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Space The Military

Russia Confirms Failed Missile Launch Caused Norway's Light Show 236

Posted by timothy
from the disney-world-does-it-every-night dept.
Ch_Omega writes "According to this article over at BarentsObserver, the giant spiral seen on the sky over Norway Wednesday morning local time has been confirmed to be the result of a failed Russian missile launch. Russia now confirms that '...the missile was launched from submerged position in the White Sea by the nuclear submarine Dmitri Donskoy. Studies of the telemetric data from the launch show that the two first stages of the missile functioned as they should, and that a technical malfunctioning occurred during the third stage.' There is also an article on this at The Daily Mail."
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Russia Confirms Failed Missile Launch Caused Norway's Light Show

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  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:33PM (#30398388)
    And all this time I seriously thought that it was some unimaginably interesting plot all about a russian missile program, underwater subs and secrecy beyond everyone's wildest imagination. Wait... what?
  • Back in the day... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrahamCox (741991) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:35PM (#30398396) Homepage
    There was once a time that Russia would have just kept schtum. How many UFO reports are due to similar failed firings prior to the end of the Cold War?
  • This seems odd to me that Russia has so much open coastline to test something like this, yet they choose to do it at the very edge by another country. Is there a logistical reason for this?
    • Re:Placement (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:46PM (#30398452)

      Because White Sea is free of ice year round. For that reason most major submarine bases and shipyards are located on its coast. Most of Russia's coastline is devoid of infrastructure needed to support naval operations or whatever they still have left.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sznupi (719324)

      It was happening at quite high altitude, visible from vast distance, so it wasn't really at the doorstep of Norway, probably.

      Plus Russia doesn't have exactly that much of a coastline as the first glance at many typical maps would suggest - the northern regions are quite close to the north pole, so they end up heavily "distorted" in certain map projections.

      • Re:Placement (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:08AM (#30398538)

        Worse, Russia doesn't really have a lot of ice-free coastline, especially during the winter. And the few they do have can easily be blocked from the open sea by NATO countries.

        It was one of the big issues during the cold wars, afaik even one of the core reasons for the Vietnam war.

        • even one of the core reasons for the Vietnam war.

          Okay now I am curious, I thought Vietnam was mainly a China vs US gig? How would chinese control of Vietnam help the USSR access north polar waters?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dakameleon (1126377)

            I thought Vietnam was mainly a China vs US gig?

            Can't help with the reason for why it's relevant to USSR's coastal access, but in 196x China wasn't exactly in a position to sponsor a proxy war, having just taken a bit of a misguided jump [wikipedia.org]. The proxy war was still between the USA and USSR.

          • Re:Placement (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Martin Blank (154261) on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:51AM (#30398688) Journal

            North Vietnam was backed primarily by the Soviets, not the Chinese. In fact, shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, China and Vietnam got into a shooting match over the Vietnamese presence in Cambodia.

            The Soviets needed more warm-water ports, and Vietnam was willing to provide this. This also put a significant portion of the world's shipping lanes within striking distance of Soviet forces. The domino theory may have been an overblown fear, but a significant base of operations in that part of the world is all that the USSR needed to make a serious nuisance in case things heated up.

            • by dargaud (518470)

              The Soviets needed more warm-water ports, and Vietnam was willing to provide this.

              So, whatever became of it ? Did they build it and only have a few minor vessels in it ? Did they fall from grace after the vietcong victory ? Did all the traffic lanes cease shipping in fear ?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by styrotech (136124)

            You're not thinking of Korea maybe? North Korea and China were close buddies. North Vietnam was better friends with the Soviets, and never really got on well with China.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Vietnamese_War [wikipedia.org]

            The tensions between Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge that led to Vietnam invading Cambodia was a chance for the Soviets and the Chinese to have a little war of their own.

            • by dbIII (701233)

              North Korea and China were close buddies

              Were being the operative word. North Korea at the moment shows that China will trade with absolutely anyone, but the military on the border and the acceptance of refugees shows that they think North Korea is as much of a basket case as the rest of the world does (actually more so because they have a lot of escaped people that can provide proof).

