Mon, Feb 16, 2009
Likely Debris From A Spent Satellite
Numerous sightings of a fireball careening toward earth were
reported Sunday morning across the state of Texas.
Doug Schmidt of Richardson, TX was driving around 11 am when he
saw a flash of light in the sky. "It was like a ball of flame with
a tail. It looked like a meteor," he said. "There was flame and
then a flash and smoke trailing it. I said 'Wow, look at that.'
Roland Herwig, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman for the
southwest division, said that the fireball was probably no more
than a chunk of superheated debris from a broken satellite, falling
to earth through the atmosphere.
Speculation as to whether the debris was a result of the
collision between a Russian and a US satellite last
week was inconclusive. "It's yet to be proved it's
those satellites," Herwig said.
Emergency management officials and local law enforcement
agencies also were placed on alert across the state. Saturday, the
FAA warned pilots nationwide to increase awareness of the potential
hazard and asked that any space debris sightings be immediately
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