Pokemon Nerds View Chinese Spy Satellite Rocket Burning Up Over Western U.S.

July 28th, 2016 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Thousands of lucky onlookers got to see the upper stage of a Chinese rocket reenter the atmosphere and burn up over the western U.S. late last night. This nice video of the event was taken by Matt Holt over the Utah Valley, surrounded by excited “Pokemon nerds” (in Matt’s words).

The debris was the upper stage of Long March 4B rocket launched a month ago from the Gobi Desert, carrying an electronic surveillance spy satellite:

A Long March 4B rocket launched June 26, 2016 carrying China's second Shijian 16 electronic surveillance satellite. Credit: Xinhua

A Long March 4B rocket launched June 26, 2016 carrying China’s second Shijian 16 electronic surveillance satellite. Credit: Xinhua

The rocket upper stage reentered about 12 hrs earlier than expected from orbital debris predictions made by The Aerospace Corporation, which provided this morning’s updated calculation of the reentry path, and the ring of visibility (given clear skies):
sat-reentry-7-27-2016-Aerospace-Corp


5 Responses to “Pokemon Nerds View Chinese Spy Satellite Rocket Burning Up Over Western U.S.”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. Bill Rambo says:

    Saw it here in Las Vegas. The only thing that seemed strange was how slowly it appeared to move across the sky.

    • mpainter says:

      Probably a lot slower than a satellite, which move slowly, too, if you’ve ever spotted one at night. The debris would have deaccelerated through atmospheric drag.

  2. mpainter says:

    Long March rocket?
    Shades of Mousy Dung!

  3. geran says:

    OT, but it’s time to play “Predict July UAH Global Anomaly”.

    +0.29

  4. dave says:

    +0.42

    Incidentally, ANTARCTICA Sea Ice cover has reverted to the historical (by satellite records) averages. I remember being told, in no uncertain terms, that the increase of the previous few years was proof certain of global warming (don’t ask me why!) I guess the reduction this year also proves global warming.

Leave a Reply