Peter Brown, a contributor here at Japan Security Watch, has an interesting article at his blog, Japanese in Space.
For months, veteran amateur satellite observers based in Canada and Europe in particular have started to attract Tokyo’s attention. These sky-scanning enthusiasts are actively comparing and contrasting the situation surrounding IGS – 1B with the situation surrounding USA 193, the satellite which was shot down by the U.S. Navy in 2008. Fortunately, if the numbers are correct, the fuel loads aboard the two satellites are vastly different with IGS-1B holding just a small percentage of the amount in USA 193′s fuel tank.
One prediction calls for a possible re-entry by IGS-1B to occur at approximately this time next year. If and when it occurs, the fate of the hydrazine fuel load will be anyone’s guess, because guessing is about all that everyone can do save for a few Tokyo government insiders and Japanese contract personnel who know exactly how much fuel was on board this satellite at the time it was launched 8 years ago. (Link)
Peter notes that USA 193 was shot down for “safety” reasons, and speculates as to whether or not Japan might do the same thing with IGS – 1B.
Of course, one of the easiest ways to get anything done in Japan is to invoke “safety”.
A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch