New Russian missile failure sparks UFO frenzy

Dec 10, 2009 by Stuart Williams
An unusual light phenomenon above the Norwegian city of Skjeroy. Russia's new nuclear-capable missile suffered another failed test launch, the defence ministry said Thursday, solving the mystery of a spectacular plume of white light that appeared over Norway.

Russia's new nuclear-capable missile suffered another failed test launch, the defence ministry said Thursday, solving the mystery of a spectacular plume of white light that appeared over Norway.

The Bulava missile was test-fired from the submarine Dmitry Donskoi in the White Sea early Wednesday but failed at the third stage, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The pre-dawn morning launch coincided with the appearance of an extraordinary light over northern that captivated observers.

Images of the light that appeared in the sky above the Norwegian city of Tromso and elsewhere prompted explanations ranging from a meteor, northern lights, a failed missile or even a .

Describing the latest failure of the Bulava as a major embarrassment for the military, leading Russian defence analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the images were consistent with a missile failure.

"Such lights and clouds appear from time to time when a missile fails in the upper layers of the and have been reported before," he told AFP.

"At least this failed test made some nice fireworks for the Norwegians," he joked.

The White Sea, which is the usual site for such missile tests by Russian submarines, lies close to Norway's own .

This was the 12th test launch of the Bulava and the seventh time the firing has ended in failure, the Interfax news agency said.

The submarine-launched missile is central to Russia's plan to revamp its ageing weapons arsenal but is beset by development problems.

"The first two stages of the rocket worked but in the final and third stage there was a technical failure," the defence ministry said in a statement.

The statement said the problem was with the engine in the third stage, while in past launches the first stage had been faulty.

The problems with the Bulava have become an agonising issue for the defence ministry, which has ploughed a large proportion of its procurement budget into ensuring the missile becomes the key element of its rocket forces.

The previous failure in July forced the resignation of Yury Solomonov, the director of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology which is responsible for developing the missile.

Felgenhauer said that it had dealt a serious blow to Russia's bid to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent.

"By the year 2030, Russia could lose its position as a global nuclear power if the problems are not solved. And it could be that these missiles will never fly properly.

"The Russian defence industry has disintegrated to such an extent that it simply cannot make such a complicated system work. Technology and expertise have been lost," he said.

The problems are also a major political embarrassment, coming as Russia negotiates with the United States the parameters of a new arms reduction treaty to replace the 1991 START accord.

The treaty expired on December 5, and despite intense negotiations the two sides have yet to agree the text of a new deal.

In a separate development, a successful test-firing took place of Russia's intercontinental surface-to-surface ballistic missile Topol RS-12M, news agencies quoted a statement from the strategic rocket forces as saying.

The missile -- introduced to the rocket forces before the fall of the Soviet Union -- was fired from the southern Russian region of Astrakhan and hit its target at a testing range in neighbouring Kazakhstan.

The Bulava, which can be equipped with up to 10 individually targeted nuclear warheads, has a maximum range of 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles).

It is the sea-based version of the Topol-M, Russia's new surface-to-surface intercontinental missile, and designed to be launched from Moscow's newest Borei class of submarines.

Defence analysts say that a further headache for the military is that the new submarines are designed to be compatible with Bulava and if the new missile fails to work the vessels will be virtually useless.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 26

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pyxzer
4.9 / 5 (9) Dec 10, 2009
Well, technically, it was an UFO until it was confirmed as a rocket, since UFO : Unknown Flying Object.

The TLA UFO link with crazy people should be severed, an UFO is simply something you see in the atmosphere and are unable to identify.

