From James Oberg post on the Whispers discussion forum:
More confusion about stuff in the sky…
The government of Georgia claimed last week to have shot down an intruding Russian aircraft over the disputed Caucasus area called Abkhazia. Now it appears they were really shooting at a Russian craft — but it was a re-entering satellite eighty kilometers overhead. Good shooting — or good imaginative bragging — Georgian air defense forces!
Mr. Molczan, a world-renowned Canadian amateur satellite tracker, has confirmed the report from Georgia that the falling, flaming object last week was NOT a Russian aircraft but a falling satellite.
A report earlier today from Sukhumi made that claim. But they provided no identification of which satellite was burning up.
It happened to be Russian, according to Molczan, who has granted permission for his name and conclusions to be cited in the press. He identifies it as Kosmos-2427.
Based on that satellite’s mission, it is my own view that the entry was a deliberate de-orbit at the nominal end of its mission. But Abkhazia was the last thing on the mind of the controllers at the Titov Center at Krasnoznamensk, southwest of moscow, who sent the commands to the satellite to turn on its rocket engine and brake its forward speed. They were performing their job normally and safely.
Here are links about the Titov satellite control center:
Information anout Mr. Molczan’s activities can be found here, for example: http://satobs.org/seesat/Aug-2007/index.html
All teasing aside — reentering satellites have often been mistaken by pilots and ground observers to be much closer than they actually are. They have sparked some famous ‘UFO sightings’ over the decades, too. A Russian rocket entering over Colorado last year set off excited reports from hundreds of witnesses, many of whom were sure it was a falling airplane on fire.
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