Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

USA 193 Shootdown Set For Feb 21, 03:30 UTC

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the gardyloo-in-the-pacific dept.

Space 358

An anonymous reader writes "Amateur satellite watcher Ted Molczan notes that a "Notice to Airmen" (NOTAM) has been issued announcing restricted airspace for February 21, between 02:30 and 05:00 UTC, in a region near Hawaii. Stricken satellite USA 193, which the US has announced plans to shoot down, will pass over this area at about 03:30. Interestingly, this is during the totality of Wednesday's lunar eclipse, which may or may not make debris easier to observe."

cancel ×

358 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

In Soviet Russia (0, Redundant)

glrotate (300695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22469948)

the missile shoots down you.

In Soviet Russia, satellite shoots down you (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470632)

Fixed

I wonder (5, Interesting)

cslax (1215816) | more than 6 years ago | (#22469988)

if they chose the eclipse date on purpose. We'll wait and see what they say AFTER it all happens.

Nothing to see here, move along (3, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470158)

While perhaps a bit unconventional, there's a lot to be said for our government's decisive action here that could prevent a small-scale disaster if the satellite were to hit the ground. It seems like the prudent thing to do.

*cough*THEL*cough*

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470320)

I find it quaint, the notion that the real reason they have to shoot the satellite down is because it has a tank of hydrazine onboard. Meanwhile, the Russians have let *freaking nuclear reactors* reenter our atmosphere. It's pretty transparent that they're A) trying to upstage the Chinese, and B) prevent any tech from making it into the hands of hostile parties. Even more transparent than the whole thing with A.Q. Kahn:

1) Pakistan funds its bloody nuclear program via nuclear equipment sales.
2) The international community eventually can no longer look the other way.
3) Khan steps forward. "Whoops, it was me! My bad. Every sale we made to every single country, I arranged, negotiated, and shipped everything, all with government aircraft, all of my own. No Musharraf involvement, nosiree!"
4) Bush and Musharraf: "Bad Khan! Well, that case is solved."
5) "House arrest", of the kind that lets you travel across the country. No charges pressed. Everyone wins.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470470)

I find it quaint, the notion that the real reason they have to shoot the satellite down is because it has a tank of hydrazine onboard. Meanwhile, the Russians have let *freaking nuclear reactors* reenter our atmosphere.
No offense, but comparing safety concerns of the US with the Russians is sort of bizarre. They are the country that used to just drop old reactor cores in the oceans after all. I honestly don't think they cared that they tossed radioactive waste across Canada any more than they cared what would happen when they build enormous nuclear reactors without containment domes. And if you think these are minor issues of environment protection then look up their involvement in the Aral Sea disaster. Russia is the antithesis [worldfrontpage.com] of environmental protection.

Re:I wonder (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470214)

The ignorance regarding technology displayed by slashdot readers is astounding. I remember back in 1999-2001 when it seemed like the average slashdot readers worked as systems engineers and software devs and had a very good grasp of computing in large enterprise environments. But nowadays it seems as though the average slashdot reader is either a student, a computer hobbyist or simply the "IT guy" at work. The professionals have all moved on to other sites. I guess it is finally time for me to go also.

Re:I wonder (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470294)

We have all retired to ASR.

Re:I wonder (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470298)

...if they chose the eclipse date at all. Isn't Wednesday the 20th, not the 21st?

Re:I wonder (1)

MutantEnemy (545783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470340)

It's the night of Wednesday 20 or the morning of Thursday 21, depending on where you are in the world.

Oddly enough... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22469990)

... they're going to use a pop bottle [slashdot.org] to do the deed.

Good coverage (5, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22469996)

Bruce is a fellow satellite spotter [utah.edu] also with some degree of background and in the subject matter and has good coverage here [and-still-i-persist.com] .

Re:Good coverage (5, Interesting)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470154)

There is also some interesting analysis done by the Federation of American Scientists that suggests this is just an excuse to test out some anti-satellite missiles. An interesting read.

http://www.fas.org/blog/ssp/2008/02/us_plans_test_of_anti-satellit.php [fas.org]

Re:Good coverage (4, Informative)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470256)

Interestingly, none of my AFROTC teachers would let us use FAS as a source in any of our briefings or papers because they only know just enough of what they shouldn't know to be dangerous.

