Rocket DebrisA forthcoming Titan IV launch over the North Sea has been in the news in Canada a lot lately, as energy companies with rigs in the Hibernia oilfields planning to close down some days before the launch and remove their workers. I had wondered as I listened whether this was the first launch on the trajectory in question. Yahoo News appears to have an answer today
"Meanwhile, operators of the Hibernia project say they'll be forced to shut it down because there's a remote possibility an 11-tonne booster engine jettisoned from the main rocket could fall within 25 kilometres of the oil platform, which sits on the ocean floor.
But such a move seems odd because it's not the first time rockets have been fired over the East Coast oilfields, says Marco Caceres, a senior space analyst for The Teal Group, a U.S. aerospace and defence consulting firm.
Last year alone, two of 13 satellites launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., would have flown north over the area in the North Atlantic, he said."
So what has changed? This has been a problem for years, it seems. I do not recall hearing of it before.
Could it have seomthing to do with the Ballistic Missile Defence program?