          • at first after world war 2 there was an idealism in the air that marxism/ communism would result in cooperation between russia and china. but this quickly fell victim to the usual imperialistic instincts of such vast empires. there were massive military buildups along the chinese-russian border, over stupid petty disagreements like tiny useless islands in the amur river (border between russia and manchuria). american intelligence got wind of this and sensed an opportunity: the tension between russia and china was one of the reasons nixon's about face on china and sudden seeking of warm relations with china at the time made so much strategic sense: drive a wedge between powerful enemies of the usa

            so when vietnam aligned itself with russia, it was sort of china's version of the united states' experience with cuba: a tiny southern country right on its border having the audacity to fall the influence of a powerful enemy. in fact, after the vietnam war, china had its own version of the bay of pigs (on a much larger scale): china and vietnam went to war

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Vietnamese_War [wikipedia.org]

            100,000 vietnamese civilians were killed by the chinese in that 1979-1980 war. but the chinese lost this war badly, and chinese propaganda has pretty much covered the whole event up and erased the war from chinese history books. because it was embarrassing how badly china lost. to this day, chinese veterans of that war are officially shunned and denied benefits or even recognition

            you have to admire the vietnamese: they kicked out a major colonial power, the french. then they took on a world superpower, the americans. and finished it off by repulsing the regional power, china. in one long sustained 30-40 year very bloody struggle, the vietnamese kicked everyone's asses

            vietnam deserves much respect, they have suffered heavily for their rightful independence

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by compro01 (777531)

      Russia's coastline isn't that open when you look at it.

      1. North - Covered with ice during most of the year, including now, so testing here is not an option.
      2. East - Would take forever to get there from the sub bases on the west coast (You'd either have to go north and stay under the ice for weeks, or go south down the Atlantic, around Africa, and through the Indian ocean), so also not an option.
      3. West - This is the coast of the Baltic sea (And it shares coasts with Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and maybe Norw

      • North - Covered with ice during most of the year, including now, so testing here is not an option.

        You say that as though it should be surprising. You do realise it's winter in the northern hemisphere, I hope? Kind of like saying "It's barbecue weather in Australia!" When is it ever not?!

  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:45PM (#30398448)

    So happy not to be living in the cold war. Today, I like to think it's harder for fictional missiles to start WW3. Fewer false positives. Of course, here the missile was actually launched...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov [wikipedia.org]

    • by sznupi (719324)

      OTOH, it is a bit comforting, in a way, that if the nuclear exchange were to happen, it would actually look quite...nice ;)

      (after all even if only few percent of the rockets would malfunction in similar fashion, there would lots of such sights, without hundreds of rockets flying)

    • by kestasjk (933987) *
      I'm sure nuclear armed nations are made aware of missile tests like these well in advance, either by surveillance or being informed directly
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Martin Blank (154261)

        For ballistic missile launches, other nations are notified well in advance. In this case, Britain, France, and the US were certainly notified, and others may have been provided some level of notice as well.

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          [citation needed]
           
          Seriously though, I'm really curious where you heard something like that. I'd like to read up on these sorts of procedures.

          • by Muad'Dave (255648)

            At a bare minimum a NAVTEX message was sent [frisnit.com] warning of a rocket launch. Someone clever in the ways of google maps or google Earth care to map that polygon?

          • The Norwegian military have stated (in Norwegian media) that they did know about the launch beforehand, but did not want to say too much, to not reveal observational capabilities. My guess is they were not important enough to recieve official warning, but were "allowed" to find out about the launch.

  • by Cr0vv (1223332) <chrismwakefield@ ... minus physicist> on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:08AM (#30398536)
    That was no danged failed launch of a missile. Has anyone seen the images? This reply by the Russians is a coverup. This event was far, far bigger in scope and influence. This event was viewed by people, there was no mention of a rocket or a missile, besides how could a device like a missile scribe a path in the sky like that, and then break off with a blue spiral? Ugh. These people must think we are so stupid. This is a spiritual event, not a rocket event. blackcrow.
    • There is indeed a great deal going on which we cannot see, but this event didn't fit the patterns of any previous UFO/energetic phenomenon I've seen or read about. It did, however, fit the pattern of a rocket launch gone wrong. Watch the videos on the original news site again. I think the spectacular photographs were not accurately reporting the event as it would have been eye-witnessed. They looked like long exposures to me, and probably were in order to get that level of light. A spinning firework wo

    • by ktappe (747125)
      You are kidding, right?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Given the out of control spiral pattern maybe Vodka wasn't the best choice for rocket fuel even if it was greener.

    • Look at the pictures again. There was nothing to suggest uncontrolled action when creating those spirals. My best guess it they're the result of rotation during flight, to prevent the US ABL [wikipedia.org] aircraft from shooting them down. Third stage looks shoddy (4th or 5th picture shows the contrail all over the place vanishing into the distance.)

      Damn pretty effect, though.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:15AM (#30398570)

    This is a really cool new kind of fireworks. I've never seen one do this before.