Re:Good coverage (5, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470312)


FAS always raises hell over weapons tests of any kind. What else is new.

The SM-2 to be used is actually being MODIFIED with new software to try to do the intercept. It's not certain it'll work. So I guess that makes it a test.

The eclipse likely makes it easier to spot the "target".

But at least we aren't leaving a shitload of crap to fuck up usuable orbit space like the ChiComms did in their ASAT test. This bird is coming down NOW so why not test on it. It's cheap, if it works maybe we have a new use for an existing system w/o spending millions, we clean up our own mess by shooting it down, the debris will come down (with some risk as it's smaller pieces) and not clutter the crap out of orbital space, and we trash anything secret the enemy might try to capture (assuming it survived re-entry..but why risk it?). Sounds like a bargin "test" to me.

Re:Good coverage (4, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470334)

I wonder what they mean by "shoot down"? It's not like an airplane, that if damaged, can't stay flying and falls to earth. If you blow up a big satellite, you end up with a bunch of little satellites, and that doesn't make them de-orbit much faster does it? I was under the understanding that blowing up stuff in space is BAD and creates a major headache more of space debris. I suppose if you really wanted to de-orbit a dead satellite you'd want to shoot a missile at it that would attach, and fire retro rockets to slow it down so it would degrade its orbit enough to hit atmosphere were it would be pulled down on its own from there.

Re:Good coverage (3, Informative)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470424)

They're not shooting at it to make it de-orbit, it's already de-orbiting. They are shooting at it to make sure that the hydrazine fuel tank doesn't make it down to Earth intact (or worse, almost intact).

Re:Good coverage (4, Interesting)

XorNand (517466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470590)

Yeah right... The fact that it's a two-year old, highly-classified spy satellite has nothing to do with it. The *real* reason that they're spending $60M is to make sure that some fuel doesn't contaminate an acre or so of land.

Re:Good coverage (5, Insightful)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470682)

Well, there may be some truth to it. But like most decisions, there are a lot of things at work here:

1. Having a giant hydrazine tank land on someone's house would be a PR nightmare.

2. Having a spy satellite presumably filled with highly-classified stuff fall into the wrong hands is something They(tm) try to avoid.

3. Demonstrating to the rest of the world that we can blow their satellites into much less useful pieces is somewhat in line with the agenda of the Bush administration.

4. It can also be pointed to as a success of the missile defense program.

So I wouldn't write off the whole hydrazine tank issue entirely, but I doubt its the primary motivator.

Re:Good coverage (4, Interesting)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470694)

Yeah right... The fact that it's a two-year old, highly-classified spy satellite has nothing to do with it. The *real* reason that they're spending $60M is to make sure that some fuel doesn't contaminate an acre or so of land.
Nothing useful in terms of spy gear is going to make it through re-entry. What might make it through re-entry is a large, resilient fuel tank containing high-toxic, probably carcinogenic, fuel. Logic dictates that if there was really something classified on the satellite that they didn't want to survive re-entry they simply would have designed it to not survive re-entry or they would have installed a self-destruct. Shooting it down at this point for the reason you're implying doesn't make sense.

Besides, if it's the gear (rather than the fuel) that concerns them then why haven't they bothered shooting down other de-orbiting sats in the past?

Three reasons (5, Interesting)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470728)

I think there are three reasons they're spending $60 M to destroy the satellite. They are
  1. They don't want a repeat of Skylab where parts landed in Australia and made us look bad.
  2. If it comes down in Russia (Russia spans 11 time zones so that's not too unlikely) they don't want the Russians to be able to figure out much from the debris.
  3. They want a chance to test their anti-satellite weaponry on a real target that isn't saying "Over here! I'm over here! Here I am! Yoo Hoo!"
There's actually a 4th reason - blowing stuff up is fun but they would never cop to it.

Re:Good coverage (4, Informative)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470764)

Go look up Hydrazine (mono-methyl or di-methyl) and it's dangers. Tell ya what..heres the link to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomethylhydrazine [wikipedia.org] and OSHA http://www.osha.gov/dts/chemicalsampling/data/CH_255500.html [osha.gov] Think about how dangerous it is and how much of it is onboard (50kg or so). Then think about how much a good ambulance chaser aka "personal injury" lawyer could make off said dangers by suing Boeing, the Government and who knows else if someone's land was "contaminated" and there was an "injury". Then get back to me about if $60M is expensive.

