STOP CASSINI Newsletter #167 -- August 9th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: The Doomsday Rocket! STOP CASSINI #167

Date: August 9th, 1999 (Nagasaki Day)

Time Frame: Cassini is scheduled to do the flyby of Earth August 18th, 1999 (August 17th in the USA) above Polynesia. (137 Degrees west Longitude, 23.5 degrees South Latitude)

Today's Subjects:

(1) English news media awakens to the scandal of Cassini:


At 02:55 PM 8/9/99 +0100, E... wrote:

I have just read a letter in one of the British Tabloids 'The Mirror' (Monday 9 August 1999, Pg. 30) entitled 'sky blues' (sic) regarding the Nostradamus prediction of the end of the world in August.

Being an optimist, I find such things mildly amusing although after a (very) quick search on the internet I came across a wealth of debate, discussion and discord on the Cassini module.

It's nickname (I believe) is The doomsday rocket, and as I understand it is proactively designed to break up on re-entry.

My question to you is when is this going (time, date) to occur and what is the likelihood of it crashing into the earth?

Your prompt reply would be appreciated

Alarmed and intrigued



----- MY RESPONSE -----


Thank you for your letter! I have never heard of Cassini as being referred to as "the doomsday rocket" but alright -- close enough! It contains 400,000 Curies of plutonium, mostly Pu 238, of which about a tenth of a millionth of a gram is a deadly dose -- there are about 23,000 grams on board Cassini and of those, about 350 grams are in "RHUs" not the more famous "RTGs". The RHUs are absolutely going to incinerate in a reentry accident; the RTGs, their far larger cousins, are probably going to incinerate partially (one or two of the GPHS units within them might breach) or even entirely (all the GPHS units might release all of their contents).

From studies of an earlier accident [in which 2.1 pounds of plutonium was released], NASA knows that the plutonium they are using would vaporize into particles that average about 10 microns in size. From numerous medical references it is clear that that is the "ideal" size for lodging permanently in a person's lung!

You are absolutely right, that the "containment system" which I hesitate to refer to as a containment system at all is designed to release its contents at high altitude. That's the whole trick to it -- that's all it's really for. NASA really doesn't much care about how effective it is (this is proven by the fact that before public outcry [after the SNAP-9A reentry in 1964] there was NO containment system!). As long as the probes release their poison at high altitude, that's all NASA cares about -- a lawyer's containment system is all it really is!

As to when and where Cassini might return, that is difficult to say. Recently (within the last few days, I believe; it was pointed out to me Saturday) NASA changed the "point of closest approach" to Earth halfway around the world -- from near Africa, to 137 degrees west longitude, 23.5 degrees South latitude (near French Polynesia). The French have already nuked that area so much probably no one cares much now about that area (once a tropical paradise) [okay, hardly anyone -- me and Pamela Blockey-O'Brien and who else?], but the "cone" of possible flyby error reentry points encompasses the whole globe right now. This is because any accident today or this week which changes the SPEED and DIRECTION of the probe, will affect what part of the Earth has "spun under" the flight path of the probe as it hurtles towards Earth! So no point is safe.

Right before the flyby (say, in the last few hours before), those on the far side of the world from it become safe only from the immediate danger of a low-altitude vaporization, which of course, NASA has TRIED to design the RTGs to prevent, but even NASA's own documents indicate (if you read the finest of the fine print, that is) that it is possible that, for example, one RTG will not break away like they are supposed to, and will be brought, with the burning hulk of the rest of the probe, down into the troposphere where rains might cause an immediate fallout of the plutonium.

I hope this answered most of your questions; please feel free to write back for more. I can't guess the "likelihood" of a reentry accident, but I sincerely doubt it's as low as NASA guesses it is ("one in one million").

Generally the NASA information I've given is from their 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini mission.

I don't know the new time of the flyby, I suspect that since they changed the location, they had to change the time as well, probably moving it forward by about half a day but I'm just guessing on that.

Here's NASA's direct contact information:

Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011 or
(818) 354-6478

If you learn anything about "when", please let me know!



Initials used above:
RTG--Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator
RHU--Radioisotope Heater Unit
GPHS--General Purpose Heat Source

----- END OF MY RESPONSE -----


At 04:28 PM 8/9/99 +0100, E wrote:

Fascinating stuff indeed......

I will endeavour to research time and dates for the possible re-entry
I have friends in the European space agency who can offer information..
I will indeed let you know if I find anything out about the 'when'.

Incidentally, We here in Britain haven't had ANY media coverage at all about this scandal, is it the same in the U.S.?

much appreciated

TV ....



