Comments about technological history, system fractures, and human resilience from James R. Chiles, the author of Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology (HarperBusiness 2001; paperback 2002) and The God Machine: From Boomerangs to Black Hawks, the Story of the Helicopter (Random House, 2007, paperback 2008)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Space-Age Debris: Aerospace Corporation's Log

Starting up another story on space history -- and ran across this interesting website from Aerospace Corporation, which has been tracking successes and failures from the beginning.

It's a continually updated log of space debris that's come back to Earth, with 65 events to date.

Here's one of the more historic entries:

In July 1969, a small fragment (about 30 cm long) fell on the deck of a German ship in the Atlantic Ocean. Other pieces fell in the water near the ship.Identified as debris from the first stage of the Saturn booster used to launch Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969.

Spherical pressure tanks, like this, are strikingly common:

Here's the Aerospace Corporation contact to report any pieces that happen to land near you:

"If you are aware of recovered debris not appearing here, please e-mail a description of the debris, and provide references to supporting evidence, e.g., news articles, government reports, photographs, etc. We will add sufficiently corroborated events to our list. "

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