Re:Good coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470608)

Or maybe that's just the "official" explanation. It IS a spy satellite after all.

Re:Good coverage (4, Informative)

SoapBox17 (1020345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470492)

It is also very important to note that the missile they are shooting it with does not have a warhead. They are basically just hitting it really hard, hoping to break it into pieces.

Re:Good coverage (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470566)

More bits an pieces == more surface area. I don't know that it will de-orbit these pieces before they get to the west coast of the Americas. But it might make it more likely that no large piece will make it to a place that it can not be recovered by the US. Also, putting a hole in the gas tank will be good for keeping the fuel from coming down intact.

Re:Good coverage (5, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470572)

I'd expect that shooting a satellite whose orbit is already decaying might hasten the process by a couple days (smaller pieces would generally have a lower ballistic coefficient and therefore decay faster), but not by a significant amount.

The real benefit (to the US) is that turning a big, expensive satellite with lots of classified equipment on board into a bunch of little satellites means that the expensive bits are rendered unusable and far less likely to get to the ground intact, where they can be analyzed. It also provides a good opportunity to test a new missile system, and shows the Chinese that the US can play at their game, too.

Re:Good coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470636)

If you blow up a big satellite, you end up with a bunch of little satellites, and that doesn't make them de-orbit much faster does it?
Square-cube law. Aerodynamic drag is proportional to the area, which in turn is proportional to the square of the object diameter. Inertia is proportional to the mass, which is proportional to the volume, which in turn is proportional to the cube of the object diameter. Put it all together, and an object that's half the size will be decelerated by atmospheric drag twice as much. Blasting a big satellite into lots of tiny pieces will make the tiny pieces come down much faster than the satellite would have.

Date confirmed (2, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470456)

...and the date has been confirmed [cnn.com]

Conspriacy goldmine (5, Funny)

bluelip (123578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470008)

A super secret sat is not responding for unknown reasons. This requires a shootdown which just happens to occur during a lunar eclipse.

Wow, who gets the movie rights for this one?

Re:Conspriacy goldmine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470084)

Somewhere, Oliver Stone's head is exploding.... and not because of a well-hidden sniper's bullet!

Re:Conspriacy goldmine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470106)

David R. Ellis gets the rights. Snakes on a Plane 2: Snakes on a Satellite.

Re:Conspriacy goldmine (4, Funny)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470458)

There is only a movie if the missile moves it back and to the left

Re:Conspriacy goldmine (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470782)

It sounds like a plot line from the show UFO [wikipedia.org]

Except with fewer mini-skirts and shorter sideburns.

Destroy classified items (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470012)

They're shooting it down not because it might hit and blow up, but because it might hit and not blow up, and yield a lot of classified hardware/software for some enterprising person(s) to pick up.

Re:Destroy classified items (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470116)

Actually, the classified hardware/software will burn up on reentry. Their more concerned about the full tank of hydrazine that would survive a normal reentry and create a hazardous materials nightmare near a populated area. Since they suspect it is going to come down near Hawaii, I'd love to see some sort of Taco Bell stunt where TB gives away free tacos if the satellite lands in a volcano during the eclipse.

Moon hiding behind megameters of solid rock (5, Informative)

isomeme (177414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470016)

Since that time interval occurs during daylight hours near Hawaii, with the eclipsed moon (necessarily) below the horizon, I doubt the eclipse will have much effect on visibility. :)

Re:Moon hiding behind megameters of solid rock (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470166)

Yep - Hawaii - UTC - 10, so 03:30 UTC is definitely during the afternoon.

Re:Moon hiding behind megameters of solid rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470212)

Don't be confused by the expression "shoot down". The satellite is still very high above the Earth. The cloud of debris will continue for many orbits and alternate between daylight and nighttime every 45 minutes, like every other low-orbit satellite.

Re:Moon hiding behind megameters of solid rock (4, Interesting)

isomeme (177414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470400)

Don't be confused by the expression "shoot down". The satellite is still very high above the Earth. The cloud of debris will continue for many orbits and alternate between daylight and nighttime every 45 minutes, like every other low-orbit satellite.

