Unanticipated Homecoming

The US military is preparing for the eventuality that the doomed US intelligence satellite that is expected to fall to Earth in the next month or so hits North America. An Associated Press report cites Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, commander of US Northern Command, as saying that parts of the large-sized satellite could survive the heat of atmospheric reentry and impact on land. The satellite reportedly is designated US 193. It was launched in December 2006, but lost power shortly thereafter and became uncontrollable, according to AP. US officials aren’t sure where exactly the satellite will come down yet. But since it appears that it “might re-enter” over North America, Homeland Security and FEMA would be responsible for dealing with the crash site or for assisting Canadian and Mexican authorities if the debris hits on their territory, Renuart told AP. The general said authorities do not believe that there is a risk of sensitive technologies falling into the wrong hands. “I’m not aware that we have a security issue,” he said. Nor is there the risk of large amounts of toxic substances reaching Earth. “It’s really just a big thing falling on the ground that we have to be prepared for,” he said.