Tuesday, May 3, 2011

[wvns] US space junk falls to Earth

US space junk falls in South America
Sunday, 01 May 2011 18:06

A piece of junk debris from a NASA space mission has dropped in South America, fueling already growing concerns over the safety and security of the space-services market.

A two-meter light metal part of the Delta II rocket used as a vehicle on NASA's 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER) was found in Artigas, Uruguay, across the Brazilian-Uruguayan border, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday.

Two workers of a northern farm found the third stage piece rocket on March 2, 2011, but only told authorities during the Easter holidays,.

"Part of the combustion system of the third stage re-entered after so many years orbiting the Earth and fell in Uruguay," said Colonel Ariel Sanchez of the Uruguayan Air Force who is in charge of keeping the piece with serial No. ID 85677-1G.

MER is an ongoing robotic space mission that began in 2003 involving two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, exploring the planet Mars.

Apparently, the Delta II launch system which has been in service since 1989 will be discontinued this year after a final NASA Moon mission.

A 2010 Pentagon report says thousands of orbiting junk debris from old rockets, abandoned satellites and missile shrapnel are threatening the multi- billion-dollar space-services market which provides global positioning navigation, international phone connections, television signals, pictures and weather forecasts.


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