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Russian Spy Satellite Breaks Apart Over Rockies

A streak of light seen in the skies earlier this month was likely a spy satellite breaking up

(DUCEPT Pascal/Hemis/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

A glowing fireball seen crossing the night sky above the western United States on September 2 has been identified as remains of a Russian spy satellite, according to the Associated Press.

Reports of the fireball were compiled by the American Meteor Society, which has been gathering eyewitness accounts about meteors since it was founded in 1911, and websites like Spaceflight 101 concluded that:

[T]he fireball observed over the United States in the night of September 2 can be connected to the return of the Kosmos 2495 satellite with a very high degree of certainty, based on the data presented on this page. It was not Kosmos 2495 itself that re-entered over the U.S. but an object released from the satellite in the hours leading up to its return to Earth. This is supported by ballistics data from tracked debris released on previous Kobalt-M missions. 

As Gizmodo notes, it isn’t exactly a surprise to find out that the Russians have spy satellites in orbit. The Russians, predictably, deny everything. A spokesman for the government told Russian press, "One can only guess about the condition representatives of the so-called American Meteor Society were in when they identified a luminescent phenomenon high up in the sky as a Russian military satellite."

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