THANKS! You bet it's almost exactly the same here -- almost NO press coverage at all! 400,000 Curies of plutonium flying by at 43,100 mph (or thereabouts) but the press ignores it because NASA has already fed them a line! I dissected about the only "press" we've had here in the 'Colonies', an item in the Miami Herald, in newsletter #147 (second item):


As you'll see if you take a look at what was written in the Miami paper, NASA uses such assuring terms as "perfect", "no chance" (of failure) and so forth. So, the media says to themselves, "what's the worry?"

Lap-dogs. That's the kind of media we have in the U.S.A.! If NASA tells them it's okay, then that's the end of it for them.

Well, thanks for your feedback!


Russell Hoffman


(2) Human Error Blamed for Recent Launch and Satellite Accidents

Cassini is subject to human error as well. Did I need to say that to anyone other than the folks at NASA?


Issue 1999.08.08
1999 August 8


Human Error Blamed for Recent Launch and Satellite Accidents

Human error has been fingered as the root cause of both a Titan 4 launch accident in April and a Global Positions System (GPS) satellite that was damaged by rainwater in May, separate Air Force investigations concluded last month.

One investigation found that improperly developed and tested software caused the failure of a Centaur upper stage during an April 30 launch of a Milstar satellite. The software caused the Centaur upper stage to lose all attitude control.

In an attempt to regain attitude control, the Centaur used up all its hydrazine propellant used for its reaction control thrusters. As a result, the upper stage and the Milstar satellite were stranded in a low, useless orbit.

The findings confirmed earlier speculation that the problem was caused by the control system of the Centaur and was not related to its main engines. The Centaur uses a version of the Pratt and Whitney RL-10 engine that apparently exploded during a Delta 3 launch just 4 days later.

A separate investigation looked into how rainwater managed to damage a GPS satellite on a Cape Canaveral launch pad in early May. The satellite was atop its Delta 2 booster on the launch pad, surrounded by the "White Room", a mobile structure that allows technicians access to the satellite during launch preparations, when a strong thunderstorm hit.

The rainwater entered the White Room through a small leak in the roof, and then pooled on a waterproof rain shroud hastily put into place over the satellite. The shroud could not support the weight of the water, however, and collapsed, allowing water to spill into the open satellite and damage it.

Investigators found that technicians had not properly assembled the shroud, taping together pieces on only one side of the material and not both as required. The leak in the roof of the White Room contributed to the damage, investigators said, but the fact that the room was not watertight was previously known.

When the damage was discovered, the satellite has to be taken back for repairs, which are estimated to cost $2.1 million. No new launch date has been set for the satellite.

The accidents were two in a series of mishaps that stung the launch industry earlier this year. Three days before the Titan 4/Centaur failure, a Lockheed Martin Athena 2 failed to place a commercial remote sensing satellite into orbit when its nose cone failed to detach, making the payload too heavy to reach orbit. Another Titan 4 launch failed in early April when the Inertial Upper Stage designed to place an early-warning satellite into its proper orbit misfired. The results of that investigation have yet to be released.



This has been the August 8, 1999, issue of SpaceViews. SpaceViews is also available on the World Wide web from the SpaceViews home page:

or via anonymous FTP from


(3) Leaks, news leaks, and excuses: Shuttle diplomacy

Do I need to mention that components on Cassini can malfunction as well? I mean to anyone besides the "scientists" at NASA?


Date: Mon, 09 Aug 1999 13:12:08 -0400
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" (
From: Larry Klaes (
Subject: Hydrogen leak
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 1999 09:10:37 -0400 (EDT)
Reply-To: fpspace@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU
Sender: fpspace@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU
To: Multiple recipients of list (fpspace@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU)
Subject: Hydrogen leak
X-Comment: Friends and Partners in Space

I haven't been hearing too much about the recent SSME problems. As of right now, I class the account below as speculation - but does it contain veracity?

David Portree

--- "Here is some interesting information about that "little" hydrogen leak in the engine #3 of Columbia during Eileen Collins mission."

The technical description contained here appears to be very accurate, but this information did come from an internet e-mail, so you have to be skeptical about it's genuineness.

However, it was obvious that the hue and intensity of the exhaust plume from the shuttle was significantly "odd" during the launch. Five pounds per-second seems like a lot of liquid hydrogen to dump into a roaring exhaust chamber. Remember, hydrogen is the lightest molecule, and its weight per-unit of volume is extremely low. I got this item from an anonymous source, which also makes you wonder about it's authenticity:

--- "A little bit of information the public doesn't know."