Yep, but by the time the debris orbits into the Earth's shadow, about 15 minutes after the impact if my guesstimate is right, it will be entirely dark in visible wavelengths, shining only by reflected light. At that point, the lunar eclipse hinders rather than helps things, by removing a light source. And the eclipse moves out of totality within another 15 minutes after that.

Short version: The timing relative to the lunar eclipse is pure coincidence.

Unless it's a critical part of the top secret plan to propitiate Nyarlathotep and force Great Cthulhu back into an uneasy aeons-long slumber among the cyclopean ruins of R'lyeh, the fabled city of the Old Ones, looming over the black abyssal plain that lies miles below the sparkling sunlit waters of the Pacific.

In which case, I don't want to know what's in the payload of that missile.

Re:Moon hiding behind megameters of solid rock (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470828)

At that point, the lunar eclipse hinders rather than helps things, by removing a light source.
Nope. Here's how it works:

1) a light source above the observer's horizon hinders visibility (can you see satellites when the Sun is up?)
2) a light source below the observer's horizon but above the satellite's horizon helps visibility.
3) a light source below both horizons doesn't do anything.

The eclipse reduces (1) compared to the full moon that would sit there otherwise, so it helps visibility by reducing a light source.

Gotta love the scores in this thread. The Dumbing Of America!

Re:Moon hiding behind megameters of solid rock (1)

tommy_teardrop (228273) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470376)

While 03:30UT is definitely in daylight, 05:00 is 7pm - after sunset, though the sky won't be fully dark at that point. We're observing out here at the moment, so we're very aware of the sky conditions.

As an aside, can you guess who has a flight out of Hawaii at 6:45pm on the 20th? Joy!

Re:Moon hiding behind megameters of solid rock (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470480)

You're assuming the missile is taking the short way around to the satellite ;-)

Disappointing. We need to LASER it. (3, Funny)

zymano (581466) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470026)

50's called. They want their missiles back.

Re:Disappointing. We need to LASER it. (4, Funny)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470038)

Disappointing. We need to LASER it.

The ill-tempered sea bass have a limited range, sorry.

Re:Disappointing. We need to LASER it. (2, Funny)

FrYGuY101 (770432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470552)

But I've got a giant container of Jiffy-Pop popcorn on that satelite! How am I supposed to pop it now, and embarrass the traiterous professor?

I'll think of something...

Re:Disappointing. We need to LASER it. (2, Interesting)

himurabattousai (985656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470570)

What if someone mounted a camera on the missile? Would that be less disappointing? (Maybe) Would that make it cooler to watch? (Hell, yeah!)

...which may or may not (5, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470044)

This post may or may not be a way to tell you that may or may not is a totally ambigious statement. Some people may or may not notice this. I may or may not be modded Offtopic but I can also be modded +1 Funny or +1 Insightfull. However, this may or may not be the case.

Re:...which may or may not (3, Funny)

mfnickster (182520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470440)

"Interestingly, this is during the totality of Wednesday's lunar eclipse, which may or may not make debris easier to observe." ...unless it doesn't. In which case, yes, the answer is 'no.'

I'm Leonard Nimoy.

Is it going to be shot down (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470054)

with my dildo rocket?

Woo! (1, Redundant)

Jethro (14165) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470088)

Am I the only one who thinks this is TOTALLY COOL???

Sure it might be dangerous and stupid, too, but hey.

How Convenient (0, Redundant)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470120)

First, we must destroy it lest someone else (like the Chinese, because that's where it looks like it's headed if they're launching in Hawaii) get the item, from a US- controlled range. But they'll get it on a pass where the visibility is especially good (think signal to noise ratio on a moon-lit night) and kablooey.

And for decades, maybe centuries, we'll be picking the shards out of the sky, let they be run into by some of our more expensive remaining (and possibly working stuff). Egads. Another one in the drink. I wonder how many things might have been substituted that really matter.

Oh, wait.

Re:How Convenient (4, Informative)

MutantEnemy (545783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470150)

I find your post a little hard to follow, however with regard to space debris, the satellite is sufficiently low that all the debris is expected to deorbit relatively quickly (days or weeks).

Re:How Convenient (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470222)

IF they get a hit, then the explosion may or may not get blasted into space where it could do damage. Very small particles in space make a very big impact at say, 23,000mph, or faster still. Although we have great resolution on observing space junk in tiny sizes, we're doing the essentially the same thing that the Chinese did when they shot down an orbiter.

