Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Further confusion on Saturday's Soyuz r/b reentry

I earlier wrote about the confusion reigning in the press concerning the sky event over Europe of last Saturday evening. Initial confusion was over wether it was a meteor, "comet" or (and that was the correct explanation, but many Dutch and German news outlets failed to properly pick that up): the reentry of  a Soyuz rocket.

Now a new confusion has arrisen: some news outlets and weblogs, e.g. that of Physorg, mistakenly link the event to last Friday's failed Russian launch of the Meridian satellite. Due to a rocket failure, this never reached earth orbit but crashed in Siberia within minutes after the launch.

As I wrote earlier, what reentered and was seen over France, Germany and the Netherlands last Saturday evening, was the 3rd stage of last Wednesday's Soyuz launch to the ISS.

The confusion probably comes from the fact that both launches used a Soyuz rocket. The failed launch that crashed in Siberia on Friday got some press attention because fragments hit a house in Russia (see a.o. here (English), with pictures of a recovered fuel tank here (Russian)).

But again: that failed launch had nothing to do with Saturdays sky event over Europe. The reentry over Europe was the 3rd stage of the earlier Wednesday launch to the ISS, that included Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers.

(More on Last Saturday's Soyuz reentry over Europe: here and here)

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