Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Anti-satellite I.

This is coolbert:

It seems that whole lot of "experts" are looking at the proposed "shoot-down" of the wayward American satellite with a fair degree of skepticism.

There is more to this than meets the eye? Like what I have said in my previous blog entry on the same subject.

Here from the Danger Room of

"Experts Scoff at Sat Shoot-Down Rationale (Updated)"

"The Pentagon says it has to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite because of the threat of a toxic gas cloud. Space security experts are calling the rationale highly unlikely."

"Which leads one military satellite observer to tell DANGER ROOM, 'Everything they said made sense except for the reason for doing the intercept in the first place.'"

"There has to be another reason behind this," said Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, tells the Washington Post. "In the history of the space age, there has not been a single human being who has been harmed by man-made objects falling from space."

"Our [Danger Room] veteran space security specialist believes there are several [reasons for conducting the "shoot-down"]:

* "the satellite shot is a chance for the military to try out its missile defense capabilities"

* "a way to keep secret material out of the wrong hands"

* "and a warning to the Chinese"

* "it would be a clear signal that the US can possess an active ASAT capability at any time if it so desires. That is a serious development as the previous US ASAT system using F-15s was mothballed in the 1980's."

The U.S. mothballed the F-15 based anti-satellite system in the 1980's? That is news to me. A F-15 in an almost vertical "zoom" climb fires an anti-satellite missile at an enemy satellite. The ballistic motion of the F-15 allows for the missile to achieve altitude and speed with much greater ease. A very good idea, versatile and flexible. Was mothballed?

"UPDATE: Regardless of the central rationale for the anticipated intercept of a dying satellite, the action almost certainly would offer the Pentagon useful data on conducting anti-satellite missions"

Right, exactly. An excellent opportunity for testing, gathering data, refining anti-missile systems. A rare real-world "experiment" that may prove to be extremely useful.




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