After a 24 hours, it became widely evident to most news outlets that the "mystery missile" of November 8, 2010 was caused by an airplane contrail. However, there was always a bit of vagueness as to what flight or what kind of airplane caused the contrail. The Pentagon didn't reveal anything other than the fact that it WAS a contrail of some sort, and the FAA never said anything at all other than it was a normal event.

Two "internet sleuths", myself and Mike West of, definitevely solved the mystery of what flight it was armed with nothing but their own wits, personal areas of expertise, and some clever application of public data using off-the-shelf tools, and only took a few hours of work to do it. (Yes, we both admit freely that the lack of hard, fixed data on the helicopter footage led us to prematurely identify US Airways 808 [AWE808] as the flight).

So missile theorists, where is your evidence? 

I see a lot of forum and blog comments to the effect of:

"I am an ex-[marine|missile tech] who used to work at [some base|factory|missile site] and I've seen a lot of [ICBM|air-to-air|commercial rocket|shuttle] launches, and that was absolutely a solid rocket booster"

I don't doubt what the say about their career or what they've seen. But other than statements like that, they offer no other proof. A few have posted similar looking photos of rocket launches, either from the Cape or Vandenberg, which, I'll admit, do look similar, however that is about where most of the arguments end.

Mike and I carefully projected flight paths (generated with public-domain, FAA radar data) on three dimensional maps, and with careful extrapolation, aligned real-world photographs of the object in question from numerous, disparate vantage points. These clearly and definitevely identify the flight as UPS902.

Where are the 3D models and plots of rocket trajectories that would align with the dozens of photographs of the November 8 contrail? I don't  even care if these plotted trajectories are estimates, that's fine, at least provide proof that a rocket could have created the contrails as depicted in the photographs. The curve from location A, and the curve from location B of a rocket heading toward the east or west at nnn miles per hour.

But no, the contrail-theory detractors will never provide that information. They might have started to research it, played around with Google Earth and photoshop, but found that their models don't work, and just remain silent rather than own up or concede. (Which, sadly, is the new stance of our current media. Remember when news organizations used to admit fault? No, they just let it go.).

So, they will continue to stand by their reasoning, which they have every right to do, but it would be nice if there was some way to compare notes.

The Challenge

So I put this out there. I challenge any of you missile theorists to put together a plot, with estimated speed,  heading and altitude of an ICBM that could have produced the November 8 contrails as photographed.

I know no one will take me up on this. The world has moved on and this has become another footnote to whenever this happens again in a few years.