Shooting a missile at a satellite is rocket science. And, apparently, a year late, we’ve figured it out.
Spy Satellite’s Downing Shows a New U.S. Weapon Capability
By Marc Kaufman and Josh White | Washington Post Staff Writers | Friday, February 22, 2008; Page A03
The unprecedented downing of an errant spy satellite by a Navy missile makes it clear that the Pentagon has a new weapon in its arsenal — an anti-satellite missile adapted from the nation’s missile defense program.
While the dramatic intercept took place well below the altitude where most satellites orbit, defense and space experts said Wednesday night’s first-shot success strongly suggests that the military has the technology and know-how to knock out satellites at much higher orbits.
When the plans were announced a week or so ago, we were bemused.
The physics required have got to be astounding. See, the satellite is in a deteriorating orbit, so it might not be acting totally predictably.
The missile was built, of course, by the lowest bidder.
And they launched it from a missile cruiser sailing in the Pacific, which any mariner will tell you is totally falsely named.
I’m thinking the challenge was tantamount to shooting an arrow at a duck in flight several miles away, from the back of a rodeo bull.
But, the Navy did it.
And they’ve got pictures.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
So we’ve caught up with the Chinese (and how odd that phrase sounds in a military context). Whew, that’s a relief!
Can the Russians be far behind? Isn’t there some remnant of the Soviet’s Cold War satellite flock that requires putting out of its misery?
And Europe can’t afford to be left out of the party.
And when it comes to that, better North Korea aim at a spot in space than Tokyo or Seattle.
And frankly, if Iran has to send a missile anywhere, yr (justifiably) humble svt joins the rest of humanity in hoping that it’s toward the moon instead of Tel Aviv.
And Pakistan, and India, and Israel itself: guys, if we’ve no choice in the matter, I guess we’d prefer you to shoot up toward the cosmos, instead of at each other.
And so, ladies and gents, we have made real that which was only hinted or guessed at. We have officially militarized space.
Hitherto, the planet’s bounty from the first 50 years of the space age consisted mainly of some dusty moon rocks under glass, Tang, and the GPS system in our cell phones and automobile navigation systems that point us to the closest Thai take-out.
But now, the sky’s (no longer) the limit. Now, we can count on the increased likelihood of “collateral damage,” i.e., ex-satellite debris, plummeting through our ceilings.
Fifty years ago, at the height of the Cold War, trendy suburbanites proudly showed off their backyard and basement fallout shelters. Wonder if there are any still around.
Everything old is new again. Ugh.
And, perhaps, there are a lot too many rocket scientists out there for comfort.
It’s it for now. Thanks,
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