Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Spy Satellite Shoot-Down: Tonight Or Not?

It sounds like the much-anticipated attempted shoot-down of that errant spy satellite could occur tonight around 10:30 p.m. Eastern time. The missile to shoot down the spy satellite will come from the ship USS Lake Erie, which is stationed west of Hawaii.

The Washington Post notes that this missile-hits-satellite mission will help the military advance its anti-missile and anti-satellite planning and technology.

The missile being fired from the USS Lake Erie will not carry a warhead; rather it's expected that the missile's 22,000 miles-per-hour speed combining with the volatile hydrazine fuel on board the satellite will be enough to blow the satellite into a bunch of nuggets that will burn up harmlessly in the earth's atmosphere.

What, no confetti? No synchronized musical soundtrack playing on the classic rock radio stations? Really, the Pentagon could have done a better job of marketing this event. Maybe even offered some sponsorship opportunities.

But I guess the sensitivity of other nations to the whole "Star Wars" space-based warfare concept meant it would be a good idea to keep the whole affair low key.

I do have to wonder what happens if the missile is fired and it misses the satellite. I guess it would burn up in the atmosphere, and since it has no warhead there's no chance of it blowing up anything.

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