Reentry over Texas: Mike McCants interviewed on TV news

Ed Cannon (
Sat, 01 Feb 1997 02:03:16 -0600

Regarding the now apparently confirmed discovery in Central Texas of 
debris from the reentry of the MSX Delta II rocket (23852, 96-24B), Mike 
McCants was interviewed by Austin TV station K-EYE 42, and parts of the 
interview broadcast with the lead story during the 6:00 p.m. local news 
program.  Some of it was shown again during the 10:00 p.m. news.

Mike calmly pointed out that if about one such decay (of an object large
enough to reach the surface) occurs per week on average, given that the 
Earth's surface is 100 million square miles (I don't know how many 
hectares that is.), people are significantly more likely to win a major
lottery than to have such debris fall on them.

The TV station has added a link to a Yahoo page entitled "News: Space
Debris".  The first link on that page is to the original SeeSat-L
message ( about
the debris in Texas.  The Yahoo page also links to several other sites 
regarding debris, and to other relevant space sites also.

Question:  A 70-80 cm diameter, 30 kg metal sphere landed about 80-90 km 
south of here.  (From the Delta II photos, it appears that there should 
have been another of the same size, and two smaller.)  Would it have 
been visible as it went over, or would the incandescent part of its 
reentry already have ended by that time?

Ed Cannon
Austin, Texas, USA
30.30N, 97.73W