From a Rocketdyne point of view, meaning to ignore the SRB's, orbiter etc and only talking about the main engines, this was our worst moment ever. Sure there was STS 51 L (Challenger to the general public) but that was an SRB problem and since then we have had 1 abort to orbit, but this was the biggest series of problems RKDN has ever had in 1 launch. My coworker in the launch room said that 4 seconds after engine start his computer screen was flashing error messages in big red letters - the computers/controllers on main engines 1 and 3 were shut down. He looked out the window and was expecting to see the shuttle roll over on its back and fall into the ocean. Instead another person yelled that the backup computers kicked on. Thru all the noise shuttle commander Collins was trying to make herself heard above the roar of the engines that she had 2 major engine malfunctions, but needed time to identify what they were. And if that wasn't enough, ground cameras saw flames coming out of the hotwall side of the nozzle on engine 3 three seconds after engine start. As it turns out a hole in the nozzle was dumping liquid hydrogen at a rate of 5lbs per second. Now this hydrogen is supposed to cool the nozzle and main combustion chamber then be fed into the preburner combustion chamber for burning. Because it was dumping out the hole, the engine software identified that engine to be in a fuel lean condition so it signaled the fuel pump to speed up and deliver more fuel. To keep the proper mixture, the computer also speeds the LOX pumps. The fuel pump was revving higher than normal to deliver the extra fuel and it started to overheat. At a certain temp there is a redline or cut off point where the pump is commanded to shut down. For the entire 8 minutes everyone in the launch control room held their breath as they watched that pump's temp climb up to the redline. We reached orbit with less than 100 degrees to spare. We were 20 miles shy of where we planned on being and few hundred mph slower than we wanted, but that's not bad given that this was the first time that we drained the liquid oxygen tank completely dry and this was the largest payload the shuttle has ever lifted - 50,000 lbs. You can't imagine all the fault trees generated and action items started as soon as it landed. For one thing we have to determine why we lost power to the controllers - was it a controller or cable problem on our engines or did the popped circuit breaker in the cockpit(which went unnoticed for 2 days and should have been pushed back in by the copilot immediately) trigger the chain of events. Yes we made it, but there was a lot of praying going on in the launch room."




Date: Mon, 09 Aug 1999 14:09:20 -0400
To: "Russell D. Hoffman"
From: Larry Klaes
Subject: RE: Hydrogen leak
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 1999 13:26:53 -0400 (EDT)
Reply-To: fpspace@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU
Sender: fpspace@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU
From: Dwayne Allen Day (
To: Multiple recipients of list (fpspace@SOLAR.RTD.UTK.EDU)
Subject: RE: Hydrogen leak
X-Comment: Friends and Partners in Space

On Sun, 8 Aug 1999, DEMPSEY, ROBERT C. (JSC-DF25) wrote:

| I have 2 problems with this account:
| 1) Even if the 2 engines DIED completely 4 seconds after launch I do not
| think it would fall over backwards into the ocean - You still ar going
| somewhere far away with the SRBs and one SME running full throttle.
|I think the writer was just being dramatic, not literal. It's like saying
|"it blew itself to smithereens" instead of "it exploded."
|| 2) I also find it hard to believe they saw the fuel leak on the cameras
| during the launch. My understanding is this came out of post flight
| analysis. If some flight controller was able to pick that up that tiny
| detail that required extreme magnification from all the cameras during
| launch I don't see how he could be watching his console which gives better
| info.

I watched a tape of the launch with a colleague about a week later. He pointed out to me the yellow flame within the engine flames that indicated the leak. It did not require a trained eye to spot it, it was readily visible.



Our thanks to Larry Klaes (again!) for forwarding so many relevant news items.

(4) Plutonium workers to be studied:

Why are they constantly appointing people to head the Department of Energy (The DoE or "Death of the Earth Squad") who are not qualified for the position?

We want a pediatric toxicologist who has vast experience with radiation damage concerning infants, and who comes from the civilian sector -- who comes from OUTSIDE the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection), the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), the DoE (Death of the Earth Squad), nor from the nuclear parts of the military, and not affiliated in any way, shape, or form with the nuclear industry. We want someone who has worked with people of the caliber of Dr. Alice Stewart or Dr. Rosalie Bertell.

And as Assistant Department of Energy Head, we want a wildlife biologist with experience on the effects of radiation on the natural world, such as uptake to plants, bioaccumulation in the food chain, who also isn't affiliated with any of the aforementioned deceptive, criminal, and diabolical organizations.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, who is totally unqualified for the position he holds, has called for an investigation into allegations of radioactive dumping at the Paducah, Kentucky Gaseous Diffusion plant, where Uranium was enriched for nuclear power plants and to create Depleted Uranium metal for armor-piercing munitions, also for armor, and for counterweights for airplanes and helicopters, missiles, etc.. (Paducah used to be called "the Uranium Crossroads of the Nation".)