Azimuth, zenith, and charge value will dictate what happens. Might be a clean kill. Might not. I wouldn't take the Army's word for much, however, they're the ones that goosed it in the first place.

Re:How Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470528)

IF they get a hit, then the explosion may or may not get blasted into space where it could do damage.

Come back and talk to us when you actually pass Physics 101.

Re:How Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470748)

I assume that you, of course, in all of your infinite wisdom know exactly what the yield of the missile is, the mass of the satellite, how it will break up, and exactly where the missile will hit the satellite and the strengths of the various materials that will absorb the initial impact/explosion...

Pompous fool...

Re:How Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470634)

No, you're an idiot. IF it gets hit, there will be a collision and not an explosion. Also, any debris that is ejected into a higher orbit MUST, because of physics, have assumed a hyperbolic orbit (more hyperbolic for more height) with a perigree at least equal to the current altitude of the satellite. Therefore, your very small space particles are just as likely to burn up quickly as our very big space satellite, if not more so, since undoubtedly there won't be very many (read: astronomicaly few) particles which are precisely ejected into these perfect hyperbolic orbital paths without bleeding energy into other collisions and such.

The same rules applied to the Chinese ASAT also--except the Chinese satellite was in a stable and high orbit, instead of an unstable and low orbit. Much of the debris from the Chinese test remains in a stable and high orbit, and many of the hyperbolic orbits debris was ejected have insufficiently low perigrees to cause immediate or near-term deorbiting. I'm sure you can see where this is going...

Re:How Convenient (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470374)

The satellite is being blown up because its about to crash into the planet. Why do you suppose the debris will stay up any longer?

Re:How Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470704)

Because people don't understand anything about orbital mechanics, yet still feel qualified to complain about the people who do.

Re:How Convenient (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470744)

This depends on the azimuth and zenith and charge of the missile used to shoot it 'down'. You're basing your information on unreliable sources.

Re:How Convenient (3, Informative)

drerwk (695572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470804)

Actually, it doesn't. Orbital mechanics guarantee that the debris will pass through the same altitude one orbit later.

Re:How Convenient (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470852)

Why do you suppose the debris will stay up any longer?

      SOME of it will. Parts of the missile, as well as some of the debris from the satellite will end up in a higher orbit because of the impact. I don't want to say "explosion" because in space explosions are different - without an atmospheric pressure wave - all you have is the hot, expanding gas from the explosive itself, and the shrapnel.

good information there! (5, Funny)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470128)

which may or may not make debris easier to observe
Way to limit the two choices down to two choices....

Re:good information there! (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470692)

Amateur! Where is the third hand? What, all your toes are cut off?!

Just damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470134)

Pity they couldn't wait a couple days for my birthday.

The Sorceror's Apprentice (3, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470168)

An airplane needs an engine to fly, and when that engine is destroyed and crashes somewhere near where you shot it down. A satellite needs no engine to fly, and when you shoot at it, it becomes thousands of little satellites, all of which continue to "fly" at 25,000 miles per hour.

I hope the people shooting at (not "down") this satellite have seen "Fantasia." In _The Sorceror's Apprentice,_ Mickey Mouse decides that the best way to deal with an out-of-control magic broom is to chop it into thousands of pieces... all of which just keep right on going, making the problem worse instead of better.

Re:The Sorceror's Apprentice (1)

Telepathetic Man (237975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470226)

Unlike that example case, the many pieces of the satellite will not grow back into a whole satellite again. Each peice will be less massive and therefor less destructive upon impact with what will likely be the ocean if the attempt is successful.

Re:The Sorceror's Apprentice (1)

bluelip (123578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470240)

Wow.Took a bit to come up with that analogy??

Anyhow, since the sat is in a low orbit and has no power, it is being slowed by drag and pulled down by gravity. These million/billion sat bits will have the same fate.

Mickey's sticks had an unlimited magical power source. (Not unlike your imagination.)

Re:The Sorceror's Apprentice (4, Informative)

isomeme (177414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470258)

The thing's low enough that all of it -- intact or in pieces -- will deorbit soon (days to weeks). And actually, smaller debris deorbits faster; there's more surface area per volume (and hence per mass), so drag from the not-quite-vacuum of the upper atmosphere decelerates small pieces faster.

