Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Satellite Shootdown

The US plans to shootdown “a failed spy satellite”. A long range anti-ballistic missile is to be fired from an American Warship just as the satellite is nearing Earth's atmosphere. China opposes this action, claiming the US isn’t concerned with “space junk”, but is concerned with not letting the technology fall into the wrong hands.

“In my opinion, this decision is imprudent and ill
advised. If this satellite is shot down, the toxic fuel will still be there.
Therefore, the pollution still exists.”

- Li Bin, Chinese arms control specialist,

The Pentagon said it was not using the effort to test its most exotic weapons or send a message to any adversaries.


Time to rant:
These could potentially be the first baby steps in what will one day become a new arms race – this one focused in and around space technology and weapons. One unspoken benefit for the US: they will see how accurately they can hit a moving target in space, from sea, with an anti-ballistic missile. If they can do it well from the ground, imagine the implications of shooting a missile, from space, downwards; onto a land or sea based target.

Armed satellites and shuttles, capable of devastating first strike capability anywhere on the planet, make the Cold War era arms race look like a redneck flea market.

And what the hell is “a failed spy satellite”??? Is that something we really want to be telling the world about? I’d appreciates a little secrecy from Homeland Security regarding our supposedly dominant, yet always on the fritz, technology. Yes, I know my cell phone can't hold a signal (or a battery charge), but I don’t want our enemies abroad to knowing that.

Noam Chomsky has much to say on the militarization of space his book "Hegemony or Survival", and his aptly title lecture “The Militarization of Science and Space.” Both are worth checking out.

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