The workers did not know that they were breathing and handling plutonium. They thought it was uranium, which is, according to an AP wire service article "much less potent" than plutonium. They were ALSO breathing in uranium.

So Energy Secretary Richardson wants another study. By who? The CDC, who will go around asking the polluter for information on what they did, as they did at the notorious Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tennessee?

-- Pamela Blockey-O'Brien

"During the 58 years I have been working with ionizing radiation, I have seen so many mistakes, misstatements, cover-ups and untrue statements by members of our government agencies (e.g. A.E.C., D.O.E., N.R.C., NASA etc.) and by representatives of the nuclear industry that I seek independent safety evaluations of radiation risks before I trust their accuracy."

-- The late Dr. Karl Z. Morgan, the "father" of radiological health physics, and former director of health physics at Oak Ridge National Lab. for 29 years. Major critic of DOE, NRC, AEC, and ICRP. The above was included in an Appendix to his written testimony to the DOE in 1989 (same volume that contains Pamela Blockey-O'Brien's testimony).

(5) Still no sign from God:

NASA has not reported that they have received any message directly from God telling them that they should send 400,000 Curies of plutonium hurtling past Earth barely 700 miles away from the surface of the Earth (originally set to be 312 miles or even less!), at 43,100 miles per hour, in flimsy and untested containers, and then lie about it to the public, the press, and to Congress.

In a reentry accident, potentially ALL of the plutonium might be incinerated into a fine dust with an average particle size of 10 microns, the ideal size (as determined by medical studies) for permanently lodging in human lung tissue (the range of sizes expected from a reentry accident is approximately 5 to 58 microns, with 10 being the average size). 400,000 Curies is enough plutonium to kill everyone on Earth perhaps a hundred times over, and to do that, you only need to let everyone inhale a tiny, invisible piece of the whole. After that piece kills one person, it can then kill another and another. No minimum size of plutonium particle is incapable of mutating a living cell and causing a cancer, leukemia, or birth defect. Particles as small as the ones NASA is risking creating, do not ALWAYS cause cancer. But they are all capable of doing so, in proportion.

I therefore feel it is unlikely that God did, in fact, tell NASA to do this.

So, unless NASA is not reporting something, I am forced to conclude that they came up with this idea on their own. Shame on them.

(6) The Nuclear Dragon is dying:

Nuclear energy -- the military issues behind its use in weaponry, the political/technological issues behind its use in energy creation -- the monetary system that props it up, the "open lies" that are used to hide what is happening from the public, and the fact that the waste issue remains unsolvable -- these are all dead issues. They are all resolved in favor of a democratic society and a clean and safe environment, and against the nuclear options. We need to stop generating the waste, we need to stop risking meltdowns, we need to stop threatening and risking nuclear war. All these are simple statements of fact.

Yet, even with its legs cut out from under it, still, the nuclear dragon continues to snarl and thrash and throw out its burning tendrils. People the world over continue to die for no obvious reason: They had the misfortune to breath a little plutonium dust from SNAP-9A, or a little Chernobyl dust, or maybe some Three Mile Island dust, or Hiroshima dust, or Nagasaki dust (today being the 54th anniversary of THAT blast). Or the dust of any of 1000+ U. S. explosions, and thousands of others. Beautiful bombs -- colorful, dramatic. Generally so poorly photographed, we have lost many of the "magnificent" images. Yet each explosion has left a marker -- a zillion markers -- for the world's living cells to encounter as they (as we) go through life. The so-called "Cold War" wasn't so cold after all, and isn't so over, either, is it?

And it's all cumulative. Just as, with every breath, we breath a few reusable and life-giving atoms of Caesar's last breath (the saying goes), so too do we risk our own demise by breathing in a couple of dozen, or a couple of hundred, or whatever -- atoms from ALL these nuclear atrocities which have ALL occurred since the dawn of the nuclear age, just over 50 years ago -- earlier this century, this awful, shameful century. Let this century -- these "interesting times" -- be the worst this world will ever see! Or do nothing and let it kill you, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your city, your country, your planet. If Cassini doesn't get us, if Y2K doesn't bite, if nuclear terrorism doesn't haunt us, what are we? Lucky, or smart? At the rate we are going we will be lucky indeed to survive all the threats the atom has brought us. If we are smart, we will wise up in union against this demon, which was never meant to be unleashed on our pretty Earth.