Re:The Sorceror's Apprentice (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470284)

An airplane needs an engine to fly, and when that engine is destroyed and crashes somewhere near where you shot it down. A satellite needs no engine to fly, and when you shoot at it, it becomes thousands of little satellites, all of which continue to "fly" at 25,000 miles per hour.

They might be counting on transferring enough momentum to the object for it to deorbit half an orbit later. That would put it over Africa, Asia and (possibly) Europe in longitude. I am not sure about latitude. I know that USA193 has an inclination of 60 degrees but that just ensures that it will be over land when crossing the longitude of Africa.

.

Re:The Sorceror's Apprentice (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470296)

The only problem with your reasoning is you are assuming the pieces will be in a stable orbit. Satellites have motors that they use to maintain orbit. These pieces will be very close to the atmosphere without a motor and will fall out of the sky very quickly.

Re:The Sorceror's Apprentice (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470410)

"Fantasia." In _The Sorceror's Apprentice,_ Mickey Mouse decides that the best way to deal with an out-of-control magic broom is to chop it into thousands of pieces... all of which just keep right on going, making the problem worse instead of better.


I liked the Itchy and Scratchy version better. It makes a better analogy too - when we breathe in the little tiny pieces of satellite, they will dissolve us from the inside out!

So (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470172)

Who's going to film this and post it?

Re:So (1)

Eevee1 (1147279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470322)

www.youtube.com

Next question.

Isn't it obvious? (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470198)

That this is just a response to China's ASAT test of January last year?

China: you see, we can blow up your satellites!!
USA: aha! We can blow up your satellites too!!

General public: Why are they blowing up satellites?

Re:Isn't it obvious? (2, Informative)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470276)

obviously its just the government in a pissing contest with china.

its not like there are pesky differences between the two, like one was in high orbit, one is about to enter the atmosphere with toxic cargo and the potential to kill people if it lands in the wrong area.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470310)

pah. No-one who knows anything about sats has any serious belief that this re-entry is any more of a danger to the general public than any other re-entry. The claims that sat might contain classified information that the military want to destroy is about as credible - i.e., not.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470484)

aren't most entries controlled?

ASs hAT? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470280)

Ass Hat?

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

genican1 (1150855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470384)

China: you see, we can blow up your satellites!!
USA: aha! We can blow up OUR satellites too!!
there, fixed it for ya

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470396)

Oh so close. Try this instead:

China: you see, we can blow up your satellites!!
USA: Ahah! We can blow up our satellites too!!

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470408)

Maybe. But when the Chinese shot down that sat we only heard about it after the fact amid a lot of golly gosh and whining.

This has a different PR ring about it, all trumpets and drums before it happens.

You know what would be really funny, after the puff and bluster, the Americans miss it. (and probably take out a Russian sat by "mistake")

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470792)

all trumpets and drums before it happens.

      Which is why it isn't going to work. At least not the first time :)

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

s74ng3r (963541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470672)

More like: China: My dad can shoot your satellite US: Oh yeah? China: (Chinese dad shoots down satellite. Kaboom!) Take that! US: Geez. My dad can shoot our satellite, from a ship! (US dad fires from a ship, and takes out another satellite) China: That's nothing. My grandpa can shoot a satellite from US: :)

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

WAG24601G (719991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470834)

China: you see, we can blow up your satellites!!
USA: aha! We can blow up your satellites too!!

More like:
China: you see, we can blow up your satellites!!
USA: aha! We can blow up our satellites too!!

Expected path and what to look out for (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470220)

Video can be found here [youtube.com] .
(Turn volume up, voice over is quiet)

Just the facts. (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470248)

I doubt the lunar eclipse has anything to do with it. The timing is almost certainly based on the need to get the SBX [wikipedia.org] to sea and in position (it's not exactly a speedboat), and the best orbital conditions for the shot. The location was almost certainly based on the SBX being in Hawaii and having nice long empty stretches of ocean downrange for the SM-3 missile. (Both for the booster and for the payload to fall if it misses.)

During the eclipse? (5, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470260)

No doubt goats will be slaughtered, wiccans consulted, and pentagrams drawn all in the hope that our missile intercept technology will actually work in a non-staged event.