Just saying.
jsovine
2.9 / 5 (15) Dec 10, 2009
That wasn't a rocket and you know it. UFO? Doubt it. If you've ever seen the video, it looks like some kind of wormhole or something. Very energetic. Not to mention the fact that it was visibly rotating uniformly from multiple locations.
barakn
3.3 / 5 (12) Dec 10, 2009
A rocket spinning around anything besides the primary flight axis would produce exactly this shape as long as it was high enough in the atmosphere that the rocket exhaust wasn't markedly slowed by plowing into the ambient air.
Mercury_01
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2009
The above picture doesn't do it justice. Here: http://www.vg.no/...d=596359

Im still having a hard time imagining how this happened.
gwargh
5 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2009
"Im still having a hard time imagining how this happened."
http://gizmodo.co...happened
Tangent2
2.1 / 5 (7) Dec 10, 2009
I am inclined to agree with jsovine on this one. I did a google search for Norway yesterday and the google search started coming up with Norway spiral as the first choice in the autocomplete. Today, I typed in Norway spiral and when I was half way through the word spiral, no autocomplete suggestion at all. Strange. As for the Russians saying it was their missle, that wasn't the same story they had like 2 days ago, they made it quite clear it wasn't them:
http://www.thesun...pin.html
Simonsez
3.9 / 5 (10) Dec 10, 2009
Tangent2: No offense to any Russians out there reading, but Russia is known for having a knee-jerk reaction of denial and secrecy. Their initial denial was probably to save face, but someone quickly realized this was causing too much of a worldwide craze to ignore and hope it got swept under the rug, and so ordered a press release.
Thex1138
3 / 5 (8) Dec 10, 2009
I agree with jsovine... look at all the photographic angles of the spiral during its creation... notice how they all look the same... if it were a disk it would look planner... if the rocket fuel fizzled out then the spiral trail will have remained for as long as the trail leading to it... and what was the grey expanding sphere which then appeared to consume the spiral cloud???? They must have very fancy rocket tech over in Russia... Sorry I don't buy that excuse.
TrustTheONE
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 10, 2009
Arent you watching the V series???
This is our countermeasure....
otto1923
not rated yet Dec 10, 2009
Did they fire this thing at night? Was this the first sea launch? Why would you test fire a missile in the dark? Was this above the arctic circle in northern hemisphere winter? Must be Blue Beam
ormondotvos
5 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
Above the arctic circle, it's almost all night now. And the peculiar shape of the light could be explained by a steering rocket firing and spinning the third stage.
CreepyD
5 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
Wouldn't it only be spiral shaped from the front view? Even the link posted above with the simulation shows that from the side it would look very different. How come every photo is from the front angle?
Egnite
not rated yet Dec 11, 2009
Oh yeah, after looking at similar rocket types I can see the distict similarities between the photos in Norway and Bulava rockets. lol

http://images.goo...a+rocket
david_42
5 / 5 (1) Dec 11, 2009
How come every photo is from the front angle?


Probably because no one took a picture from the side. The only people able to see it were clustered in a relatively small area.
3432682
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
The angle of view for all photos being the same is probably because it was far to the north of all viewers, toward the Arctic. The viewers were all within a rather narrow cone point-of-view. BTW, I saw a similar display in southern Miami (Cutler Ridge) in about 1970. Directly overhead, at about 9 pm. Awesome. It was explained later as a missile test gone awry. Greatest firework ever. Until now.
Meg03
4 / 5 (4) Dec 11, 2009
I don't like the rewriting of history. If I heard about the event at 5pm EST on 12/09/09 right before I left from work and it was reported to have happened 4-6 hours before that, well you do the math time zone wise. There is no way it could have occurred between 7-8am Norway time. Also my mother is from Scotland, the Sun does make an appearance until after 9-10am in that latitude. Also the original footage I saw on a Norway news web cite has been taken down. The original footage I saw was what looked like a hurricane cloud formation in the sky, i.e. a vortex which lasted 4 plus minutes. You could see the stars in the sky, and when the vortex clasped there was no smoke. NONE. It's like one person said they were going to cover it up. It's a shame they don't think the world is ready to know that Einstein's theory of Relativity was fully proven on 12/09/09, by producing a worm hole. A great day for science and they want to cover it up with lies. Very sad. Just like Galileo :(
Archivis
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
What we have here friends is your average cover story. Just beleivable enough so that some people say "it could be"

I've seen the footage of the 2nd rocket that "illustrated" that it was possible and while I agree they certainly made the rocket spiral, I have my doubts that this same occurrence is the cause of what was above Norway.

