Satellite reentry?

Rainer Kracht (
Mon, 27 Feb 95 19:06:51 GMT

I found the following under 'Correspondence' 
in SPACEFLIGHT, Vol. 37, March 1995. 
Extraterrestrial Artefact? 
Sir, A white bolide of -7m flew over the 
Kursk, Belgorod and Kharkov regions 
from north to south at 17:45 UT on 15 
May 1994 [1-5]. The bolide's trajectory 
was about 300 km in length. It was ob- 
served by many people including five staff 
astronomers of the Kharkov University As- 
tronomical Observatory, who reported a 
flight time of about 10 seconds. Hence 
the bolide's velocity was about 30 km/s. 
  The impact site was found to be 40 km 
to the SSW from Kharkov, near the village 
of Okhochee, in accordance with a report 
by the bolide's observers. Dr Vladimir A. 
Zakhozhaj (director of the Kharkov Uni- 
versity Astronomical Observatory) visited 
the site with an official expedition from the 
observatory on 27 May 1994: 
 "On the edge of forest we saw a cra- 
 ter of 4m diameter and 1.5m depth, ob- 
 viously from the explosion, the energy 
 of which was estimated to be equal to 
 at least 60 kg of trotyl. We found about 
 10 kg of metallic substance within a 
 radius of 40-50 m from the explosion 
 centre. The forest was felled within a 
 radius of 10 m, and burnt trees were 
 hit by debris. Two trees were mostly 
 burnt in the northern direction from the 
 crater - the most probable flight direc- 
 tion. Preliminary chemical analysis of 
 one sample shows an anomalous com- 
 position: the iron abundance being ob- 
 viously higher than in cases of debris of 
 any cosmic device. It is necessary to 
 study the samples found and the im- 
 pact site further." [5]. 
 I myself saw the debris, the largest 
piece being a crumpled and exploded 
tube of 50 cm length and 2-3 cm thick- 
ness with shallow thread furrows on its 
surface. Its chemical composition was Fe- 
99%; Cu - 0.3%; Ni - 0.04%; Ti - 0.02%; 
(Mg and AI were not found [2,3]) and 
seemed more appropriate to a heavy tank 
than a lighter artificial satellite. Members 
of the expedition told me that the explo- 
sion was not due to an old World War II 
weapon. I saw ablation furrows and scale 
(black crust) on the surface of debris. Dr 
V.A. Zakhozhaj has consulted military ex- 
perts but did not meet with any success. 
 Apparently this artefact of unknown 
origin seems a promising candidate for 
being extraterrestrial trash which acciden- 
tally hit the Earth. At least that possibility 
must be taken into account. 
                   A.V. ARKHIPOV 
         Institute of Radio Astronomy, 
                   Kharkov, Ukraine 
1 . A.V.  Arkhipov,  "What fell   down  near 
  Kharkov?",   Vechernij Kharkov  No. 72 
  (7227) p.6, 25 June 1994 (in Russian). 
2. A.V. Arkhipov, "Who saw this bolide?", 
  Inzhenernaya gazeta (Moscow)  No. 72 
  (547)  p.4 July 1994 (in Russian). 
3. A.V. Arkhipov, correspondence, Zemlya I 
  Vselennaya, No. 1 , 1995 (in Russian). 
4. V. Matveev, Official answer of the Kursk's 
  Staff on Civilian Defence, Extraordinary 
  Incidents  and  Liquidation  of Conse- 
  quences of Natural Disasters, Letter No. 
  464, August 25, 1994 (In Russian). 
5. V.A.  Zakhozhaj,  "Kharkov's   bolide", 
  Kharkovskij kurier No. 53 (154), p.16, 15 
  July 1994 (in Russian).