White Yeti writes: ESA has a couple of early pictures of the reentry of the Automated Transfer Vehicle. An international team of observers, in two aircraft south of Tahiti, saw a series of explosions and over a hundred small debris. Observations were mostly made using optical cameras and spectrographs. The two images on the site are low-res samples, so hopefully we'll get more spectacular images soon.
White Yeti writes: CNN is reporting that the the U.S. may have decided to shoot down that decaying satellite mentioned earlier. They're probably weighing the space debris vs. ground debris issues. The announcement is upcoming today.
I'd like to point out that blowing up a low-altitude satellite near reentry is a lot different from doing the same thing a few hundred km higher.
White Yeti writes: Federal agencies are required to implement Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12). At least at NASA, this is requiring background checks and access controls just short of those required for a "Secret" clearance, for both civil servants and contractors. Even the lowliest worker bee will need the checks, a new badge, and a smart card to access their computers. The utility and cost-effectiveness of all this is debatable, though at least one fellow is glad to voice his "problems". There's really no choice, since not complying means losing computer access.