The nuclear dragon is dying. It is being slain by the strength and weight of the many arguments against it on all fronts. The families of those who have died are losing patience with the system -- the dragon writhes now and then, but its time has come. Y2K is the final logical nail in the coffin. Machines we can no longer be sure we can control might wipe out humanity. What a thought -- we've finally done it.

Perhaps the world will survive with "only one or two" nuclear meltdowns -- maybe even "only one or two" nuclear weapons exchanges, accidental or otherwise. But we could be smart, and survive all these threats by removing the chance of accidents -- dismantle the weapons, shut down the nuclear power plants. It's that simple.

We were warned by many of the great minds that brought these terrors into the world, that THE PEOPLE are going to have to learn how to handle these threats. The people HAVE learned. They know the horror. They don't like hearing about it, they don't like reading about it, but they know how deep it goes. To those who say, if things are as bad as I say, we would all be dying of cancer, leukemia, and birth defects, I say, LOOK AROUND YOU! We ARE all dying! Not all of us? How close does it have to be? Is 30% close enough? 50%? Did you count everybody? Did my brother die of "complications from leukemia" or was it simply listed as "heart failure" because it occurred six months after chemotherapy began and a few months after it had ended (supposedly successfully)?

If Randall Melvin Hoffman were 44 today, he would be living proof that sometimes, horrific as it is, chemotherapy works and leukemia is survivable! But instead we've got a cardboard box we can't figure out how to legally and ecologically give back to the Earth. Ashes. Is there a plutonium particle in those ashes? Did one drift off into the wind when they cremated him, and is it now marking another soul for premature death, and pain, and the horror of medical technology's most gruesome, awesome power: They give you artificially-induced radiation sickness, and if you survive it, they restart a few of your vital systems, and you keep going. Remarkable, what modern science can do. Yet if they were not constantly putting hundreds of thousands of Curies of this, and hundreds of thousands of Curies of that, into the water and air, we would hardly need their fancy medical equipment!

It is time -- before Y2K -- for THE PEOPLE to stop NASA, stop the DOE, stop the Nuclear Navy, and stop all the others from poisoning our world. All the people at these organizations from this point forward, should be focused on cleaning up the mess they have ALREADY made! There is plenty of work for all these scoundrels. (The pay won't be nearly as good but, but the work will be very steady.) -- rdh

(7) What you can do today to stop the Cassini flyby of Earth:

The hour is very late for Cassini. THIS IS ALSO the most dangerous time -- until the very last few minutes or perhaps, at most the last hour before the flyby (which occurs at an unknown time, probably August 17th for most of the world). THEREFORE, UP UNTIL THE VERY LAST DAY, Cassini should be redirected! It should be redirected away from the Earth's notorious man-made (about 99% manmade, at least) orbital debris field, which goes out about 50,000 miles from the surface of the Earth in ALL directions! Cassini could become a deadly hulk (as can any rocket) just for passing through this mess! If that happens, it would be left, according to NASA's own documentation (page B-4 of the 1995 EIS for the Cassini Mission), in an orbit that could intersect our own! Tell NASA to redirect Cassini TODAY!

To stop Cassini from doing the flyby and other future mad-scientist launches, please redistribute this newsletter to everyone you know! Chances are they have never heard of Cassini, never visited our STOP CASSINI web site, never heard of or considered the effects of the Electromagnetic Pulse that will undoubtedly start a nuclear war if one occurs at all. And chances are good they would not even be able to tell you who played Dr. Strangelove (and two other roles) in the movie of the same name! There is a crisis in education in America and around the world -- you can take it seriously or you can let it kill you. But if we all join together and oppose this impending global destruction, maybe, just maybe, we can convince the powers that be to put down their genocidal toys.

To learn about the absurd excuses NASA used to launch Cassini and its 72.3 pounds of plutonium in 1997, ask them for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini mission, and all subsequent documentation. At the same time, be sure to ask them for ANY and ALL documentation available on future uses of plutonium in space, including MILITARY, CIVILIAN, or "OTHER" (just in case they make a new category somehow!). To get this information, contact:

Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011 or
(818) 354-6478

NASA states that they do not have the resources anymore to answer most emails they receive. Liars! They have $13 billion dollars to play with. They can answer the public's questions!

Here's NASA's "comments" email address:

Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address: or

Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:


Be sure to "cc" the president and VP and your senators and congresspeople, too.

Always include your full name and postal address in all correspondence to any Government official of any country.

(8) Subscription information

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