Monday, February 25, 2008

Satellite Shootdown (continued)

"The Pentagon said President Bush had ordered the mission to prevent
possible contamination of inhabited areas. It said the interception was not a
weapons test or a demonstration
for potential adversaries."
- NY Times

In a shareholder press release, here's what Lockheed Martin (the manufacturer of the missile) had to say:

DESTROYS ERRANT SATELLITE Aegis Versatility Helps Avert Potential Disaster

February 22, 2008 -- Again
demonstrating its adaptability to support new and more challenging mission
needs, Lockheed Martin's [NYSE: LMT] Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD)
Weapon System successfully destroyed an errant United States satellite,
preventing it from an uncontrolled and unpredictable reentry and potential crash
to Earth.

Just for poops and giggles I looked up the words "test" and "demonstration" in the dictionary:

TEST: examination, experiment or trial as to prove the
value or ascertain the nature of something.

DEMONSTRATION: to show the operation or working of;
specifically to show (a product) in use in an effort to sell it

Maybe I'm taking the comment a little out of context, but for an event that wasn't a "demonstration" the whole world was given front row seats. Video of the missile hitting the satellite and exploding are all over the net. It was only a few months ago that China performed a similar feet in shooting down one of their own malfunctioning satellites with a missile.

Both China and the US have shown the world they both possess the technology to strike a target in space from the Earth. It's reasonable to then conclude, using that same technology, they could strike a target on Earth from Space. A satellite or shuttle, outfitted with an appropriate delivery system, is all that is needed. The implications of this are fairly alarming. Imagine a satellite orbiting the Earth capable of delivering a payload from just a few miles directly above it's target. The satellite could be positioned over its target within hours, especially if traveling against the rotation of the Earth, ushering in a new era of first strike capability.

Check out the fireworks here:

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