatus and then to a series of little Vernier "engines" that fire just like a .22 when an attitude adjustment is needed. These have thrust cones of various sizes that are faced with columbium (tantalum) rare earth metal. (These tiles are everlasting and will easily survive re-entry. If there is a prize find it would be a tantalum thrust cone for sure!!)

They are mounted all over at different angles and are sometimes movable. They are operated by a computer. So if the satellite gets a bit out of whack one of those little engines goes "pop" and a tiny bit of thrust brings things back in line.  So it keeps the satellite oriented and can also lift it farther into orbit when it gets too close to earth. 

So the whole propulsion system on a satellite is a couple of fuel/ox spheres, a valve and a switch operated by a computer, and a dozen little rocket engines about the size of your thumb.

It is probably the most durable and likely to survive hardware on most satellites. The rest is made out of aluminum and carbon fiber and burns up easily. The only durable part on most of that space junk is the propulsion system. Those cone shaped columbium thrusters would orient just like a shuttlecock and withstand the nastiest ablation. But they are tiny and would be super difficult to locate.

Even the big Space Shuttle thrusters were no bigger than a motorcycle engine... The cone was six feet long and three wide but the engine itself was not much more than an 18" gas stove burner with two sets of holes. One for fuel and one for ox. A switch and a valve and a couple of stainless steel lines. The entire set up might weigh 20-30 lbs.

It makes one hell of a big fire though. It would vaporize a half million gallons of water in a series of ten second bursts. Freaking awesome power like you cant even imagine. You could watch it in the test cell on camera just rockin' it and the whole cone turning cherry red. You look out the window and the steam is shooting out of a venturi fifty feet long and fifteen feet across and going all the way up in the clouds. It is surreal what such tiny, seemingly delicate hardware can do.

 

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Here is a site for you all following this thread!  There are 19,254 objects being tracked in space.  Iridium #70 is no longer one of them.

https://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=25342  

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On 10/20/2018 at 5:25 PM, Bedrock Bob said:

What sound does it make?

KA BOOOMMM  Comes to mind.  LOL

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