Every year the hazards from both orbiting space junk (metal, plastic, ceramic debris; even paint chips) and re-entering satellites increase. People are paid to monitor, catalogue, and give warning when possible—but little more. Once reentry begins, only fire and final impact can stop the fall. The U.S. Strategic Command confirmed that on September 3 a Russian satellite called Kosmos-2495 dropped from orbit—its burn reported from Montana to New Mexico. A re-entering satellite resembles a “shooting star” or meteor; sometimes a cluster of these. The United Nations’ treaty from its Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, has so far proved unsuccessful. “The Russians obviously have not signed off on this treaty,” said John Crassidis, University of Buffalo professor in aerospace engineering, and former NASA research fellow. “As we keep launching satellites…more of [them are] going to have to come down.”
Reports US News: the Russian Defense Ministry claims the reconnaissance satellite is still orbiting Earth. “These statements are yet another attempt,” said Russian Col. Alexei Zolotukhin, “to find out the location of the space object after the United States has lost track of it.” More and more, the black comedy of Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick, 1964) rings prophetic.