  • by thaddeusthudpucker (1082657) on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:19AM (#30398580)
    ...Like in 1986 when it took radiation alarms going off in fucking SWEDEN before they admitted that they had literally nuked a city or two...
    • by Jugalator (259273)

      A lot because the winds were unfortunate, and we had a rainy day that moment.

      Still bad, but needed nuance in your post.

    • by huge (52607)
      So true. Here is a site [kiddofspeed.com] that I always find relevant when discussion veers into this specific incident.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DrKnark (1536431)
      Nuking a city would in my mind imply an explosion created by nuclear reactions. The explosion in Chernobyl was created by good old chemical reactions (hydrogren gas).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 11, 2009 @12:56AM (#30398706)

    Maybe they want to create a weapon that hypnotizes you. And once you are hypnotized they recruit you hahaha

  • Total Freak Out (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088)

    Imagine though how freaked out one would be walking outside and suddenly seeing a giant spinning spiral with a sci-fi-ish blue trail passing through the middle. Based on the youtube vids I saw, one could actually perceive the spinning motion.

    And double freaked out if walking out of a movie theater after seeing a scary movie. That's just one goddam weird pattern.

     

  • by mysidia (191772) on Friday December 11, 2009 @01:22AM (#30398790)

    "Missile launch" is just a coverup.

    Norway's version of "It was just a weather balloon".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Russia's just launching missiles from nuclear subs, that's all.

  • Underwater launches (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jamax (228376)

    While reading through suprisingly ignorant comments on _new_ tech of launching an ICMB from submerged position (this is slashdot, we are all supposed to be armchair warriors with underdeveloped muscle tissue and oversized brains filled with data on weaponry we would never, ever see unless its on youtube) and replies of ppl putting the record straight I just want to add this little nugget of information here:

    In 199something (don't remember, but it was a crappy year in Russia - lost of bad news, the story got

  • Wheres the beloved monolithic wall of paranoid state security? The day after the event and they're all "sorry guys, we screwed up one of our missile tests. Here are the details."

    Unless its all a cunning Russkie ruse...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by cpscotti (1032676)
      Anyway, we'll just drink vodka with friends and continue feeding our own conspiracy theories saying that in fact this is just a big decoy for something Yuri made to control everyone's mind into believing that, in fact, the "t.A.T.u." girls ARE lesbians!
  • by KickInNutsAnalogyGuy (1697658) on Friday December 11, 2009 @04:14AM (#30399450)
    It's quite obvious when given some thought. Consider the following:

    You are at a party relaxing and enjoying yourself. At some point you lose track of your surroundings and time. When you come to, you remember being junk-kicked in your man business some 180 times. You're pretty sure in was someone you met at the party by the name of Ivan Jnkkckr. After a bit of investigative work you track down Ivan's number from another guest that attended the party. Ivan denies junk-kicking you in your man business.

    After further investigation and conversations with other party attendees, you come into possession of some cellphone video. The videos show quite Ivan's foot spinning in a spiral pattern while junk-kicking you in your man business some 180 times. You confront Ivan Jnkkckr with multiple videos showing from multiple angles the relentless assault on your now decimated nuts. Ivan then promply admits that he spiral junk-kicked your nuts.

    Obviously Ivan knew he had junk-kicked your man business; he just needed the video evidence to compel him to come clean.
  • I wonder how much lives, energy and money these weapons that we should never use has cost us.
  • And here I thought The Final Countdown movie was going to be real life!

  • Why did this story get tagged 'hatemail'?
    • The Daily Mail (one of the cited sources) has a long tradition of sensationalizing news, libel, and outright fabrication. It also has a decidedly "right wing" bias (I put quotes there because depending on where you live, the DM may not seem right wing at all).

      Hard to see why someone would take this opportunity to express their views on british tabloids but there you have it.

      -b

  • for this [imdb.com]. Why didja think they did it over Scandinavia.

  • I looked at the pattern of the circular design made by the stray so called missile, and don't buy it for a second.
    The spiral pattern is to perfect (more like a trace lining of light sent out from something....) as a stray missile would have
    deviance in its pattern, and there was none in the pattern we saw in the sky, it was way to perfect for it to be a stray missile.

    I vote on UFO, or maybe a flashlight behind a cloud shining through a design of a circular nature.

  • by DarthVain (724186) on Friday December 11, 2009 @10:02AM (#30401826)

    Cold War ends, Global Warming Starts?

    Don't worry, its just the Russians in the fight to stop Global Warm...erm Climate Change.

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