Friday, February 15, 2008

Satellite Takedown

...or how to really freak everyone out.

Yesterday our illustrious President gave approval for the US Military to use a missile to shoot down a old spy satellite. Is it just me that can hear GWB snickering...'heh heh...yeah lets shoot it down that'll be fun.'

According to news reports I have found on the web (1) "The missiles will target the secret satellite identified as USA 193. Since an immediate failure after its launch in 2006, the satellite's orbit has decayed and it now poses a threat to Earth."

Army guy James E Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said of the mission:

"We have modified three SM-3 missiles aboard Aegis ships to strike the satellite,"
Immediately I started SlingShot Thought-ing a few different ideas:

If they miss the satellite...please, please, please tell me they have a remote detonator on that missile. I mean why the fuck would we want to send an armed missile flying off into unknown space?
2) Shooting it down is probably more of an effort to destroy any super secret spy technology, than just to let it fall to Earth and possibly have some of the guts survive.
3) and Most importantly - it sends a message to the WORLD...
"Oh by the way, we can shoot down satellites. We can shoot down YOUR satellites. Can you do that?" (update 11:26AM - Link to show that was on track)

There are news stories all over the webs about this (1, 2, 3 -to list a few). Pretty much in each report the only concerns that are brought up are the hydrazine fuel and possible debris (a.k.a space junk) that will remain in orbit. Now of course this could also mean:

4) Debris could damage or destroy any one or many of the thousands of satellites that currently orbit earth. Sweet.

I'm not so worried about the hydrazine fuel but I think the Pentagon is playing up this safety and environment piece of the danger puzzle to take the attention off of the bigger issues.
It's all a game of war.
Tread with caution

As I find more fun quotes:
"It should be understood by all, at home and abroad, that this is an exceptional circumstance and should not be perceived as the standard U.S. policy for dealing with errant satellites," said House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton.
Uhh O.K. Mr. Chaiman, I understand this isn't how we are going to deal with errant satellites but what about Chinas spy satellites? Didn't the just test an anti-satellite missile? Yes. Is this whole situation just a thinly veiled message of one-upsmanship similar to the nuclear build up of the 1980's? It is starting to seem that way.

Aww hell. GO FOR IT!


  1. I considered it a very thinly veiled example to the Chinese (and thus the world) that they are not the only ones who can kill satellites at will.

  2. Where is the ISS in relation to this errant satellite ?
    'Sorry 'bout that - these things happen...'

  3. Well..they had better hit or it will tell the world they can't hit diddly!

  4. I think it would be a lot more impressive if they sent the Space Shuttle up to shoot the thing out of the sky. I know the shuttle looks like my fat aunt sitting in a lawn chair at a cookout - but both she and the shuttle would be instantly cooler if they had missiles attached to them.

    Beyond that - I agree with your assessment.

  5. good comments everbody.
    Id imagine that the ISS will be closely watched.

    What about the timing of the mission, lined up with the moon eclipse? Seems like some ancient code we shant break, ya know?