I'm not saying it was little green men, (or grey ones) or even that it was alien in nature. I'm just saying I don't buy their cover story and I would REALLY like to know what happened.
retrosurf
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 11, 2009
Several of the photographs clearly show
a recognizable missile exhaust trail leading up to the
base of the "blue beam".
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2009
Above the arctic circle, it's almost all night now
That was my point. So why are they testing problematic missiles in the dark? Unless... it was Blue Beam instead
otto1923
5 / 5 (2) Dec 11, 2009
missile exhaust trails
both current tech we are familiar with and not familiar with will be used for the demonstration. Get ready to meet your Maker(s) gentlemen
Birthmark
3 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2009
I don't think this was just a missile, maybe a new one Russia is developing, but I'm keeping an open mind. I think when it blows up or goes out at the end, there's something odd about it. If it just died out and the illusion of it growing and getting bigger was from it no longer emitting anything (as shown in a video on youtube I seen) then wouldn't you still be able to see the smoke or whatever was emitted on the other side of the hole (I don't know if I'm making sense but there was a black hole from the side point of view, think of it as like a cup, you look at it from an angel, you can still see the inside of the cup, why not in this situation? It looks like a tunnel.)
RolfRomeo
3 / 5 (2) Dec 13, 2009
"The black hole":

Couldn't this be explained simply by the rocket running out of fuel? The smoke and steam from the rocket moves outward with very little atmosphere to slow it down.
Spiral moving outwards at steady pace + Illumination from the sun = Dark patch growing larger from where the source used to be.
denijane
not rated yet Dec 16, 2009
No, the "black hole" can be explained by spherical explosion that occurred after the "missile" ran out of fuel. But why would it explode then, and what was the blue beam for, i have no idea. I don't think this was a normal missile and I definitely think there is something wrong with the explanation (for example the missile started rotating and spilling out fuel that was colored by the beam, but 1) why there was a beam (and a weird beam it was), 2) why didn't they self-detonate it at the moment they saw all went wrong, 3) why the spiraling was so smooth - it was like the missile was pinned to the sky or elevating) and 4) the fuel was odd). But still the show was good.
Simonsez
5 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2009
@denijane > I, too, wonder about the spiral's (and the glowing "leaked fuel trail") ability to remain stationary for a period of several minutes. At no point during the videos does the spiral or fuel trail ever begin a descent due to gravity - the spiral spins at a fixed position in the sky and even after the "missile" "runs out of fuel", the remnants of the blue beam never falls to the ground. I suppose it could have been high enough in the atmosphere that gravity had a lessened effect, but also I am not a physicist or rocket scientist to be able to explain these things away. However, though I have read several decent explanations from different experts, I have yet to read any explanation for the stuff not succumbing to gravity at any point.
Joey_G
not rated yet Dec 24, 2009
@denijane > I, too, wonder about the spiral's (and the glowing "leaked fuel trail") ability to remain stationary for a period of several minutes. At no point during the videos does the spiral or fuel trail ever begin a descent due to gravity - the spiral spins at a fixed position in the sky and even after the "missile" "runs out of fuel", the remnants of the blue beam never falls to the ground. I suppose it could have been high enough in the atmosphere that gravity had a lessened effect, but also I am not a physicist or rocket scientist to be able to explain these things away. However, though I have read several decent explanations from different experts, I have yet to read any explanation for the stuff not succumbing to gravity at any point.


Also, it seems to me that winds would have disturbed the forming spiral before it could have been fully defined.
denijane
not rated yet Dec 28, 2009

Also, it seems to me that winds would have disturbed the forming spiral before it could have been fully defined.

Maybe there was no wind during this period, but I also find it very odd, that we don't see the normal gravity induced parabolic motion.
And the "missile" really seems to glow (why?) and if the spirals are fraom the same fuel as the blue beam as suggested, then why they are not also blue?