Re:During the eclipse? (1)

edcheevy (1160545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470626)

What makes you think this wasn't staged? :p

And if it works? (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470714)

No doubt goats will be slaughtered, wiccans consulted, and pentagrams drawn all in the hope that our missile intercept technology will actually work in a non-staged event.

And if it works? What then? How many successful test intercepts do you need before you think that the thing might actually work? Seriously, the only reason some folks are arguing that they don't think missile defense can work is because they do not like the politics of it. Eventually, missile defense can and will work. It's just an engineering problem, after all.

I for one do not think the USA should be deploying interceptors in Poland to antagonize the Russians, but, I've got no problem with spending a bunch of billions a year to give the USA a unique capability in a world where every country is working to develop ICBMs.

10 bucks (1)

triscut (984641) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470270)

via paypal for anyone who can furnish me with the TLE updated at least once a day for this sat. Or better yet post them to a public forum for everyone to enjoy. -CS

My Tax dollars at work... (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470430)

I demand a front row seat. I helped pay for the satellite and the missile to kill it. At least they could offer to sit me on my lawn chair with my cooler full of beer to watch it.

No?

OK fine. I would pay extra to put my lawn chair and cooler full of beer on the cruiser. I wanna big screen display hanging off the bridge with a feed from the ISS.

No! What? Regulations my Ass!

Fucking US government can't even generate revenue from what should be a spectacular PPV event.

Enjoy,

Get a Video! (3, Interesting)

eternalnyte (765741) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470432)

Are there any Slashdotters here in Hawaii?? Surely a missile zooming up to shoot down a satellite would be visible, would it not?

Re:Get a Video! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470774)

Only while the engine is running. And I expect the "explosion" to be rather anti-climactic. They usually are, thanks to Hollywood which has led us to believe that everything explodes in a huge fireball.

Re:Get a Video! (1)

concernedadmin (1054160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470814)

Let's apply some logic here. Hawaii is a (sunlight-lover's) paradise. Sunlight causes tans. Slashdotters are, pardon the euphemism, not tan. Ergo, no Slashdotters live in Hawaii.

Oops, wrong button (and target) :o (2, Funny)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470612)

Surely we will see, due to a "technical mistake", that the missile will just coincidently hit a Chinese, Russian, or Middle Eastern satellite. Or perhaps they will use this to draw everyone to Hawaii and shoot off a 2nd missile at an enemy satellite while everyone is busy.

What will they blame this on? Since they have already used "a ship dropped it's anchor on the wire" for the Middle East Internet blackout, so here's some good excuses for our classic government:

  • "Our technician split coffee on the launch computer during the 3 second countdown"
  • "All these damn satellites all look the same, we just picked the wrong one"
  • "The launch computer ran Windows"
  • "It's not our fault, China launched that missile!!!!!!!"
  • "A renegade computer hacker changed the missile's target during the last second of the countdown"
  • "We forgot to mention that there were 2 broken satellites. Don't mind the Chinese symbols all over the other one"
  • "The RIAA and MPAA told us the second satellite was owned by The Pirate Bay"

Or some ways to cover the whole thing up:

  • Keep denying it
  • Give Fox News $1 million to tell America we did take down the broken satellite
  • Arrest anyone who tells people about the conspiracy under the USA PATRIOT Act


So, is anyone planning on getting this on tape? I'd love a DivX video of the launch :)

Re:Oops, wrong button (and target) :o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470640)

There's a package for you that just arrived from the Internet. Please accept our welcome to the Tin-Foil Hat Club with your free tin-foil hat and membership card. You do not have to accept this package however, because you wouldn't trust it anyway, would you?

Re:Oops, wrong button (and target) :o (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22470826)

LOL @ "Middle Eastern satellite"

~~~

Re:Oops, wrong button (and target) :o (1)

MutantEnemy (545783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470858)

Actually, Iran apparently [bbc.co.uk] has a (Russian-launched) satellite. But the idea that the shot will hit the wrong target is of course just a joke.

Outsource it (5, Funny)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470680)

I'm surprised we didn't outsource this to China.

My dream... (3, Funny)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22470696)

I really hope the weapons officer who gets to push the missile-firing button says: "ASSIMILATE THIS!!!"
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?